Metrics and Reporting - What to Look For, and How to Track the Right Things
What’s stopping your company from growing?
It’s not an easy question to answer for anyone. There’s no all-seeing guru that can sniff out a sales pipeline blockage. That’s unrealistic, and quite frankly a really stupid idea for a superhero.
But, do you at least know how to get the answer? If not, it’s time to take a serious look at your company’s sales metrics. By combining these data sets with a little bit of intuition, you can find the answer key for a wide range of problems your sales team has on a regular basis.
What are sales metrics?
Anything that you can use to track sales performance is a sales metric. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single person, your entire team, or the entire company, sales metrics are stats that show you how they’re doing.
They can answer questions like “How many calls is your sales team taking each day?”, “What’s our company’s growth rate this quarter?”, or even “How many clients did the new guy lose this month?”
Every sales metric needs a specific time frame. It’s hard to measure your quarterly performance when you’re measuring your progress throughout the last three years. That would be your dodeca-quarterly performance. So, unless you’re obsessed with Latin, you might want to set a time frame that will give you relevant and time-sensitive info.
Why should you stay on top of your sales metrics?
If your company has a perfect sales team, raise your hand. I can’t see if your raised your hand or not, but if you did, you’re blatantly lying.
Every sales team has issues in their pipeline that are slowing down their company’s growth. It doesn’t matter if they’re subtle issues, like subpar communication, or major issues, like a giant sinkhole that took out half of the office. If your team could be doing better, the numbers can clue you in on what’s going on.
So, if you somehow missed the sinkhole that’s bisecting your office, some metrics will help you stay on top of those, and more realistic types of problems in your pipeline.
What are some important metrics to look out for?
There’s a near-infinite list of things that you can use to measure your team’s performance, but if you’re like most people, you don’t have the near-infinite time to look over all of them.
So, if you’re looking to track your team’s performance and still make it home for dinner here are three important categories to help you get started:
1. Activity metrics
How is your team spending their time each day? You obviously can’t breathe down your sales reps’ necks every second of the day, so having data on their activity can give you an understanding of how they’re performing.
This includes metrics like emails sent, outgoing calls, social media interactions, referral requests, and scheduled meetings. This way, you can make sure they’re closing a sale, instead of closing out of their Minesweeper game whenever you stop by their cubicle.
2. Pipeline metrics
If your team isn’t at peak performance, it’s not always their fault. They could be playing each sale by the book and still come up short of their quota. So, instead of hating the player, hate the game.
Or, at least take a look at it to see if there are any fixable issues.
Pipeline metrics are performance stats that show you how effective your sales funnel is at bringing in new clients overall. This includes stats like average sales cycle length, the total value of sales, conversion rates for each stage, overall win rate, and annual contract value.
3. Primary conversion metrics
These metrics take a closer look at what your sales team is doing with their sales opportunities. Basically, if a client knows everything there is to know about your product or service, what reasons are there for them to still say no?
This category outlines metrics like the percentage of opportunities lost without a decision, opportunities lost to competitors, the number of conversations for each opportunity, and the percentage of closed/won sales.
But, these sales metrics aren’t essential for every team, in fact, your company might need something entirely different.
Which metrics are right for your team?
It all comes down to what problems you’re looking to solve.
Let’s say that your team’s activity metrics are through the roof each quarter, but your win rate isn’t getting any better. Go ahead and grab your detective hat because it’s time to do a bit of sleuthing.
You could focus on your outreach metrics to find if your prospects are engaging with the messages your team is putting out. If you’re sending over a thousand emails each day, but only 15% of people are giving a response, there’s a problem with your team’s email formatting.
Or, you could hone in on your team’s key performance indicators (KPIs). If your team is pumping out messages and phone calls, but there’s no change in win rate, how many people on your team know what a quality sales conversation looks like?
There’s no “ultimate metric” that can automatically tell you what’s holding your sales team back (trust me, I’ve been searching for that Holy Grail for years). But, the answers are staring you in the face if you know where to look.
Metrics give you a sense of the bigger picture.
Each metric by itself is useless. If you can see that a sales rep is making 70 calls each day, that information does nothing for you. It’s not until you realize that the average outbound call rate for your team is 50 calls per day that you realize you have an overachiever on your hands.
Important information is lying right under your nose, and with the help of sales metrics, you can act on that info, and take the parking break off of your company’s growth.