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March 17, 2015

The Metrics Every Sales A-Player Tracks On Their Dashboard

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Every A-player sales rep knows that to be at the top of their game, they must combine the art of sales with some science. Reps need to have a handle on leading indicators so they can build their own personal scalable, repeatable, and predictable sales processes that help them consistently hit and even exceed quota. This is why it’s important all reps have access to a weekly (as well as a monthly and quarterly) dashboard that tracks their personal performance metrics.

But what should be on this dashboard? How many metrics are too many, too few, or just right? A complete dashboard should include three main categories of metrics/KPIs that each rep tracks and analyzes:

  1. Sales activity metrics
  2. Pipeline metrics
  3. Sales results metrics

While some inside sales teams are divided into prospectors (commonly referred to as sales or business development reps) and closers (commonly called account executives), let’s assume for the sake of this article that we are dealing with a rep responsible for the entire sales process -- from cold outreach or inbound follow-up to close. For reps, these metrics can be applied to an individual sales dashboard, and for sales leaders, to a team dashboard.

Let’s dig into each of these three categories to flesh out the specific metrics and add color to our dashboard.  

Sales Activity Metrics

Without activity, there are no results. But here's the rub -- most sales managers and reps focus only on results.

Keep in mind that reps can't directly control their results. A rep can only control their activities, which in turn affect results. I co-wrote a free ebook about this particular topic with Jason Jordan -- you can find it here.

With that lens in place, here are some metrics that should appear under the activity category of a rep’s dashboard:

  • Number of Dials: The number of phone calls the rep makes per day.
  • Number of Call Connects: The number of calls that result in a live conversation. 
  • Number of Emails: The number of emails the rep sends per day.
  • Number of Email Responses: The number of emails that generate a response.
  • Number of Leads or SQLs. The number of “sales qualified leads” garnered from the connect calls that may become qualified opportunities down the road. To calculate this correctly, the definition of an SQL needs to be defined clearly within your sales process.
  • Number of Opportunities: The number of prospects who pass an “exit criterion” to be converted from a lead into an opportunity in your CRM software.

By tracking conversations and responses, reps can calculate their connect rate percentage. Generally, a 10% connect rate is fairly standard for B2B tech companies, but this could be higher or lower depending on the type of sale, industry, and sales process. However, connect rates that are extremely high or low across an entire team signifies a problem with the lead handoff or sales process, and sales leaders should investigate. 

Tracking the Dial : SQL : Opportunity downstream conversion rate means that reps and leaders can understand whether sales activities are actually producing opportunities. Additionally, reps and sales managers can use these conversion rates to understand internal benchmarks and ensure they don't confuse busy-ness with business.

By the way, you don’t have to -- and shouldn't -- stop at Dial : SQL : Opportunity rate. You ultimately want to measure the conversion rate all the way from dials to deals. However, I recommend tracking the “Opportunity : Deal” rate separately because this calculation takes into account pipeline metrics, which differ from activity metrics. 

Pipeline Metrics

Pipeline is a funnel of qualified opportunities that a sales rep is working at any given time. Each opportunity is in a specific stage of the funnel.

A few data points critical to track in this area are:

  • Number of Open Opportunities: The number of opportunities a rep is currently working. Typically, working approximately 25-30 opportunities at any given time is a good benchmark. If the number of opportunities worked is significantly higher, reps become unfocused. If it’s significantly lower, reps will not make quota. But of course, all this depends on your specific sales situation, quota, win rate, and average deal size. 
  • Number of Opportunities Per Stage: The number of opportunities in each stage of the sales funnel (qualification, discovery, evaluation, fulfillment, etc.). I'll give an example to illustrate why tracking this metric is important. If a rep with a win rate of 10% has 30 open opportunities, but they are all in the first stage, the rep is likely to miss quota that month. However, if a rep with a win rate of 90% has the same number of open opportunities all in the final stage, then that rep is in great shape for the month.
  • Number of Won Deals: The number of closed-won deals that resulted from opportunities worked in one month or quarter, and the resulting Win Rate Percentage (see the following section). 
  • Inflow and Outflow: The number of opportunities created in a given timeframe, and the number of closed opportunities in a given timeframe (either closed-won or closed-lost). While the number of opportunities represents merely a static snapshot, inflow and outflow give reps a sense of changing trends over time. I recommend that you measure inflow and outflow in units instead of dollars to keep things simple because dollar amounts could be all over the place due to future discounting, incorrect pricing estimation, etc.
  • Forecast: Both the number of deals and the associated dollar amounts of those deals forecasted to close during a selling period. 

Results Metrics

Results metrics are what most reps, managers, and leaders think of first when they create their dashboards. But keep in mind that results metrics hinge on the first two categories. You’ll need several months of data in order to see any significant performance trends.

Here are some results metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Win Rate Percentage: For instance, if a rep worked 30 opportunities during a sales cycle and won six deals, their win rate would be 20%. Average win rate among a team will fluctuate based on the selling circumstances. However, individual and team win rate should remain fairly constant within a somewhat narrow range. If your company has a solid sales process in place, win rates shouldn’t jump around wildly. Figure out what a sales rep’s benchmark win rate is, how that number aligns with the company’s benchmark, and take baby steps to improve it each year (yes, in the real world it takes longer than a quarter or a few quarters to get tangibly better in sales). 
  • Average Sales Cycle: This is the number of days it takes a rep on average to usher a deal from the opportunity stage to closed (not to be confused with Marketing Cycle -- the time between when a Lead is created and when it converts to an opportunity). This should also remain relatively consistent. If your sales cycle is jumping around arbitrarily and there hasn’t been a significant change in the sales process, that's a red flag. 
  • Average Deal Size (Dollars): How much is your typical deal worth in terms of dollars? Note that it’s important to isolate this metric by deal type, industry, target customer, etc. For example, if you have a sales team selling to large enterprises, their Average Deal Size should be computed separately from the SMB team's Average Deal Size. 

There is more data that sales teams could add to their dashboards, but I’d recommend starting here, and making adjustments as necessary to tailor analytics to your sales process. These metrics provide ample insight for reps, managers, and leaders alike. 

If you are looking for a sales dashboard tool for your team, I'd suggest checking out InsightSquared. For full disclosure, I ran Sales and Marketing at InsightSquared before I started my own company, but the reason I recommend the product is because it works great and helps sales teams succeed.

With current data at hand, reps don’t have to wait until the end of a month or quarter to shift gears on a strategy that isn’t working. Empower them with dashboards, and watch results climb.

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