The last thing any sales team needs is to be left in the dark over their performance. As the old saying goes: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Accurate sales metrics are an effective way to measure each step of your process. They can quantify team performance and productivity, and strengthen decision-making. And they can give leaders a clearer view over where their team excels, or falls short.
It’s no secret that as a sales leader, your numbers matter. Today we have more data at our fingertips than ever before. This is thanks to the range of readily-available, AI-based tools like SalesLoft and Outreach. The question is: how do YOU use this data to its greatest effect?
Every sales rep knows the importance of tracking metrics. They’re the bread and butter of any great selling operation. But how do you identify and track the most appropriate sales KPIs for your teams, with an endless range to choose from?
In this blog, we take a deeper look at five inside sales metrics that you need to consider right now.
What are sales metrics?
Sales metrics are the numerical portrayal of your sales initiatives. They are the data behind each touchpoint, phone call, email, social outreach or cadence. These data points assess sales performance on a rep, team or company-wide basis. Metrics provide informed insights into the success of operations. They help leaders identify areas to work on, and back up decision-making.
In the big picture, sales metrics give a view into strategy and messaging. They give leaders the data into trends happening within their business. Armed with this data, sales leaders can optimize their processes and sales activities to improve RoE and RoI. They can reduce bottlenecks that slow their teams down.
At a more micro level, sales metrics make rep performance clearer. They give leaders a look into where certain SDRs aren’t meeting quota or their full potential. Using this, managers can direct coaching and deal with adoption challenges with info rooted in data.
What are the different types of metrics?
There are three key metrics for inside sales worth tracking for any team. This applies to any product or service, industry or territory. These are: Activities, Connections and Success. At Harte Hanks, we call these as the “Holy Trinity” of inside sales metrics.
Activity metrics are the numbers that measure rep performance in a certain time-frame. Calls-Per-Day. Emails-Per-Day. Social Touches-Per-Day. These are all typical examples.
When used in the right way, activity metrics are some of the most impactful sales data sets. They can help leaders to protect their sellers’ time and increase RoE. They also incentivize greater performance by informing the team on the average number of touchpoints they need to reach a goal. Remember, you can’t manage a team unless you know the activities they’re carrying out and how successful these are.
Measuring activity with common vanity metrics is only one side of the coin. Sales managers and reps can get too caught up in hitting call quotas and lose sight of the end-goal: closing deals. Any good seller can make 80 calls in a day… if none of those lead to closed deals or even booked appointments, it’s wasted effort.
Connection metrics measure the success of a sales team’s outreach efforts. They usually include metrics such as Engagement Rate, Speed-to-Lead and Call-to-Connect. Using the insights provided by this data, sales leaders can understand the performance of their processes. They can see where outreach activities and tonality used has been most potent across outreach efforts. With a view to replicating this for greater team-wide results.
Success metrics represent the outcomes of the entire sales process. They offer insight into Close Rates, Deals Won and market leadership. These often include Closing Deal Rate and Conversion Rates.
These metrics are useful as they provide a high-level overview of the sales process across the board. It’s proof of the strength of an outbound sales strategy as a whole. Falling short of success metrics is a good sign that a change is required. Analyze key messaging and identify where the strategy is producing a clear RoE, as well as where processes are falling short.
If you’re experienced in the world of inside sales, you’ve likely come across Speed-to-Lead at some point. It’s a metric that measures the average time it takes your sales team to respond to a qualified prospect. It starts from the moment they become a lead through an inbound channel. Typically, you may have seen 25 seconds as a “good” Speed-to-Lead benchmark.
But here’s the problem: Speed-to-Lead is outdated. In our current buyer reality, speed only gets you so far. It’s customer experience that really matters. Any good sales team can pick up the phone in 25 seconds or less. It’s no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation.
At Harte Hanks, we focus on Speed-to-Qualification instead. this metric doesn’t just rely on speed-to-conversation. Speed-to-Qualification grounds inbound enquiries in discussions that matter. It focuses on routing every enquiry to the most relevant seller each and every time. This helps sales teams to land more appointments based on worthwhile engagement, not just quick, weightless responses. By doing so, sellers boost both customer satisfaction and conversion rates.
