Measuring ‘leading’ sales metrics has become a core part of the modern sales leader’s role. Rightly so, as it’s only by measuring the performance of our sales team that we stand any chance of managing it.
Whilst analysing processes and end-results is an important practice for most aspects of business, it’s especially critical for Sales. The high stakes and cost of this profession means that we need to be extra data-driven. Simply relying on intuition when it comes to sales strategy is a very dangerous game. The risk of failure is just too high and too expensive.
This is exactly why successful sales organisations are maniacal about data. Analysing, reviewing and tweaking their sales process and their salespeople’s performance on a regular basis.
However, it is not always easy to pinpoint the exact sales metrics we should actually be tracking. Or in fact, how many.
It’s not uncommon to end up chasing more indicators than is actually needed. The outcome is an overwhelming amount of information that tells us little about our business or its necessary next steps.
Which is why we wanted to list out the 6-essential sales metrics that actually indicate whether a business is growing or declining and whether its sales process is being truly successful.
6 Essential Sales Metrics of True Sales Process Health
1. Selling Time
Yes, there’s more to a rep’s job description than just selling but no metric is more important than this one. How much time is the sales team getting to concentrate on simply selling to prospects? And are they using that time effectively?
Tracking the time spent on each sales stage will help you identify the time-suckers that might be stifling your sales teams efforts.
For example, is lead generation eating up a big portion of their day? This may mean that they’re spending too long chasing prospects who are not yet ready to purchase. It may be time to start reviewing the quantity and quality of the leads Marketing is providing for them!
2. Lead Generation
New leads are the life source of our sales team, so keeping a careful eye on the volume hitting our pipeline every month is paramount.
Leads are understood differently in different businesses. For some, a lead might be a website user who downloads a piece of content. For others, it’s not until they contact the sales team that the lead is hot enough to make it worthwhile. Defining what a ‘lead’ means to our business is a vital first step for accurately monitoring volume.
Next, it’s important to qualify what the appropriate number of leads is for our business. Visibility into this sales metric will help us determine hiring requirements, quota targets and the success rate of marketing campaigns.
3. Lead Response Time
Here’s a metric that directly impacts our revenue but that some organisations are still quite lax about. The time between a lead hitting the business and a sales representative contacting them, directly impacts the chances of procuring that business.
If a prospect is actively searching for a solution, it’s very possible that we’re not the only provider they’re looking into. So, in the 24 hours it’s taken for our reps to respond to that lead, it’s very likely that our prospect has already connected with one of our competitors, made a purchase or changed their mind entirely.
According to Harvard Business Review, contacting an inbound lead within one hour makes us 7 times more likely to qualify the lead. Odds of making the sale decrease by a shocking 60 times after 24 hours...
4. Opportunity Win Rate
‘Win Rate’ is the percentage of the total sales opportunities that actually end up converting into paying customers. Working this magic number out will help to better predict long-term results, forecast with greater accuracy, set realistic budgets and set achievable quota targets for our reps.
5. Monthly Sales
Measuring monthly sales will provide a clear indication of what shape our business is in. Is this metric growing month-on-month, shrinking or simply staying the same?
Allow yourself to develop a healthy obsession about this metric. Check it regularly and look out for historical data that can start building up annual trends to learn from.
If you can clearly pinpoint repeated trends like quieter months or tougher verticals, you can start adjusting your sales process according to the market needs.
6. Customer Acquisition Cost
The Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) represents the average amount of sales and marketing expenses required to acquire one new customer. This takes into account expenses made beyond the immediate sales team e.g. business development and marketing costs such as paid advertising, inbound marketing or events.
Tracking this sales metric helps us to understand the costs associated with growing our business and helps demonstrate value and scalability.
There’s an very simple formula that can be used to work out the CAC:
CAC = (Money + Time Spent) / Number of Customers Acquired
Having a clear view into the cost associated with acquiring customers will help optimise budgets and allocate resources according to need.
Also, by tracking this metric, you’ll be able to better manage it. So, by minimising its cost, you’ll help increase profit margins and get more value for your money.
Better Understand your Pipeline
Sales has become a data-driven science. Far from the traditional approach, selling is no longer seen as an ‘art’. One that is performed by a charismatic talker who can charm a prospect by simply spinning out the same old tale. Sales is much more about listening.
Keeping our ears close to the ground (and by ground, I mean our CRM system) we can get empirical about the way we manage our sales team. We can create a repeatable sales process that is result-focused and infallible.
Tracking ‘leading’ sales metrics will help us understand the dips and spikes, so we can replicate whatever our team is doing right and fix the niggles that are hindering their success.
Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!
These 6 sales metrics are a great way to start inserting science into the way we sell. Continue on to this white paper to uncover the 70 KPIs modern sales leaders are tracking.