Back to Learning Center
Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021

Read it now Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close
The IMPACT Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center
learning_center_grey__What is They Ask, You Answer-v2-black

What is They Ask, You Answer

What is <span>They Ask, You Answer</span>
Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, <span>& Updates</span>
Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & <span>Certifications</span>
On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand <span>Keynotes & Sessions</span>
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021
Covers-FINAL

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

New to B2B Sales? Be Your Own Coach by Tracking These 4 Sales KPIs

By Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021.

New to B2B Sales? Be Your Own Coach by Tracking These 4 Sales KPIs Blog Feature

Sales professionals in the business-to-business (B2B) world, especially those of you who are new to the space, may feel overwhelmed by the activity level needed to maintain sales momentum and fill your pipeline every month.

Your sales manager probably asks you to report on deals projected to close this month, and that’s important, but if that’s all you’re tracking, you won’t be able to truly analyze your performance and understand how to improve.

Why?

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021


Because only looking at deals projected to close is a very narrow focus that doesn’t tell the whole story about your sales performance and activity.

While it’s obviously important to your sales manager who needs to deliver an accurate forecast, it’s not what you should look at if you want to be your own sales coach.

Before we outline which sales KPIs you should be tracking, let’s define what a KPI is and why it’s important for the development and growth of your sales career.

What Are Sales KPIs?

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and generally speaking, organizations use them to measure how they are performing numerically.

They are critical metrics that measure actual performance against predefined goals and objectives, providing an objective form of measurement that allows you a glimpse into your future – before it’s too late to change the direction or solve any issues with your team.

When we talk about KPIs, it’s important to note that there are lagging indicators and leading indicators.

Lagging Indicators Vs. Leading Indicators

Lagging indicators look at output and results after the fact.

In other words, they focus on historical performance,  can show you the final results, and are easy to measure, but hard to directly improve.

Lagging metrics include:

  • Total Sales
  • Won Opportunities
  • Lost Opportunities
  • Number of Customers
  • Churn Rate

Leading indicators, on the other hand, focus on the likelihood of achieving goals.

They are the activities and actions that can be tracked or measured during the sales process as opportunities are developing and the pipeline is being built. They are metrics that  you have some power to change.

Leading indicators include answers to questions like:

  • How many calls should you make every day or week?
  • How many prospects do you visit per week or month?
  • What types of prospects are you calling? Where are these prospects coming from?
  • How many of these calls turn into opportunities?
  • How many of those opportunities turn into wins?

Most companies will focus on both types of indicators in one form or another, but, if you really want to make a change in your sales performance and behavior, leading indicators are best to focus on.

Use them to guide your daily activities and keep you on track to reach your goals.

Now that we are clear on the definition of a KPI and the differences between lagging and leading indicators, let’s take a look at what you should be tracking and how to analyze each metric to help you coach yourself.

#1. Activity Ratios

Activity ratios are leading indicators that measure the activities and actions necessary to hitting your sales goals.

When you understand the relationship between your level of activity and getting a first appointment, demo, or closing the deal – it’s easier to manage your opportunities and prioritize your time.  

That’s why you should track these ratios to determine what you need to do on a daily and weekly basis:

Lead Source: First Appointment

Taking note of where the lead was generated, whether that’s through marketing, referrals, or a recent networking event, will help you identify the lead sources that produce qualified first appointments.

Outreach: First Appointment

Whether you’re sending emails, making phone calls, networking at events or via social media, you need to analyze your outreach efforts.

Looking at this ratio provides insight into the communication templates and formats that perform best and with who.

First Appointment: Next Step

Now you’ve got to ask yourself, how many of my first appointments end with a scheduled next step?

Whether that’s sending a proposal, getting another meeting set, or providing a demo, getting the first appointment is critical for qualifying the opportunity, but if there’s no agreement on a scheduled next step, then you shouldn’t count on that prospect.

Knowing your activity ratios will allow you to set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals for yourself.

When you have a clear picture of what lead sources to focus on, how to effectively reach those leads, and what you need to do to get a next step, you’ll maintain momentum and avoid the ups and downs of selling.

#2. Stage-to-Stage Conversion Ratios

Assessing your sales pipeline based on the flow of opportunities from stage to stage will help you determine how many opportunities reach that stage and then either move forward or backward.

This leading indicator will also help you identify the right number of prospects to have in each stage given how many will likely progress.

Another way to think about this is in terms of understanding where your pipeline might be “leaking” aka where prospects are dropping off the pipeline.

For instance, say 40% of new prospects agree to a first appointment, half of those make it to the next step stage, but just 5% end up buying.

That drop off indicates you may not be qualifying enough, not suggesting the right next step, not getting to the decision maker, and/or negotiating poorly.

In our Pipeline Management training, we help salespeople break the sales process down into four stages and define them as follows:

Each stage has corresponding inspection questions too.

If a prospect doesn’t match the definition or you can’t answer one of the inspection questions associated with that stage, then your prospect doesn’t belong there.

At this point, you either need to move the opportunity backward or determine what you need to do to get a scheduled next step on the books in order to collect the information you don’t have.

Pay close attention to how your prospects are converting from stage to stage and try to spot patterns, both positive and negative, so that you can figure out where your sales process might be breaking down and why.

