Sales managers -- and particularly field sales managers -- can often feel like they are trapped in a fog. Without a regular physical presence in the field, it’s difficult to keep tabs on their team and business operations. Instead, they rely heavily on their field representatives to be their eyes and ears.
The best way for field managers to gain visibility into their team’s activity is to collect and measure both team and product performance through KPIs.
KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are metrics used to track the performance of a business, a department, or individuals against goals. The key is to choose the KPIs that are most relevant to your industry and business goals -- focusing on the wrong ones is costly to your company. To save you some time, we’ve narrowed down a list of commonly used KPIs to the six we believe are most important to managing field sales teams.
1. New Leads/Opportunities
This is the metric that managers most consistently monitor. How are your salespeople contributing to the expansion of your business in their given territory? Who’s reaching their quota? What percentage of your team is hitting their number? Is quota too high? Too low?
Share this data with your team so they can see how they stack up against other reps. There’s nothing like a little competition to get your team motivated.
2. Client Acquisition Rates
Another commonly used measurement is rate of client acquisition. Of the new prospects your reps reach out to, how many convert to customers? It’s natural for some salespeople to perform better than others -- but if there are large discrepancies between conversion rates, dig deeper.
Are lower-performing reps approaching bad-fit prospects? Is there something that overperformers do in sales meetings that others don’t?
Compare conversion rates to the number of prospects a rep reaches out to. If you find that conversions decrease after a certain number of touches, use that number as a benchmark to prevent your reps from getting burned out or stretched too thin.
Finally, use conversion rates to compare different outreach methods, such as emailing or cold calling versus pursuing face-to-face interactions.
3. Sales Volume by Location
By comparing sales volumes across locations including physical stores and online transactions, you can see where demand for your product is highest and lowest, then tackle the why.
If sales volume is large in region A, perhaps there is a higher demand there, in which case you can focus on customizing certain products and services for that region. Or, if you are comparing numbers across physical stores, you can take advantage of A/B testing.
For example, if two locations see relatively similar sales volume in January, try implementing a promotional sale in one location and not the other in February to see if it drives sales.
In addition to promotional sales you can try other tactics such as shelf displays, discounts, coupons, demos, or samples.
4. Competitor Pricing
While managers and business owners shouldn’t track competitors’ every move, being aware of their pricing can help create a competitive strategy. If your prices don’t differ much, you can consider a price-matching strategy to guarantee your customers the lowest prices, and you the most sales.
Additionally, by keeping track of the average retail price of your products, you can measure the impact of cutting your prices or implementing a promotion.
5. Existing Client Engagement
Maintaining good rapport with customers after the sale is important to ensure long-term business. By regularly touching base with their customers to understand how things are going and how they can help, salespeople can build trust and keep customers happy.
When reps are consistently available to help, customers know they’ll always have somebody there to support their business needs.
Beyond benefiting your company’s business outlook, keeping in touch with clients supports your business’ strategic goals as well - its a sales metric that matters.
Ask your salespeople to keep a tally of interactions they have with each of their customers, then compare the number of touches to the average length of a client relationship.
6. Employee Satisfaction
Working in sales requires persistence, and sometimes representatives can run out of steam. So one of your biggest challenges is making sure your sales reps are motivated and enjoy their work.
With a remote workforce, how do you keep your sales force in sync? Do they feel like they’re part of a team? Do they agree with the sales methods that you’ve implemented?
Employee feedback is crucial. KPIs are used not only to measure your team members, but also your performance as a manager. Employee satisfaction can be difficult to quantify.
Try asking each employee to rank their job satisfaction on a numeric scale, along with a few qualifying questions to understand what’s making them happy or unhappy, then compare the results against your goal.
7. Upsell/Cross-Sell Rates
The most qualified leads in your CRM? It's your existing customers. Have your reps track their upsell and cross-sell numbers, and use that data to identify whether certain verticals respond well to certain product/service pitches.
If reps have good luck selling Feature X to clients with Product Package Y six months into their tenure with you -- this might be a worthwhile milestone to add to your sales process.
Look at when, how, what, and to whom your reps are upselling and cross-selling, and adjust your efforts accordingly.
8. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Your NPS is a measurement of how likely customers are to recommend your product/service to someone else.
The survey asks participants to rank the likelihood of a recommendation on a scale of 0-10. Their numerical ranking is divided into three categories:
Promoters (9-10): They like you, they really like you. Not only will these customers likely renew, but they also won't hesitate to recommend you to friends or colleagues.
Passives (7-8): They're satisfied, but that's about it. Passives are ripe for the competitive picking, because they feel your product/service is status quo.
Detractors (0-6): They don't like you, they really don't like you. Detractors will likely churn, might tell others to avoid doing business with you, and will do the most damage to your brand.
Send your NPS regularly -- and remember not to send it too early to new customers. There will always be kinks that need to be worked out of the system before an NPS is sent.
Cadence of survey sends depends on your business and goals. As a rule of thumb, start by sending an NPS every three-to-six months.
To calculate your score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. You can also use this handy NPS calculator.
Once you have data on your KPIs, analyze the information to understand why you got those results. Then, determine how you can improve performance and follow through with action. And remember -- as important as establishing KPIs are, they must be always tied to an overarching goal.
Originally published Mar 7, 2018 5:10:00 PM, updated April 29 2019