Managing a sales team is a complex endeavor that is only possible if you know how to track success using the right metrics.
Tracking that success, of course, is not always easy. You need to know which sales metrics and KPIs are actually relevant, and which are just noise that distracts from the numbers that matter.
Fortunately, you’re not on your own.
In a recent survey, we asked Sales Ops Demystified guests about their best sales metrics. And here are the results…
The Prelude: Key Definitions & Considerations
At its core, a sales metric is any number that helps you gain a greater understanding of your sales process. Think about the simplest example: if you can tie a sales to a specific rep, you can give them a bonus, promoted them, give them better leads to name a few. Having an awareness of that metric helps you make changes to improve performance over time.
The reality, of course, is much more complicated. Sales performance metrics track not just final revenue or quantity, but the outcome of your sales team’s efforts in much more nuanced ways.
What Are The Most Important Sales Metrics?
Obviously, revenue comes first.
Beyond that, though there is no single best sales metric because it all depends on the context. As you see from the sales ops experts’ answers below, it comes down in large part to how you can measure and calculate sales performance metrics as well as the environment.
A priority area of where to focus is a great start. Beyond that, your B2B sales metrics or SaaS analytics will play a major role.
Let’s dive into the experts’ answers to explore your possibilities.
12 Key Sales Metrics to Measure Performance, According to the Experts
1) Pipeline Waterfall
According to Simon Gilks, Pipeline Waterfall should be a core piece of any measurement equation. It’s a simple look at the entire sales pipeline and the events happening within it. Gilks uses this sales metric both for an overall snapshot of performance and individual drill-downs on a quarterly basis:
This quarterly snapshot can track overall performance and see opportunities for improvement. For Gilks, whose goal consists of significant 2020 growth, that’s the perfect overview.
2) Return On Engagement Minutes
A visit to a careers page gets a low number of minutes, but a demo request counts as more. This metric allows Feldman and his team to look at each potential account in terms of the engagement minutes generated by campaigns, channels, and dollar spent.
It’s an especially relevant B2B sales metric that ultimately helps to determine revenue return on engagement.
3) Activity Metrics
Stefanie Tial, commercial operations director at The Rainmaker Group, emphasizes activity metrics as a core way to track sales and marketing funnel performance. As she puts it,
The reason for the effectiveness of this metric, according to Tial, is how controllable it is. Your team can determine their outreach and messaging strategies. Measuring the activities that follow helps you better understand the consequences of your strategy, and make potential adjustments.
4) Time Spent with Customers
As director of revenue operations for EMEA, Ian Matthews understands how important current and prospective customers are in the sales process. So why overcomplicate things in tracking performance?
Simply focusing on quantity, as Matthews explains, undersells the amount facetime you get with your customers.
That makes this KPI especially relevance as a B2B sales metric for complex marketing funnels that require plenty of comprehensive touchpoints.
5) Win Rate
Rowan Bailey, head of revenue operations at Peakon, believes that when forced to choose, it makes sense to stay high-level. He sees win rate, the value of closed won opportunities compared to all closed lost opportunities in a given period:
Focusing on the win rate as your core sales analytics metric means avoiding any cherry-picking that might otherwise occur just to hit the quota.
It also gets close to the heart of the exercise: the actual revenue gained as a result of the sales process.
6) Percentage of Sales Reps on a Team Exceeding the Quota
Kevin Raybon, chairman and sales operations leader of SOPSA, takes a similar approach to Rowan Bailey but considers the topic from an angle of managing multiple sales teams. Consistency is key for him:
Sales managers with low quotas in this aspect might require more resources or training to bring up their performance.
It allows the manager to dig deeper into the reasons behind both low and high performers, and take relevant action.
7) Forecast Accuracy
Every successful sales operation use forecasts to build out the strategy for upcoming months, quarters, and years. That’s what makes Forecast Accuracy such an important sales metric for Cornelia Klose, global sales operations manager at Mailjet:
Accuracy also builds accountability for the sales manager, who can begin to better understand how other metrics play into future performance.
8) Smooth Running
Even the best sales metrics and processes matter little if you don’t achieve them on a consistent basis. That’s what Jeanette Appiah values so much about smooth running:
The more these processes, queries, and activities can be optimized and standardized, the better. Ensuring that the processes run smoothly is core to scaling any sales activity.
9) Bookings vs. Targets per Time Period
Derek Dean, a global sales operations manager at TTEC, emphasizes the importance of benchmarking when measuring sales success. Simply looking at the number of bookings compared to initial targets for a specific time period is part of that equation. He also believes in digging deeper, including what it takes to win a deal:
Metrics like this one are simple enough to draw obvious conclusions, helping you improve performance over time.
10) New Hire Ramp Time
This is a difficult one. It differs significantly, depending on whether you’re tracking SaaS sales metrics or one-time purchases, as well as your target audience. It’s also different for large enterprises compared to smaller businesses. Still, Chris Flores belies that new hire ramp time is in many ways the key to success:
Faster ramp time means fewer resources spent in training, mentoring, and supervision. You can feel comfortable that they’ll hit their quota more quickly and reliably, and even use them as resources to help, mentor, and train new employees.
11) Opportunity Age
Especially in fast-moving industries, Heather Bruder finds the age of your opportunities to be a core KPI that helps you determine the success of your sales effort:
Again, much like ramp time above, your benchmarks will differ significantly depending on the type of business you’re in. Still, opportunity age remains relevant to help you understand which of your opportunities are ‘hot’ and ready for conversions based on their age.
12) Unit Economics
Philip Kelvin, head of customer operations at Trussle, emphasizes the importance of revenue minus cost of acquisition minus cost of sale. It starts with a common definition of unit economics:
Focusing on unit economics enables you to clarify exactly what constitutes success, getting everyone on the same page and helping you reach your goals in the process. As such, it should be a core component of any best sales metrics list.
What Are The Best Sales Metrics To Improve & Grow Your Business?
At the end of the day, none of the above KPIs can win the best distinction. They all work for different teams, situations, and industries. Randall Fees, director of sales operations at Viral Launch, puts it best:
All of them matter and all tell you different things about your sales performance. Finding the right mix of both the above and other sales metrics and KPIs is, therefore, an important part of the entire sales process.
What you need, above all, is a strategy. Download our Sales Ops Handbook to start thinking through both metrics and the strategy that makes those metrics go.