Inside Sales Leaders, It’s Time to Update Your Metrics

How do you measure your inside sales team? Many companies rely on the following metrics (or some variation thereof):

  • Call → Meeting
  • Meeting → Opportunity
  • Opportunity → Deal
  • Call → Deal

Unfortunately, those metrics are antiquated, and by sticking to those KPIs, you could be negatively impacting your business. Let us look at how our metrics are leading us astray.

The Problem

You might be scratching your head, wondering what could possibly be wrong with those metrics. Calls, meetings, opportunities, and deals – That’s how inside sales activity has been measured for decades. Why change something that’s not broken?

But that’s the problem. Those metrics are broken. They no longer reflect how customers and sales reps interact, especially at the beginning of the buying process.

97% of cold calling is ineffective, and by establishing “calls” as one of your key KPIs, you’re sending the wrong message to yourself and to your team. You’re…

1. …Showing that you’re out of step with the modern buyer

If call volume is a key metric for your organization, it’s clear that your organization doesn’t understand your buyers. For the modern buyer, a phone call is just one way of connecting with a sales rep. (And for many buyers, phone calls are not their preferred means of communication!)

Nowadays, buyers use email and social media to learn about vendors and to interact with them. Heck, many vendors jump between channels – from social to email to your website to the phone and then back to social. The modern buyer’s engagement cannot be measured through a monolithic KPI like a “call.”

2. …Setting the wrong expectations with your team

Your inside sales team is not a call center. By using “calls” as a KPI, you’re establishing the phone call as the gold standard for your team, and you’re telling your sales team that phone calls are what matters most.

That message could be detrimental to your sales team’s performance. Given the ineffectiveness of cold calling, your inside sales team won’t succeed if they think that the phone is the only way to communicate with buyers. To generate leads and close deals, your sales reps need to expand how they think about the modern buyer, and they need you, their sales leader, to guide them.

Bottom line: A sales team’s behavior will not change if sales leaders don’t change how they discuss and measure the modern sales process.

The Solution: Separate Engagement Metrics for Each Channel

If not “calls,” then what? What should sales leaders focus on?

Instead of focusing on call volume, sales leaders need to concentrate on engagement metrics. They need to ask themselves how they can measure salespeople’s multi-channel interactions with buyers.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single metric that captures all that information. The way that salespeople and buyers interact is unique to each channel, which means that each channel requires different engagement metrics.

For a phone call, inside sales teams could measure whether they spoke with someone, or they could rate how well their conversations went. For an email, sales reps can look at opens, clicks, responses, and the quality of those responses. For social media, sales reps can look at how buyers on LinkedIn and Twitter engage with their posts or how many new connections they’ve made on LinkedIn in their target demographic.

Taking a more expansive view of buyer-seller interactions might sound like a headache. But in the end, it will be worth it. By expanding your view of buyer-salesperson engagement, you can get a more accurate picture of what’s working in the selling process and what’s not.

Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised. Phone calls may not be the strongest predictor of closed deals. There might be other forms of engagement that are more telling.

After all, social selling leaders have 45% more opportunities every quarter than social selling laggards.

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