How to Improve Sales Performance: 6 Metrics to Track
Today’s sales managers face tremendous pressure to achieve ambitious targets. Now more than ever, you need to up your game to increase sales performance. But choosing which sales metrics to measure can be tough.
While it’s important to track whether your sales reps achieve quota and the team hits its revenue goal, you have many more metrics at your disposal to monitor and improve sellers’ performance. By keeping a close eye on them during the quarter, you can catch sales reps’ mistakes, provide coaching and feedback, and prevent opportunities from being lost.
The challenge is identifying the metrics that are most important to keeping sellers’ performance high and deals moving through the pipeline. While all data points have some value, you do not have time to analyze all of them, adjust processes, and give your sellers the personalized coaching they need. Like almost everything, it’s quality over quantity.
With that in mind, we identified six sales performance metrics you should regularly track so sellers stay on course and win more deals.
6 Sales Performance Metrics to Track
1. Sales Lead Quality
It isn’t enough to generate lots of meetings and then say conversion rates are down because of a poor sales effort. You must have a meaningful qualifying process to avoid selling people things they don’t want and can’t use. Further, unregulated lead quality will also skew your performance evaluation down the line.
You must qualify sales leads, and that starts with developing your ideal customer profile. Define and identify the common attributes of the type of customer you seek to attract and which you have the resources to handle. Look for these seven characteristics in prospects:
- Ready: They have an urgent problem to be solved, or an opportunity they don’t want to miss.
- Willing: They want to do something about the problem.
- Able: They can afford the solution and have authority to buy.
- Success potential: They are a good fit for your product or service.
- Acquisition Efficiency: They represent the kind of customer that is cost-effective for your business to have.
- Ascension Potential: There’s an opportunity for further sales beyond their present need.
- Advocacy Potential: They are well placed to influence others and promote further sales opportunities.
Smart profiling will streamline your selling. With correctly qualified customers your chances of a successful discovery call or meeting improve significantly.
2. Sales Call Quality
You likely track and measure the number of discovery calls or demos your salespeople do. But you should also monitor the quality of those exchanges. Are sellers accurately conveying the value of your product or service? Are they staying on message? Do they skillfully handle objections? Are they talking too much?
When you can monitor and assess sales calls, you can help sellers fine-tune the discovery stage—often cited as the most important phase of the buying process—and the point where most sales are won or lost.
To monitor and improve sales call quality, you need a tool such as Conversation Intelligence that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to listen to sales calls, identify areas of improvement, and provide personalized feedback and suggestions. The tool can also identify top-performing conversations that you can add to your sales training library for other sales reps to access and learn from.
3. Pipeline Velocity
A sales pipeline can look healthy until it becomes obvious it has slowed to a crawl. By measuring pipeline velocity, you can see exactly how sellers are succeeding in getting prospects from one end of the funnel to the other. With this knowledge, you can guide changes to the sales process and better coach reps to become a better, faster-moving team.
Pipeline velocity is a composite of a sales team’s qualified opportunities, overall win rate, and average deal size. A change in any of those components will affect pipeline velocity.
A drop in pipeline velocity may indicate a rep is struggling to fill the funnel. It may also be a sign that a rep simply isn’t trying. Or you may have a rep whose figures jump up when there are plenty of sales opportunities but drop when they have to prospect.
Regardless of the cause, when you can detect the drop in velocity, you can work to discover the reason and help the sales rep recover.
4. Demo-to-Deal Conversion Rate
The demo-to-deal conversion rate is the number of closed deals over a specific period divided by the total number of demos that generated those wins. Sales reps can improve their conversion rate by enhancing the quality of their sales conversations and presentations.
Here are six strategies to improve sales conversations, close more deals faster, and shorten the buying cycle:
- Identify the decision maker
- Commit to adding value to the customer
- Create a sense of urgency
- Overcome objections
- Stay on message
- Know your rivals
Using Conversation Intelligence software, you can monitor your reps’ sales calls and demos, ascertain whether your reps apply those strategies, and offer personalized feedback and coaching advice.
5. Average Deal Size
When creating an action plan to improve sales performance, many organizations simply track the number of deals. While that can be interesting, it isn’t the most important metric. When you track your average deal size, you get a better sense of whether business is growing, reducing, or standing still.
Sales conversations that focus on value rather than just transactional issues can increase the average deal size. Sellers who consistently score below the average deal size for the team likely discount aggressively in order to close the deal quickly. It may also be a rep who targets only low-hanging fruit and is reluctant to go after a more substantial prize.
Again when you regularly monitor this data point, you can detect the issue before it goes on for too long, provide necessary coaching, and get the seller back on track.
Sales performance management opens the door to discussions about learning and improvement. In fact, the Conversation Intelligence tool you use to track performance should also be used to identify coaching opportunities.
Hiring staff is expensive and time-consuming, so helping reps quickly learn from their mistakes is always a cost-effective exercise. Reps who are more coachable and willing to learn
have a greater chance of achieving and even exceeding their quota. Sales managers can help with this by creating an environment in which people are open to receiving feedback. Some ways to do that include:
- Peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges: Encourage sales reps to share best practices and tips via video and house them in an easy-to-use library that others can access in their moment of need.
- Ask clarifying questions: Ask your reps what they think about the feedback you offer. Regularly ask them how they’re doing, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing something.
- Listen: Slow down and actively listen to what your sales reps say to you.
- Turn errors into conversations: If a sales rep makes a mistake, turn the situation into a coachable moment.
- Lead by example: Sales coaches should be willing to be coached themselves. They should also be able to practice their coaching.
By tracking these six sales performance metrics and adopting an agile approach to coaching and management, you can monitor performance continually and adjust the moment you see things go astray. The result: an effective and efficient sales team that closes more deals faster.
Download 6 Sales Performance Metrics You Can Use Today to learn how to use sales data to become a more productive team and drive more revenue.