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Activity Based Selling: the best technique to reach your business goals

Activity Based Selling is a sales method that will help your sales people become more efficient and reach your sales targets effectively.

This method consists of translating your turnover objectives into concrete actions, and thus giving your salespeople clear and attainable objectives.

That is, instead of telling them they have to reach a certain amount of revenue, you will need to tell them the number and type of actions they have to take to reach it (for example, make 10 cold calls per day). If these action targets are met, your revenue target will naturally be met as well.

Andrea Micolta, Key Account Manager for Latin America at noCRM, explains in the webinar below how this sales method works and how to apply it to your own sales process. The various steps of this method are also described in this article.

Translate your objectives into commercial actions

In order to implement the Activity Based Selling method, you will first need to carry out an analysis of your current performance and results, define your turnover target, and apply a reverse engineering process.

Start from the expected result to set your sales action objectives

To carry out this reverse engineering process, let’s use an example: the objective of one million euros in turnover from acquisitions. We will determine the precise actions to be taken to achieve this turnover goal.

  • Let's say that your (fictitious) company has customers bringing in 50,000 euros. To reach one million, you will have to deal with 20 customers.
  • To get one customer, you need to make an average of three proposals.
  • To make a proposal, you know that you need to schedule four appointments, from the first appointment to follow-up appointments.
  • To get an appointment, you need to make six calls over two sales qualified leads (SQL).
  • To get an SQL, you know that you will have to complete 60 calls on 20 cold leads.

Following this review, there is a lot of data to process. In order to achieve your one year turnover target :

  • Your marketing team will have to find 2,400 prospects.
  • Your sales development representatives (SDRs) should have made 7,200 cold calls.
  • Your sales teams should have made 540 pre-appointment calls, 180 first appointments, and made 60 proposals for 20 customers.

The main idea is therefore to break down the final turnover target into smaller targets, which are concrete actions that salespeople can achieve. This also has many advantages in terms of performance improvement.

Analyse your current business performance

Breaking down your final goal into smaller parts may sound simpler than it actually is.

To determine what actions you need to take to achieve your end goal and improve your business process, you need to determine and analyse data specific to your business.

To correctly analyse this data, you need to ensure that you have 100% of these deals in your analysis tool. Therefore, it is best to use a fast and efficient dedicated software. This makes things easier for your sales team, and simplifies creating opportunities, while allowing you to accumulate clear and accurate data.

Define the steps in your sales process

It is important to define the right steps in the pipeline, and to name them clearly, according to the actions that need to be taken. For instance:

  • to qualify;
  • customer contacted;
  • first meeting concluded;
  • second meeting concluded;
  • closing phase.

Accordingly, it will be easier for you to efficiently see where each opportunity stands. It is crucial that the main steps leading to the conclusion of your sales process are clear. Bear in mind that it is up to each firm to determine the sales process that suits them best.

Defining the actions you want to measure

The activities or actions you want to measure are then added to the corresponding steps. It is important that these activities are quick to fill in and schedule, for instance:

  • call: completed, not completed, voicemail;
  • appointment;
  • quotation;
  • email.

In this respect, your sales process is all the more fluid and facilitates the visibility of the actions to be carried out. Moreover, properly defining actions is essential for statistics.

Please note that there may be an overlap between stages of the sales process and actions. Typically, appointments are to be indicated in both stages and actions.

Analyse and improve your business process

Tools for analysing results

To analyse the results of the sales process, several statistical tools may be used.

1. Pipeline performance analysis

This tool lists the process stages (to be qualified, contacted, appointment, closing...) and allows you to visualise at which stage of the process you have lost leads.

This approach is important to help you determine how many opportunities you need to reach your goal. You can also filter this process for each sales team member, to better spot their difficulties and help them progress.

2. Sales activity analysis

This statistical tool allows for an analysis of the activities that have been carried out by each member of your sales team. Among others, you can see the number of calls, appointments, emails, quotes sent, etc.

This allows you to calculate the volume of activity required to achieve a target, while evaluating individual performance.

These two tools are essential to complete reverse engineering processes, and to understand how to build your business process to achieve your goal.

Set objectives for your Sales reps

Defining metrics

Define the metrics your salespeople need to achieve. To carry this out, you must:

  • Know how many actions are required to reach a turnover target.
  • Transform a biannual objective into weekly or monthly actions for sales teams.

It is therefore very important to separate metrics as follows:

Delayed metrics Short-term metrics
Turnover : there is a long time between the definition and the achievement of turnover. Number of appointments made.
New clients : the process of prospecting and obtaining new clients may be long. Verbal agreements.
The number of appointments made and taken to the next stage.
→ Over several months or semesters → Over a few days or weeks

In this regard, you can break down your turnover into actions to be carried out each week. Your turnover of one million can be visualised in 12 first calls, 4 first appointments and one proposal per week.

The Activity Based Selling methodology is therefore about turning a long-term goal into a short-term one, through easily achievable actions.

The advantages of Activity Based Selling

The Activity Based Selling methodology has many advantages, such as the following:

  1. Giving sales teams a credible path by setting up a sales process that helps salespeople know what actions to take.
  2. Constructing a replicable process, where new team members can easily understand, adapt and follow this process, making it easier for them to start.
  3. Adopting a swifter view of efficiency, according to advanced, short-term and quick indicators to measure the efficiency and performance of a sales person.
  4. Anticipating, allowing for a clear visualisation of the sales process’s progress at all times. You can thus safely anticipate your business model ups and downs and plan out future developments.
  5. Improving the process by breaking down your sales process into smaller, clearly identified actions. This allows for a more efficient measure of the effectiveness of each action and of your sales team members.

How to set sales targets with noCRM?

noCRM is a powerful tool to set objectives. These can be both biannual (for your turnover) and weekly (for making calls, appointments, or quotes).

These objectives can be assigned to a team or to an individual salesperson. They may therefore be different for each salesperson according to their seniority, the aim being to achieve the given turnover objective through an efficient sales process.

Administrators and salespeople can visualise actions and their completion according to selectable time periods.

noCRM considers salespeople as front-runners. To achieve their final objective, firms must build a complete and functional team around this front-runner, and a sales infrastructure with three main pillars:

  • Technological tools adapted to the sales team: Zapier, Automation, VoIP, etc.
  • Marketing support to work on the sales pitch, or to manage objections towards sales teams.
  • Training to observe the most successful salespeople, in order to to pass on their techniques to the larger team.

noCRM also considers the importance of interaction and feedback within teams as an essential tool for improving performance.

The Activity Based Selling methodology allows for incremental improvement. Indeed, by segmenting your sales process, analysing and measuring each segment, you may gain access to an opportunity to improve the process step by step. Read our article on how to implement Activity Based Selling with noCRM.

Frequently asked questions about Activity Based Selling

What is Activity Based Selling? The Activity Based Selling method consists of breaking down a long and complex final objective into small, simplified actions to create a clear and precise sales process to achieves the objective.

What type of company is it suitable for? The Activity Based Selling method is easily adaptable to small and medium-sized companies.

What are the advantages of Activity Based Selling? Through the Activity Based Selling method, you can create a precise and detailed sales process that is replicable, efficient and has great potential for anticipation and improvement.

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