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Activity-based sales KPIs are the window to the soul of your sales team.

At least, that’s according to Versature VP of Sales Dwayne Mansfield.

Dwayne told us that when he started the sales team at Versature, it was imperative that the key performance indicators were based on the behaviors needed to reach revenue goals set by the organization.

“By creating a minimum threshold for calls, meetings, opportunities and demos, and tying those into monthly and annual compensation, we rewarded the behaviors needed for success.”

Sales leaders like Dwayne across the globe are reaping the benefits of managing and motivating their teams with sales KPIs. After releasing our inaugural Sales KPI Report, we decided to learn more about the state of sales KPIs in modern sales teams.

The State of Sales KPIs

Who’s using KPIs?

As a sales leader, Janet Jenson, the director of high velocity sales for new business at Paycor, says it’s amazing how she relies on that quick little snapshot of key metrics.

“The ease at which I can get my fingers and eyes on that critical information is just astounding to me,” she says.

State of Sales KPIsBut KPIs aren’t just for sales leaders.

“It’s really important that a salesperson can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to perform and exceed their quota,” says HubSpot Director of Global Business Development Justin Hiatt. “And breaking down each step of the sales process with a measurable KPI is a really sound best practice.”

How are they determining KPIs?

We promise, it’s not rocket science. The key to determining the best KPIs for your team is to work backwards through your sales process.

Justin explains that results ultimately stem from the right activities, so working backwards from the end goal, like revenue, to the front end of the sales process will actually help the salesperson understand the necessary activity required to achieve their goal.

If a sales rep has a revenue goal, he adds, it’s important to understand how many demos it traditionally takes for one to close a deal, how many meetings it takes to establish or secure a demo, how many people you need to connect with to set that meeting and what your overall activity is to connect with people.

“By working backwards, you can set a really nice, measurable KPI along the sales process,” he says.

Which metrics do they focus on?

Industrial organizational psychologist and Talent Metrics Consultant Dy. Sy Islam says that KPIs should be related to actual behavior, not merely sales goals. So sales leaders should focus on leading indicators, instead of lagging ones (a quick refresher on both here).

“You can identify these key behaviors by looking at your best salespeople and identifying not just outcomes like sales and lead generation, but also behaviors that lead to those outcomes, such as setting up meetings, networking, etc.,” Dr Sy comments, adding that those specific type of behaviors can be coached.

What are they using them for?

Mainly, sales performance management. KPIs show sales leaders who’s ahead, and who needs a little coaching.

What’s more, KPIs are actually motivating sales reps to perform more activities.

With a good KPI, reps can see exactly how far away from their goal they are and what they can do about it. Janet said that it can feel very insurmountable as a seller to look at the big number for the month or quarter or year.

But because the sellers can see really that they have just one more or just three more, it makes them do that one more thing or three more things to get them to where they need to be,” she told us.

Why do reps care about KPIs?

Here’s the kicker: none of this will work if reps aren’t hitting KPIs. But some sales leaders have come up with effective ways to get their reps to care about key performance indicators.

“By linking the KPIs directly to compensation, we create an environment in which KPIs are embraced by the sales staff,” Dwayne told us.

Amy Appleyard, the VP of Inside Sales for Staples Advantage, can’t emphasize enough aligning KPIs to commission plans and communicating that hitting your KPI targets is going to lead to financial gain.

“If we help folks see what they need to do to maximize their commission plan, I know they’re going to meet our larger financial objectives because it’s all tied together,” Amy says.

So now you’ve got the lay of the land on the impact KPIs are having on modern sales teams.

But there’s so much more. Fill out the form below to get the full Sales KPI Report for free:

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The State of Sales KPIs [Podcast]
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The State of Sales KPIs [Podcast]
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Sales leaders across the globe are reaping the benefits of managing and motivating their teams with sales KPIs. Here's how. 
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Level Eleven
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