05/11/2012 05:36 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2012

Don't Just DO the Numbers, Track the Numbers

Like every salesperson, I have a set quota I'm responsible for meeting each month. The only difference is; it's self-imposed since I am my own boss! While most, if not all, sales organizations have a set quota for their salespeople, many do not outline the activities required to reach quota. Unless and until you know what activity is required to reach your goals, there is no way to consistently reach quota.

For salespeople and those of us who own a small business, there is a formula to help consistently reach your goals each month. It does require some work on your part.

The formula is based on the old sales saying: It's a numbers game. Regardless of your skill level, a big part of sales is simply doing the numbers, i.e. contacting enough prospects to eventually result in a sale. The formula, therefore, is made up of activities that can be tracked to create ratios that illustrate your current sales skill level and show areas that need improvement.

The elements of the formula are: calls, connects, voice mail, callbacks, appointments, proposals, sales and value. Begin by creating a worksheet that has the above eight elements listed horizontally across the top of the page.

Start by tracking the number of outbound calls you make each day. A call is defined as dialing the phone, whether you reach the decision maker or not. Next, track the number of times you actually connect with the decision maker. Leaving a voice mail message is not considered a connection; however, you will want to track the number of voice mail messages you leave for decision makers as well. Then, track the number of times decision makers call you back based on the voice mail messages you leave. Also, track the number of appointments that result from connecting with decision makers.

Next, track the number of proposals that result from the appointments you have with decision makers. Finally, track the number of actual sales and the dollar value of those sales that result from the proposals you present to decision makers.

Ratios are calculated by adding up the total numbers from each column and then dividing the columns. So if you want to know how effective you are at converting connections with decision makers to appointments, you will divide the number of appointments by the number of connections to get a percentage that represents the ratio of how effective you are.

Or, if you want to track the ratio of calls to sales, add up the numbers in the calls and sales columns and divide the number of sales by the number of calls to get your calls to sales ratio. In each case, based on the ratio you want to know, you will end up with a percentage that represents your effectiveness at each point in the sales process. This will not only tell you how many calls, connects, appointments and proposals that you need to reach your sales quota, it will also tell you where you need to improve your skills.