Every data-driven sales leader needs sales metrics. That much we can all agree on.

what are the best sales metricsAs Torrent Consulting Chief Visionary Phil Brabb’s says, metrics-driven teams know where they want to go and what they need to monitor to make sure they get there.

But the act of having sales metrics alone doesn’t guarantee success. Which sales metrics are best for your team? How many should you have? And what should they tell you?

The ideal sales metric setup looks different for every sales organization, and that’s why the answers to these questions can vary.

Here’s how ten modern business leaders answered this question on Quora. (Note that some posts have been edited for length).

What Sales Metrics Should You Use?

1. Zorian Rotenberg, CEO, Atiim Inc.

“There are three critical sales metric categories that are important for sales reps, and the key metrics I would recommend [for each] are below:

1. Activities

  • # of activities (e.g. dials)
  • Activity ratios / conversions to opportunities and to deals (i.e. it’s not just the quantity of your activities, but ultimate conversions to closed-won deals that matters more)
  • Activity results vs. activity goals (i.e. what’s the discrepancy, and is it consistent?

2. Pipeline

  • Historical pipeline trend (and coverage ratio for pipeline [to] deal)
  • Pipeline inflow/outflow
  • Forecasting accuracy (what rep forecasted vs. won)

3. Closed Deals

  • Sales cycle (i.e. win cycle)
  • Loss cycle (i.e. how long the rep’s lost deals stall in pipeline)
  • Sales funnel conversions vs. team average (i.e. is rep converting too few deals, and then where is the leakage in the process and between which stages?)”
2. Bill Freedman, Senior Director of Marketing, Appcito

“The dashboards I use fall into four broad categories: activities, outcomes, alerts and ratios:

Activities:

  • Number of leads created in time period
  • Number of leads accepted/worked in time period
  • Number of opportunities created in time period
  • Number of activities: open state
  • Number of activities: completed state

Outcomes:

  • Wins: count
  • Wins: revenue
  • Stage advancements: count
  • Losses by stage: count
  • Completed activities/day

Alerts:

  • Largest opportunities forecasted in period
  • Untouched or overdue activities
  • Stalled opportunities
  • Forecasts

Ratios:

  • Opportunities created from lead universe
  • Wins from opportunity universe
  • Activities per day
  • Activities per opportunity

Each day as I look at these, I’m inspired to focus on revenue, strategize on where to put effort and how to fix lagging metrics that are responsible for helping me achieve my revenue goals.”

3. Trish Bertuzzi, President and Chief Strategist, The Bridge Group

“My favorite metric to measure is forecasting accuracy. If the rep is outside of +/- 15% then I know I have a problem. It denotes they do not have a handle on their pipeline which leads to a conversation in which we review other metrics where we compare their performance to other conversion benchmarks.

To sum up: forecasting accuracy supported by conversion metrics NOT activity metrics is the key to success in my honest opinion.”

4. Robert Oswald, Payments Analyst, WorldPay

For broad goals, some important ones are:

  • How many leads were created?
  • How many leads converted into real opportunities?
  • How many opportunities turned into closed deals?
  • How much revenue was generated this month?
  • How much revenue was generated this month vs. last month or vs. six months ago or vs. the same month last year?
  • What’s the average length of time from lead creation to closed deal?
  • IF it’s possible to break down, what verticals have the highest close rate?  The lowest?
  • Which products/services have the highest close rate?  The lowest?”
5. Jason M. Lemkin, Investor and Founder Champion, SaaStr Fund

“Let me add one from the CEO perspective that I found very valuable in the post-traction and scaling phase (from about $400k in ARR to $10-$15m or so, or from a couple of reps up to 20-30 or so): Revenue Per Lead (measured per individual and per segment).

Leads are precious as you are scaling. What I wanted to make sure was that first, reps weren’t wasting leads. And that second, the optimal amount of leads were flowing to each rep.

Eventually, this is a subordinate metric to just plain revenue but at the CEO level, when I was trying to figure out how it all worked and when we had leads, but were still learning here … Revenue Per Lead (across reps and across categories) was very helpful to track.”

