Dozens of our sales experts give their advice on the best SMART sales goals to employ with your teams to see more results, and better pipeline performance.
Sales | Mar 31
Elise Dopson on February 4, 2020 (last modified on February 5, 2020) • 16 minute read
They also have tons of non-revenue-generating tasks on their plate, including:
All of these tasks working to help them (and the company) close more deals.
So, how do you track the performance of all of this?
For starters, by communicating and agreeing upon a set of KPIs that your sales reps continually measure in order to execute and make adjustments.
We wanted to find out what real companies are tracking. So, we asked 25+ of them to share their most important sales rep KPI. That included:
Did you know that the average B2B buying process involves more than five people?
Ed Marsh of IntentData.io explains: “You will fail if you’re only engaging with a single deal champion. Whether you lose to competitors or to the status quo doesn’t matter. It’s still a loss.
“Kerry Cunningham of Forrester (formerly Sirius Decisions) talks about the 2nd lead disease. Companies most often get excited about the first lead from a new logo, then the 2nd is less of an event. That’s backward! The 2nd one is when you start to know there’s a real opportunity.”
“So using a wide variety of first and third-party intent data, outbound prospecting, ABM marketing, and social selling are critical to surround the account,” Marsh continues.
“As a sales manager, I wouldn’t allow qualification of pipeline beyond the first funnel stage if opportunities didn’t have at least three people from key roles associated and in contact.”
*Editor’s note: Do your sales team use HubSpot’s CRM to track leads? With our Pipeline Performance dashboard, you’ll be able to visualize how many people pass through each stage–and spot missed opportunities:
There are two types of lead your company will be tracking, as Hill Gaming Company‘s Casey Hill explains: “In general, the MQL is a lead that fits the parameters set by the campaign (company size, role in organization, revenue etc.) whereas a SQL is a lead that has undergone a talk with sales who has vetted the specific client’s needs with a finer lens.”
Ashley Sterling of The Loop Marketing explains why the latter–SQLs–should be a KPI your sales reps should monitor: “While leads are important, quality over quantity is where your company will see revenue and overall company health increase.”
“Communicating clearly from sales to marketing when a qualified lead is in progress will enhance your company’s capability to narrow the top of the funnel and expedite closing.”
“Having clear communication to recognize and identify those leads is a key way to make sure your sales and marketing teams are working together to launch the company into higher YOY earnings,” Sterling adds.
“The cost per lead is something that every startup can pay special attention to, especially when you’re operating on seed money,” according to UpFlip‘s Hope Ashley.
“Set a strict amount, and only make exceptions during very special circumstances. Remember that your lead costs have been worked into your budget, so going over in costs can create a severe imbalance.”
“I believe an important KPI to track that most people miss is the percentage of leads pursued that convert into paying customers/clients (lead-to-sale conversion rate),” says Alving Garcia of M is Good.
“For most service-related businesses, tracking this number opens up an entire world of being able to track your return on ad spend (ROAS) or return on investment (ROI).”
Garcia explains: “For example, let’s say we have a chimney sweep company that does 100 jobs a month and the average cost of service is $2,500.”
“If we have our tracking set up correctly for the marketing and sales funnel/pipeline, then we can say that if we receive 100 calls from our marketing efforts, and sales reps are able to convert 20 of those 100 calls than you have a 20% lead-to-sale conversion rate.”
“This allows the company to know how much money it can invest into gathering those 100 leads because we know that those 20 leads will generate $2,500 per call or $50,000 in revenue.”
“So if marketing can generate a phone call for $50 CPA (cost-per-acquisition) and we need at least 20 phone calls for 1 verified job, then we know it cost $1,000 to get those 20 calls (20x$50) and we make $2,500 from that 1 call so we have a profit of $1,500 ($2,500-$1,000).”
“Depending on our operating costs, overhead, etc. we know how far down to move that “profit” number and the marketing department can decide what the optimal Cost per Acquisition (CPA) is.”
“Looking at it from the sales department side, we can decide if a 20% lead-to-sale conversion rate is good enough or if our sales rep need to work harder to increase that rate thus allowing us to either spend less in marketing for the same amount of paid jobs or if we increase marketing spend to increase revenue and scale the company,” Garcia summarizes.
“When it comes to sales reps, the main goal should always be sales/revenue as that’s what is expected from them, however, revenue is often done through new business,” says Contrast Digital‘s Ryan Moore.
“Client acquisition rates is a KPI that every sales rep should track, as it allows the rep and the business to understand the rate at which customers are being converted into generating revenue.”
Moore adds: “Client acquisition rates also measures how a sales rep could convert non-qualified leads within the funnel into a sales qualified lead and ultimately generate revenue which is a sales rep’s goal.”
Gigworker‘s Norhanie Pangulima argues that “different sales KPIs can either directly or indirectly affect the rep’s sales outcome but if you need to focus on but one KPI that will positively boost results, it should be the conversion rate.”
