Sales Productivity Metrics Every Manager Should Know

Running a sales team without good sales productivity metrics is like flying blind. Without good data it's difficult to understand how your sales team is spending their time--let alone help them to improve. Sales productivity metrics can help you understand each sales rep's strengths and weaknesses. These metrics can also help you diagnose team-wide deficiencies and remedy them in your training sessions.

There are two types of important sales productivity metrics: Inputs and Outputs. Input metrics focus on the activities a rep is doing during a sales day. Outputs drill deeper into the quality of those activities and examine the ratio of successful interactions to unsuccessful interactions. Both types of metrics are essential for a well-rounded analytics approach.

Let's take a look at each of seven important sales productivity metrics and how they can help your sales efforts.

Activity Metrics: INPUTS

Number of Attempts.

This is a basic but important metric. If your sales are conducted face-to-face, this would be the number of door knocks. A telemarketing team would measure calls out. It is important to keep track of the number of attempts, because in many ways sales is a numbers game. The more doors knocked, the greater the possibility of success. Conversely, a rep who knocks only a few doors per day will have a difficult time meeting quotas no matter how good she or he is at presenting and closing.

Number of Decision Makers contacted.

This metric will help you to assess a particular rep's ability to get past gatekeepers. When taken as an aggregate, the average number of decision makers contacted by your team each day will assist you in developing general expectations and quotas.

Number of Sales.

Of all sales productivity metrics, the number of sales is likely the most commonly recorded. Obviously, you want to keep track of sales for any number of reasons, since sales are the ultimate goal of any sales team.

Value or Type of Sale.

Not all sales are created equal. Perhaps your organization sells different types or lengths of contracts. Maybe one customer is ten times as valuable as another. Whatever the distinctions between your clients or customers, you will want to keep track of these distinctions. Doing so will help you identify your most valuable reps, as well as helping you understand how to acquire more desirable sales.

Ratio Metrics: OUTPUTS

Attempts to Contact Ratio.

This ratio measures how many attempts a sales rep makes before reaching the correct person. It can be a very helpful metric to diagnose problems in approach if you have a rep who is trying hard and knocking a lot of doors but not reaching many decision makers.

Closing Ratio.

Similarly, if a rep is talking to a lot of decision makers but not closing many deals, the fact that you keep track of closing ratios can help you pinpoint the skills he or she may need to work on.

Sales Mix Ratio.

Is your sales team closing the right type of business? Most companies sell a variety of products or services, some more profitable than others. Changing up the sales mix can increase (or decrease) a company's profitability without changing the number of sales. Knowing which type of business your reps are trying for, and where they are most successful, can help you fine-tune the focus of your sales team. At times, rather than simply increasing the number of sales, the solution might be dropping a product that is less profitable or more difficult to sell.

Paying Attention to Sales Productivity Metrics Makes You More Powerful

Besides making you look smart and productive to your boss, a folder full of useful sales productivity metric spreadsheets will help you know who to fire, who to promote, and how to best allocate sales training resources and time. Knowledge is power, and knowing what your sales team is doing right and what could be better is the first step to making things better.

If your company needs some assistance with setting up monitoring for these basic metrics, or more complex custom-tailored sales productivity metrics, you might benefit from speaking with a sales consultant or sales outsourcing company.