While MRR, total annual revenue, and year-over-year growth are important to drive business decisions, you're only scratching the surface of what your data can do.
Nick Saunders kindly agreed to chat with us for this article,
Too often, sales metrics or sales KPIs focus on lagging indicators like revenue creation, number of meetings, etc.
In today's digital economy driven by digitally-competent buyers, sellers need to measure their ability to drive decisions which ultimately leads to revenue creation.Nick Saunders, Director of Enablement at Mimecast
And I couldn't agree more.
It's why I don't want to rehash the same tired sales metrics you've heard before.
Instead, I want this post to challenge you.
To inspire you to ask the right questions that drive the right actions and avoid getting caught up in data silos, causing you to lose focus on your core business objectives.
What are sales metrics?
Sales metrics measure the sales-related performance of your team, company, or individual sales reps over a period of time.
These insights help you become a data-driven sales team by monitoring sales goals and empowering you to tweak your strategy to stay on track.
There's just one problem.
You need to define what sales metrics matter to your team. A successful organization doesn't make waves by blindly tracking data on autopilot or following what everyone else is doing.
Instead, the leaders who run a successful team, have figured out which metrics will keep everyone accountable, motivated, and goal-orientated.
That means going beyond revenue-focused and lagging sales metrics.
10 Types of sales metrics you're probably not tracking
To help you refine your sales strategies, we've identified 10 sales metrics you should consider tracking.
Whether you're a new captain or have a couple of years' experience navigating the seas, these metrics can help you find and fix leakages in your pipeline.
1. Sales patterns throughout the year
Patterns, routines, and habits allow you to predict and expect what is coming, whether in your role in sales, or your day-to-day life.
Humans crave the familiar security blanket of what's going to happen next.
It’s why our brains are hard-wired to seek out patterns everywhere. It makes us feel confident in decisions, learn faster, and adapt to new situations.
Pattern recognition isn't only helpful to your daily life. It's a vital sales tool for modern sales teams as well.
Repeating sequences tell you something valuable is happening in the environment. It’s the “MOTHERLODE” cheat code your business needs to survive and thrive.
Patterns in your data identify highs and lows, equipping your team to plan around the highs and lows, reap the rewards, and deliver your competitors a quick one-two punch.
When you quantify these patterns, sales trends begin to emerge, effectively drawing a map to revenue growth.
Once you have it, you'll know to target potential customers when their mindset is ready to make a purchase. For example, increase your PPC spend during prime buying time rather than pushing hard for a sale during a season when your conversion rate is lower.
2. Lead response time
Leads are coming in hot, but are your sales reps abandoning ship?
Only 7% of companies reply to leads within 5 minutes or less.
The bigger surprise is that 86% of companies are still not using sales tools to improve their average lead response time.
Why does your lead response time matter so much?
The longer your customer waits for your team to reply, the more time your competition has to steal your market share.
By instilling a culture of perseverance by monitoring follow-ups, you can use lead response time to ensure that leads aren't slipping through the cracks.
3. Percentage of revenue from new vs. existing customers and NRR
One area that a lot of people tend to overlook in sales analysis is actually below the 'bottom of the funnel.' How many of your existing customers are paying you more money than last month (up-sells) and how many of your existing customers are paying you less because of downgrades or customer churn).Steve Benson, CEO of Badger Maps
Customer acquisition vs. retention isn't an uncommon sales metric.
We all know that it's much cheaper to sell to your current customer base than convince a new person to hand over their hard-earned cash.
Looking at the percentage of revenue from new vs. existing customers as well as your Net Revenue Retention (NRR) zooms in on the health of your sales cycle.
We sat down with Breyta’s Executive Board Member, Christian Blomberg. He revealed that NRR helps you answer vital business questions like:
- Are we signing the right customers?
- How good are we at retaining these customers?
- Are we expanding these customers within the first year?
Let's break it down.
