• Jim Canfield

Measure Performance: Sales Backlog Tracker


Some companies measure sales performance on a monthly or quarterly basis. But what if you were also to measure sales on a daily or weekly basis to give you more advanced reaction time? The number of sales closed, unit volume of sales, the dollar amount of sales, and the number of sales calls made are all easy to quantify and measure daily or weekly.


Use the Right Tools


Two very effective tools for tracking a sales team’s performance are, first, a daily sales report of orders booked (or entered by a salesperson). The second is a weekly sales report that shows sales dollars both by individual and by region or product line and the profit generated. It should list each salesperson’s performance for the current month-to-date performance against goals, with a breakdown by product mix.


The more often you provide feedback to your sales force, the more frequently you can guide and direct them to reach the performance targets the company desires. Just as important is to share with your team how their performance during the current time period compares to the same period the previous year. If your team does better this month than they did in the same month last year—and maintains that for the long run—the company will generate those coveted straight-line growth rate charts.


Of course, the other areas of the business must do their part, too. But continual sales growth can offset shortfalls in other parts of the business. And solid sales growth also tends to minimize the effects of seasonality in any business.


A best-in-class tool for sales management is the Sales Backlog Tracker, which projects results months in advance. The key is to take action to keep your backlog of sales for each upcoming month larger than last year’s backlog.


Gain Clear Visibility


Using the Sales Backlog Tracker tool, you’ll be able to decide how to influence sales further in advance. Without a backlog tool—or some other sales projection methodology that alerts you about a potential slowdown of incoming business—you lack visibility into future periods. Without this visibility, you have no opportunity to take early action to generate better results.


Let’s assume the Sales Backlog Tracker report for the third week of December shows the next six months and your bookings for each month. The month of May might be your weakest month historically and show up on the report at $1.3 million this coming May versus $1.7 million for the same month last year—viewed from the third week in December. Based on this information, you’ll know it’s time to take action.


The good news is that you have five months to correct the looming problem. With this lead time, you might well decide to ask the sales team to engage with their customers in December—five months ahead of what your competitors are likely to do to get May and June orders. You can create strategies and programs to give customers better pricing or delivery terms in the May-June period. Lowering your prices is a valid strategy during this weak season since you’ll face pricing pressure during this period anyway. If you give your customers the best prices now, you beat the competition when you do it again in December for your May and June orders.

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