Sometimes I wonder if our ability to measure almost everything is what gets in the way of us actually paying attention to what might be the most useful metrics. I’ve spoken with plenty of sales managers who are frustrated these days because someone upstairs has fallen in love with a new measurement, a new report, or a new way to look at familiar data. All these midstream changes result in plenty of heat and plenty of smoke, but not necessarily the light of new insight. Not much actually changes, especially at the bottom line.
Don’t get me wrong. I love numbers as much as the next person and I agree that measurement improves performance and is essential to success. But I also know we can’t keep changing the rules of the game. Performance improvement comes only when we focus on the same metrics over time. We need to follow the right measurements and stay focused.
What if you could only measure four things? Which would you choose?
Instead of measuring absolutely everything under the sun, what if you were limited to just four points in your process where you could drop a meter and collect data? Choose wisely, because the increased focus on each of these four areas will be your source for improved sales performance.
Choose the right metrics and there’s no telling how high you could soar. Choose the wrong ones and you’ll barely see the needle move at all.
Which would you focus on? What are the four best places to insert measurement? Let’s take a look.
Four Key Performance Indicators to Track Every Month
1. Lead Flow
This is the number of new leads that are coming into the sales department each month. Get very specific and track both the total number of leads and also where each one came from. More and more managers are discovering that to increase sales you don’t need more salespeople; what you really need is more leads.
2. Number of Qualified Opportunities Created
Measure the total number of new, qualified opportunities created in the month as well as the dollar value of each one. How can you count a qualified opportunity? Qualified opportunities are those who you've sent or presented a proposal focused on a need you hear about. What doesn't count as a qualified opportunity: sending the same email to 50 people on a list.
3. Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is the number of new customers divided by the number of qualified leads. That will tell you the rate at which your leads become customers.
4. Booked Revenue
Here we look at the revenue numbers, but we are going to break it down so we get the whole picture. You will want to keep track of three things:
- New business (brand new account)
- Business that is added on to an existing contract
- Renewal business
As you are reading this, I would imagine you are thinking of all the other things you measure and why each one is important. I challenge you to consider the four KPIs I have put forth here. Do you currently measure this way? If you saw improvements in each of these four areas, would overall sales performance go up? If you would like to discuss how you could improve in these areas or how you might go about implementing a sales culture that would support this thinking, we should talk.
Want to start tracking what we track? Download the template and start tracking today.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2017, and has been updated.