3 Ways Generative AI Will Help Marketers Connect With Customers
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Ever been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sales data you’re tracking — and confused by the metrics that matter? You’re not the only one. Research firm McKinsey highlighted this as a troubling trend: Too much data and no focus has made it difficult for sales leaders to reach clear “aha” moments that drive confident decisions and sustainable growth.
Fortunately, there’s a clear path forward. To ensure you’re maximizing the ROI of tools, teams, and customer relationships, zero in on sales key performance indicators (KPIs) that make the most of what you have while delivering recurring revenue: a combination of tried-and-true targets, like lead conversion rate, and those that measure long-term value, like customer and employee retention.
Below, we give you everything you need to know about sales KPIs that ensure a healthy, productive, and growing business.
What could you do with relevant insights at your fingertips? Sell smarter, take action, and hit your forecasts. That’s how Sales Analytics works.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) in sales are the metrics used to measure how closely the performance of a sales team tracks to predetermined goals and how this performance impacts the business as a whole. This includes metrics like average leads generated per quarter and deal conversion rate.
Instead of different reps focusing on different metrics — or leaders eyeing a definition of success that sales reps aren’t thinking about — KPIs keep everyone aligned on the metrics that contribute to company growth. It’s important to note that KPIs themselves are not sales targets, but metrics that gauge activity with significant business impact. Sales leaders define target KPIs to ensure teams are tracking to specific revenue goals.
Here’s an example: Joy’s Toys, a toy manufacturer, is focused on growth but doesn’t have a clear target KPI for lead generation that incentivizes reps to keep their pipelines full. Fast-forward a quarter or two and its revenue is “stop-and-go” with reps scrambling to find new opportunities after periods of focusing only on closing deals already in the pipeline. As a result, company growth stalls.
Competitor Saul’s Dolls, on the other hand, has mapped out a clear path to revenue growth that includes target KPIs for lead generation, quota attainment, and customer retention. These are shared with every rep so they can prioritize their time and efforts on prospecting, nurturing, and closing deals with new customers while upselling existing customers — and no critical sales effort is ignored. With this focus, Saul’s Dolls is more likely to hit or surpass its revenue goals.
Your sales KPIs have a close relationship with your sales and business goals. For example, if the overarching business goal is 1,200 sales in a year, the KPI might be 100 sales each month. (100 sales per month x 12 months = 1,200 sales)
Sales metrics are any quantifiable measure of sales performance. This could look like the number of activities completed by sales reps, the number of leads in the sales pipeline, or anything else sales-related that can be measured. The key difference is that your sales metrics don’t necessarily have to connect with these broader goals.
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Historically, sales KPIs have focused on things like new leads in the pipeline, number of closed deals per quarter, and individual quotas. These are still important, but they often hinge on unpredictable one-off sales. To ensure your company is generating long-term, predictable revenue and maximizing ROI, it’s important to track both foundational sales KPIs and those that gauge the lifetime value of customer and employee relationships.
Here’s a closer look at the most critical sales KPIs:
What it measures: The average sales amount of a customer contract over the course of a year.
Why it’s important: ACV helps sales reps and managers identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling that increase customer contract value and, ultimately, company revenue. If upselling or cross-selling are not possible (due to product portfolio, pricing structures, etc.), a low ACV may indicate a need for new customers that can drive revenue growth.
How to calculate: (Total sales value of contracts in a year) / (number of contracts) = Average ACV
What it measures: The value of all purchases, including upsells, cross-sells, and renewals, that a customer makes over the course of their relationship with your company.
Why it’s important: CLV is a clear indicator of how successfully your team is building the kind of trusting, value-first, and loyal customer relationships that lead to upsells, cross-sells, and renewals, and, as a result, predictable revenue. If your CLV is on the lower end, then try going over the call transcripts from your best customers. Use AI to generate call summaries that identify what moved the deal forward, then use these same tactics in future deals.
How to calculate: (Average purchase value per year) x (average number of purchases per year for each customer) x (average customer lifespan in years) = Customer lifetime value
What it measures: The number of new leads added to each rep’s pipeline during a single quarter.
Why it’s important: Based on your conversion rates (four deals closed for every seven leads, for example), you will likely need a specific number of leads to hit sales targets. If reps’ lead count falls below your target KPI, it can be a sign that you need to spend more time on prospecting. A popular way to engage with more prospects is to up your presence on LinkedIn. Follow potential prospects, interact with them by liking and commenting on their posts, and then send a connection request.
