Leading or Lagging Indicators – What’s the split in your sales meetings?

03 September 2013 by Charles Howden

It’s almost inevitable that sales meetings focus on sales figures, but where should the focus be? Is it better to spend time pouring over sales figures from the previous period (lagging indicators) past the time that anything useful can be learned from them, or should time be focused on activity for the next period, supported by plans and targets (leading indicators).

Lagging indicators are the numbers that measure what has happened. They tell you how you are doing and include:
• Total sales
• Total margin
• Total new customers/deals made

Leading indicators are all about planned activity, measures such as:
• Number of prospecting calls
• Number of customer visits
• Number of qualified sales calls
• Number of demos completed
• Number presentations delivered
• Number and value of opportunities

Sales teams that commit to setting this type of activity targets (that they can report on at the next sales meeting) become successful because they become focused on the activities that produce results. This also provides a framework for sales managers to coach, manage and support their staff, as well as removing the guesswork required when individual sellers fall behind.

What’s the focus in your sales meetings? leading or lagging?

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