When I started out in sales, I was a lonely copy jock – that is what we called them in the old days.
I worked for Lanier Worldwide as an “Account Executive.” Life consisted of 20 cold calls, 20 phone
connects and 2 pre-set appointments per day, EVERY day to make it in that
business. And of course, being as
by-the-numbers as I am, I tracked all of my activity. Some of my diligence was due to keep myself
motivated and some was just to keep my job if I didn’t sell anything that
When I sold something, I always went back and analyzed my prospecting activities to see where I could cut back and where I needed to beef
up my actions. Then I calculated the
ratios. 10 cold calls : 1 appointment :
1/5 closed sale, for example. It was
amazing … and a little disheartening at first.
Like a giant mirror propped up to show me how good or bad I was at
As I progressed in that business and with my solution-sales technique, I noticed that the ratio of closed sales or “orders” to prospecting
activities increased dramatically. No
longer did I need to make 100 cold calls for a sale. Now, it was down to 50. I was indeed working smarter, while still
working hard – I made the same amount of cold calls per day, I just sold more.
Ratios are very important in Recruiting as they help gauge results with hiring managers, too. As
you develop a relationship of trust, the ratio of qualified candidates
submitted to hires increase – and the converse is true. When a new manager or recruiter comes into
the fold, it generally takes time for them to trust your judgment when it comes
to prescreening people for their team. It
is only natural and the number of hires to interviews will go up as the
recruiter learns the nuances of the manager’s hiring style. Ratios help to identify possible trouble
areas and if actions are resulting in hits for the company or misses. Over the course of twelve months working with
one particular hiring manager, my submittal rate went from 17 to 2 submittals
per hire – it can happen.
Clients, same thing. Experienced recruiters like Bill Radin, (Recruiter’s Digest*) are heard
to say it should take between 5 and 10 submittals to land a placement, and
Bill’s average is THREE! (I bow before
thee). If one client is bucking the
trend and going through 15 or 20 interviews for one position, it could be a
case of “trying” and not “buying” – and a serious drain on resources. I might not drop that order but I wouldn’t
drop everything else to source it, either.
If every client in your pipeline is interviewing at least 15 people
before offering the position, better put that mirror up and look for ways to
improve your consultative and sourcing skills.
So, what does this tell you about time management and skilled recruiting efforts? Plenty! Does it tell all about the sourcing and
hiring process? Of course not, but
ratios can help diagnose barriers and pinpoint a solution. A simple ratio, if tracked and viewed as part of a trend, can become a strategic
measurement and a barometer for productivity.
Just knowing the numbers is half
of it – now take it home and improve them.