Most inside sales managers know when reps are underperforming. But being a great sales manager requires being able to address why certain reps are or aren’t hitting their numbers. In our experience, the most successful managers are those that are able to gain visibility into how individual reps’ activities impact downstream revenue.
For our latest eBook, we spoke to several of the world’s top sales leaders about which metrics more inside sales managers should be tracking. One theme that emerged was that managers need to be tracking the right activity metrics in order to identify reps’ strengths and weaknesses, in order to help reps improve.
Here are some metrics that several sales leaders shared that can help managers gain more insight into reps’ efficiency.
Sure, metrics can help managers coach reps to success. But according to bestselling sales author Jill Konrath, reps themselves should be using metrics to constantly improve their own performance.
“I’d like to propose a new metric to you – PBs. Personal bests. The first time I heard of them was when my then-8-year-old daughter joined the local swim team. As a neophyte, her backstroke and freestyle left a lot to be desired. But she didn’t fret about losing races. Instead, her coach kept her attention on PBs. Each week, her goal was to drop time in her races. Sometimes she only cut .1 second from her previous performance. But it was an improvement and worth celebrating.
It was an eye-opener for me. And, because I’m sales-obsessed, I immediately saw its application for new salespeople. Instead of just focusing on quantity, we need to take a look at improvement metrics. Think about it!
- Connection Ratio: Percent of phone calls/emails that turn into initial conversations.
- 2nd Meeting Ratio: Percent of initial conversations that turn into follow-up meetings.
- Proposal Ratio: Percent of your proposals that turn into signed deals.
- Closing Ratio: Percent of initial meetings that ultimately turn into customers.
- Loss-to-No-Decision Ratio: Percent of prospects who decide to stay with the status quo.
- Forecasting Ratio: Percent of your forecasted prospects that actually close.
Focusing on these types of metrics lets you know if you’re getting better. People who focus on ‘getting better’ goals (also known as PBs) as opposed to performance goals have a much better chance of success. What’s cool about these kinds of goals too is that you can sequence them. By constantly maintaining a PB mindset, your rock-chewing time will get shorter and shorter. And, before you know it, you’ll be really good in that one area. Then, it’s on to the next.”
Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Active Selling Time
According to Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing, one of the most important metrics to track is active selling time.
“I would love to see more sales managers prioritize and measure Active Selling Time. This is the percentage of the day sales reps spend on actual sales activities, vs. administrative work, reporting, internal meetings, etc. Far too often, this is the silent killer of sales productivity when companies add complexity, CRM process, management layers and more that hurt vs. help your reps hit and exceed quota.”
Penny Herscher, President and CEO of FirstRain
Touch Points Per Current Customer by Rep
For companies that have contract models, it’s not only vital to measure reps’ sales activities with prospects, but also with current customers.
According to FirstRain’s President and CEO Penny Herscher, “Improving the quality and frequency of customer engagement is a metric that we are starting to see sales organizations adopt and measure in order to be truly customer-focused. Calling customers only when it is renewal time or engaging with customers on your own end-of-quarter timeframes — to bring in last minute deals — leaves your customer-facing team unable to establish credibility and engage around the most important initiatives impacting your customers.
Utilizing apps that prompt sellers with reasons to call, that are very personal to how that seller sells and when it is a good time to call, can facilitate the process and lead to higher win rates, renewal rates and customer retention.”
Howard Brown, Founder and CEO of Revenue.io
Dials to Accepted Opportunities
One of the main reasons we built Revenue.io is to help give our customers more insight into inside sales reps’ efficiency. According to our CEO, Howard Brown, one of the most important metrics to track is dials to accepted opportunities.
“As we all know, measuring sales activity volume is vital, since productivity can be an early indicator of sales success. But tracking sales efficiency is far more important since the ratios determine the correlation between activities, pipeline and ultimately, revenue.
By measuring the number of Dials to Accepted opportunities, you’ll gain insight into how many dials it takes your reps to source a qualified opportunity.
Once you have enough data to establish internal benchmarks, you can then begin improving your least efficient reps by addressing the most likely causes of underperformance. Are they not following up with the right leads? Are they not calling at the most optimal times? Are they asking the wrong questions, or worse, not adequately understanding prospects’ pain points?
By measuring your reps’ efficiency ratios and trying to elevate them, you’ll quickly identify areas for improvement and maximize the number of accepted opportunities and deals.”
Want to learn more vital metrics that today’s top sales leaders are tracking? Download your free eBook 14 Top Sales Leaders Reveal Their Most Essential Sales Metrics!