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Understanding which metrics to track — and when to track them — is often a confusing, albeit essential, part of measuring a sales team’s performance and progress. Your team captures myriad data points throughout the sales process, and it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are most valuable to assess.
By identifying and tracking the right metrics, your sales team can tell the right story, maintain visibility into operations and performance, uncover and resolve issues, and replicate wins. Whether you’re looking to enhance individual rep performance, team performance, customer satisfaction, or something else entirely, it’s crucial to know the breadth of metrics at your disposal. Then, you can focus on tracking, analyzing, and improving the right metrics to drive further growth and profitability.
Here, we’ll take a deep dive into the importance of sales metrics, the most essential metrics to track, and how the right templates and dashboards can make the process more seamless.What Are Sales Metrics?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of all things sales merics, let’s first gain a comprehensive understanding of what they actually are and how they benefit your team. Sales metrics are groups of quantifiable data that demonstrate the status of a particular process.
In today’s data-driven sales world, organizations must rely on consistent, accurate metrics to analyze and improve their progress and performance. Without the right metrics, sales teams waste time, resources, and revenue on processes that don’t contribute to their success. Plus, they lack the intimate, real-time knowledge needed to spot and avoid risks early on in their deal cycles.
Metrics act as significant indicators of a sales team’s health and overall effectiveness; so using them properly can help boost rep productivity, efficiency, and execution. They can shed light into the parts of your sales process that should be adjusted, eliminated, or repeated, which ensures your ability to maintain a competitive edge.
It’s important to note that sales metrics are only truly valuable if your team is consistently collecting high-quality data. This is challenging (if not impossible) if your team still uses outdated, manual data collection methods, like spreadsheets or disparate tools.
To get the most out of your data, you need intelligent sales analytics software that transforms your metrics into actionable insights. Powerful sales engagement platforms, for example, equip your team with real-time metrics and intuitive dashboards that increase visibility across the entire sales process.
With tools that centralize and standardize all your key data in a single place, reps save the time otherwise spent on manual data entry. Sales teams always have a comprehensive, up-to-date understanding of the end-to-end sales process, so they’re empowered to make data-driven decisions that improve their outcomes.
While the terms “sales metrics” and “sales key performance indicators (KPIs)” are sometimes used interchangeably, there are actually some key distinctions between the two. Sales metrics can simply refer to data that measure a specific part of your process; but sales KPIs require a particular target or objective against which they’re measured.
While metrics come in a wide array of value to your organization, KPIs are always valuable because they’re intentionally set with a goal, timeline, and business outcome in mind. For example, your team might track the number of emails opened by prospects as part of their sales process. But adjusting their strategy and establishing outcomes that are tied to broader initiatives around that number is likely a fruitless endeavor—so ‘opened emails’ probably isn’t worthy of KPI status.
Your team might otherwise find great value in measuring the buyers’ intent behind opening those emails, which would further illuminate the effectiveness of their messaging. In this case, buyer sentiment, a feature of Outreach Engage, might be the more relevant KPI, as it more thoroughly assesses and classifies specific responses into several categories, like:
Intelligent sales engagement tools make it easy to turn your vanity metrics — like clicks, open, and reply rates — into actionable KPIs that improve outcomes. They use buyer sentiment analysis to help sales teams identify buyer intent, tweak their engagement strategy based on real-time data, and drive better results than metrics alone.
The sales metrics that will provide the most value to your organization will differ depending on a variety of factors, including your goals, use case, team structure, and more. Once you hammer down these details, you should choose the metrics that help illustrate the story you’re looking to tell or investigate.
Below, we’ve compiled a thorough list of the metrics that are most important to modern sales teams, and categorized them into several relevant buckets:
Sales activity metrics reflect the progress of your team’s behavior. They’re vital for understanding how individual efforts contribute to the team’s overall success.
Keeping your pipeline as healthy as possible requires a deep understanding of how deals are progressing and any issues that might be holding things up.
Lead generation metrics help improve sales and marketing alignment to ensure both teams are working toward the same goals.
It’s crucial to track (and improve!) the efficiency and productivity of your reps. Sales productivity metrics help you understand where your reps are spending the majority of their time so you can reduce any superfluous, time-intensive activities that hinder their success.
It’s important to consistently track your sales metrics: But if one metric in particular is clearly driving or hindering performance, it may be time to bump that metric up to a KPI. Here are some valuable sales KPIs to get you started:
Sales look to leading and lagging indicators to make predictions and evaluate their results.
Now that you have a better understanding of the purpose of a variety of metrics and KPIs, let’s outline some common metrics used by each type of sales team.
Field sales reps primarily operate outside of the traditional office setting. Since they focus largely on meeting clients face-to-face, their performance is usually measured by:
Unlike their field sales counterparts, inside sales professionals generally engage prospects via remote methods. Though the process is inside sales reps follow is simpler and more predictable by comparison, their progress is measured using many of the same metrics:
Sales development representatives (SDRs) are typically measured against these common metrics:
Tracking, measuring, and analyzing all of your team’s most essential metrics and KPIs can seem like an enormous, time-consuming undertaking — especially if you don’t have the proper tools for support.
Luckily, premade KPI templates and dashboards take a lot of the legwork out of the equation. Platforms like Outreach offer easy-to-use, intuitive dashboards that pull all the activity metrics from your CRM plus additional customer engagement metrics. This gives your team the most comprehensive view into the health of your deals, enabling your team to intervene before it’s too late. The result is a more effective, efficient team that’s backed by the real-time data necessary to improve business outcomes.
Your sales dashboards will vary depending on the tools you use, your specific objectives, and how up-to-date your data is. Here are some examples of KPI dashboards that sales leaders commonly use on the Outreach platform:
With the sales cycle over time metric, leaders can see how their cycle evolves on a month-to-month basis. The dashboard illustrates each sales stage in a different color in the chart. For each month, the chart shows deals that were closed and won within that given month, regardless of when they were created. The stacked bar representing that month shows the average days they spent in each stage.
Using scorecards, managers can more accurately analyze their reps’ productivity by combining and tracking any number of variables from week to week. They can set multiple goals across those different variables and assign a weight to each goal. Once the weight has been set, the platform automatically generates a productivity score; represented here by the red, yellow, and green stoplight scorecard.
With this metric, sales teams can break down the various lost reasons within their CRM and easily analyze where things are going wrong and what the average value of those deals are. Each closed loss reason is displayed in the table on the right side, keyed by color. For each average, the platform looks at all of your team's closed loss deals within the last 12 months.
Your team’s ability to make meaningful, insights-driven improvements that boost performance and support a more predictable revenue cycle relies on the metrics they use and how they use them. Simply capturing massive amounts of data won’t cut it — and neither will measuring and analyzing vanity metrics that don’t provide any real value to your business.
Outreach makes it easy to access comprehensive information about your end-to-end sales process, all in one, single pane of glass. The platform helps sales teams build beautiful, extensive dashboards that offer full transparency into their most valuable data, updated in real-time.