6 Vital Sales Effectiveness Metrics to Drive Improvements in Your Company
Business today is conducted in a rapidly evolving, highly competitive arena where any advantage gained can count for a significant increase in revenue. Companies are striving for any competitive advantage that could increase their market share. To increase revenue, companies have typically sought to increase sales volume by hiring new sales personnel, increasing sales training, or increasing their investment in marketing. Recently however, many companies have started to adopt a leaner, more agile approach to increasing revenue. Instead of taking the conventional route to increased revenue, companies are looking inwards to see what improvements can be made in their sales processes. As a result, sales effectiveness has become a major priority in organizations across all sectors of business today.
Sales effectiveness is concerned with the strategies, technologies, and enablers companies leverage to improve sales performance. Companies may seek to improve sales effectiveness by examining their current procedures in hiring, sales training, marketing and sales alignment, as well as how effectively they translate new technologies and solutions into business benefits. Essentially, each and every aspect of lead generation and the sales funnel is up for review when it comes to improving sales effectiveness.
Sales Effectiveness Metrics
The increased focus on sales effectiveness has been accompanied by the emergence of a range of sales effectiveness tools. These technologies, when effectively incorporated into current sales process, have the potential to bring vital organizational improvements which in turn help to increase market share and influence. With more and more companies investing in these sales effectiveness technologies, we took some time to put together a list of the 6 vital sales effectiveness metrics against which your technology deployment can be measured. Indeed, these metrics may also shine a light on weaknesses in your sales processes that can be addressed with sales effectiveness technology. With these sales effectiveness metrics it is worth remembering that sales effectiveness differs from sales efficiency. While sales efficiency concerns the speed with which each phase of the sales process is performed at, sales effectiveness focuses on doing each of these things better.
1. Conversion Rate
One straightforward metric that provides companies with some insight into their level of sales effectiveness is conversion rate. By measuring the number of opportunities at each stage of the sales funnel, you can gain a level of understanding into the how accurately you qualify opportunities. If you are losing a large number of leads in the early stages, it may be a sign that your sales team are lacking in product knowledge, or may be struggling to build a rapport with potential customers. In this situation, it might be time to improve sales effectiveness by investing in sales training or sales effectiveness tools that provide your sales team with access to the best sales content when and where they need it.
If total leads, prospects, or qualified leads per sales is less than satisfactory, you will have to examine some other factors around these results such as lead source details or the size of the opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of your sales effectiveness. Conversion rate can however be a useful starting point from which you can gauge a general overview of the level of sales effectiveness in your company.
2. Win Rate
Similar to conversion rate, but focussing solely on the final phase in the sales funnel, win rate is a useful sales effectiveness metric that can reveal the strength of your company’s value proposition or the performance of your sales team. Anything lower than an industry average of around 1 win for every 3 opportunities means sales effectiveness is not where it should be at your company.
3. Sales Activities
Ostensibly quite a broad metric, a measurement of sales activities does however offer a valuable insight into the level of sales effectiveness at your company. By deciphering where exactly sales teams are spending their time, companies can pinpoint weaknesses in the sales process. By examining sales activities – either manually or via a software platform like Ambition – companies can quickly spot where sales effectiveness is being hampered. Sales activities are also the metric that managers have the most control over. Sales activity metrics may include:
- Sales planning
- Administrative tasks
- Sales team meetings
- Sales training/coaching sessions
By examining sales activities, companies can quickly spot where sales effectiveness is being hampered. If, for example, sales reps are spending an above average amount of time on administrative tasks it might be time to invest in some sales effectiveness tools such as a CRM system that can help automate some of these time-consuming tasks. Another area many sales reps struggle in is content retrieval. If your sales team are wasting valuable selling time searching for relevant content amongst the large volume of documents companies have at their disposal today, then maybe it is time to invest is a sales effectiveness technology that eliminates this problem.
4. Sales Content Quality
The boom in content marketing means sales reps today are equipped with the perfectly tailored sales collateral for almost every situation. More targeted sales content is being developed as buyers evolve from uninformed information-seekers to knowledgable suitors who now enter the sales process at a much later stage. By positioning themselves in a more consultative role and equipped with the most relevant content, sales reps can still have a decisive impact on the buyer.
It is important that the sales content is of sufficient quality to impress the well-researched buyer. A number of sales effectiveness tools have emerged that provide companies with ROI details on each piece of sales content. These sales effectiveness tools have become vital as content-heavy selling strategies continue to dominate. Sales content quality is a vital metric which these technologies can provide access to. As companies devote more time and resources to developing sales content, it is critical that quality and ROI is measured. Invest in software that eliminates open loop marketing and increase sales effectiveness at your company.
5. Alignment of Quotas with Company Objectives
Although not immediately quantifiable, the alignment of sales quotas with company objectives is an important sales effectiveness metric. To ensure quotas align with company objectives sales leaders might have to take some time to examine each reps’ quota. They must ensure that one product line is not being inadvertently pushed over another as sales reps look to meet their quota.
6. Sales Pipeline Accuracy
- Sales forecasts: With 30, 60, or 90 day forecasts companies can effectively plan for future growth. Sales leaders will also be able to tell which deals they should devote most of their time towards.
- Resource allocation: With an accurate indication of future revenue, companies will be able to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.
- Track the flow of each deal: With an accurate sales pipeline, sales managers will be able to quickly spot if deals are taking longer than average.
Increased sales effectiveness requires an accurate pipeline. Too often companies develop pipelines that misrepresent current sales processes. Sometimes companies may invest in CRM systems and create a pipeline that matches the new system instead of the realities of the core sales activities in existence. True sales effectiveness requires sales leaders to leverage the capabilities of CRM systems and other sales effectiveness tools that provide detailed pipeline analysis and analytics, while ensuring the pipeline accurately reflects the operational sales process.
Written by Cóbhan Phillipson