The Top 3 Sales Performance Metrics to Watch in 2019

Anywhere from 53-67% of sales reps are missing quota. Many sales leaders have simply accepted this as fact, but do you know why your reps are missing their numbers?

Most sales leaders have a list of metrics they track on a regular basis, but do those metrics accurately depict your team’s performance? Yes, meetings booked and deals lost/won are the basics that need to be tracked. But if you don’t know how your sales team gets to those numbers, you’re missing out on data that can help you make decisions that drive more revenue.

Classic Sales Performance Metrics

There are three ‘classic’ metrics that you’re probably already measuring. They’re a great place to start, but they don’t tell the whole story of what’s really happening on your sales floor:

Dials, Connects & Conversations

The number of dials, connects, and conversations your reps are making are need-to-track metrics. However, they can be misleading. High dials can mean lots of activity and plenty of meetings… or it could mean your reps aren’t getting anyone to pick up the phone. If reps are getting connects with buyers, but aren’t able to have meaningful conversations, they’re not achieving the objective of engaging buyers. If those conversations aren’t turning into meetings or at the very least next steps, you’re not filling your pipeline.

Instead of relying on these activities to tell you how the team is doing, look at them in conjunction with conversion rate. That will tell you a much clearer story and help you diagnose where reps are having difficulties. For instance, if dials are high but they aren’t turning into conversations, it could be that the dials are being made to the wrong people at or at the wrong times. If your reps are dialing at 9 am EST but the prospects are on the West Coast, it’s pretty obvious why they’re not picking up. If you are only calling CEOs because you teach your reps to call high, it’ll be tough to get anyone on the phone.

Number of First Scheduled Meetings

Woohoo! Your SDR team scheduled a record-setting number of meetings this week. How many of those meetings stick and occur vs. needing to be rescheduled? How many will turn into won deals? How many will progress to the next stage in the pipeline?

First scheduled meetings are important to the business, but they need to be evaluated with your entire pipeline. Sales leaders should look at where the biggest roadblocks are–Are you having trouble setting next steps? Do deals seem to fall apart after demos? Is the SDR team not properly qualifying prospects? Identify ways to get past the roadblocks and coach your reps on those skills.

Talk Time

How much time is your team spending on the phone? Talk time can reveal if reps are struggling with time management or have other activities taking up most of their time.

The catch-22 here is that high talk time doesn’t mean the rep is hitting their results goals. Reps can hit the phone day in and day out and easily rack up 20+ hours of talk time every week. If they’re not generating sales, it’s time for a closer look.

Find out if the rep is receiving coaching from their manager and take a listen to a few of their calls. It should be easy to uncover where the rep is going wrong and give them feedback on how to overcome those challenges.

Sales Performance Metrics To Track in 2019

Traditional sales performance metrics are great, but they lack the depth of information you need to make informed decisions. The sales activity metrics we’ve discussed already tell us about quantity. The below metrics are all about conversation quality. Quality metrics reveal whether or not your reps are having the right conversations to convert buyers from one stage of the sales process to the next which then results in closed deals. Here are three metrics you probably aren’t measuring that likely have a huge impact on your business:

Average Number of Interchanges

Interchanges, which are the back and forth between the rep and buyer, are a strong indicator of a rep’s ability to engage prospects. How many cold calls have you gotten where the rep just won’t. stop. talking? Even worse, what about on discovery and demo calls? Reps who fail to engage prospects on a call won’t be as successful as those who do.

It’s important to look at interchanges both at the individual call level and the overall average in a given period of time. Here’s why:

High Interchanges

A high amount of interchanges on a call can indicate a few things. It may indicate that the rep successfully got the prospect opening up and answering questions. However, it may also indicate the rep asked too many yes/no questions without digging further. If you’re coaching one call and notice a lot of interchanges, take a look at the diarization, which is the separation of the talk tracks for the buyer and seller to see the length of the prospect’s responses.

diarization, which is the separation of speakers on a call

Low Interchanges

A low number of interchanges typically means the rep is having too many long monologues and the prospect isn’t engaged with the conversation. It could also be a sign that the contact was a poor fit because they never engaged in the topic of the conversation.

When looked at alongside other metrics, the number of interchanges is a great data point to help you diagnose how to improve the rep’s performance.

Talk:Listen Ratio

The ‘perfect’ talk:listen ratio is widely debated. The old adage you learned in sales training that you should listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time is not true. The data from high volumes of real calls disproves this notion. Most talk-to-listen ratios hover between 40% listening to 60% listening. After all, the sales rep has to say something compelling. They can’t simply ask questions the entire call.

The reality is that the right ratio depends on the type of call. So why measure it? The answer is two-fold.

Leaders need to know what conversation style, including talk:listen ratio, drives the best outcomes and leads to the highest win rates. Identifying trends in talk:listen ratio will also empower you to make decisions about your training program and messaging tweaks.

Talk:listen ratio is also a good measure of what separates your top reps from the rest of the pack. Reps who unlock the right ratio for their calls see more success than their peers.

The right talk-to-listen ratio is VERY specific from company to company. You need to learn what talk:listen ratio is optimal for YOUR calls, not the calls of thousands of companies averaged out.

Call Review Sheets aka Call Scorecards

Scorecards metrics tell a rich story about why one rep is excelling and another is struggling even though their activity metrics are similar.

First, you need to pull your managers together to define what a ‘good’ call is for your different call types (aka lead follow up call, discovery call, presentation, etc.). The key is to define the 5-10 key behaviors that really move the needle on conversion rates and sales. This way when you score a call you can focus on the few behaviors that have the greatest impact on results.

By reviewing scorecards, sales managers and leaders can identify what skills reps are struggling with the most. It’s typical to see that rep A is really good at skills 1, 5 and 6 whereas rep B is good at skills 2, 3, and 4. By routinely surfacing and sharing best practices at scale, you can get reps consistent on ALL of the key behaviors.

Sales managers dicussing their coaching program

The reality of sales is that performance isn’t going to be perfectly consistent. For managers, it’s important to be able to spot the differences between a bad week and an issue with the reps’ skillset. Scorecards make it easy to see if a rep has improved one skill, but maybe regressed in another area.

Seeing the average score of your teams provides greater insight into what’s going well and what isn’t. If you notice new hires have a drop in scores 4 weeks after training, it may be a sign you need to bring them back into the classroom.

Sales performance metrics will vary from organization to organization and even team to team. What an outbound prospecting team is measured against will be different from what you measure AEs on. What’s important is knowing which metrics will give you the full picture of what’s driving outcomes.

What are your goals for 2019? Which metrics will you measure your success against? Share your thoughts in the comments below.