Email engagement is any action that suggests the receiver has interest in what you’re offering. It’s one of the most useful metrics to measure email quality. It helps leaders and SDRs to make their email outreach more effective by bringing them in line with their prospects’ expectations. While there isn’t a defined “engagement” metric, we can measure audience engagement using the below metrics.
Open Rate: The number of emails opened, divided by the number of emails sent. Open rate can be used as a top-level overview of email campaign health. The higher the open rate, the better.
Click-Through Rate: The number of receivers who clicked on a link in an email campaign divided by the number of receivers. CTR is a great way to gauge buyer sentiment. It supports sellers in tailoring their campaigns to achieve greater conversion rates from their efforts.
Response Rate: The number of responses received, divided by the total number of emails sent. A high email response rate should be the intended outcome for any email campaign. This will obviously vary based on the industry, sector, geo and persona being targeted. Time will play an undoubted role on this metric.
Opt-Out Rate: The number of people who unsubscribe after an email is sent, divided by the number of receivers. A high opt-out rate can be a red flag for obvious reasons. It suggests that you’re either reaching the wrong audience or your messaging just isn’t well-targeted.
Call-to-Connect rate is one of the best inside sales call metrics for measuring the quality of cold-call outbound strategies. It’s the number of high-quality connections a sales rep has, compared to the number of calls made. As a standard, an increase in connected rate equals an increase in direct sales opportunities.
Whether a seller is speaking to a decision-maker or a gatekeeper, a high Call-to-Connect rate shows good prospect targeting. It’s a sign that outbound efforts are doing enough to speak to prospects on their terms. And they’re doing it at a time and place and in a style that appeals to their needs.
First time appointments (FTAs)
The goal of outreach is to convince a prospect to engage with what you’re offering them. To create a steady first touchpoint before moving them further through the sales funnel.
While the objective of any sales rep is to get an appointment the first time… a lack of success may not be their fault. As a sales leader, it’s important to track success on a macro level. You need to learn where cadences should be tightened for greater engagement and RoE.
Tracking the FTAs your strategy creates will offer a healthy insight into overall prospect engagement. FTAs are crucial pivot points that don’t just make or break new sales pipeline shots. They also reveal high-attention areas to be improved in the sales cycle.
For example, if you run multiple different cadences at once, FTAs offer a clear view of the success of each cadence. This helps leaders to judge engagement in real-time. Also, they can then tailor programs in line with their best-performing strategies.
Designing a best practice sales process or Play will have a major impact on win rates, forecast accuracy, and rep performance in your teams. That’s not to say that it will work from the get-go. A sales process is only as successful and effective as the sales people’s adoption of it.
It’s unfair to expect sales reps to switch to a new process straight away and without attrition. In fact, a Gartner survey of over 2000 reps found that 62% of seller burden could be due to complex internal processes that reps were asked to follow.
Tracking adoption rates provides a clear, structured overview of Play performance. Sales reps have been known to jump the gun to get an instant return on investment. They stray from the path of a well-defined Play or cadence to chase commission.
On a rep basis
If an adoption rate sits below a set benchmark, this is a good sign that your strategy doesn’t work for that person. In this situation, it’s important to stress the purpose of the Play to that seller. That could be due to visibility or name recognition rather than immediate win rates.
On a team basis
If adoption rates are low across the board, it suggests that you need a rethink on a strategy level. Adoption rates beneath your set benchmark can account for misfiring processes. Or it can be overzealous benchmarking that isn’t rooted in accurate, historical performance data.
As businesses rely more on inside sales, the value of accurate metric setting becomes even clearer. In fact, it’s vital if you want to stay competitive, keep growing and expand your pipeline.
Ultimately, your business will be able to analyze metrics, gain thorough feedback and dig deeper into messaging performance. Then you’ll be in the best place to understand what motivates buyers in the sales funnel. It makes it so much easier to engage existing customers. And you can attract new prospects with provable numbers that make a difference.
Looking to get started? We can help. At Harte Hanks we have all of the benchmarking data to support you. That way you can set accurate, real-time metrics for your team – with the technology to analyze these metrics as they happen.
Get in touch with our experts today to learn how we can drive your team’s performance forward.
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.