How you can drive sales performance with pacelines

Connie Carter
Content Writer/Marketing
Published: 
September 9, 2022

Need a quick and simple way to drive your sales performance and get your sales tracking back on pace? Whether you’re an Excel pro, or living with a sales CRM, it’s likely you’ll benefit from a simple sales tool: the paceline.

Regularly meeting your sales target with 2 days to spare isn’t great for your mental health or your long-term performance. Furthermore, if you’re a sales manager, it can be difficult to understand where your sales reps are at and how they’re progressing if you don’t have the full picture. Thankfully, building a paceline can help you control sales performance, or get better clarity on your rep’s progress. So, how do pacelines work, and how can you create one? Scroll to find out and grab a how-to paceline infographic.

How to drive sales performance and improve sales results with a paceline

What actually is a paceline?

A paceline represents where a sales rep’s or sales team’s sales should be each day to meet that period’s sales target. It’s a sales tracking tool which can show reps and managers exactly how sales performance is tracking at the granular level: day by day.

Pacelines can be represented by a graph, or as a percentage as shown in the example below. 

A paceline in Numerik

In your paceline, it’ll be easiest to use the Ahead Of Paceline percentage. If you’re struggling to envision the paceline, its closest relative is the world record graphic seen on Olympic swimming broadcasts:

Drive sales performance with a aceline
Source: New York Magazine

The swimmers are salespeople, and the world record line marks where each individual should be if they want to hit that target. 

Paceline: A sales tracking tool which shows salespeople and sales leaders where they or their team need to be each day to meet a period’s sales target.

Why do pacelines help drive your sales performance?

Pacelines drive sales performance by showing sales reps if their current sales performance will be enough to meet their sales target. Typically, sales teams and reps know how many sales have been made, but can’t easily identify if they’re on track to meet target, or what they’ve got to achieve each day to get there. Dividing the target into daily goals and tracking performance against the goal creates direction and transparency, showing reps exactly what they’ve got to do. Removing the mystery from sales using a paceline helps salespeople stay agile on their feet and focused on where they’re going. Additionally, pacelines can help sales reps recognise dips in their sales performance, acting as a warning system, giving reps time to get back on track.

Pacelines drive sales performance by acting as mini sales targets, helping salespeople stay focused on where they’re going, and get back on track when their performance dips.

How can I build my own paceline?

Drive sales performance with a paceline infographic

If you don’t use a sales performance app with automated pacelines, you can still make one. Drive your sales by using the process below to make a simple manual paceline.

Step One:

Create your daily paceline by picking your sales target for the period, or if you’re a sales manager, the team target, and breaking it down into daily amounts. Make sure you don’t count weekends or public holidays when you/your team won’t be selling. 

Example: Your selling period is 22 days long, and your target is $118,000. Your daily paceline is calculated as: 118,000 / 22 = 5364. 5364 is your daily paceline.

Step Two:

In a spreadsheet create three columns: Daily paceline, actual sales, and variance. These columns are your scorecard. At each day’s end, record your actual sales next to the daily paceline, then calculate your variance to the paceline. In three days, you’ll start to notice a pattern: are you ahead or behind the daily paceline? 

Example: ($4200 sales made / $5364 daily paceline) *100 = 78% aka 22% behind the paceline.
OR..($6450 sales made / $5364 daily paceline) *100  = 119% aka 19% ahead of paceline.

Step Three:

If you’re consistently falling behind the paceline, think about what could be causing the sales performance drop. The trend could prompt you to reach out to customers who’ve been ordering less, or to begin finding new customers through referrals. 

If you’re a sales manager, post daily paceline variance into your Slack, WhatsApp, or Teams chat to show your sales team how they’ve performed for the day, and the growing performance trend. Additionally, creating a sales rep leaderboard with everyone’s daily paceline variance could help spark conversations and competition.

Your summary and key takeaways:

Building a paceline can help sales reps get a better handle on where they’re at, and where their sales performance needs to be to achieve their sales target. If you have 10mins spare at the day’s end, you can easily adjust your paceline and take actions needed to improve sales results. Remember:

  • Pacelines are sales tracking tools which show salespeople where their sales, or their team’s sales, should be each day to reach their target.
  • Good pacelines help drive sales performance by giving sales reps direction, and focusing them on exactly where they need to be.
  • You can build your own paceline for free using a spreadsheet in two steps: 1) Splitting up the target into a daily paceline 2) Tracking actual sales vs daily paceline to reveal the paceline variance (how ahead or behind the paceline you are.)

Pacelines can be as simple as you like, however, the recipe we’ve given above doesn’t take into account seasonality. In a sales performance app, pacelines are more complex and include external factors contributing to seasonality: keep this in mind when you’re making your own.

If you found this blog useful, you might like to check out our webinars, where we talk to sales experts to learn their approaches to solving sales problems. 

Numerik can help your sales team make your number with a free demo

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