Trying to run a sales team without a comprehensive set of metrics is like attempting to navigate a ship on the open sea without a compass. You can make decisions that may get you somewhere, but you’ll never have a fundamental understanding of why your journey succeeded or failed.
Tracking the right metrics helps you develop and hone your sales strategy because it gives you a data-driven picture of causes and effects throughout your unit. It helps you coach your sales reps more effectively, which can result in a 25% increase in revenue. For outbound sales teams, there are several specific metrics that can be used to assess a variety of different facets of performance.
Whether you interpret this metric as dials-to-connections or the number of conversations a sales rep engages in per day depends on your unique organizational needs, but either way it will tell an important story about your outbound sales effectiveness. Because, ultimately, if your sales reps are making a lot of calls and are sending a heavy volume of emails every day, all you can guise is their level of activity. It doesn’t tell you anything about the efficiency of their actions.
Most importantly, if you observe that your dials-to-connection ratio is lacking, it will spur you to investigate the potential causes. Maybe a specific sales rep hasn’t internalized your updated buyer profile information and they are consistently trying to reach a lead at an inopportune time. Or perhaps they keep saying something in their voicemails that discourages return calls.
Email reply rate
A sales activity doesn’t become a sales conversation until two parties are interacting with each other and most salespeople need to begin a conversation before they can start articulating your company’s value proposition. While some sales teams will interpret click-throughs as the beginning of a conversation, they really don’t mean much unless the lead takes the time to respond.
Your email reply rate is an indication of how many conversations your outbound sales reps are spurring, but it’s also an important indicator about the quality of your leads. If you’re consistently generating leads that are a good fit, then your outbound rep’s initial email should act as the spark plug that ignites the relationship.
Number of touchpoints per prospect
The number of contacts made to a single prospect is also somewhat tied to the quality of your leads, but it’s possibly more important as an indicator of your lead management and lead nurturing strategy. Research indicates only half of your qualified leads are ready to buy when a salesperson first makes contact, and yet over 40% of salespeople throw in the towel after a single follow-up attempt.
Again, even your best-quality leads are often going to need some nurturing before they decide to purchase. If your number of touchpoints per lead is consistently low it may not mean you are only getting perfect leads; it could be a sign that you need to revamp your lead nurturing strategy.
Average length of outbound sales cycle
The length of the typical outbound sales cycle is affected by a number of different factors including market conditions, the number of decision makers, and so on. Because of this, it’s difficult to tie the length of your sales cycle to any one performance aspect of your sales team.
What you should do is look for fluctuations in the length of your average sales cycle and investigate any significant changes that occurred during the time when the numbers shifted. These could be changes that were caused by a decision from within the company, such as a modification in sales strategy, hiring additional employees, or incorporating new technological tools. Or they could be tied to factors outside of your control, such as regulatory decisions or macroeconomic shifts. Either way, it’s important to track how these events affect the length of your sales cycle.
Cost per opportunity
When it comes to outbound sales, monitoring your cost per lead doesn’t actually tell you very much about your sales performance. That’s because in most cases, your outbound reps are going to be doing the work to qualify their leads initially. Therefore, it’s much more important to consider how much is being spent per opportunity.
Your cost per opportunity indicates how efficiently you are using your resources in the situations that matter most to your team. To put it plainly, if you have significant costs per lead acquisition that aren’t being captured by your cost per opportunity, then it may be a sign of fundamental problems in the outbound sales strategy. You should be focusing on a smaller pool of your high-quality outbound leads to determine the overall value of each lead to your organization.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.