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We live in the platinum age of data. There’s probably, if anything, too much of it. But more than that, we are getting smarter and smarter every day—not just about how we can measure things, but what are the best things to be measuring in the first place.
Enter KPIs. KPIs, beyond being simple benchmarks, allow us to better understand how we as a sales organization can improve. In short: what behaviors lead to the best results. And that’s why we’ve curated five essential KPIs for your inside sales organization: measurements that, from our standpoint, can lead any inside sales team to work smarter and more efficiently.
But before we dive in, one important reminder: KPIs, just like sales organizations are not one-size-fits-all. In fact, a KPI that works super well for one sales team may simply not make sense for a similar organization. That’s because we all have different products, different processes, and different people. And in the spirit of getting started, here are those KPIs you so diligently didn’t scroll down to read yet:
Here’s a KPI that can give you a lot of data to make smart business decisions right off the bat: how long are your reps spending on the phone with prospects and customers?
If you’ve got high performing reps who have very low average call times, is there something that you can teach to lower performers about getting off the phone quicker? Or on the other hand, does it seem like lower performers spend less time with prospects than those that actually close sales?
Only when you have true datasets can you start to find corollaries. And once you find corollaries, then you can start to set guidance that helps everyone perform better.
Whether it’s a matter of simply having leads loaded and ready to pursue, it’s essential that your inside sales reps be cognizant not only of having a pipeline, but the quality of that pipeline—and furthermore how much revenue that potential could bring.
Think of it this way: are you happier with a rep who brings in $10,000 off of one sale, or a rep who makes ten sales totaling $5,000?
If your goal as a business is to make a profit, you’re probably happier with the one sale. Data Visualization company Klipfolio puts this KPI into perspective well: “While not every potential customer will convert into a paying customer, tracking the total amount of revenue that all potential customers in the pipeline could bring in helps your team realize the value of their pipeline.”
This transforms your team from simply thinking about closing sales, to making the best use of every potential sales—wasting less time on hunting down the smallest fish just to check a box.
Simply put, activity efficiency measures how many different activities (emails, phone calls, etc.) it takes to turn a prospect into a customer.
An essential study from Insight Squared tells us, “While measuring the number of activities your reps perform gives you a baseline understanding of their effort and productivity, tracking efficiency ratios is much more important because it shows you the downstream conversion rates of these activities, such as how many dials it takes your reps to source a single opportunity.”
In other words, maybe phone calls are a waste of time where an email or two can get someone’s attention much faster. Remember: it’s about working smarter, not harder.
Sophia Bernazzani raises a fundamental issue when she says that “It’s important to look at the big picture of a customer … Are they actually seeing value from your product or service?”
She goes on to point out that care for customers isn’t just about inking a contract—it’s about helping them to maximize your product long after you close the initial sale: “reps need to ensure that their customers are not only surviving, but thriving with their product. They must follow up with clients, offer assistance with problems, and help them proactively strategize for the future.”
If you’re in the business of holding on to contracts for the long-haul, it’s essential that you’re tracking client engagement beyond the “first date.” Are your customers still happy? Who’s to truly know if your reps aren’t taking the time to actually engage their clients?
This, in many ways, is one of the most actionable KPIs you can apply to your team. It’s something that’s going to help you truly take your team’s temperature, and allows you to dig into layers that might not have otherwise occurred to you.
Conversion Rate, often known as Client Acquisition Rate, is essential how often your inside sales reps are turning prospects into customers. Are they converting one prospect every ten calls? One for every one hundred? Any answer immediately opens the door to smart, tangible questions.
As Richard April reminds us, “ It’s natural for some salespeople to perform better than others — but if there are large discrepancies between conversion rates, dig deeper.”
Let’s say you’ve got sales rep A who can convert one in every twenty prospects, and sales rep B who’s converting one in every four. The primary conclusion might just be that Rep B is just a better saleswoman than Rep A. But upon investigation, you realize that the territory Rep B is covering naturally has a lot more qualified leads—or maybe you discover that rep A hasn’t been following proper sales guidance. By analyzing this KPI, you’re now able to correct the mistakes Rep A is making, rather than simply seeing that one rep’s numbers are lower than another and letting that low performer flounder.
In all of this, remember that KPIs are supposed to work for your team, not the other way around. Maybe you’ll find that these five are exactly what you need to jumpstart your team’s performance, or maybe just one of them works for you. Whatever the case, start digging into the data: you’ll be surprised what you can find out.
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