10 KPIs for Sales Managers: reliable & scalable results

10 min read
Apr 29, 2024 2:45:55 PM
Every Sales Manager drives monthly results. Yet all too often I see in practice that Sales Managers miss desired insights, or have the idea that they lack grip, but cannot identify which insights they need.


Based on my experiences with CRM implementations in sales teams over the past few years, these types of blind spots within sales teams appear to be the rule rather than the exception. A shame, because these blind spots cause warm, suitable leads - which, especially in the manufacturing industry, have the potential for high order value - to leak out of the bucket somewhere in the middle of the sales process. The more capital there is in your solution, the more painful it is when leads slip through. As a Sales Manager in this day and age, you simply can't afford to have leads fall between the cracks - because in addition to ensuring everyone's health, the business just has to keep going.

Let's take a look at where those leaks and blind spots are most prevalent. In this blog, I share my key insights from two years of working intensively with various sales teams in the manufacturing industry and optimizing their sales process.

1. Number of sales qualified leads per month

Leads come in in many different ways: from a trade show, through marketing or by phone or email. How do you keep track of all these flows and as a Sales Manager know for sure that all these leads are followed up? To determine who is working on which leads, your first challenge is to make sure you know what is coming in from which marketing & sales channels. Are these leads actually all reaching your sales staff? Too often we still see that this process isn't secured in one central system,even though capturing this sort of thing in a CRM like HubSpot CRM is more accessible than ever. If you don't know how many leads are in the pipeline, then you also don't know if the occasional one doesn't get followed up and seeps out of your sales process. So an overarching system where all your leads are secured is essential.

Essential is that you first determine together when a lead is sales qualified and therefore ready to be paired with a sales associate. Sales teams not yet using modern sales tools can spend less than 1/3rd of their time interacting with potential customers. So it's better to make sure that all those leads are of sufficient quality to spend time on, and that new sales vacancy may not be necessary yet.

2. Number of Sales Qualified Leads per sales representative

Often sales teams can get by with "emptying the sales mailbox together every day", but leaving the initiative to the sales rep to pick up a lead can have a big impact on your sales results and give you far from optimal sales results. Especially online leads expect an answer to their (request) question the same day, if not the same hour. How long will that potential customer's question stay in that mailbox if no one feels responsible to pick up that lead?

A response time of 42 hours on average for a B2B lead is really not acceptable anymore. Provide a process in which leads are assigned, this way you can be sure that you have secured the responsibility for following up on leads within your team and make sure that they make the first (brief) contact with leads the quickest.

Record the leads and the ownership on those leads with a modern CRM. That way, as a Sales Manager, you create insight into how many leads your sales staff have and whether their workload is commensurate with the deals they have to close. This information is even more important if your sales team works in rayons, or your sales people are regionally responsible.

3. Number of qualified leads per sales stage per employee

There are leads coming in every day, but they haven't yet become a deal, nor are they in your forecast or your sales pipeline of expected order intake. Any idea where exactly all these sales opportunities remain? After all, that's what your team is working on every day. Until your people sound the alarm that a deal might be close, it remains a black box for the manager. Especially if you are dealing with long sales cycles, as is often the case in the manufacturing industry, the black box is only bigger. You can ask them to capture and record even more in the progress of leads, but that all comes at the expense of interacting with customers.

By securing your leads in a modern CRM system that allows you to automate sales tasks - such as HubSpot, for example - and capturing your sales process in that same system, you can take this entire process off the hands of your sales team. Systemslike HubSpot recognize when your leads are or are not yet responding to sales emails, meeting requests or phone calls. Based on data about the activity of the sales employee around a particular lead, a lead status is automatically attached to that contact. In this way, you as Sales Manager can see at any time how many leads are in a particular phase and what should soon be visible in your forecast or sales pipeline.

4. Number of calls and emails per sales employee per month

Of course you steer as a sales manager primarily on achieving individual and / or team targets. Yet it is very valuable to have insight into the communication channels through which your sales staff most intensively make sales. Not so much to judge them on how many calls they make in a day (unless you manage a call center perhaps), but to gain insight into the balance between email and calling.

Email is of course very efficient to get some extra information from your potential customer, because before you know it you're on the line for another hour with someone who is not an interesting customer. Nevertheless, in sales processes we see good deals go up in smoke because of this.

It is difficult to have an exploratory conversation via e-mail and find out where your potential customer's pain really lies. The danger of this is that your sales staff will move too quickly to the solution and not add enough value towards the customer. If the competitor is stronger in asking questions and therefore also comes up with a better solution, you can easily lose the deal at a late stage.

A good example is one of our customers where it was noted that 2 deals were lost very late in the sales process, whereas deals at that stage normally had a 90% chance of success. Because HubSpot CRM records all sales activity, with these insights the Sales Manager was able to figure out that the sales staff was only contacting these two potential customers via email and optimize the sales process accordingly.

Guard a healthy balance between calling and emailing leads.

Bonus Tip:
Agree with each other on a lead qualification methodology such as BANT or GPCTBA & CI so that each sales associate engages in an exploratory conversation with your leads. To quote Jos Burgers, "Never give a customer what he asks for, give him what he needs." If the lead doesn't fit your organization then, you'll quickly find out too.

