Episode Forty-Nine

How to Measure Sales Rep Productivity to Achieve Stable, Predictable Growth

Guest: Rob Käll, CEO and co-founder at Cien.ai

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Rob Kall Sales Engagement Measuring Reps

About This Episode

We know measuring sales productivity is all a numbers game. But chances are you may be doing it wrong.

Rob Käll started working on this problem when his company, over a period of 3 years, went from 2 to 100 sales reps and he didn’t get 50 times the bookings. And he always thought there must be an answer to that.

Rob is the CEO and co-founder of Cien.ai, a software tool that uses machine learning and natural language processing to help measure the productivity of sales reps and identify their points of improvement.

On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, Rob explains how sales productivity should be defined, how it should be measured, and how doing so can be an incredibly effective way to achieve predictable growth.

Defining and Measuring Rep Productivity

Sales productivity means a lot of different things for different people.

Not coming from a sales background, but rather a technical one, followed by being an entrepreneur, the simple definition Rob uses is the classical definition of activity:

activity = output per hour/day/month/year

It comes down to how much your reps are producing.

While this sounds very simple, when you are dealing with large complex high-velocity sales teams, it can become very complicated.

You’re trying to measure the sales development reps, business development reps, prospectors, and the true productivity of our account executives.

You can think that if an account executive sells $100k his productivity is $100k. But that’s wrong. If you have an SDR team, they delivered value to that AE. You need to discount that value.

And if you don’t keep track of those values, you’ll end up not comparing apples to apples.

How to accurately measure and keep track of those values is what Cien.ai has spent years building technology to solve.

Rob Kall Sales Engagement Measuring Rep Productivity

The 3 Key Areas to Measure Rep Productivity

You could be looking at

  • calls made
  • emails sent
  • opportunities set
  • meetings held

The list goes on and on. But traditional KPIs don’t paint the whole picture. You need a 360-degree view of the whole sales environment, which you can get by looking at three distinct areas:

Lead and pipeline factors

These are the things that have been delivered by your marketing team. At times you have leads that are great quality and other times not.

Rep factors

These are things like:

  • Work ethic
  • Product knowledge
  • Closing
  • Communication skills
  • Engagement ability

Macro factors

These are things that are outside your control but still affect your ability to sell. Things like competitive pressure or seasonability. All three of these can be challenging to measure, but that is where new technology comes into play.

Through natural language processing, you can look at not just the number of calls and emails but the nature of those calls and emails.

How Does It Work and How Is This Objective?

Rob’s company is an AI-first company. Everything they do is based on analyzing data using various types of machine learning algorithms and natural language processing.

Their goal is not to replace Salesforce or Outreach.io, but to help you understand how your team can move the needle.

For example, it can find where you have reps who show low product knowledge and help you correlate that back to that reps success.

Different reps will have different issues, and when each one can be identified and measured, you know exactly what to address to get better results.

Rob likes to ask sales leaders what the most important quality in a rep is. He usually hears things like communication skills, great work ethic etc.

But all of these are important.

Rob Kall Measuring Rep

If you are great at lots of skills but your work ethic is zero, it’s like multiplying everything by zero.

What Are The Results?

Rob’s business is from the beginning about not using anecdotal evidence. They are literally measuring their success every single second as they run the company.

That’s the beauty of running a completely integrated solution that connects to products like Outreach.io.

Rob says the typical number is an increase of 4-6%

You have to pay attention to the weakest area of each of your reps and try to fix that. If it’s not fixable, then that rep is not fixable.

When you are identifying and solving weak areas in reps, all of a sudden they can see improvement in their performance and become more valuable to the company.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Rob Käll, CEO of cien.ai. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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