“This doesn’t mean that all the others are not important. But the conversion rate, when tracked regularly, will lead the rep to look into the other KPIs and reflect on why it was low and identify key opportunities or why it was high and keep doing the best practices.
“This process will even help the rep develop a personal formula that works for him/her to produce high results.”
Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray agrees and adds how you can measure this using one calculation: “How many leads you need to contact to get one sale. If you can decrease this number, by working as much you’ll automatically make more sales.”
Damien Marti of Shufti Pro adds: “For sales reps, it’s incredibly important to look out for leads and then have them convert into loyal paying customers.”
“It’s the single most important metric because it helps manage a number of different variables such as customer acquisition cost that tells you how much value is being extracted from the customer base.”
“Moreover, revenue per visitor and business growth is deeply linked with lead conversion rates, signaling how well sales efforts are adding to actual revenue streams.”
Summarizing, Marti says: “It also tells you that other cross-departmental efforts are being made in the right direction. For instance, design, marketing, and tech support.”
According to Paul Davis of Paul Davis Solution, “one of the most important and overlooked KPIs for sales reps is the approach to presentation ratio.”
“Through proper qualification and rapport building, the approach becomes absolutely necessary for closing clients. If sales reps are not approaching the right leads or are not building rapport with those leads before moving forward in the sales process, closing at the end of the presentation or demo becomes that much more difficult.”
Melanie Musson says the team at US Insurance Agents thinks “it’s critical to see how sales investments return.”
(It makes sense, really; you’d do the same for any other campaign.)
“If something is out of whack with your system, even landing a great number of sales won’t be worth it if you’re spending too much to do it,” Musson adds.
Wendy Barlin of Barlin Business Solution likes “to track the COST of the sale [because] many salespeople spend an awful lot of money wining and dining prospects.”
“I like to use a factor of time and money to decide on what my % cost of the sale is,” Barlin adds.
“I think monthly revenue is an important KPI for every sales rep to track,” says CommuteStream‘s Shane Younan. “This metric is what will lead to an annual increase in revenue, which is the objective of most businesses.”
“This KPI can be broken down further by having the sales rep track weekly growth to be sure they are on track to reach their monthly goals.”
In fact, this weekly growth could fit in with the 40%+ of experts who think sales reps should monitor their KPIs weekly:
“Sales volume by location is a big one for me – especially when [Shophysio are] targeting such a large geographic region (the United States) with our range of physical therapy and health equipment, we’re keen to see how the sales are doing across the whole of the US but also on a state-by-state level,” says Eloah Manzoli.
“Whilst we may rely heavily on some regions, we need to ensure we’re not falling too far behind in others. This lets us keep a tight level of control on not only my sales but that also from other members of our team.”
SuperMoney‘s Andrew Latham thinks: “The client acquisition rate of a sales rep or a sales campaign is an excellent benchmark to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It tells you a lot about the quality of your leads and your performance as a sales rep.”
“Measuring your customer acquisition rate by marketing method (i.e., email, organic search, affiliates, cold-calling) will also help you calculate their ROI so you can focus your efforts on the most successful channels,” Latham adds.
*Editor’s note: Don’t waste time digging around your sales software to find where your best leads come from. Grab out HubSpot Leads by Source dashboard to find your best (and worst) acquisition channels:
“All sales representatives should monitor average revenue per account, or average revenue per unit (ARPU),” says Lauren Gast of Truck Drivers Institute.
“This measures the average amount of revenue your company receives from a client, whether an individual person or another business. Ideally, this KPI shows a pattern of growth over time and is also lower than your acquisition costs.”
Gast continues: “You can utilize ARPU to calculate how well your company is doing in comparison to your competitors. If you want a revenue forecast, you can use your ARPU to get a more accurate number than you would otherwise with only customer acquisition and retention assumptions.”
You know the cost of the sale, and how much profit you’ll make.
But iHeartRaves‘ Brandon Schroth explains how you should take this even further by calculating a contribution margin: “This is a product’s price minus all associated variable costs, resulting in the incremental profit earned for each product sold.”
“This is important because it represents the total earnings available to pay for fixed expenses and to generate a profit. It comes in handy when deciding whether to sell a product at a lower price.”
The average sales rep spends 51 minutes on the phone to a new prospect.
But San Diego Team Building‘s Jeremy Cross thinks “sales reps should be tracking minutes on the phone to close a deal. This timing metric is a common one for customer service agents, with the goal of spending less time fixing any one issue.”
“For sales reps, the lowest possible time may not be ideal. In some industries, spending more time will make the lead more invested and therefore more likely to buy from you.”
“As a rule of thumb, if your product is $250 or less, you should probably be aiming for quick calls. Higher ticket sales can be longer but still aim to be internally consistent between sales periods and sales reps,” Cross summarizes.
However, DealBloom‘s Justin McGill adds that you can expand this to “the key activity you want reps making. Obviously revenue generated and deal flow should be in every report, but it’s the activities that lead to those deals that should be tracked.”
