5 Key Inside Sales Metrics you Need to Be Tracking Right Now
The last thing any sales team needs is to be left in the dark over their performance. As the old adage goes: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at five inside sales metrics that you need to consider right now.
What are Sales Metrics?
Sales metrics are the numerical representation of your sales initiatives; the data behind every touchpoint, phone call, email, social outreach or cadence. These data points measure and evaluate sales performance over an individual, team or organization-wide basis, providing informed insights to judge the success of operations, identify high-attention areas for improvement, and back up decision-making.
In the big picture, sales metrics offer insight and visibility strategy and messaging effectiveness, giving leaders the actionable insights into the trends happening within their organization. Armed with this information, sales leaders can optimize their processes, cadences and activities to improve return on effort (RoE) and investment (RoI), reducing bottlenecks that are slowing their teams down.
At a more granular level, sales metrics provide accountability over individual performance, providing leaders with insights into where certain SDRs aren’t meeting quota, productivity levels or their full potential – with a view to resolving this. Drawing on this information, managers can inform coaching opportunities and address adoption challenges with insights rooted in data, rather than guesswork.
What are the Different Types of Metrics?
No matter the product, industry or territory, there are three crucial metric categories that should be tracked in all sales teams: Activities, Connections and Success. At InsideOut, we refer to these as the “Holy Trinity” of inside sales metrics.
Activity metrics are the numbers that quantify rep performance and behavior in a specific time-frame. These typically include Calls-Per-Day, Emails-Per-Day or Social Touches-Per-Day, for example.
When used strategically, activity metrics are among the most impactful sales data sets available. They can help leaders to protect their sellers’ time, increase RoE and incentivize their teams to greater productivity levels by understanding the average number of touchpoints required to reach an intended outcome. Remember, you can’t manage a team unless you know the activities they’re carrying out and how successful these are.
Quantifying activity with common vanity metrics is only one-side of the coin. Often, sales managers and reps can get too caught up in hitting call quotas and lose sight of the end-goal: closing deals. Any capable salesperson can make 80 calls a day – but if none of those results in booked appointments, qualified leads or even closed deals, that’s wasted effort.
Connection metrics quantify the success of a sales team or individuals’ outreach efforts. They typically include metrics such as Engagement Rate, Speed-to-Lead and Call-to-Connect. Leveraging the insights provided by this data, sales leaders can gain actionable insights into the performance of their processes, understanding where outreach activities and tonality used has been most effective across outreach efforts – with a view to replicating this for enhanced organization-wide results.
Success metrics represent the outcomes of the entire sales process, offering visibility into Close Rates, Deals Won and market leadership. These typically include Closing Deal Rate and Conversion Rates.
These metrics are useful as they provide a high-level overview of the sales process across the board, indicative of the strength of an outbound sales strategy as a whole. Falling short of success metrics is generally a good indicator that a reevaluation is required. Analyze key messaging and identify where the strategy is producing a clear RoE, and where processes are falling short.
If you’re already experienced in the world of inside sales, you’ve probably come across Speed-to-Lead at some point in your career endeavors. It’s a metric that quantifies the time it takes your sales team, on average, to respond to a qualified prospect from the moment they become a lead through an inbound channel. Typically, you may have seen a ballpark figure of around 25 seconds as a “good” Speed-to-Lead benchmark.
But here’s the problem: Speed-to-Lead is outdated. In our consumer-driven buyer reality, speed only gets you so far, it’s customer experience that really matters. Any competent sales team can pick up the phone in 25 seconds or less – it’s no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation.
At InsideOut, we instead focus on Speed-to-Qualification. Rather than relying solely on speed-to-conversation, Speed-to-Qualification grounds inbound enquiries in conversations that matter, routing every enquiry to the most relevant seller each and every time. This helps sales teams to capture more appointments based on fruitful engagement, rather than just quick, weightless responses – boosting both customer satisfaction and conversion rates.
Email engagement is any meaningful action that suggests the receiver is interested in your offering, content or approach. It’s one of the most useful metrics to measure the quality of email performance, enabling leaders and SDRs to make their email outreach more effective by aligning with their prospects’ expectations and demands. While there isn’t a defined “engagement” metric, we can quantify audience engagement using the below metrics individually.
