3 New Metrics to Add to Your B2B Sales Analytics Arsenal in 2018

January 29, 2018

Colleagues

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

This fundamental reality is as true in 2018 as it was in 2017, and every year preceding. But the actual methods that today’s sales teams use to measure their efforts and outcomes are certainly in flux. An evolving digital B2B landscape requires a new set of sales metrics that accurately filter out the most meaningful actions for driving revenue.

Are you measuring and improving the right indicators?

3 Critical Sales Metrics for 2018

With all the tools and technologies now at our fingertips, we can measure pretty much everything these days. This is both a blessing and a curse. Many managers are drowning in sales metrics and struggle to distill them.

To that end, we’ve narrowed down three oft-overlooked KPIs that stand out among the most informative and useful for optimizing sales processes. If you aren’t actively tracking each of these already, then we’d suggest it is time to start.

Cost Per Lead

This isn’t a cutting-edge metric by any means, but it’s one that continues to flummox plenty of organizations. Some can’t reach agreement on what truly qualifies as a “lead.” Others view CPL as a marketing metric. Both these common issues are symptomatic of misalignment between sales and marketing.

High-performing modern B2B sales teams are almost uniformly adopting a social selling mindset. In this framework, both marketers and salespeople are helping generate leads, and thus influencing CPL rates. As a crucial profit factor, this number is vitally important in the eyes of the C-suite.

The first step in refining CPL measurement is determining exactly what a lead is. I prefer not to think in terms of Marketing-Qualified or Sales-Qualified leads, as these divisions run counter to the objective of a unified approach. Instead, collaborate on pinpointing one universal definition, and then formulate your CPL metric around it.

A lead might be anyone who fills out a form to download an asset. It might be any introduction with a prospect that advances to another interaction. Or it might be more esoteric to your company’s methodology.

The best way to make this determination is by studying your sales funnel and identifying the “turning point” where generalized prospects become significantly more likely to convert. Then, continually test and tweak tactics, from both sales and marketing, to lower the average cost of getting people across that line.

Connections at Key Accounts

When using LinkedIn as a social selling tool, building connections within accounts that your organization has prioritized is one of the most valuable activities for sales pros. Buying committees keep getting larger, with varying influence dynamics and high churn rates. Because of this, developing multiple relationships in an organization is extremely beneficial. Reps who make a habit of doing so are less susceptible to the pitfall of hanging by a thread.

Compiling key accounts is a prerequisite for this metric, accomplished through careful research and analysis. Once you’ve built your list of companies, you can add them as Saved Accounts in Sales Navigator to make tracking easier.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the same as measuring number of different accounts/companies with connections. In a focused, account-based approach, the emphasis is on gaining long-term sway with companies you’ve identified as exceptionally strong fits. This means that three solid connections within the same account are just as beneficial as one connection at three different accounts, if not more so.

Of course, properly applying this metric requires a bit of nuance. If reps were to start blasting connection requests for the sake of artificially boosting their numbers, the system becomes counterproductive. Make sure outreach is always purposeful and constructive.

Prospect Response Rate

How often did a sales rep’s communication with a prospective customer result in a response that moved the conversation forward? This figure can be determined by reviewing the CRM and self-reported logs from team members, and assessing which percentage of outreach attempts led to productive engagements.

There’s plenty of room for ambiguity here, so you’ll want to collectively establish benchmarks and thresholds (i.e., what qualifies as a productive engagement). As with the previous measure, this one should be judged on the basis of quality, not quantity. I recommend giving each rep a maximum number of prospects to work on every month -- ideally a number that leaves them plenty of time to research and prep for each.

Monitoring this percentage on an ongoing basis provides sales managers with a real-time view of social selling efficacy. If a certain rep is consistently posting lower rates than others, you might consider taking a look at the channels she’s relying on for outreach, or the messaging style he employs. Conversely, high performers might have their own practices to share with others.

And it’s not only beneficial for analyzing the reps themselves; the more details you track, the more these response rates can inform your overall strategy. For instance, was there a lift in responses among people who were exposed to your company’s marketing content before being contacted?

In the world of B2B sales as it exists in 2018, these three metrics in combination serve as an excellent barometer for gauging the efforts and proficiency of your sales department. When you’re lowering the costs of your leads, consistently building out valuable relationship networks, and moving social interactions forward to the next stage, you’ve got a reliable formula for demonstrable and sustainable revenue generation.

To find more information on the best methods and metrics for measuring sales success in 2018, download Proof Positive: How to Easily Measure and Maximize Sales ROI.

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