Chuck Loeher, VP of Sales at G/O Digital, described it perfectly: That moment when a sales leader realizes his team’s definition of “having a conversation” with a prospect ranges from sending a smoke signal to the acceptance of a LinkedIn request.
It’s a common pain point for sales leaders. That’s why having clear-cut sales KPI definitions is just one part of a successful sales metric strategy.
They discussed everything from balancing leading and lagging indicators to aligning metrics between the executive suite and the front lines. Here’s a sneak peak of what they said, followed by a few of the most notable takeaways. (Listen to the whole thing here!)
The Expert Sales KPI Advice:
1. “One thing we definitely focus on doing is simplifying what the individual is looking to drive, because if everything’s important, nothing’s important to them.” – Alex Stepien, President of Cappex.com
Takeaway: Each sales KPI should motivate one activity — such as a call or meeting — and should have a clear definition that all sales reps understand. In addition, it’s a best practice for each team to focus on only 3-4 key activities per month or quarter; otherwise, reps won’t know where to focus their time.
2. “Sales metrics have to align with the executive team’s approach. If your sales organization is reporting in subscribers or closing, but your executive team is talking about total contract value, then you have a misalignment there.” – Michael Cox, Vice President of Fleetmatics
Takeaway: There needs to be clear alignment on which metrics you are using to define success for all teams that work with sales — that includes marketing, customer success and the C-suite. Once everyone is on the same page in terms of your goals (whether measured in subscribers, ACV or something entirely different), you can all work in tandem to reach them.
3. “We compare our KPIs in three ways: month against prior month….month against the same month one year prior…month against the prior year’s average. As we just finished February, we’re looking at February versus January. We’re looking at February of 2015, and we’re looking at 2015 average month within each KPI segment and team.” – Michael Cox, Vice President of Fleetmatics
Takeaway: Make sure you have a set structure for how you will measure the success of your sales KPIs. Whether it’s looking at growth month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year, pick something and stick with it for a while. If you find that it doesn’t accurately measure success, then don’t hesitate to change it. Just make sure you’re not changing the way you measure KPI success too frequently (and end up lacking in consistency).