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Use Data to Improve Your Odds of a Win

4 min readApril 19, 2018

This year during March Madness, a bracket titled “I just guessed” briefly held the top position in ESPN’s contest for a period of time. While the bracket didn’t end up winning, the random guesses yielded an 83% accuracy rate. The University of Colorado found that the chance of building a perfect bracket purely by guessing is roughly 1 in 9.2 quintillion. The creator of the “I just guessed” bracket didn’t have Villanova going as far as it did, but their guessing game worked for the most part. Even if they did, they’d still need to have every other stage lined up with the correct winning teams.

Does this sound familiar? Sales can be the same way where teams and reps have quotas but the path to securing a “closed win” is just a guessing game. By utilizing data analysis around core sales activities, we can increase the odds and drive target leads forward in the sales process.

Perhaps if the “I just guessed” bracket used team and player stats to build out their bracket, they could’ve taken the win.

What does this have to do with Sales?

Maybe when you created your bracket, you simply flipped a coin or used some sort of analytical method. Whether you randomly chose which mascot would win in a fight or analyzed complex team statistics, you likely leveraged some sort of knowledge to better increase your chances of winning. The same goes for sales. We must use data to increase performance, grow revenue, and forecast properly. Without proper analytics, you’re flipping a coin and taking a chance on what generates success at your organization.

Data is your secret weapon

Sales Data MetricsIn sales, data is your secret weapon. Just like you can use it to better your chances of creating the perfect bracket, you can leverage data to increase your team’s chances of closing. But sometimes Sales teams don’t have access to the data metrics they need.

Enterprise Sales teams should track activities like call attempts, time to first response, and time to first dial that give you deeper insight into the activities of your reps and the health of your sales funnel.

Analytics show your reps’ strengths and weaknesses, highlighting the opportunity to coach your team to success. If you don’t use data, you must guess and your chances of success are very small. Without the proper insights however, you can understand how many attempts it takes to contact a lead or how quickly your reps respond to inbound leads, both of which indicate pipeline health and chances of a sale.

Sales metrics that indicate performance

There are several sales call metrics that have parallels to NCAA statistics and can be used to easily analyze and improve sales performance.


The ratio of the number of dials made to appointments set is a direct indicator of how good reps are on the phone and how many calls it takes to schedule a demo. Just like field goal percentage, how many shots do your reps take before they score? A low dials-to-appointments ratio indicates excellent pitching and phone skills, a higher one tells you that reps are having difficulty on the phone. Examine this metric on an individual rep level to uncover your top performers, then use call recordings to discover exactly what makes them so good.  

The number of dials a rep makes per day is highly dependent on the industry and selling style, but a general idea can be set at approximately 10 dials per hour. So if a rep spends from 9 AM to 12 PM on the phone, we can assume they make 30 calls. If only one to two of these turn into appointments, then you need to examine if reps are connecting with prospects. If they are, listen to their pitches. If no connections are being made, your leads could be bad, calls are made at the wrong time, voicemails aren’t effective, or you may need local presence.

Revenue from Calls per Source

This measurement breaks down the potential revenue by source of lead. Basically, it tells you which efforts are driving the most valuable sales conversations. Similar to basketball’s shooting efficiency metrics, revenue from calls per source tell you where your points are coming from. Is your team scoring more inside the paint or behind the three-point line? If you’re more successful with 3-point shots, you need to focus on making those happen.

Likewise, if reps are more successful at contacting large companies on the phone than via email, you know where you should focus your efforts. Your marketing team can also leverage revenue from calls per source. When they know which channels create the most revenue. They can focus their efforts and be as effective as possible.

You can examine this metric in two ways, where do the most valuable leads come from, and which source contributes the most revenue in total? For example, one source can generate a low number of million-dollar contracts, while another generates a large number of six figure contracts that contribute more value to your organization’s pipeline.

Voicemail Return Percentage

Voicemail return percentage signifies the quality and effectiveness of your reps’ voicemail messages. It measures how many voicemails are left and the number of calls that are returned. Like the rebound percentage, when the ball goes up in the air, how many times can you get it back? On average, a first-time call only gets returned 11 percent of the time.

A low voicemail return percentage denotes low-quality, ineffective voicemails. There’s plenty of variables to optimize. Some reps can be long-winded, or even too “sales-y” in their approach. Thankfully, examining your top performers and coaching your reps to model after their team members can make all the difference. Once you create the ultimate set of voicemails, you can easily employ tools like voicemail drop to ensure the most contextual voicemail left for every situation.