Just hearing words like “average deal size,” “win rate” and even “quota” are enough to make almost any sales pro’s ears start burning.
These are some of the most common metrics used to assess the performance of a particular sales team or an individual rep, and if they are being said aloud, it’s usually because someone is taking a closer look at how well they’re doing. Elsewhere in the office, meanwhile, those in other departments are monitoring and evaluating an entirely different set of metrics, but sales teams might be hard-pressed to say exactly what they are.
On one hand, this doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? Most companies are organized around a common objective or mission of some kind, and there are usually at least a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that apply pretty much across the board. And although people working in areas like marketing and customer service may have some metrics all their own, shouldn’t sales teams be familiar with them if everyone is (at least theoretically) working together as one, big cohesive team?
The answer to both questions is actually based on common sense: working in marketing or customer service roles tends to involve very specific activities, many of which have no direct relationship to what sales reps are focusing on. If that wasn’t the case, we might not need to have separate departments or functions in a particular company. And because our jobs are specific, we tend to get a bit of tunnel-vision around our particular goals or milestones, leading us to ignore what’s happening on another floor -- or even down the hallway).
Unfortunately, those distinctions are less important to the one group of people who are critical to the success of any company: customers. When you’re the one being sold a product or service, you are literally moving through every stage of the buying journey, which means if there are issues with how you’re being messaged by the marketing team, it could affect your willingness to purchase. Same goes with customer support: if customers are not happy once they’ve made a purchase, they’re unlikely to listen favourably the next time a sales rep reaches out.
Here’s an assortment of other numbers sales reps should be watching for -- and acting on -- to improve the alignment across areas like marketing and service, and to make the customer experience a positive one from end to end.
Sales teams are used to looking for conversion-related marketing metrics like the number of times a content asset has been downloaded, but take a step back and look at the overall level of engagement of your online visitors. If customers and prospects aren’t sticking around for long, or if they visit a single page and then leave (otherwise known as the bounce rate), something in the messages they’re seeing might be off. This could be related to some very sales-oriented issues such as the value proposition, how the products and services are packaged or even the price.
Marketing teams typically spend a lot of time developing things like videos, blogs and eBooks to help educate and inspire a particular audience segment within your customer base and prospects. Sales reps who respond to the number of shares and comments with a shrug should take a second look. If customers are actively responding to your company’s content and (more importantly), passing it along to their peers, it means the marketing team is doing a great job in establishing your organization’s authority and expertise in a particular space. When a sales rep then has to present or make a sales pitch to those audience members, they might be able to spend less time proving their credibility and get right to the “meat” of why the customer or prospect should buy.
These two numbers might seem a bit granular, but they point to something vital in any company. If customers are borne out of the marketing team’s efforts in some way, it means sales are getting passed highly relevant and actionable leads. That, in turn, means more time reps can spend closing deals versus cold calling, sending cold emails or other activities that can take up a lot of time without leading to substantial efforts. They also suggest sales and marketing teams are well aligned in the way they use and share data across a CRM like Sales Cloud and marketing automation platforms like Marketing Cloud.
Again, sales teams are probably well acquainted with some service metrics, such as customer satisfaction (CSAT), but this one provides a window into what the customer experience may look like after the sale. If customers are likely to be kept on hold as service agents scramble to look for their data, for instance, it can undo a lot of good will that was built up during the sales process. If the organization uses a platform like Service Cloud, on the other hand, you can expect to see a much more fluid experience as customer questions and complaints are funneled to the right person.
If customers can’t use the products and services soon after they’ve made their purchase, sales reps should realize there might be deeper issues at stake. It could be there’s a lack of understanding about key features and functions, or the service team isn’t able to address areas where they’re not satisfied. That could mean returns or “make goods” that sales reps would probably rather avoid. If an organization has rolled out self-service capabilities, meanwhile, this metric can be a good way to see how well that channel is serving customers and identify areas to continually improve it.
Even if sales teams know about this metric, they might not really pay attention until it negatively affects one of their accounts. A great service interaction should not only make sure the customer’s issue has been resolved, but that it happened in such a way that they’re likely to continue seeing value in an ongoing relationship. This can be measured at the customer service level when you correlate the data across customers who renew contracts, upgrade to new versions of a product or continue to subscribe to your database.
Bear in mind that this list is by no means definitive: there are many other metrics, as well as variations on how they are applied, across all kinds of companies. The point here is to start looking beyond the numbers that you normally see in your dashboard as a sales team member -- because at the end of the day, you’re also part of a larger but interdependent team.