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The Sales Influencer Series Presents: Jason R. Jordan

Renowned sales management consultant Jason R. Jordan joins the podcast for an in-depth conversation with Ambition CEO Travis Truett on ways to define KPIs and drive team activity without micro-managing.

Welcome to Episode 37 of the Sales Influencer Series: the #1 podcast for modern B2B sales leaders. Enjoy the interview and take a look our brand-new eBook: The Salesforce KPI Report.

In today's episode, we welcome Vantage Point Performance Partner and Cracking the Sales Management Code author Jason R. Jordan to the podcast to share strategies for creating sales KPIs and cutting down micromanagement. 

Hear Jason and Ambition CEO Travis Truett discuss key findings from their vast client bases, which include many of today's leading B2B sales organizations, and share best practices for simplifying and improving sales performance management. 

Ep. 37: How to Measure and Manage B2B Sales Teams

Interview Topics 

Introductions. 0:00 - 2:40.

Jason Jordan is a recognized thought leader in business-to-business selling and conducts ongoing research into the management best practices of world-class sales forces. For 20 years, Jason has worked internationally in industries such as technology, manufacturing, finance, telecom, health care, and hospitality.

His company, Vantage Point Performance, is the most prolific researcher on modern sales management topics this decade. In addition to writing books such as Cracking the Sales Management Code, Jason frequently contributes to Harvard Business ReviewForbesEntrepreneur and elsewhere.

How to Know If Your Sales Force Is Any Good. 2:40 - 8:38. (Jump)

In his experience working with thousands of B2B enterprise sales organizations, Jason recalls one profound moment early in his career - where a sales leader at an international financial services company asked him how to know if his sales force is any good? More specifically, he wanted to know how to measure and understand sales team performance metrics, given that his sales force had multiple verticals, territories, and product offerings impacting the nature and difficulty-level of each team's sales process.

That conversation marked the genesis of Jason's immersion in the study of sales metrics and specialization in understanding how organizations measure their sales force. The biggest insight he discovered, published in Cracking the Sales Management Codewas that there were over 300 possible metrics a sales organization could be measuring. But only 17% of the metrics were activities that could actually be managed and coached. The rest were lagging indicators, efficiency metrics and sales objectives. In other words, sales managers spent too much time measuring things they couldn't control - when they needed to focus on managing the things they could control.

Jason ended up dividing sales metrics into three levels: sales activities, sales objectives, and business results. Jason found that the best sales organizations focused mostly on actively managing sales activities and tying those activities to sales objectives.

Adapting Sales Management for Modern Times. 8:38 - 19:44. (Jump)

The purchasing process - despite the major evolutions of sales technology of the past 20 years - is fundamentally the same. Core sales skills such as targeting, responsiveness, and interpersonal communication have not changed. 

On the other hand, generational changes in buyer behavior is impacting communication channels and outreach strategies. In terms of B2B sales, reports show that Baby Boomers still prefer to make initial product inquiries via phone. Millennials, by contrast, prefer online communication as an initial touchpoint. This impacts the core sales activities that teams are tracking.

In Jason's experience, most if not all B2B sales professionals follow inside sales models as part of their day-to-day workflow. That has forced managers to adapt their strategies. As millennials continue ascending into sales management roles, Jason expects that generation to be comfortable navigating a management role that focuses largely on measuring and driving inside sales activities.

While some people fear the changes taking in place in sales, with some prognosticators predicting the death of B2B sales teams due to automation and the massive generational and technological shifts affecting commerce, Jason finds those fears unfounded. In general, Jason forecasts a strong future for B2B sales management, where improvements in automation and data analytics enable better coaching, smarter sales process, and more engaged reps.  

How to Avoid Micromanaging. 19:44 - 30:47. (Jump

Perhaps the most critical finding from Jason's research is also counter-intuitive: managing sales activity does not mean micromanaging.

Sales leaders often conflate 'manage sales activity' with 'increase activity volume'. In fact, Jason's research finds that the #1 motivator for sales reps is clarity of task - even more than money. Managing sales activity is not about 'cracking the whip'. It's about establishing clear focus and direction for reps on a daily basis.   

The highest-performing B2B sales organizations are led by managers who a) focus reps on the right behaviors; b) set clear goals for those behaviors; and c) track and incentivize achievement of those goals. At a recent event, Jason heard the SVP for a global sales organization outline the most successful strategy he had ever implemented as a sales leader. That strategy was simple: the SVP discovered that a certain activity was the #1 correlator for success for his reps. He did away with financial quotas, implemented an activity quota for each rep, and created a points-system that scored reps based on activity and provided financial incentives for hitting activity goals, as opposed to financial goals. His reps were initially reticent - but quickly grew to love the system. It liberated them from being measured on KPIs not fully under their control. It rewarded them for KPIs over which they had complete control.

That experience mirrors those of Ambition clients who have successfully tied incentives and points systems to sales activity. Examples of those strategies can be found here, here, and in this Harvard Business Review case study on a Fortune 1000 Ambition client who implemented this exact strategy with incredible results.

Latest Research on Modern Sales Management. 30:47 - 33:03. (Jump)

Jason's partner at Vantage Point, Michelle Vazzana, is conducting some innovative new research on sales management activities. Instead of focusing on sales rep behavior, the study focuses on behaviors of high-performing sales managers. What types of meetings do they hold? What is the focus of their 1:1s.? And so forth.

Jason also has a pet project, which is a new book he's authored under a pen name, entitled Sales Insanity: 20 True Stories of Epic Sales Blunders (and how to avoid them yourself). The book includes 20 of the most ridiculous, real-life sales screw-ups Jason has witnessed in his years of consulting. You can also visit Vantage Point Performance, which has a wonderful resource center filled with podcasts, webinars, and tons of other material covering best practices for sales managers - ranging from forecasting to coaching.

See 360° Salesforce KPIs in Real-Time with Ambition

Modern sales leaders use Ambition to enhance Salesforce KPI visibility and run supercharged sales reports, scorecards, contests, and TVs.

salesforce sales metrics

Ambition has helped improve Salesforce KPI visibility for the likes of WayfairFiveStars, and Filemaker, and holds the distinction as the first sales management platform endorsed by Harvard Business Review,

Want bright lights on your Salesforce KPIs? Contact us.

The Sales Influencer Series Library

To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below. 

Episode 1. John Barrows

Episode 2. Lori Richardson

Episode 3. Max Altschuler

Episode 4. Matt Heinz

Episode 5. Mark Leslie

Episode 6. Kyle Porter

Episode 7. Jon Bradford

Episode 8. Eks Anderson

Episode 9. Matt Hottle

Episode 10. Heather Morgan

Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman

Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins

Episode 13. Tamara Schenk‚Äč

Episode 14. Mike Weinberg

Episode 15. Scott Britton

Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow

Episode 17. Dionne Mischler

Episode 18. Ken Barton

Episode 19. Kevin Karner

Episode 20. Jill Rowley

Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger

Episode 22. Will Wickey

Episode 23. Drew Woodcock

Episode 24. Dail Wilson

Episode 25. Nathan Sexton

Episode 26. Tucker Max

Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan

Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen

Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram

Episode 30. J. Ryan Williams

Episode 31. Emily Mikailli

Episode 32. Lee Bartlett

Episode 33. Rex Biberston

Episode 34. Marcus Cauchi

Episode 35. Gary Vaynerchuk

Episode 36. Joe Gianni

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