Inside sales calling: It’s a results game.
To boost your chance of generating leads, booking appointments 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. Closing 20 record-breaking deals each day is the dream, but there’s no use blindly setting targets without first knowing what it is you want to achieve. Or how you can use your inside sales team to actually achieve it.
If you want to scale your sales team, hit your revenue targets, or blow the competition out of the water, you first need to set your KPIs based on actionable data insights.
With what seems like an endless number 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 know how to measure sales rep performance to get the most out of a sales pipeline. Whether you’re a sales manager looking to monitor team productivity, or a sales rep aiming to be your floor’s top earner, this blog explains five key inside call metrics to measure performance.
1. Calls per day
The calls per day metric is a common resource for sales productivity monitoring. The more calls a sales rep makes, the more opportunities they can generate. By tracking the number of calls made on a daily basis, sales leaders can outline an achievable benchmark for closing deals, based on productivity and capacity, in relation to key targets and monthly quotas.
This metric shouldn’t just be used to play a “big brother” role over a sales team. Measuring the number of calls made goes a long way toward helping reps understand their own 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 draw on this data to adjust their work schedule and meet their quotas. This makes workload management far more efficient. It reduces the need for vague “hit and hope” cold calling strategies.
2. Call-to-connect rate
The call-to-connect metric is one of the most useful KPIs a sales team can track. It helps measure the quality of conversations between sales and prospects. 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 genuine sales opportunities.
The connect rate centers around the biggest barrier to lead generation: keeping prospects engaged. A healthy conversation that shows sales potential is progress in the sales cycle, no matter if it’s with a decision maker or gatekeeper. Like calls per day, this metric offers a glimpse 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 that a large amount of time is being wasted chasing unengaged leads. The connect rate helps to build a view of the lead generation funnel and effective prospect targeting.
3. Average call time
The number of calls per day is valuable on its own, but inside sales reps shouldn’t be focused on blindly hitting a number. Outreach needs to be targeted, meaningful and authentic to physically generate sales and leads. Hitting the “calls made” benchmark does not indicate performance, or paint a full picture of outreach success.
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 quality, five-minute connections. This is why it’s important to track the average time spent on the phone with a prospective buyer. If they don’t hang up in the first 30 seconds, there’s a better chance that they’re interested in the product or service. By leveraging this data, we gain useful insight into the power of conversation flow, talk tracks and the approach taken.
Equally, it’s worth tracking average call time as 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.
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, and build 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 initial sales call.
If lead conversion rate sits below this benchmark, it’s a good sign that the rep is reaching out to the wrong audience. By studying this data, you can judge the link between lead identification and qualified opportunity. The results can then be leveraged to customize ICP to tailor lead identification.
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 1,000 calls are made and 100 deals are closed by the sales teams in one day, the closing deal rate is 10%.
Alone, the closing deal rate 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 large scale. The metric is useful in that it provides an overview of the sales process across the board. It can be seen as a rough summary of overall sales performance, indicating 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.
KPIs should support your team, not alienate them. These metrics should be used to craft a culture of sales performance and identity in your team. Root benchmarking in workable analytics and tried-and-tested practices.
Remember, you may not need all the data types — just the right ones for your team. What works for you might not work for the brand across the hall. Like everything inside sales, it’s about personalization, patience, and trial and error. While we all strive for rapid revenue growth, there’s no boilerplate formula for 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 Sales Services. A specialist in giving decision makers the insights they need to strengthen their teams and tell their story within their data.