6. Justyn Howard, Founder and CEO, Sprout Social

“Some of these metrics are specific to SaaS and trials, but may be generally useful. For all of our primary metrics, we break everything into teams and segments. Segmenting might be one of the most important aspects of our sales reporting.

Then we look at:

Lead flow (by segment)

Yield per lead (by rep, by segment, by team)

Conversion rate (by rep, by segment, by team)

Order size/ARPU (by rep, by segment, by team)

Funnel percent by stage (who’s moving leads effectively, who has a stoppage)

The 2nd-5th metrics are related and allow us to easily identify opportunities at the rep or team level. We organize these metrics relative to peers for easy benchmarking, as well as relative to the individual’s past performance so we can identify individual trends.

Your key metrics might vary, but they should be fairly straightforward. The harder part is determining the right way to segment and organize the data to tell the story you need it to tell. You can have all of the data in one place, but if it’s not organized and segmented the right way the value decreases sharply.”

7. Evan Bartlett, Sales Director – Sales Lab / New Products, Zocdoc

“Activity and pipeline are the big ones, and here’s why:

Activity – phone calls, emails, voicemails, etc. Tracking this lets you see where the team is spending its time. When used in conjunction with pipeline, you’ll see whether or not you’re getting the desired results (deals closed, and deals moving toward closing in a timely manner).

Pipeline (deal stages) – first call, value prop, buying questions, negotiation, etc. These are the results. If you track each step a deal takes as it moves through your sales process, you can see how fast deals get closed as a result of your ‘work’ up above.

When you make changes in activity, you should see changes in your pipeline, and you can figure out how to get the most mileage out of your activities.”

8. Brandon Redlinger, Sales and Marketing, PersistIQ

“Activity Metrics: Let’s start at the very top with activity metrics. These metrics are leading indicators of success, meaning if these numbers are healthy, it’s a sign of success to come later in the funnel …

Effectiveness Metrics: These are numbers that can begin to assess how successful a team is at the activities they’re doing each and every day …

Results Metrics: When we look at closed deals, there is valuable information to be gleaned. Results metrics are the bottom line and ultimately what really matters to a sales team … ”

9. Sean Burke, CEO of KiteDesk

“Here are the top measurements we use at KiteDesk (a SaaS Sales Platform Provider).

  • Our sales rep dashboard includes:
  • Quota attainment
  • Close Ratio
  • Time to Close
  • Average deal size
  • % of reps that meet quota
  • Average deal size in pipeline
  • New pipeline created – monthly
  • Number of deals in the pipeline
  • Our leads dashboard includes:
  • # of opportunities created by lead source
  • $ of opportunities created by lead source
  • # of opportunities generated by SDR
  • $ of opportunities generated by SDR
  • New revenue generated by lead source
  • New revenue generated by SDR

There are many more you can use that are not listed above (i.e. activity numbers for reps, unit economics/rep, etc.)”

10. Shree Krupa K, Marketing Content Creator at Vtiger CRM

“Sales managers who lead high-performing sales teams are fundamentally data-driven. Critical to a high-performance culture is the use of key performance indicators to measure progress toward goals and to identify opportunities for improvement.

For example, if a manager wants to accelerate his reps’ average time to close a deal, then he starts by measuring that metric across all reps. To improve the average, he finds the reps that have the fastest closing times and studies their sales tactics to see if there are strategies that slower closing reps could employ. Once his slower reps employ those tactics, their closing times improve and the average increases.

Selecting which factors to measure, beyond the obvious, can be a difficult task. We often see managers trying to measure everything, but this often results in spreading efforts to improve, too thinly across all of them, and subsequently little improvement.”

So which sales metrics should you and your team focus on? Check out our research for guidance:

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Best Sales Metrics Defined by 10 Modern Business Leaders
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Best Sales Metrics Defined by 10 Modern Business Leaders
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The ideal sales metric setup looks different for every sales organization. Here’s what ten modern business leaders said are the best sales metrics.
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