Are your current customers making up the lion's share of your revenue? Congrats! Your CS team is doing a fantastic job at upselling, but your reps tasked with acquiring new business are lagging behind.
Are new customers dominating your monthly revenue? This indicates you're in a hypergrowth phase or experiencing high customer churn rate.
If you find yourself in the latter situation, you'll want to look at churn by customer type. It will give you greater insight into the types of customers most valuable to your business and give your reps better focus on attracting and retaining them.
4. NPS (Net Promoter Score)
Referral requests are the lifeblood of any business and the easy sell of your dreams.
Your customers have done all the hype work for you. All your sales reps need to do is draft the contract and bam!
It's raining dollar bills!
I think NPS has outsize importance because when your customers refer their friends and colleagues to use your product, it indicates that they are especially happy with their experience. Changes in this number may indicate that something is going right or wrongSteve Benson, CEO of Badger Maps
NPS is an activity sales metric you don't want to ignore. At a glance, it indicates the health of your customer satisfaction and customer retention rate, but on a second look, it's a deep dive into how much money you're leaving on the table.
Don't believe me?
The CLV (average Customer Lifetime Value) from a referral is 16% higher and can increase your profit margin by 25%.
If your sales reps aren't asking for referrals (or you haven't implemented a referral system), you're making it harder to grow your business.
Without asking for referrals, you're turning down credible testimonials and missing out on customers who don't need to go through the usual sales pipeline gauntlet to make a purchase.
5. LVR (Lead Velocity Rate)
How much of your sales pipeline relies on "guesstimating"?
If you're only looking at key sales metrics like MRR to project and plan an accurate sales forecast, you're only reading a single chapter.
You need to monitor your LVR to get the full story. It measures the real-time growth of your business by the number of qualified leads you're bringing in each month.
LVR gives you much better insight into the future growth of your business and the efficiency of your sales pipeline.
In short, it's the helm.
And a ship without one isn't going anywhere.
Using LVR can reveal actionable insights and help you optimize your sales and marketing campaigns by:
- Improving your ability to predict future revenue accurately.
- Illustrating your ability to successfully close opportunities, grow, and generate revenue when combined with your LCR.
- Providing a real-time snapshot of current performance and doesn't require lag time like MRR to produce insights.
- Revealing changes in growth rates and helps you make fast strategic adjustments, whereas revenue-only sales metrics won't always spot lead qualification or lead generation issues.
6. Number of days for each opportunity stage
Anyone who loves sports has heard the proverb, "The best offense is a good defense."
With the clock counting down the game, nothing is more thrilling than watching the offense sneak in a goal before the final whistle blows.
But as sports fans know, defense is what wins games, and the same is true for sales.
Savvy sales leaders know an influx of high-quality leads look great on paper, but it's no substitute for closed deals.
But that doesn't mean they should be your sole focus.
Your time is better spent monitoring a sales metric like the cycle time for each opportunity stage.
Knowing your average times can identify stalled deals aka your defense.
If you know a deal should typically take ten days to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2, and it's day 20, something is wrong.
It's time to batten down the hatches, launch your offense, and stem the tide to avoid any deal slippages.
7. LTV: CAC ratio
Do your sales and marketing teams work in silos?
Then it's time to tear down those walls and build an integrated business.
Your starting point? Focusing on the customer.
You need to know if a customer is worth the cost of selling to them. The LTV:CAC (LifeTime Value: Customer Acquisition Cost) ratio helps you measure the efficiency between your marketing and sales funnel.
By focusing on your business spending, you'll know exactly what customers are worth to your business. It empowers you to focus your resources in the right places, fine-tune your sales process, and adapt your strategies to lower your customer acquisition costs and increase profits.
What's the LTV:CAC ratio you should aim for?
As a rule of thumb, I think that the LTV:CAC needs to be three or higher to build a successful SaaS business in the long-term.Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at Hubspot
What if you have a ratio of 1:1? That means you lose money the more you sell. If your ratio is 5:1 or higher, that indicates you're growing faster and under-investing in marketing.