5. Revenue forecast

How well can you currently estimate what sales are coming? During the implementation ofHubSpot CMS and Sales Hub, I often encounter companies in which the sales process is insufficiently standardized and as a result no sharp forecast can be made. For example, because there are deal phases included in the sales process that are optional and not standard in the process. As a result, deal phases are applied inappropriately and your forecast is not as reliable as it could be.

Another common problem is that for the different products or solutions that sales teams sell, there are often different sales cycles. All the while these are mixed into 1 forecast. An accurate forecast should be about the probability that sales will arrive and when projected that this order intake will arrive (probability x time). Due to expiring sales cycles, these deals do not go through the sales process at the same speed and thus this aspect also gives a distorted view of the forecast.

As a Sales Manager, you can effectively sharpen your forecast by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are all deal stages in my sales process mandatory and do they always occur?
  • Base your forecast on the length of your sales cycle sales cycle
  • If you get the exploratory stage discussed above with a prospect right, you can attach a value to a potential deal as soon as in the sales pipeline for an even more accurate forecast.

6. Revenue forecast by sales rep

Not every sales manager chooses to hold sales reps to a personal target. Nevertheless, it is useful to be able to see the performance of each sales rep. Ensuring that sales opportunities/deals are in the name of your sales reps and visible to your forecast not only ensures that you can see who is going to bring in the most revenue, but also who is keeping their records up to date. The more up-to-date the records, the more realistic your forecast will be. Given that the forecast is also often used to have a foresight on (production) planning or hiring staff, the value of an accurate forecast is much greater than for the sales team alone.

Suppose your sales process has 4 phases, but 1 of your sales staff consistently skips deal phases when registering deals, then you are able to steer the team on registering potential revenue opportunities on time.

7. Conversion rate between deals phases in the sales pipeline

A lack of insight into the conversion rates between different deal stages means that many companies are still dropping leads unnecessarily in the interim.

Do you have a clear picture of how many leads go from one deal stage to another and where the "leakage" is within your sales process? If you are not using a modern CRM in which your sales team can track leads and record their actions, it is almost impossible to gain insight into these kinds of valuable conversion rates. If you do have this insight, then this offers you as a Sales Manager the perfect opportunity to further optimize the sales process and lose fewer leads at the back end.

The conversion rate may well be on the low side in the first phase of your sales pipeline. This means that after that phase(s), your sales team will mainly spend their time on leads that are interesting. This does possibly mean that you will get a lot of leads to the sales team that are not yet ready for sales or cannot help you. Reason to have a talk with marketing about whether the message going out is attracting the right audience.

The conversion rate between the final stages in your sales process ideally approaches 100%. This means, for example, that you are not uselessly making quotations when you are not yet sure if the potential customer is really looking for your solution.

8. Time in Deal Stage - the time a sales opportunity is in a sales stage

As discussed in a previous point, it is essential to have your sales process aligned with the sales cycle of your product. This gives you, as a Sales Manager, the opportunity to effectively forecast, on the one hand, and, on the other, to identify when a particular lead is stuck in a particular deal stage for too long. A valuable insight that allows you to make adjustments in case of deviations within the sales process.

Suppose you have a sales cycle of an average of six to nine months and you use a sales process with four different deal phases. When you identify that a particular lead remains longer than two months in a particular deal phase, you can effectively talk to the relevant sales rep to find out what exactly is going on and how you can optimize.

9. Lead Score / Likelihood to Close

How do you get your sales reps to prioritize following up on the most valuable leads for your business? To do that, you as a sales team must first determine what typifies a valuable lead. For example, are they leads working in a particular industry? Or leads working at a company with a certain amount of sales per year? Once you have this in focus, you can set up a simple scoring model and assign scores to leads based on the characteristics of a particular lead.

If you are working with a modern CRM system such as HubSpot, this entire process can be automated. For example, by setting up lead scoring so that a lead is automatically assigned a score when he or she performs certain actions or when relevant information becomes known. HubSpot takes this one step further. Using artificial intelligence and data from previous closed deals, HubSpot determines how likely it is that a new lead will eventually become a customer. This is then expressed in a 'likelihood to close' figure, allowing your sales team to know exactly which leads they should prioritize the most.

Make sure your sales staff always start the day prioritizing which deals can be closed first. Are all actions around those deals completed? Only then have them look at the leads that have a high lead score or likelihood to close.

10. Sales activity per sales associate

In this blog I already mentioned a few times where modern CRM tools can make the sales process scalable and reliable. The use of CRM within your team hinges on adoption by the sales staff. Of course, a CRM must be user-friendly, but the design of the process and training of the team are key to its success.

Within a modern CRM system such as HubSpot, you can effectively identify which employees are comfortable with your CRM and which employees are cold feet about using certain tools, or simply don't have the right information or skills to use the tools. You do this by looking at reports on sales activity, or in other words, the use of the tools.

So do make sure you choose a CRM in which you have the reports available to measure use of the CRM tools by your employees. Then, using the system, map out how much each sales rep is using the tool's functionalities. Is the tool being used to its full potential? If not, you can start a conversation with each sales rep about his or her stumbling blocks.

Request a quick scan of your sales process

After reading this blog, do you feel that you and your sales team are currently missing valuable opportunities? Or would you like to know how you can get the above insights within a month using the right tooling? Find out together with a Webs Sales Consultant where you can optimize your sales process even further and how you can make sure that from now on you won't miss out on any valuable insight or lead.

Schedule a free quick scan here.


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