When you’re leading an inside sales team, you need to know what is and isn’t working as early in the process as possible. If a rep isn’t giving the right pitch, you need to apply more training ASAP. If a particular lead generation stream is generating killer leads, you need to make marketing aware right away so they can do more of what’s working.
By tracking the right metrics in Salesforce, managers can build a powerful early warning system. You can gain insight into their sales pipeline as well as individual reps’ activities. You can predict whether your team is going to hit their marks. You can see what’s working well. And if there are any issues that need to be addressed, you can address them before they have too deep of an impact on your bottom line.
In our latest eBook, we asked some of the world’s leading authorities on inside sales to reveal the metrics they think that more sales managers should be tracking. Several of the thought leaders we spoke to advocated metrics that can provide early-stage sales indicators.
Here are some metrics you can track to help build your own inside sales early warning system:
Like us here at Revenue.io, Aaron “Air” Ross, author of Predictable Revenue, believes in the power of sales and marketing alignment! He advocates that sales managers begin by tracking the growth of qualified leads in order to ensure that there are always viable leads for your sales team to close.
According to Ross, “The metric to track and score yourself to, as well as hold your VP Marketing and VP Demand Generation team(s) to: Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (LVR). LVR measures your growth in qualified leads & pipeline, measure month-over-month, every month. LVR is real-time, not lagging, and it clearly predicts your future revenues and growth—and even better—your growth trend.”
According to Criag Elias, author of SHiFT!, managers need to measure whether reps are getting in the door quickly enough.
“The number one metric I think more sales leaders should measure is how often they are the first vendor into an opportunity – aka first in. Forrester’s research says be first in and your odds of winning the sale jump up to 74%. …Be first in and you get an opportunity to define the prospect’s problem, design their solution and start developing a great relationship, before your competition even knows an opportunity exists!”
Adrian Davis, Author of Human to Human Selling, thinks that managers need to ensure that sales reps are working new leads rather than merely selling to existing opportunities. He advocates tracking first meetings with new prospects as a metric.
According to Davis, “When sales people get caught up with existing opportunities and fail to fill the top of the funnel, it is inevitable that within a number of months, depending on the length of their sales cycle, they will have one abysmal quarter followed by another. Keeping one’s attention on continually filling the top of the funnel, prevents downstream blackouts or brownouts in sales performance.
Also, this forces sales people to get in front of “right fit” prospects early in their buying process. An associated benefit of keeping an eye on the top of the funnel is sales people do a better job of scrutinizing the time they spend on deals that are not well qualified.”
Even if the reps on your team are able to connect with prospects, are they really able to connect with the right decision makers. Sales trainer John Barrows, Owner of Sales From the Streets, advocates gauging not only the quantity of reps’ connections but the quality of those connections.
According to Barrows, “Most companies measure activities like the number of dials, connects, meetings, proposals, etc. These quantitative measurements are all good and should be tracked, but I think we should find ways to track more qualitative measurements. This is why I think we should not just measure the number
of meetings a rep gets (quantity) but also measure the amount of meetings they get with Executives (quality).”
Having a complete view of your pipeline, enables managers to quickly identify trouble areas. Are deals getting stuck at the opportunity stage? Or are sales development reps not even creating an adequate number of opportunities for account executives to close?
According to RingLead’s VP of Sales, Jaime Muirhead, “The single most important sales metric for sales managers is the velocity of conversion through the
funnel stages. The reality is, sales reps have a finite amount of time to win opportunities. Therefore, the faster a prospect turns into a customer, the more time the sales rep has to close more business. The two primary metrics that should be analyzed to ensure maximum velocity are: Lead Response Time & Rate of Follow-Up Contact.
Responsiveness in early stages is the difference between winning and losing business. Period.”
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.