The following is an excerpt from my book, The Human Being’s Guide to Business Growth.”

Leadership Sales Metrics

It’s probably a good guess to say that your leadership team does not have sales metrics. And if your leadership team does have sales metrics, there’s a good chance they aren’t hitting them consistently. When I ask leadership teams about metrics more often than not, I hear, “We should do more of that.” Or “I’m really bad at making time for that, but I know I need to do it.”

The reason leadership metrics are important is because of culture. As we said at the start of this chapter about culture, we know our people are going to look for gaps between what we say and what we do. Culture will eat strategy for breakfast. To unleash the hidden power of your people for growth, start with the behaviors at the top.

To do this, we have to set metrics that can be hit and make a difference. Let’s define what leadership metrics look like because they will be different than traditional sales or marketing metrics. If we know that as human beings we’re happiest when we apply our strengths to tasks, that’s where we need to start. Your leadership team needs to know, you need to know, what their perceived character strengths are. Then you need to apply those strengths to business development activities that can be measured. It sounds simple because it is, but it’s not going to happen without effort.

Work I did with a real estate developer and his small leadership team gives us an example of how you can do this. This developer is always looking at new project ideas and when one they like comes along, they have a need for funding. Their business development activity, therefore, is continuously filling the pipeline with potential investors. Work that the entire leadership team hated enough that they didn’t work at it until they were far enough in a project to be desperate for investors. That led to paying third party investment managers and getting creative with deal structure to meet deadlines. When we proposed the idea of monthly sales metrics for leadership, they balked. The principal said, “We’ve done the lunches and they’re uncomfortable because I’m desperate for cash or I don’t have anything specific to talk about.” We weren’t suggesting lunches, so our first challenge was getting him to open his mind. Just because it’s a sales metric, doesn’t mean it has to be a traditional sales metric.

We had them complete the VIA Test of Character Strengths and it showed his top three self-identified strengths are Judgment/Critical Thinking, Creativity/Originality, and Fairness/Justice. With those ideas in mind, we needed to apply those strengths to the task of developing future investors. We focused on his top strength because there is a shift in how we all consume information, but especially in how buyers consume information. It’s gone from the seller having all of the good information to the buyer feeling like they have all the information they need at their fingertips. Valued sellers in the future will no longer be perceived as holding key information but rather perceived as helping clients interpret the flood of information available. That’s where my developer client’s strengths were going to be put to use. He consumes real estate trends and data like it’s his job, because it is. However, unlike his potential investors who have access to the same information, he has a unique way of interpreting it because he’s been in the business for so long. We decided that his metric was to put together a bi-monthly article on his thoughts, and get it to his list of contacts. Now, when he lunched or had coffee with them, his topic of conversation was not going to be investment and projects, but how to think about the data in the market.

Bi-monthly articles. Weekly touches. Those became the metrics that he could commit to, and were easier for him to face because he used his strengths to complete the tasks.

That is what your leadership metrics should look like. Yes, this means that each member of your leadership team and planning committee will have slightly different metrics, but it also means that those metrics are less likely to be met with zeroes when you ask how progress is being made. You’ll also notice that my developer’s metrics were not onerous. He was already having a few lunches a month with regular investors. He just needed to lift those numbers. In his case, he doubled the touches each month and his last project was oversubscribed after he introduced it. Even one percent change can add up over time. Get the leadership team on board.