Knowledge is power.

And as a sales leader, you already know this. Your sales reps’ deep knowledge of how prospects can leverage your product and their ability to craft a customized plan to help prospects achieve their goals are the only reasons prospects need reps in the first place.

But knowledge of just your product isn’t enough for your team to be successful. You need to understand the factors affecting your team’s performance as well, so you can tweak your sales process or make up gaps in knowledge as needed.

The first step to gaining a deep understanding of performance is having the right data. Yet according to State of Inbound Sales 2015, a whopping 46% of salespeople don’t use any dedicated technology to track lead and customer data.

Without even basic information on contacts, sales leaders can’t hope to analyze their team’s performance or identify areas for improvement. Below are the six essential reports every sales leader needs.

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6 Sales Reports All Sales Leaders Should Be Tracking

1) Pipeline

A complete and accurate pipeline is a must-have. Without one, there’s simply no way to assess the health of the business at any given time. As a sales leader, you need to know exactly which deals are sure things, which might push, which you could lose altogether, and how much of an impact each deal has on your bottom line.

Of course, accurate forecasting is directly linked to thorough sales qualification. Make sure your reps are doing their due diligence to guarantee a realistic pipeline.

2) Company-wide sales benchmarks

Another way to assess how much stock to put in your reps’ forecasts is by understanding typical conversion rates between each step of your sales process, average deal size, and average sales cycle length.

For example, maybe one of your account executives has had a first exploratory call with 17 buyers and swears that they’ll all close this month. If you know that companywide, only 60% of prospects move past this phase and that your average cycle is 40 days from exploratory call to close, you can sandbag his estimates a bit.

You can also slice and dice this data by lead source and deal type. Do inbound leads close at a higher rate than referrals? How does your team fare in competitive situations? Does one vertical or industry outspend all others, even if you haven’t been specifically targeting it? This report will provide the answers to those questions.

3) Rep-specific process benchmarks

If company benchmarks are one half of understanding the accuracy of your pipeline, knowing rep-specific numbers are the other. Individual benchmarks are a great way to evaluate individual forecasts. Which of your reps tend to sandbag their forecasts? Who’s overly optimistic?

Even if your sales team is too large for you to dig down into individual performance when forecasting, these CRM metrics are also helpful from a manager’s standpoint. If a rep is struggling to meet her quota, managers can refer to these benchmarks to suggest points for improvement. For example, if the rep has incredibly high prospecting activity but closes few deals, managers can pinpoint exactly where her ability to move prospects through a sales cycle breaks down.

4) Marketing collateral usage

Hopefully, your marketing team is creating collateral that helps your reps move their prospects through the sales process. And hopefully, your sales reps are using it to good effect.

But if they aren’t, or the marketing collateral you are getting isn’t relevant to your prospects, you need to find that out as soon as possible. You can easily track what marketing content is a standby in all your sales cycles, and which documents have sat untouched for months. Communicate that information to your marketing team and you’ll be rewarded with more relevant and useful content.

5) Won and lost deals analysis

Deals-in-progress aren’t the ones you should be focusing on. To understand the state of your business, you should be tracking all the deals you win and lose. Are there specific features prospects always go crazy for, or competitors you consistently lose to? Look for commonalities between these deals, and you’ll gain valuable insight into your product’s overall strengths and weaknesses.

This is also a good way to spot under- and over-performers. For example, two reps who have the same average quota attainment could both appear to be stellar, but differ wildly when it comes to actual performance.

If your data reveals that one rep spends a lot of time helping others get deals across the finish line while still maintaining a high attainment, you have a great manager candidate on your hands.

On the flip side, records could reveal that a second rep has the same attainment as the first but relies on other teammates to run demos or closing calls. There’s always a story beyond what the numbers tell you, and analyzing won and lost deals by rep will reveal it.

6) Churned customers

Understanding why people churn out of your customer base can be even more revealing than evaluating why deals were lost. After all, a churned customer is a clear sign that misalignment occurred somewhere during the sales process. Closely monitoring trends in churned customers empowers you to provide direct guidance on fixing bad patterns you see throughout the sales process.

What sales reports do you rely on? Let us know in the comments below.

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Originally published Mar 3, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated January 21 2020


Sales Reports