When you bring your LTV:CAC ratio into balance, you're making the best possible investments for your time and money.
Once you have your LTV:CAC ratio, use it to answer the following questions:
- Which type of customer (or size) is most efficient to acquire?
- What's the best way to spend money to attract a type of customer?
- How can I increase my customer lifetime value and reduce customer cost?
If you're in a funding stage, you can take the LTV:CAC ratio one step further and use it to demonstrate your understanding of the economics in your business.
8. Revenue per lead
Leads are worth their weight in gold.
A steady flow of sales qualified leads is proof of product-market fit. It's your ticket to ditching sleepless nights and the crystal ball to your company's future success.
The only problem?
Your sales team is probably not making the most of every lead in your pipeline.
Analyzing revenue per lead.
Use it, and you can figure out a plan for optimizing your sales pipeline by rerouting leads to the right sales rep.
- Avoid squandering opportunities.
- Figure out how many leads each rep could handle.
- Focus on individual sales performance.
- Identify which reps perform better with different types and categories of leads.
- Discover who didn't follow up enough and re-route those leads to other reps.
9. Decision enablement
Do you train your sales team to help leads make better decisions?
If not, you're missing a sales productivity metric that's a game-changer for your bottom line.
Decisions are the cornerstones of any prospecting activity.
Every interaction requires a decision point from the buyer. The decision to download your e-book, answer the call, reply to an email, meet with a rep, involve others, etc.
"Failure to ensure that salespeople are skilled in change management and decision enablement holds back exponential growth," explains Nick Saunders.
"Growth can only happen when salespeople build the pipeline by creating decisions early in the prospecting cycle."
The more successful (and faster) your team can help a lead make decisions, the shorter your average sales cycle length.
10. Time to competency
A mistake many companies make is measuring the time to first closed-won deal with new reps instead of time to competency.
What does that mean?
It's reducing the time period it takes for a sales professional to be competent and effective at their job.
Focusing on this sales productivity metric automatically helps you reduce sales rep ramp time and increase your profit margins.
"This is critical in a SaaS business model where revenue is recognized in a given 12-month period," explains Nick Saunders. "The faster you can ramp an individual and help them hit their sales quota, the more revenue you have to recognize in a given fiscal year."
1. GEM (Growth Efficiency Metric)
"Sales productivity or sales efficiency will become a lot more important in SaaS in the coming months and years," says Chris Blomberg.
Sales productivity or sales efficiency will become a lot more important in SaaS in the coming months and years.
As funding becomes increasingly hard to obtain, startups and scale-ups can no longer afford to just spend their way out of slow growth. They have to grow efficiently.Christian Sjøvold Blomberg, B2B SaaS Go-to-Market Advisor and Board Member
The best way to do this?
With the GEM score.
The Growth Efficency Metric directly links your revenue and operating margin by analyzing your sales performance and keeping your team on track.
Christian Blomberg uses Lative (the inventors of GEM) to track sales efficiency in his teams. The Lative algorithm processes the closed-won business data from Salesforce and gives him insights he needs to make sure his team has efficient sales capacity to meet sales targets.
Create a winning team with the right mix of sales pipeline metrics
Customer satisfaction should always be your north star despite the focus on "sales" with sales metrics.
As Daniel Disney, founder of The Daily Sales, explains, "Focusing on the sale can sometimes lead salespeople to only push for a quick sale. By focusing on the customer experience, you increase the chance of winning long-term customers over short-term deals."
In Nick Saunders’ words, "A revenue target is an internal sales performance metric that means nothing to the customer. Focusing on helping the buyer make decisions and creating consensus in their own business is a customer-centric metric that matters."
Whatever metrics you choose to track on your sales dashboard, make sure it benefits the customer. When your buyers are happy your sales pipeline becomes easier to manage, creating more flow in your business and helping you reach your strategic goals.