#3. Overall Conversion Rate or Win Rate

Your conversion rate or win rate measures the percentage of leads that ultimately become customers and is a lagging metric.

If you get approximately 100 leads per month, and on average 10 buy your product or solution, your conversion rate is 10%.

This metric can help you calculate how many leads you need to make your revenue targets. For example, if your monthly quota is $100,000, and your average deal size is $5,000, you need to close 20 deals. And if 10% of your leads become customers, you need 200 leads per month.

If you’re unsure or don’t have these numbers, you can also determine your conversion rate, or win rate, by using this formula:

(Closed-Won Opportunities) / (Total Opportunities that were both Closed-Won + Closed-Lost)

For example, let’s say you had 5 closed-won opportunities last month and you opened a total of 30 opportunities. Using the formula above, your win rate would be about 17%.

Knowing the number of opportunities you need to work on in any given month in order to produce the right number of closed-won opportunities will help create your ideal pipeline picture.

When you have that picture in your mind, you’re more likely to hit your sales target every month, quarter, and year.

Use this lagging metric to work in tandem with other leading indicators to help you track progress through to the final results.

#4. Pipeline Today vs. Closed-Won vs. Quota Gap

This leading metric looks at the current state of your pipeline by close date and identifies the number of opportunities you have in your pipeline and what stages these opportunities are in.

It also informs you about what the quota gap is given what you’ve already closed-won for the month.

You can use this information to prioritize your efforts. With it, you’ll know whether you need to focus on generating more opportunities in your pipeline or if you should focus on closing your current pipeline.

Bottom Line: You Track Sales KPIs to Drive Action.

Be your own sales coach by keeping score!

While the KPIs we’ve suggested here are by no means a full list, they should get you thinking about how your pipeline, process, and performance are directly connected.

Defining your sales KPIs is an important start, but KPIs alone can’t take your sales career to the next level.

It’s how you apply them and the actions they inspire that make KPIs so valuable.

KPIs on their own are just numbers on a dashboard. They only become meaningful when you dig deeper, start looking for underlying trends and themes, and use those insights to take the next step toward more powerful growth.

When you measure and keep score, you promote the performance you need, to get the results you want.

Covers-FINAL
Covers-FINAL

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Topics:

Contributor
Inbound Sales
Published on May 15, 2019

Recent Articles

What is repelling content and how can you use it to increase sales?

By Lyndsay Cambridge on May 21, 2021
7 min read

From brand MVP to rebranding: 7 lessons from rebranding our startup 3 years in

By Anum Hussain on March 22, 2021
11 min read

How to have a great first sales meeting: the 3-step preparation process

By Steve Bookbinder on March 17, 2021
9 min read

Do you need a sales mentor?: 5 reasons the answer is yes for B2B sales pros

By Steve Bookbinder on February 18, 2021
5 min read

3 ways B2B sales managers can set their teams up for success in 2021

By Steve Bookbinder on January 22, 2021
6 min read

5 B2B sales tips for selling in December and ending the year strong

By Steve Bookbinder on December 17, 2020
5 min read

6 training exercises every B2B sales pro needs to practice today

By Steve Bookbinder on December 1, 2020
7 min read

3 key focus areas for becoming a more effective account manager

By Steve Bookbinder on October 28, 2020
6 min read

4 ways brands can use social media appropriately during COVID-19

By Pratik Dholakiya on October 16, 2020
5 min read

3 ways sales pros can make a great first impression (while selling virtually)

By Steve Bookbinder on September 16, 2020
5 min read

5 ways B2B sales pros can increase influence with c-level buyers

By Steve Bookbinder on August 20, 2020
6 min read

The marketer's 5-point guide to thriving in a sales environment

By Brooklin Nash on July 24, 2020
5 min read

7 savvy tips to boost conversions in your retail e-commerce store

By Pratik Dholakiya on July 17, 2020
6 min read

Managing a remote sales team? 6 tips for creating the right communication cadence

By Steve Bookbinder on June 26, 2020
5 min read

Virtual Selling: The Essential Video Sales Call Checklist

By Steve Bookbinder on May 20, 2020
6 min read

The 11 best blogging platforms for publishing content

By Maddy Osman on April 20, 2020
7 min read

Selling in times of crisis: 4 tips to use today to ease uncertainty

By Steve Bookbinder on April 15, 2020
6 min read

Turning customers into fans: The truth may hurt, but customers appreciate it

By David Meerman Scott on April 8, 2020
4 min read

4 behaviors to get your sales reps thinking like CEOs

By Steve Bookbinder on March 19, 2020
7 min read

How to use mirror neurons to win fans with your marketing videos

By David Meerman Scott on March 18, 2020
5 min read

6 ways social media can help for the greater good

By Michael Deane on March 5, 2020
8 min read

4 easy ways to deliver a sales experience your customers love

By Steve Bookbinder on February 19, 2020
4 min read

[New Data] 3 ways to win more revenue from the 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence

By Ellie Mirman on January 29, 2020
4 min read

5 tips for building a world-class remote marketing team in 2020

By Matt Shealy on January 21, 2020
7 min read

3 tips to propel your sales productivity in 2020

By Steve Bookbinder on January 15, 2020
4 min read