“Whatever it is in your business (ie, # of calls, # of emails, # of voicemails, etc). Maybe it’s a mix, but the actions taken are what lead to the results you want.”
Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls does this by measuring “monthly calls/e-mails per rep.”
“I like this because it shows hustle, you have to plant a lot of seeds to get them to sprout so I want to make sure the top of the funnel is full. It is about building relationships over time so the follow-up and follow-through are important.”
Tyson Group’s, Lance Tyson thinks: “The most important KPI to track with a sales rep from a B2B perspective would be appointments.”
“That manifests itself into asking for somebody time, which is probably the hardest sale they’re going to make. And having time, whether it be to do a needs assessment and evaluation discovery, would literally manifest itself into an opportunity to ultimately pitch.”
However, Tyson adds that you can use this concept for another sales rep KPI, pitch-through rate: ‘Depending on your sales process, if you need a second appointment where the first appointment you were using discovery or to submit a needs assessment, then you set up an opportunity to ultimately pitch, and you’re looking for that pitch through rate from meeting one to meeting two would probably be the second single most important KPI.
“Ultimately, by measuring appointments, that’s going to tell us how much work they’re doing because right now if you look at any kind of facts that lead up to an appointment, whether it’s face to face that appointment or some kind of technology that actually would show how much activity a person would have.”
“So, right now we know it takes about 6 to 8 touches to get in contact with the decision-maker, and then it takes about 6 to 8 contacts to yield an appointment. So the appointment in and of itself measures several other things like the number of touches the rep has made such as phone calls, emails, LinkedIn Connects, etc,” Tyson summarizes.
When we asked the team at Hubbard Radio PHX for their most important sales rep metric, David Haar said: “If I had to pick just one, I would pick the percentage of meetings or presentations that turned into closed/won clients.”
“Being able to know how this part of your pipeline works is paramount to achieving your monthly/quarterly/annual sales goals.”
“For example, If 50% of your meetings turned into new clients and you think you need four new clients a month to hit your goal, then you need to make sure you have eight high-quality meetings or presentations a month.”
“From there you can build out how many prospects you need to have in your pipeline get to eight meetings or presentations that will, in turn, lead to four new clients.”
Haar summarizes: “The salesperson can reverse engineer the entire process to make attaining their goals measurable and attainable!”
“The most important KPI for every sales rep to track is the number of attempts they make any given day to connect with prospective buyers,” says Spencer Smith of IRC Sales Solutions. “Every phone call, email, and so on, regardless of if it’s answered or not.”
“Typically the number of connections (or touchpoints) in any given day is most indicative of success, but the number of attempts is most indicative of effort, which is something sales reps need to monitor on a daily basis to hold themselves accountable.”
Smith adds: “The attempts are so important because they are the top of your sales funnel, as a sales rep. If you make more attempts then you’ll inevitably connect with more people, have meetings with more people, and have more sales.”
Beekeeper‘s Alexandra Zamolo thinks that “every sales rep should track how successful their follow-ups are.”
“Unfortunately, we can sometimes lose track of potential customers who didn’t say “yes” immediately. It’s important to not only follow up, but to keep track of how successful your strategies are. This way, you can easily change things up when the need arises.”
Remember: 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact. Use this metric to see whether that’s true for your business.
David LaVine’s team at RocLogic Marketing, LLC argues that “this is a very important metric to track if your company does a lot of repeat business with customers (vs one-time purchases). This is especially the case for services-oriented businesses and expensive custom solutions companies.”
“The main reason to track predicted CLV is that it can help you prioritize your sales efforts. There’s a certain base level of effort that you need to put in for most sales opps, so you usually will want to focus your energy on those with the highest long-term return.”
“While the error bars on this number will be large, it should still offer an order-of-magnitude sense of how one opp compares to another,” LaVine adds.
“The other reason to track this metric is that it provides feedback as to which marketing efforts are providing the most valuable opportunities. As a sales rep, you care about this feedback because you want a higher percentage of high-CLV opps to come your way.”
“The main KPI to focus on is marketing sourced opportunity dollars,” Bonnie Crater of Full Circle Insights thinks.
“To look at opportunity dollars instead of bookings since it’s a direct driver of bookings and localized to marketing (i.e., no controversial caveats around sales execution).”
Crater also adds that this sales rep KPI is “also a warning sign—if not enough opportunity dollars have been created, or if the amount is trending down, we know there’s risk to hitting future booking targets.”
“In my experience, one of the most essential sales KPI to track is brand mentions. In a rapidly growing social market, brand mentions online are often overlooked as an essential sales metric,” says Ayushi Sharma of iFour Technolab Pvt. Ltd.
“By precisely, curating brand mention data and aggregating it, the marketing and sales pipeline can become more targeted and agile.”
Make sure your team are on-track to meet goals. Find reps who might be falling behind to give extra support, and those excelling to push even further.
None of those things would be possible without monitoring these sales rep KPIs.
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