In Part 1 of this posting, I explained how Tom Snyder’s Four Truths of Behavior Change can help law firms develop more effective sales training. This week, I’m going to focus on Truth Four: “Change does not happen all at once” and the related principle: “Measurement is the engine of change.”
In sales training programs, Tom said, senior management too often assumes that everyone is on the same page when in fact there is no consensus. Naturally, if decision makers fail to agree on the measure of success, some will be dissatisfied, and the program will fail.
In the book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? (P. 231), former IBM chairman Lou Gerstner put it this way: “Execution is all about translating strategies into action programs and measuring their results… Proper execution involves building measurable targets and holding people accountable for them.”
You’re probably thinking: why not just measure revenue? Of course that’s the ultimate goal of every sales training program. But every attorney knows that you only build legal business by building relationships. And it can easily take 6 or 12 or 18 months before a new relationship produces revenue. So if you want to measure the success of a training program by looking only at income, you will need to be prepared to continue the program for 18 months to see whether it works. And if it fails, then you’ll need to start a second program, and measure that one for another 18 months. That’s an expensive way to judge results.
Tom described two types of leading indicators that can be used to measure progress sooner: efficiency metrics and effectiveness metrics. When these variables go up in the short term, sales will go up in the long term. Efficiency metrics track activity, such as the number of sales meetings or proposals per week. I believe that these are especially important in law firms that are just beginning to take a formal approach to business development.
Tracking these numbers every week can be annoying, especially if you have zeros for a few weeks in a row. But that’s the very moment when the tracking pays off the most, by reminding you that you need to find time to get more meetings.
In our group coaching for rainmakers, we circulate weekly reports showing what each person in the group accomplished every week. The pressure colleagues put on each other to succeed is far more effectinve than anything an outside consultant can ever hope to accomplish.
Effectiveness metrics are more subtle, and measure performance in ways that are known to correlate with sales success. In a recent survey of legal sales experts, Roberta Montafia of Day, Berry & Howard explained: “Metrics is a concept that law firms have struggled with. As an industry we tend to focus on new clients and the measurement of new revenue, but have neglected the next step… measuring client satisfaction and loyalty as well as partner performance in the management of relationships. Measures need to address and compensate team behaviors and business development skills. If not, then individual, self-interest behavior will dominate. If the team doesn’t have goals, specific action items and a timeline, then how do you know what success looks like?”