Open Rate: The number of emails opened, divided by the total number of emails sent. Open rate can be used as a top-level overview of email campaign health; the higher the open rate, the better.
Click-Through Rate: The ratio of receivers who clicked on an embedded link in an email campaign to the total number of people who received the email. Whether the link directs traffic to a product, blog post or calendar to book a meeting, CTR is an effective way to gauge buyer sentiment, supporting sellers in tailoring their campaigns to yield greater conversion rates from their efforts.
Response Rate: The number of responses received, divided by the total number of emails sent. A high email response rate should be the intended outcome for any email campaign, though this will obviously vary based on the industry, sector, geo and persona being targeted. Time constraints will play an undoubted factor on this metric.
Opt-Out Rate: The number of people who unsubscribe after an email is sent, divided by the number of receivers. A high opt-out rate can be a red flag for obvious reasons, suggesting that you’re either reaching the wrong audience or your messaging just isn’t targeted well enough.
Call-to-Connect rate is one of the most effective metrics in measuring the quality of cold-calling outbound strategies. It refers to the number of high-quality conversations and connections a salesperson has, in relation to the number of calls made in the customer acquisition channel. As a standard, an increase in connected rate equals an increase in direct sales opportunities.
Whether a salesperson is speaking to a decision-maker or gatekeeper, a high Call-to-Connect rate indicates effective prospect targeting, and that outbound efforts are doing enough to speak to prospects on their terms, at a time, place and in a style that appeals to their demands.
First Time Appointments (FTAs)
The goal of any outreach initiative is to convince a prospect to engage with what you’re offering them, creating a steady first touchpoint before moving them further through the sales funnel.
While the objective of any salesperson is obviously to secure an appointment first time round, a lack of success may not always be entirely their fault. As a sales leader, it’s pivotal to track success on a macro level, to understand where initiatives need to be tightened for greater prospect engagement and return on effort.
Tracking the number of FTAs your strategy generates will undoubtedly provide a healthy insight into overall prospect engagement. FTAs are critical pivot points that can not only make or break new pipeline opportunities, but also suggest high-attention areas for improvement in the sales cycle.
For example, if you’re running multiple different cadences at any one time, FTAs offer a clear glimpse into the effectiveness of each specific cadence, allowing leaders to measure engagement in real-time, and tailor initiatives in line with their best-performing strategies.
Designing a best practice, data-backed sales process or Play will have a significant impact on win rates, forecast accuracy, and individual productivity in your teams – but that’s not to say that it will work from the get-go. A sales process is only ever as successful and effective as the sales people’s adoption of it.
It’s unethical to expect salespeople to seamlessly transition to a new process or message without apprehension or attrition. In fact, a Gartner survey of over 2000 reps recently found that 62% of perceived seller burden could be attributed to overly complex internal processes that reps are asked to follow.
Tracking adoption rates provides a clear, structured overview of Play & initiative performance internally. Salespeople have been known to jump the gun to attain an instant return on investment, straying from the path of a well-defined Play or cadence in favor of commission or a legacy strategy.
On an Individual Basis: if an adoption rate sits below a set benchmark, this is a strong indicator that your strategy isn’t working for that person. In this scenario, it’s important to stress the purpose of the Play to that salesperson, whether that be visibility or name recognition rather than instant connectivity or immediate win rates.
On a Team Basis: if adoption rates are universally low, it suggests that a rethink is required on a strategy level. Adoption rates beneath your set benchmark generally account for misfiring processes, or overly ambitious benchmarking that isn’t entirely rooted in accurate, historical performance data.
As organizations tread further into complete reliance on inside sales, the importance of accurate metric setting becomes even more apparent. In fact, it’s essential if you’re looking to stay competitive, continually grow and expand pipeline.
Once your business is able to analyze particular metrics, gain rigorous feedback and delve deeper into messaging performance, you’ll be best positioned to understand the factors that motivate buyer the sales funnel, making it easier to engage existing customers and attract new prospects with provable numbers that make a difference.
Looking to get started? We can help. At InsideOut we have all of the relevant benchmarking data to support you in setting accurate, real-time metrics for your team – and the technology to analyze these metrics as they happen.
Get in touch with our experts today to understand how we can drive your team’s performance forward.
Business Intelligence Senior Manager at InsideOut. A specialist in giving decision makers the insights they need to strengthen their teams and tell their story within their data.