As a business owner or entrepreneur, you need to track your sales performance. But how do you do this? What are the best metrics? Which metrics are a waste of time? What are sales metrics?
In a nutshell, sales metrics are sets of data that show performance. They might track company-wide, team, or individual performance (or all three). They are useful because they allow you to set goals, measure progress, adjust your goals, see problems, and plan changes accordingly.
For example, Activity Sales Metrics measure things like number of phone calls made, the number of emails you sent, the number of conversations you had, or the number of meetings scheduled. Yet these don’t necessarily tell you about your business’ performance. As a result, not all popular metrics are created equally.
Call Activity We all know the axiom, “sales is a numbers game.” While this is true, some people take this to mean that the more sales calls you make, the better. Yet a salesperson needs to demonstrate much more than call volume as a measure of success.
Saying you made 25 calls today sounds impressive, but is it productive? Does it add to your bottom line?
More than anything, call activity indicates patterns which lead to success. This is especially true for newer salespeople who need measurable, attainable goals. Instead of using call activity as a measure of success, use it to coach people towards correct action.
Number of Appointments Booked This metric is one of the worst sales metrics. Why? First of all, compared to calls, emails, or other forms of contact, appointments are costly. Secondly, gauging success based solely on appointment volume doesn’t indicate results.
Are these appointments fruitful? Are they leading to sales? How many sales? In the end, an abundance of appointments can be a drain on company finances and a waste of valuable time.
Sales Cycle TimeYour sales cycle is the time between initial contact with customer and closing a sale. On the surface, a shortened sales cycle appears to be an indicator of success. But, is it? In comparison, does a longer sales cycle mean your salespeople aren’t effective at closing the sale? Not necessarily.
To be clear, shortened sales cycles aren’t an accurate gauge of your sales process’ effectiveness. Also, longer sales cycles don’t equal an ineffective sales process.
One of the best suggestions for shortening your sales cycle is starting it as close to the sale as possible. By refining your company’s sales cycle, you aren’t putting more pressure on salespeople who then pressure their customers. Instead, you’re simplifying the cycle and making it easier to navigate for everyone.
The top metrics sales organizations use provide meaningful data which track performance. Using the right metrics can set you up for success. On the other hand, the wrong metrics doesn’t let you accurately set goals, measure your business’ progress, or tweak your goals. And using the wrong metrics won’t show problems, help you make strategic changes, or add to your bottom line. So make sure your sales metrics are useful rather than popular.