Marketing pioneer John Wanamaker once said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half."

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This approach is problematic. Sales organizations that wait until a sale is won or lost to judge a playbook’s success only have one metric by which to measure their efficacy.

Without tracking their sales and pipeline activity, in addition to results at both an individual and company-wide level, it’s impossible for sales leaders to pinpoint weak areas.

For example, high attrition throughout a sales process might alert you to an issue with moving opportunities to close. Looking at larger trends such as pipeline growth quarter-over-quarter is also a good gauge of your sales organization’s overall performance.

These kinds of metrics often wind up under-appreciated or even unknown, but they can be crucial assets for keeping a pulse on your sales efforts. Here are 14 important inside sales metrics you should be tracking in 2020.

Sales Activity Metrics

1. Call to Connect Ratio

A sales rep's call to connect ratio is one of the most important KPIs inside sales professionals need to consider. It allows you to identify whether reps are struggling right out of the gate, so you can help guide them in that stage if need be. It also provides a snapshot of a rep's productivity — a factor more telling into a rep's skill set than call volume.

2. Connect to Opportunity Ratio

Connect to opportunity ratio is another important efficiency metric. Like call to connect, connect to opportunity allows you to gauge reps' strengths and weaknesses, providing you with the insight necessary to identify which members of your team need more coaching and guidance. Also, if you're finding your connect to opportunity ratio is lacking across the board, you'll know you need to reevaluate your sales process as a whole.

3. Opportunity to Deal Ratio

This is another efficiency metric worth tracking for the same reasons as the ones provided above. If you keep tabs on this factor, you have another point of reference for where your reps are struggling and where your sales process could use work.

4. Call to Deal Ratio

This metric is useful in that it provides a high-level overview of your sales activity as a whole. It's a rough summary of your individual reps' performance overall and the ultimate efficacy of your sales process. It lets you know if you need to take the time to pinpoint where a rep's strengths and weaknesses lie and if your sales efforts are in keeping with the goals you set.

Pipeline Management Metrics

5. Pipeline Stage Conversions

This metric is similar to the ones above in that it's designed to let you identify the specific points in your sales process or reps' performance that could use work. By seeing how your opportunities are progressing through your pipeline and pinpointing the stages where you have considerable drop-off, you can know how and where to start addressing the health of your sales efforts.

6. Average Days per Sale for Won or Lost Opportunities

Tracking the length of your sales cycle with respect to won and lost opportunities can help you identify likely and high-risk buyers going forward. This kind of historical data can show how long prospects spend in specific stages before abandoning ship — giving you a picture of when an opportunity should be considered high-risk. It serves as a reference point for planning reps' schedules and prioritizing their time, so they don't get hung up on likely losers.

7. Inflow/Outflow of Opportunities

Your inflow and outflow of opportunities figures are the number of newly created opportunities in the pipeline compared to the number that left as won or lost deals. It can be used as a reference point to estimate how many deals you're likely to close. 

Keeping tabs on how your pipeline is trending allows you to see whether your pipeline is growing or shrinking — your inflow and outflow figures can tell you why. It lets you ensure that your pipeline can replace the opportunities that you've won or lost, so you can stay on pace to reach your rising revenue goals.

8. Quarter to Quarter Pipeline Growth

Monitoring quarter to quarter pipeline growth lets you see how well your pipeline has been growing over time, allowing you to better gauge whether you're poised to meet your goals. It gives you a historical perspective that offers a picture of the opportunities you'll need to meet your quota and expand your sales efforts.

9. Pipeline Coverage Ratio

Pipeline coverage is the ratio you use to measure how much open pipeline you have, relative to how much quota you need to close. Pipeline coverage is one of the better metrics for identifying which parts of the sales process reps need to focus on.

Strong pipeline coverage means they should be focusing their attention to activities further along the sales process, whereas weak pipeline coverage means reps need to work on its early stages — namely, generating more opportunities.

Sales Results Metrics

10. Quota Attainment

Quota attainment is one of the most straightforward inside sales metrics, and it's exactly what it sounds like — a measurement that tells you whether your reps have hit their quota in a given period. Setting quotas and measuring how well your reps have lived up to them is incredibly important in terms of evaluating their individual strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and overall fit for their positions.

11. Quarter to Quarter Sales Growth vs. Pipeline Growth

Pitting your sales growth against your pipeline growth is a straightforward method for understanding the efficacy of your sales pipeline and process. If you find that your pipeline is growing but sales are stagnating, you need to take time to evaluate how and where you're losing the opportunities you're generating.

12. Average Deal Size

Measuring average deal size allows you to determine the health of your pipeline and the efficacy of your sales efforts. It's also a crucial metric for projecting revenue.

13. Sales Cycle

Measuring the length of each reps' sales cycle shows you the average amount of time it takes each of your reps to move an opportunity from qualification to closing. It's in your best interest to track both your individual reps' sales cycles as well as your team's as a whole. This way, you can see which stages are holding up deals and evaluate your reps' performance based on how quickly they're able to close.

14. Forecast Accuracy

Forecast accuracy is a metric that gives you more perspective on how to plan for the future. By comparing your forecast against your actual results, you can hone in on the best ways to refine your predictions going forward. An accurate forecast is a must-have for any sales team. To zero in on one, you need a starting point to show what you're doing right or wrong.

This list isn't the be-all-end-all of inside sales metrics, but each one on it is worth tracking. You need to have a consistent pulse on how well your individual reps, overall team, and general sales process are working. Though there are always more metrics to consider, this list is one of the best places to start.

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Originally published May 31, 2020 4:00:00 PM, updated May 31 2020