Published on September 21st, 2018
When it comes to sales reporting, there are an endless number of metrics you can track -- you know this.
We're all swimming in an overwhelming sea of data -- all of which has the potential to help you improve your sales process, and then there is an overabundance of tools to make it happen.
That's why one of the most pressing issue sales managers face today is setting up their reporting is understanding what will give the greatest amount of insight and take the least amount of effort from the sales team to track.
We know from first-hand experience; this is a problem we've had to solve for ourselves.
To address this challenge at IMPACT, we created a robust sales metric scorecard with every metric we thought would be helpful.
We set the expectations for our team to record the data for each individual deal and were excited about the information that would come from our reporting.
Then, we ran into another massive problem.
We had created too much work for both the sales team and our sales leaders to accurately input and track -- which meant none of our fancy metrics weren’t reporting anything at all.
That's why we’ve been working on revamping our sales reporting to better track the metrics that will drive the needle and identify challenge areas.
But this isn't a story about us; this article is all about you. My goal today is to teach you the lessons we've learned in about sales reporting, based on our extensive experience.
And after working with dozens of sales teams -- in addition to our own -- to set up their reporting dashboards, these are the top six metrics I would recommend every sales team start tracking right now.
1. Number of Deals in Each Stage
Number of deals in each stage tracks the total number of deals currently in each stage of your pipeline.
If you have a sales team that wants to either become more efficient or determine where the holes are at in your process, this metric is the most important one.
It gives the most information at a glance to help understand what’s happening to your team’s prospects.
This matters, because each sales process has different stages.
Each stage should have criteria to meet before leaving that stage –– for example, you need to understand budget and timeline before moving on to the next qualifying stage and continuing the conversation.
Many times in the sales process, there is a certain stage that causes delays for the sales team. This is the stage that you will start to see a build up of deals not moving forward.
By tracking how the deals are moving through the pipeline week over week, you can physically see where the hold ups are, talk to your team about it, and start to make changes to remove the obstacles in their way.
Many times you will find that deals aren’t moving forward because your sales team is having trouble getting to the decision maker or getting a verbal agreement to move forward. Sometimes it’s as simple as them forgetting to follow up.
Either way, with monitoring the number of deals in each stage week over week, you can better pinpoint exactly what your team’s challenges are instead of just guessing.
2. Time Spent In Each Stage
Time spent in each stage tracks the total amount of time from when a deal enters a stage to when they exit.
In the same way you want to know what deals are progressing through the stages, you also want to know the amount of time deals typically take in each stage. Tracking the time spent in each stage is the next step into getting more granular detail into your pipeline.
Each stage in your process will not last the same amount of time, but there is an average amount of time each deal should spent in a deal stage.
For example, you may learn that deals that close and become your best clients on average spend 2 weeks in the Exploratory stage.
By knowing this average and tracking over time it can help you understand two things:
- The likeliness that deals are going to be closed-won; and
- How quickly you need to prepare your sales-handoff with customer success.
Likely, when you analyze the deals that take longer than your average two weeks (depending on your sales cycle), you may find that these deals were much more likely to be closed-lost or be very difficult once they become a customer.
This empowers the sales team to stop spending time on deals that are taking too much of their time or are showing signs of being difficult to work with.
3. Average Days to Close
Average days to close tracks the number of days it takes from when a deal is created to when it is moved to the closed-won stage -- yay!
While this is similar to time spent in each stage, this metric is more focused on the process as a whole and accurate forecasting.
As deals move through the stages, the probability to close becomes greater. When your process and sales reporting becomes more accurate, you can forecast and prepare your internal teams for deals that will likely become customers soon –– down to the exact number of days from when they have their first conversation.
4. Average Deal Size
Average deal size tracks the average size of all deals in the pipeline.
Increasing or maintaining revenue is always our main goal -- and it's probably yours, too.
As your company grows, you will want to understand how the deal sizes are changing and where the sweet spot is for providing the best experience (for both the customer and the services team).
By tracking the average deal size over time, you can see how revenue is growing as a whole AND better track how many deals are needed to hit the overarching revenue goal.
Setting smaller, realistic goals based on the average deal size keeps the team from relying on deal outliers that go against the norm (though we all love those giant deals that come through to save the day) and helps to monitor progress throughout the quarter.
5. Deal Amount by Source
Deal amount by source tracks the total amount for all deals coming from specific sources -- for instance, organic, paid media, social, referral sites, referrals from customers, partners, conferences, etc.
This metric is a big freakin' deal for marketing and sales alignment.
By actively monitoring where the most projected revenue is coming from, the sales and marketing teams can focus in on the sources that are the most successful.
This allows sales and marketing leaders to confidently invest their budgets into either more content creation, more PPC budget, more conference sponsorships, or whichever source is responsible for the highest amount of revenue.
To dig even deeper, you can use this metric to analyze the sources providing the most closed-won revenue, which is an even better way to determine which sources to invest in.
6. Deal Amount by Type
Deal amount by type tracks the total amount for each specific type of deal. You can set this up for what makes the most sense for your team, but often it is broken down by different product or service offerings.
Having this metric readily available for the team to review often helps keep everyone on the same page for who the team should be focusing on.
Often, teams will think that one product drives the most revenue because they are the larger deal amounts, only to find that the smaller contracts for a different product are outweighing every offering.
Understanding this metrics from a high level view allows for sales managers or those driving the direction for the sales team to focus on the areas with the most opportunity and success.
"Awesome! I’ll start tracking these, but What happens next?"
Knowing this information is powerful:
- It provides the confidence to run in a direction or make changes that are backed by data from an entire sales team.
- Team and individual trainings can be more focused on the areas they actually need help with.
- Marketing and sales can put more effort into the sources, services, and products that drive more opportunities.
- Customer success can feel confident and prepared well ahead of when a customer is ready to be handed off and onboarded.
Setting up and tracking sales metrics is one of the best steps you can take to improve your sales team and process –– but it won’t solve all of your problems.
These metrics are meant to help identify key areas of success to continue to pursue and areas of challenges that need extra support and training.
The issue often isn’t the process as a whole, but rather smaller areas of improvement like building trust in a specific stage or allocating more budget towards the more successful sources –– and thank goodness because that’s a lot more manageable than completely revamping the way you work!
Once you know the areas you need to focus on, you can get specific help to push forward and improve.