Driving meaningful change requires meaningful measurement. However, too often the data that is needed to gauge success is limited or difficult to access. Moreover, escalating competition means more resources must be directed towards winning the sale rather than analyzing results. The solution: use the data that is available in a different way. In doing so, a business can uncover actionable takeaways on how it’s performing as an organization, which is driven, in part, by sales performance initiatives.
Throughout Richardson’s experience across dozens of industries, we’ve determined a core group of eight sales metrics that offer insight into the performance of any selling organization. The measurements are simple. The impact is powerful. Some businesses may choose to use all of these metrics to form a constellation revealing total business performance. Others may choose to use just a few.
These metrics work because they are universal and cover operational and financial aspects that apply to both the organization and the individual. Here, we take a closer look at how each one works and why they matter.
A business can quickly gauge their effectiveness and competitiveness in the market by measuring how many pursuits end with a win status. If the win rate falters, leaders need to dig deeper into other metrics to find the source of the problem. Therefore, most selling measurement efforts start with a review of the win rate. Additionally, the ease of tracking and baselining this measurement makes it the ideal place to look in determining the effectiveness of a team. Moreover, win rates can be segmented across teams in order to asses group performance.
Leaders need quota attainment in order to judge performance against expectations. As a qualitative metric, quota attainment functions as a gauge of how all initiatives are operating. Some research indicates that this metric is associated with other performance outcomes. For example, data from Aberdeen Essentials revealed that “more accurate sales forecasting is directly associated with better business results, such as higher quota attainment by teams and individuals.” Quota attainment rises as sellers become more adept at articulating value in the marketplace.
Time to Productivity
Reaching cruising altitude is critical for new sellers. Time to productivity shows how long it takes a new hire to ascend to 30,000 feet. Internal efficiencies can help reduce this period and help new team members contribute revenue earlier. Therefore, this metric is particularly useful when planning to expand team capacity or during a period of high turnover. As Harvard Business Review reports, global companies like SAP examine time to productivity and even ongoing productivity. In doing so, they gain insight into what sellers can accomplish while helping managers more effectively staff their teams. With this information, a leader can step in to help a new hire earlier in the game for faster course correction.
The Center for American Progress reports that the median cost of turnover is 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Measuring attrition helps manage this cost. However, attrition is more than a gauge of turnover. This measurement also reveals the level of demand for the seller’s product. Diminished interest in the product can lead team members to pursue opportunities to sell higher demand solutions elsewhere. For example, the same research from the Center for American Progress cites that approximately one fifth of workers leave their job voluntarily every year.
For many sellers, technology has created a leveling effect, which reduces competitive advantages. In many cases, new players can compete alongside seasoned pros because technology affords efficiency. Some sellers are responding to this environment by focusing their efforts on selling multi-division solutions. Under this scenario, fewer contracts will generate larger revenues. However, contract value must be considered in conjunction with other factors, namely costs. In some cases, higher contract values come at a greater marketing expense as a percent of revenue. This dynamic can put pressure on profit margins.
Profitability is a function of price and product mix. The presence of price discounting may signal a diminishing ability to convey the competitive advantage of a solution in the marketplace. Additionally, product mix drives profitability because different products carry different margins. Therefore, profitability will rise and fall based on the team’s ability to sell higher margin solutions. A company’s profitability comes into focus when organizations segment the measurement across divisions, products, and even individual B2B customers.
As competition and market conditions change, pricing becomes difficult to manage. Effective sellers, however, can control pricing and therefore profitability, with strong negotiation skills that protect the value of the sale through to the end. Justifying prices requires a sales team to move beyond a simple product feature discussion. The team members must elevate themselves to the role of a trusted advisor. Doing so means leveraging insights and asking the questions that reveal the details behind a customer’s needs.
Efficiency drives the sales cycle. Understanding a team’s efficiency matters because it reveals the effectiveness of their pursuit strategy. As sellers fine-tune their strategy, they drive down the costs associated with longer cycles, which are taxing on resources. Additionally, the sales cycle can vary depending on whether the pursuit is focused on new customers or existing customers. Shortening the cycle requires a greater emphasis on relationship building. Accenture reports that “only 12 percent of CSOs believe that their customers and prospects view their companies as trusted partners, with the majority considering them only as vendors or suppliers.”
These metrics serve not only to answer key questions regarding the health of a business, but they also lend valuable insight as to where leaders should explore further. Nearly every business will find that it has quick access to data that allows it to leverage at least some of these eight metrics. The earlier that a business begins measuring, the more complete — and therefore useful — the picture will be for leaders affecting change. To learn more about the 8 Critical Selling Metrics you can use to measure the effectiveness of your sales training, get Richardson’s new brief by clicking here.
Pipeliner CRM encompasses all of a company’s selling metrics. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.