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Guest Post: The Right Sales KPIs for 2020: Less is More

3 min read
Updated Aug. 16, 2021
Published Jan. 28, 2020

Guest post by Scott Leese, CEO & founder of Scott Leese Consulting, and founder of The Surf and Sales Summit.

You get what you measure, right? But how do you decide what to measure? 

Opinions abound.

What about “talk time?” Some see it as an indicator of progress or having meaningful conversations. Me? I think it’s misleading and incentivizes salespeople to stay on the phone longer than they should. Or worse, it motivates some sellers to engage people they shouldn’t be talking to at all.

So, what sales KPIs make the most sense to measure?

A Sales Thought Experiment

Let’s pretend you just got hired as a sales leader for an early-stage startup. It has a few “founder/VC/family” customers, but no real sales process to speak of despite recently making its first few sales hires. 

Sound familiar to anyone? History would tell you to start here:

  • Dials
  • Connects
  • Unique selling conversations
  • Demos set
  • Demos held
  • Closed Won
  • Closed Lost

While there’s nothing altogether wrong with that approach, it doesn’t fit the ever-evolving landscape of modern sales today. 

Gone are the spray and pray tactics of 100+ dials a day in the B2B SaaS world. We’ve ushered in a far more personal, strategic, and measured approach using an omni-channel process (call, email, text, LinkedIn messages, etc.) designed to target your ideal customer profile (ICP) at the right time and place.

Track Fewer Metrics, Drive More Success

So, what should you do now, you brand new sales leader, you? Remember that less is more and focus on the things that truly matter:

  • New opportunities opened
  • Pipeline size/quota ratio
  • Revenue booked

Why those metrics? 

Well, if you’re leading the sales hunter organization, you have to be cultivating and creating new opportunities to close business. Focus on your ICP and score the accounts/leads well enough to ensure your efforts are not wasted. New opportunities mean new revenue possibilities.

Why is your pipeline-to-quota ratio critical to track? Quite simply, you can’t expect every opportunity you’ve opened and entered in your pipeline to close. After all, sales is still a numbers game. 

If you close 30% of your opportunities, you better reverse engineer your way to quota attainment by ensuring you have enough pipeline to achieve success. Want a safety net? Cut your regular close rate in half and use that as your new pipeline target; you’ll blow your number away.

As for revenue booked, do I really have to justify that? It’s why we’re here. It’s why we get paid. 

So, to sum up how we drive towards these key performance indicators:

  • Use the omni-channel approach
  • Build persona-based sequences (one-size-fits-all is no longer enough)
  • Execute cadence religiously
  • Invest in sales operational excellence via tools and personnel
  • Unite the org on its sales messaging
  • Train, coach, train again, coach again. Rinse, wash, repeat, then do it again.

In the end, it’s up to you as the sales leader to chart the course for your team and your company. 

It’s far easier to end up where you want to be if you start out knowing where you need to go.