28th June, 2021
Large, complex organisations run the risk of losing sight of their goals. Here’s how you can start selecting the right Key Performance Indicators for your sales activities.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the bread-and-butter for goal tracking in every modern organisation, but which ones you choose and how you use them could make all the difference when it comes to defining your success.
Not all KPIs are equal, either, and that means different industries and even different teams within your organisation should have a different set of goals to chase. In this article, we’ll look at some of the KPIs for sales success, and how you can make sure your teams are making the most of them.
Before launching into creating KPIs, you’ll first need to develop a picture of your entire sales funnel — that’s the entire sales journey from prospecting to closing the deal, also known as your sales ‘funnel’ — and it’s this picture you’ll be creating KPIs for, just like a series of checkpoints in a long distance race.
While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, the vast majority of sales processes will conform to (roughly) these four-to-six stages:
Now that you’ve thought through the various stages of the sales journey as it applies to your business, you’ll want to begin mapping it against real-world scenarios and whatever data you have at hand in order to begin selecting suitable KPIs.
That means talking to your sales and account management staff and coming to terms with what actually happens in the sales function of your business. Your ideas about how things work may not actually reflect reality, so it makes sense to take some time surveying the lay of the land.
The recommendation here is to start taking a ‘sales census’, beginning with the biggest figures and drilling down. To get you started, here are a few of the really big numbers you might consider looking at first:
The above is just a selection of some of the more general KPIs you might choose to start defining your sales process, but it’s by no means exhaustive. For a full list of sales metrics to start testing in your business, read this resource on ‘Essential sales metrics every business should track’.
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The final step to incorporating the right KPIs into your sales process is to begin testing out your hypotheses on which work best at each stage of the process.
This will involve a great deal of transparency in meeting with and sharing your thinking with sales leaders and their staff — after all, their willingness to commit to the organisation’s success is going to be the biggest factor when it comes to achieving it.
Set up leadership meetings before rounds of team-specific meetings, encouraging questions along each step of the way. The best thing you can do at this stage is set clear expectations around the idea that KPIs and benchmarking is a process of experimentation and refinement, so that every team member can have a say in determining what success looks like.
Likewise, you’ll want to set clear expectations around what success means for the organisation as a whole, and what rewards are on offer for individuals should that success be realised. On top of that, realistic timeframes need to be applied for each period of measurement with the expectation that goals will only be considered for alteration after a worthwhile amount of data has been collected.
With the right sales metrics in place, any business — regardless of how large or complex — can begin to identify problems at the root cause, rather than relying on assumptions. Coupled with accurate, real-time data insights, those problems can be identified, and rectified, faster than ever before.
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