The One Sales Metric You Must Measure

Content was originally published on on July 19, 2017. 

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Struggling to get your sales team to consistently do the key sales behaviors you need them to do? Here is one sales metric you must measure and track over time…

I was talking with Tony about his benefits consulting company when he shared his biggest struggle. (Disclosure: Tony was a former business coaching client for three years.)

“David, how do I get my sales people to spend more time in the field actually selling?”

I understood Tony’s frustration. He knew that the success of his sales team hinged upon the amount of time they spent face to face, belly to belly, with qualified prospects. Yet he wasn’t getting enough of that behavior.

That’s when I suggested he track one simple yet incredibly powerful sales metric called “DST”. DST stands for “direct sales time” and it is the measure of the number of hours each week that a sales person was in a direct sales conversation with a prospect.

If you sell in person, DST is measured only when you are in the physical presence of a prospect having a sales conversation.

If you sell over the phone, then DST is measured only when you are on the phone with prospects having sales conversations.

In a moment I’ll share with you four simple steps to apply this sales metric to grow your sales team’s performance, but first I want to share why this is such a powerful number. Because it cuts through all the “looking good” busy behaviors like organizing your leads, entering data into your CRM, or driving around town from meeting to meeting, and instead focuses you on the hard, measurable behavior of actually being in real sales conversations with prospects.

This shapes your sales team’s behavior in powerful ways.

When Tony measured his top sales person he discovered she was only getting four hours a week of “DST”. That was a wake-up call for him and his company.

Step One: Meet with your sales team and introduce this concept of “DST”. Formally list out the behaviors that count as DST, and the avoidant behaviors that don’t count.

Step Two: Have each of your sales team track and report daily on their DST number. How many hours today did they spend in direct sales conversations? Have your sales admin populate and aggregate these numbers to a tracking spreadsheet to monitor them over time.

Step Three: Once you have your baseline measured, brainstorm ways to increase your DST. Could you leverage a sales admin to give your sales people more time to meet with prospects? Could you use a lower level sales qualifier to set appointments for your senior sales people? Could you just get your sales people to block out and consistently do the prospecting calls they need to do to set the appointments they need to set each day and week? When you realize how valuable DST is, you unlock your creativity to remove blocks and distractions so that you get more of it.

Step Four: Watch and marvel at how measuring this simple metric shapes and improves your sales team’s daily behaviors. As the famous saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” So measure and show your sales team how they are doing on this key sales behavior.

As for Tony, a few months into this process her sales team had doubled their DST, which led to a boost in sales.

The same thing will happen for you. When your sales people consistently increase the amount of hours they spend each week in direct sales conversations with prospects you will see a clear lift in sales.

If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.




Keywords: executive coaching, business coaching, business coaching program, build a business not a job, grow your business, negotiation

Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for and, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.