We are in the golden age of reporting. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools have given sales managers a level of insight into almost anything that is happening with their sales teams in near real-time.

So how should you use all of this data? Jason Jordan, a partner at sales management training and development firm, Vantage Point Performance, says the only reason to measure something is if your goal is to improve it.

With this in mind, Jordan took more than 300 metrics frequently captured by CRMs and split them into three categories:

  • Business results - can’t be managed directly (revenue, market share)
  • Sales objectives - can be influenced if given consent (customer retention, new/existing product)
  • Sales activities - can be managed (sales calls, coaching)

Jordan says instead of an avalanche of disorganized data, these categories help give an order to what’s on your CRM screen, insight into what you can and can’t control, and guidance for where you should focus your efforts.

Here are four best practices he suggests for getting the most from your metrics:


1. Recognize you can only manage sales activities

According to Jordan, of all the data you can report from CRM, the only pieces of data that you can actually manage and improve are those measuring sales activities. Anything to do with business results or sales objectives are out of your hands.

2. Reverse engineer the success you are after

Although you can’t manage data when it comes to business results, you can identify the results you want to achieve. Jordan recommends doing this, then selecting and quantifying the best objectives that will lead to those results. From there, you can link these objectives to the relevant activities.

3. Focus on managing activities relentlessly

Once you have identified activities that are relevant to your objectives and desired end results, continually work to manage and improve them. Jordan suggests that this focus also frees you up from talking about results like revenue, quota achievement, and customer satisfaction.

4. Measure how your activities are performing

Jordan says this is the best way to use CRM data. The result will be better decision making by managers and salespeople, because these metrics will let you know where you can take action that leads to better sales results.

Learn additional tips from Jason Jordan on how to best use CRM data by listening to the webinar Back to Basics: How to Use CRM to Grow Sales. To access the recording, click here.

Download the Complete CRM Handbook for insights into all the ways CRM can improve sales and productivity.