Inside sales calling: it’s a results-driven game. In order to boost your chances of generating leads, getting opportunities, and closing deals through the phone… you’ll need to set your sales team up with achievable key performance indicators (KPIs).
Sales KPIs shouldn’t be based on guesswork. Sure, we all dream of closing 20 record-breaking deals each day… but there’s no use blindly setting KPIs without first knowing what you want to achieve. Or, how you can leverage your inside sales team to really achieve it.
If you want to scale your sales team or hit your revenue targets. If you want to blow the competition out of the water. You need to first set your KPIs based on actionable data insights.
With what seems like an endless amount of inside sales call data types to choose from, it’s hard not to feel the effects of analysis paralysis. That’s where we step in.
At Harte Hanks, we are highly experienced in inside sales. We know how to measure sales rep performance to get the most out of a sales team. Whether you’re a sales manager looking to monitor team productivity, or a sales rep aiming to be your team’s top-earner, this blog explains five of our key inside sales metrics to measure performance.
1. Calls per day
The calls per day metric is the brains of productivity monitoring within the inside sales funnel. The more calls that an inside sales rep makes, the more opportunities they can generate. By tracking the calls made on a daily basis, sales leaders can outline an achievable, generic benchmark for closing deals. This will be based on how rep capacity relates to key targets and monthly quotas.
This metric isn’t just used to play a ‘big brother’ role over a sales team. Measuring the number of calls per day goes a long way in helping reps to understand their own personal benchmarks for success. It quite literally puts lead generation into numbers.
For example, if a rep recognizes that they generate a new lead for every 15 outbound calls made, they can use this data to dictate their work schedule and meet their quotas. This makes managing workload far easier. It reduces the need for vague, ‘hit and hope’, cold calling strategies.
AT HARTE HANKS, WE SET THE BENCHMARK AT 80 CALLS PER DAY.
2. Call to connect rate
The call-to-connect metric is one of the most useful KPIs a sales team can have. It helps measure the quality of call conversations among sales departments. Your connect rate is the number of high-quality calls and connections a rep has compared to the number of calls they made in the customer acquisition channel. In simple terms, an increase in the connected rate means an increase in sales opportunities.
The connect rate centers around the biggest barrier to lead generation: keeping positive engagement with the prospect. Whether a rep speaks to a decision-maker or gatekeeper, any healthy conversation that shows sales potential is progress in the sales cycle. Like calls per day, this metric gives a look into a rep’s work rate. But this is based on skill-set and ability rather than call volume.
Inside sales reps are usually short on time. If a connection rate falls short of the benchmark, it can indicate time is being wasted chasing unengaged leads. The connect rate helps to build a view of the lead generation funnel and effective prospect targeting.
AT HARTE HANKS, WE SET THE CALL-TO-CONNECT BENCHMARK AT 12%
3. Average call time
The number of calls per day is valuable on its own. But inside sales reps shouldn’t focus on blindly hitting a number. Outreach needs to be targeted, meaningful, and genuine to generate sales. Merely hitting the calls-made benchmark doesn’t offer a full picture of sales fertility. Any half-decent inside sales rep can make 100 phone calls a day. The reps who spark high-quality, engaged conversation from the get-go will stand out in the crowd.
Reps should be encouraged to strike a balance between quantity and quality. Making 100 fifteen second calls isn’t nearly as promising as having ten effective, five-minute connections. This is why it’s important to track the average time spent on the phone with a prospective buyer. If prospects don’t hang up in the first 30 seconds, there’s a better chance that they’re interested in the product or service. By using this data, we gain useful insight into the power of the conversation-flow and outreach approach used.
By tracking average call time, you’ll also be more able to gauge the interest of the buyer. This will create informed insights for following up, closing deals, and making repeat sales.
Overall, noting call time helps teams identify weaknesses in their sales messaging and strategy. This makes it easier to analyze pain points and take action to improve it.
AT HARTE HANKS, WE SET THE BENCHMARK AT 120 SECONDS PER CALL.
4. Call to lead conversion rate
The call to lead conversion rate is the number of genuine leads identified compared to the number of outreaches made.
An inside salesperson may be expected to make 80+ calls a day. But a healthy number of these calls need to convert into an actual sales opportunity or a qualified lead. In the end, the goal of an outbound phone sales rep is to get through to a decision-maker. That is, to hold a meaningful conversation and spark interest in the product/service, building the groundwork for a sale.
We usually set the benchmark for call-to-lead conversion at 10%. If this target isn’t being met, it can mean a change in tactic is needed. This can be anything from calling at a different time of day… switching the outreach approach to email… or social selling to build up to that first sales call. It will usually depend on the nature of the prospect data.
Another reason for failing to hit benchmark is that the rep is reaching out to the wrong audience. This is where this metric comes in useful. By studying this data, you can judge the link between lead identification and qualified opportunity. The results can then be used to customize ICP to tailor lead identification.
AT HARTE HANKS, WE SET THE CALL-TO-LEAD BENCHMARK AT 10%
5. Closing deal rate
The closing deal rate is the number of deals closed compared to the number of outreach calls made. For example, if 1000 calls are made and 100 deals are closed in the sales teams in one day, the closing deal ratio is 10%.
Alone, the closing deal ratio doesn’t offer much insight into a rep’s work in the sales funnel. It’s used more often to measure and monitor a business’ sales strategy on a wide scale.
The metric is useful in that it provides an overview of the sales process across the board. It can be thought of as a rough summary of overall sales performance. It indicates the strength of an outbound sales strategy as a whole.
But remember: it’s normal that some sales reps will perform better than others. If there are large conflicts between the metrics above, it may show that the wider strategy itself needs to change. Not the person.
If the closing deal rate is low across the board, it could be a sign of something else. There may be increased competition. The market territory could be weaker. Buyer trends might be shifting. Or many other factors that can decrease sales.
Falling short of the set closing deal rate means an adjustment of the sales approach is needed. Look at key messaging and identify which selling points are firing and which are falling short. It may be that your target is not realistic. In this case you should draw on the metrics listed above to edit this KPI.
Time to pick up the phone!
So there you have it: five key data types to propel your inside call sales success.
It’s important to note that KPIs should support your team, not alienate them. These metrics should be used to craft a culture of sales performance identity in your team. To root benchmarking in workable analytics and tried-and-tested practices.
Remember, you don’t need ALL the data types – just the right ones for your team. What works for you might not work for those in the office next door. Like everything inside sales, it’s about personalization, patience, and trial and error. While we all strive for rapid revenue growth, there’s no general formula to sales performance success.
Invest the time to gather data and dig deeper into the results to build your knowledge from the ground up. You never know what you might find.
Business Intelligence Senior Manager at Harte Hanks Demand Generation. A specialist in giving decision makers the insights they need to strengthen their teams and tell their story within their data.