Brian Tino

AMA: AlphaSense Director of Sales, EMEA, Brian Tino on Sales KPI's

January 25 @ 10:00AM PST
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AlphaSense Director of Sales, EMEA, Brian Tino on Sales KPI's
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
Agreed…setting KPIs that are focused on outcomes or the results of complex efforts without historical information can feel arbitrary. Therefore my coaching generally in the event you are setting up “first of kind” KPIs, whether it is a new organization or a new market, it is always better to focus on the inputs rather than the outputs. It’s impossible to accurately predict your ability to attain a revenue goal or a pipeline generation goal when you are doing something for the first time. Instead focus on the inputs, the aspects of the role that you & your team can control. Get clear on the frequencies, behaviors, and competencies that you believe if executed will serve as the leading indicators to your success. KPIs like the following are examples of inputs in your control that you could focus on when building a new sales motion: * # of personalized outreaches to net new prospects * # of calls to net new prospects * # of first meetings * # of new sales experiments started/completed Communicate, measure, and socialize those inputs as your KPIs, and then as you compile more data, learn what are the realistic outputs of those inputs. Then you can iterate and mature your KPIs over time.
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
Ideally the work of socializing KPIs starts at the very beginning. Usually my recommended process looks something like this… Before the work starts Work with a cross-functional group to align on the ultimate goals & objectives that are aligned with the strategy of your sales team or revenue organization. Then take those goals & objectives and break them into the core tasks, behaviors, and milestones that if achieved will be a leading indicator to the success of your team. Once you have a draft of those leading indicators, socialize them to other cross-functional leaders to confirm & validate their agreement that those are the right tasks, behaviors, and milestones to measure. After you have aligned on what to measure, it’s all about determining how you are going to measure it. If you can’t measure it, then you can’t manage to it. As the work begins Then it’s time to go on a roadshow across the organization meeting with executives, cross-functional partners, and the sales reps themselves sharing: 1. The “why” behind the KPIs you chose & how they connect to the overall goals/strategies of the team 2. How those will be measured, reported, and socialized 3. The expectations for the team of what they need to do to be successful I’d also recommend giving yourself some flexibility by communicating these will be the KPIs to “start” and over time as we learn more we can iterate as needed. While the work is in progress Finally, it’s about creating a cadence of regular review and communication on those KPIs. Personally, I recommend a weekly cadence if possible and socializing those KPIs as publicly as you can to drive accountability, with the caveats that new motions take time to adopt & KPIs may be iterated on over time.
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
Sheer “number of activities” (calls/emails) completed is one of the most over-hyped metrics. While it is easy to measure with modern tracking tools, I find it incentivizes the wrong behavior of reps and ignores the importance of quality. Now often the best sales reps in an organization also top the leaderboards in the frequency of their activities, but volume alone is not the solution. Today generic templates & sequences spammed out to hundreds or thousands of prospects is a losing strategy. Even with the support of the best AI tools today to “customize” sequences, the results pale in comparison to truly personalized outreach. To truly make great connections, if you spend time researching your prospect, understanding the context in which they operate (company strategies, challenges, personal motivations, etc.) and personalizing your outreach to their specific situation, you will find higher rates of success. AND if you do that successfully at a high volume & frequency, you will top the activity charts with higher quality meetings.
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
Usually my process for figuring out what metrics to hold accountable for looks something like... Step 1: Work with a cross-functional group to align on the ultimate goals & objectives that are aligned with the strategy of your sales team or revenue organization. Step 2: Then take those goals & objectives and break them into the core tasks, behaviors, and milestones that if achieved will be a leading indicator to the success of your team. Note: these tasks/behaviors/milestones should be focused on the inputs that you & your team can control rather than outputs. These are examples of inputs: * # of personalized outreaches to net new prospects * # of calls to net new prospects * # of first meetings * # of new sales experiments started/completed These are examples of outputs: * Revenue * Pipeline Coverage (usually 3x) * Weekly Pipeline Generation The outputs are important to measure & keep track of, but when it comes to managing your team and holding them accountable, focus on what they can control...the inputs! Step 3: Once you have a draft of those leading indicators, socialize them to other cross-functional leaders to confirm & validate their agreement that those are the right tasks, behaviors, and milestones to measure. After you have aligned on what to measure, it’s all about determining how you are going to measure it. If you can’t measure it, then you can’t manage to it. Step 4: Then it’s time to go on a roadshow across the organization meeting with executives, cross-functional partners, and the sales reps themselves sharing: 1) the “why” behind the KPIs you chose & how they connect to the overall goals/strategies of the team 2) how those will be measured, reported, and socialized 3) the expectations for the team of what they need to do to be successful. I’d also recommend giving yourself some flexibility by communicating these will be the KPIs to “start” and over time as we learn more we can iterate as needed. Step 5: Finally, it’s about creating a cadence of regular review and communication on those KPIs. Personally, I recommend a weekly cadence if possible and socializing those KPIs as publicly as you can to drive accountability, with the caveats that new motions take time to adopt & KPIs may be iterated on over time.
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
The worse KPIs to commit to achieving are those that you and your team do not have direct control over. If the KPI is highly reliant on the coordination of cross-functional partners your control becomes indirect. If your KPI relies on the action of a customer or prospect (which can you influence but not control), then you are putting your chances of success up to fate. Ideally, you are committing to inputs and not outputs. You can’t guarantee a commit to pipeline build goal (output), but you can commit to each rep completing a certain number of high quality, highly personalized outreach to new targeted prospects every week which will ultimately lead to pipeline. Committing to the output of “building $5M of pipeline in a quarter” ultimately is not in your control. It depends highly on the response rate of your prospects, number of meetings your team is able to book, the conversion rate of those meetings to pipeline, the size of those opportunities related to your average sale price, etc. Instead focus on the behaviors, frequencies, and quality that you can control and measure your team on those inputs. If you control what you can control, the inputs will eventually lead to the outputs.
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Brian Tino
Brian Tino
AlphaSense Director of Strategic Sales, EMEAJanuary 26
Quota attainment & revenue will always the most important outcomes of any sales organization. However, the most mature sales organizations can align on a set of KPIs that will serve as leading indicators to success. It’s not to say that consistency hitting KPIs will guarantee achievement of revenue goals 100% of the time, and similarly it’s not to say you cannot meet or exceed revenue goals if you miss KPIs. Sometime all it takes is you being in the right place at the right time with one lucky well-timed deal to hit your quota. However, if your goal is to be a consistent Top Performer across a longer time horizon (years, decades, your career), well constructed KPIs should serve as a benchmark and enable you/your teams to take more complex goals, like revenue (which relies on a series of coordinated outcomes to achieve) and breaks them into the repeatable inputs that are in your control. By clearly defining & measuring the behaviors, frequencies, and competencies that combined will result in success, and controlling those aspects you can control, then on average you will be able to be able to predictably and repeatedly out perform your targets. 
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