What it measures: How long leads remain in the pipeline without becoming a closed deal. Usually calculated per rep.
Why it’s important: Reps know a full pipeline is a healthy one — but only if leads are actively moving toward a sale. Stalled deals are a drain on rep time that could be spent moving more viable deals down the pipeline. If you see a trend in stale leads for a particular rep, consider examining their pipeline and remove leads unlikely to close. AI insights help to quickly identify the stallers in real time so you’re not spending hours scanning through your pipeline and analyzing the data.
How to calculate: (Total age of all active leads per reps) / (Number of active leads) = Average age of leads in pipeline
What it measures: Also known as win rate, this is the percentage of each rep’s leads that are converted to closed deals. Usually tracked by quarter, per rep.
Why it’s important: If a single rep’s conversion rate is higher than the target conversion rate, that rep may be using sales strategies or processes that are particularly effective and can be operationalized for the entire sales team. If lower, you might need to fine-tune or streamline sales tactics to increase conversions. Call recording and analysis tools, alongside regular one-on-one coaching, can help.
How to calculate: (Number of deals closed during a quarter) / (number of leads in the pipeline) x 100 = Conversion rate
What it measures: Percentage of reps who remain in your organization a set period of time after hire. Typically measured yearly.
Why it’s important: A low rep retention rate can disrupt carefully nurtured customer relationships, which can result in lost upsells/cross-sells — or just lost customers. It can also mean more money spent onboarding reps hired to replace those who leave. When rep retention is high, customer relationships remain intact and team stability is maintained.
How to calculate: (Number of total reps at the end of the year – new reps hired during the year)/(total number of reps at the start of the year) x 100 = Rep retention
What it measures: The amount of time it takes a rep to get from the first day on the job to first prospect outreach.
Why it’s important: A quicker ramp time indicates your sales enablement platform and training are effective, your tools and processes are intuitive, and you’re hiring qualified candidates. This results in faster sales and more engaged reps. If you find ramp time is slow, consider revisiting onboarding programs and sharing AI transcripts of winning sales calls with new reps, changing your tools, or streamlining your processes.
How to calculate: (Total time in days it takes all new reps to get from day one to first prospect outreach) / (total number of new reps) = Average rep ramp time
What it measures: The number of referrals for new customers from existing customers secured by each rep during a given quarter.
Why it’s important: When your customers are over-the-moon happy with your products or services, they can serve as advocates, promoting you to prospects who otherwise may not be familiar with your brand. This makes it easier for reps to sell, leading to faster sales cycles and more closed deals.
What it measures: The percentage of customers who continue to buy and use your products/services. The inverse is churn rate — the percentage of customers who decide to stop buying or using your products/services.
Why it’s important: While new customers add to revenue, they also take significant resources to secure. By watching customer retention and focusing on opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, you’re generating predictable revenue with a loyal customer base — and maximizing ROI. If you see customer retention slip, you may need to revisit rep engagement strategies to ensure your team is prioritizing existing customer relationships.
How to calculate: (Overall number of customers at the end of the year – net new customers acquired during the year) / (number of customers at the start of the year) x 100 = Customer retention
A CRM uses customer and sales performance data to gauge progress toward sales KPIs. To help with interpretation, most CRMs offer visualization tools or dashboards that can be customized with the KPIs most relevant to your business. The dashboard provides a clear picture of sales and company health so everyone from sales reps to leaders can make decisions that keep revenue flowing.
To make sure everyone is in the loop, you need dashboards that provide high-level status updates to C-suite executives and more granular, deal-based dashboards for your reps. You don’t have to worry about updating dashboards manually — automation and AI-powered CRMs can pull data directly into customized dashboards to help you see progress toward KPIs without manual lift. Use these insights to improve performance, like tracking the fastest rep ramp times and checking in with those reps to see what worked that you could replicate.
Here are the dashboards we recommend for how to track sales KPIs:
For more guidance, check out our article on key sales KPI dashboards that can help you hit or exceed your revenue targets.
There’s no shortage of sales KPIs to track — but zeroing in on the right ones depends on what’s important to your business right now. First, identify overarching goals. For example, are you focused on driving growth or maximizing revenue with existing resources and investments?
Once you’re aligned on larger goals, you can select relevant sales KPIs to track and target metrics that will ensure you hit your broader business goals. Be sure to set up dashboards in a CRM accessible to all teams so you can see a clear view of progress toward the goals you’ve defined.
Spot and address pipeline gaps that threaten your forecast. Discover how with Sales Analytics from Sales Cloud.
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