Most Important Sales Performance Metrics for a Digital Selling Strategy
July 11, 2019
In sales circles, it’s normal to hear impassioned talk about deals landed and lost.
Leading indicators? Not as much.
Maybe that should change. Ideally, our leading indicators and our sales performance metrics should resemble each other. Meaning, by choosing our sales performance metrics wisely and then tracking them, we can be sure we’re building deal-landing habits that will serve us throughout the digital selling era.
Why not just stay busy and track sales? Isn’t that simpler? That works for some people, sure. But it can also lead to false positives and costly lulls in performance. For example, the stellar month followed by several sub-par months in which the sales rep focuses on replenishing an empty pipeline. If this sales rep were tracking sales performance metrics, they’d see that their activities (or lack thereof) were putting them in a vulnerable position in the months ahead, and can make a course correction before it’s too late.
Also, by tracking sales performance metrics and gaining a better understanding of which activities are most strongly linked to success (which can vary by company and by rep), sales reps are more motivated to infuse their days with ROI-generating activities, even when they don’t see immediate results. If you only track sales, you might be inclined to ignore activities with handsome long-term benefits.
5 Sales Performance Metrics for the Modern Digital Seller
What gets measured gets done. Here are five digital sales performance metrics to consider adding to your scorecard. I think you’ll find that tracking these metrics will not only help you win more deals, but will also help you feel like you’re winning on your way to winning those deals.
2nd Degree Connections on LinkedIn
You’ll also see this listed as network growth, but not all network growth is equal. Some connections are simply more relevant and have larger networks which you can potentially access. In this sense, one connection can be more valuable than dozens of connections.
When building your network, make it a point to connect with people who themselves are connected. Think about your typical sales prospect. Who are they connected to? Better yet, who are they engaging with?
Think about connecting with industry consultants, channel partners, even other sales pros who sell to the same market. The benefits go beyond potential introductions, too. When a connection engages with your content on LinkedIn, their network can see this activity as well. To borrow a marketing term, your potential relevant reach grows with each relevant connection.
Some people say tracking attempts is too simple, and they’re right. A spike in attempts doesn’t necessarily mean success is on the horizon. If we’re talking about cold outreach, a spike in attempts can mean a bad brand experience for the better part of one’s prospect list. If left to continue, this high-effort and low-yield scenario can quickly lead to burnout.
The bottom line, though, is that interactions generate sales. Those who work mostly with referrals built their networks through interactions and maintain it the same way. There are all sorts of different ways to interact with people digitally. The key is to track your way to engagement attempts that ultimately yield positive results more often than not. The next sales performance metric will help with that.
Categorization comes in big here, hence the pluralization. Your actions will have varying goals and varying likelihoods of success. For example, you might ask for a potential referral partner’s opinion in a group or forum with the goal of building your network. Or you might invite a qualified prospect to a demo to keep your pipeline flowing. Both of these engagement attempts might ultimately yield success, but to be tracked most effectively, they should be compared against engagement attempts with similar objectives. For the demo scenario, you might invite some prospects via email and some via LinkedIn InMail, comparing the effectiveness of each channel.
LinkedIn Connections within Target Accounts
Interactions with target accounts is another way I’d recommend categorizing your engagement attempts. The fact of the matter is single thread selling – that is, connecting with a key executive directly or through a single “sponsor” – doesn’t work like it once did now that buying committees rule the day.
When it comes to engaging with the modern buying committee, success isn’t always about moving a deal forward. Sometimes the most successful interactions are those that allow you to understand the committee dynamic a little better – who’s most motivated to make a change, and which opinions will matter most? – or those where you get introduced into a conversational thread with another buying committee member.
These are potentially huge micro-wins, and they should be counted. Connections within a target account also ensure two-way visibility. You can track what buying committee members are up to (which you can also do before they’re connections by saving them as leads), and they now have visibility into your updates and interactions as well.
This might seem like a fluffy performance metric, but the fact of the matter remains that sharing is one of the better ways to prompt engagement, which can spark conversations and connections. Sharing also allows you to stay visible among your aforementioned prospects and target accounts.
We tend to think of sharing solely as being something shared publicly on social media, and those shares can be incredibly valuable, but it’s also helpful to think of shares in terms of sharing the right content or information with key contacts. For this I recommend LinkedIn PointDrive because it allows you track who is engaging with your content and how they’re engaging with it. If they share your content with other buying committee members, you can see that, too.
We all share in different ways, so the key is to make sharing comfortable for you. The best way to do that is to experiment with different ideas and track the engagement performance of each to find the style of sharing that works best for you (and your prospects).
Lastly, since the idea is to make leading indicators more attractive, have some fun with it. Create your personal “leading indicators dashboard” and keep it open at all times so you can watch the micro-wins pile up on your way to macro wins, or sales. If some of the terms feel robotic, call “attempted engagements” whatever you wish. Whatever helps you track your performance so that you can save enough time for impassioned talk of your deals landed.
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