New sales KPI study reveals most popular metrics used by top teams

Just weeks before the second annual Sales KPI report was published, CSO Insights released its first-ever sales management study. The main takeaway?

Quota attainment has decreased since 2012, and the missing ingredient is the sales manager’s ability to manage the right activities and coach the related behaviors (leading indicators) that lead to the desired results (lagging indicators).

2017 Sales KPI Report“… sales managers need to know what behaviors and activities lead to desired results, and how to guide their teams to the goal,” the report states.

This isn’t the first time researchers have come to this conclusion. “Cracking the Sales Management Code” authors Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana studied hundreds of sales metrics used by leading organizations and found out that results are not as controllable as the actions that lead to them. Therefore, sales managers must manage and motivate reps around the activities that lead to sales (instead of the results that come from their activities).

“If no more direction is given to the field than to achieve a business result, then management has only itself to blame when it cannot exert control over its sales force’s performance,” the authors write. “Reps are then left to chart their own paths to the top of the metrics hierarchy, and it is certain that they will do it in as many different ways as there are people in the sales force.”

The Ultimate Sales KPI Question

But which leading indicators should sales managers focus on? Calls? Building new pipeline? Meeting with decision makers?

LevelEleven’s research team embarked on its 2017 KPI research to find out. After analyzing more than 3,000 key performance indicators (KPIs) being used by over 800 sales teams, we are eager to let you know what we uncovered.

In the inaugural Sales KPI Report, we learned so much about how top sales teams use KPIs. This year, we’re excited to bring even more data to the report, including:

  • In-depth audience profile (with insights into the types of selling roles top organizations are using)
  • KPI advice from industry experts
  • “How Should I Use This Data?” section to ensure you get the most out of the report
  • Breakdown of sales KPI data by specific roles, including inside, field and hybrid sales
  • ROI statistics from actual sales leaders who’ve mastered this KPI approach.

And we did all of this to help you answer the ultimate sales KPI question for your own team: What activities will lead to the sales results you need?

A Sneak Peek at 2 sales KPI Insights

Here are two of the insights we found. (Grab your copy of the report for many more!)

Sales KPI Insight #1: Sales leaders are being more strategic about KPI choice.

LevelEleven’s KPI research identifies “interesting” sales KPIs, to highlight just how customized certain selling teams are getting with their KPIs. In this category, the 2016 KPI report included metrics like New Logo, Pipeline in Contract and Marketing Leads Created.

But this year’s list includes much more specific and unique metrics like …

  • Salesforce Hygiene
  • ROI Meetings
  • Opps > 15K
  • Slam Dunk Moments
  • Live Agent Chats

This suggests that sales leaders are thinking more critically about what specific sales activities need to happen for them to achieve quota.

Sales KPI Insight #2: Wins are still a priority.

No matter how we broke down the data, Wins made it to the top ten list every time. Sales organizations have indeed put more focus on guiding the inputs that will drive their desired outputs. But results will always matter. Not only do they help you understand the effectiveness of the sales team’s activities; but metrics like revenue growth and profit help people assess the overall health of the company.

“These are the topline numbers that everyone in the organization, including its shareholders, uses to gauge the success or failure of a business entity. These are also the metrics that go in financial statements and annual reports for the rest of the world to see. They’re pretty important and very high-profile numbers,” Jordan and Vazzana write in their book.

Needless to say, we expect wins to remain a priority for sales organizations. But there’s so much more information in the 2017 Sales KPI Report. Grab your complimentary copy by clicking on the graphic below.

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