We have two favorite sayings about using metrics for management. One is “That which gets measured improves.” The other is, “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” Both are important to keep in mind when developing performance standards and goals for phone-based inside sales teams. It is important to really focus on the measurements that will provide you with meaningful information and those that you want your reps to focus on improving. Additionally, it is important to use these metrics to drive the business every day, not just when the team is far from quota at the end of the quarter. You want an effective sales team. This information should give you the insight required to make adjustments before the opportunity is lost. Here are a few of the key metrics that we think every successful manager of an inside sales team that uses the phone heavily needs to monitor.
1. Calls Dialed (“Dials”)
It is important to know how many times a day your team is dialing the phone for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious, it gives you insight into the productivity of each rep. But, be careful. More dials does not always equal more revenue. A quality 10 minute conversation is usually more valuable than 10 no answers or voicemail messages. One thing that the number of dials will do is help you determine how many contact names you need in your database to keep your reps fully utilized. It will also help you uncover best practices by looking at the number of daily dials by your most productive reps.
2. Calls Connected (“Connects”)
Dials are good, but connects are better. Connects measure how many times your reps successfully connect the call and are actually speaking with the person they called. Like dials, understanding this data this will have a direct impact on productivity. It also helps you determine if you are calling the right people at the right time. If you notice a blip in your connect rate, you may want to review the quality of any recently purchased prospect lists.
3. Calls by Time of Day
When are your reps making the most calls and the most connects? If most of the calls are occurring between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, but most of the connects happen in the afternoon, you might want to rearrange your reps daily schedule. Maybe the morning should be used for planning and more calls should be made in the afternoon. It’s also good to know if calls are being made consistently throughout the day. If all of your reps take lunch at noon and no calls are made, it might be worth an experiment to see if chaining the lunch time for some reps results in more connects. Also, take a look at the actual lead conversion rate by the time of day. Just as there are better times to send marketing emails, your market may have better performance during specific times of the day. If that’s the case, try to schedule the calls to your best leads at those times.
4. Talk Time
Not all connects are created equally. It takes time to establish a relationship with a prospect and share your company’s value. Understanding which reps spend the most time actually speaking to prospects can give you insight into which introductions and call practices work best. Talk time is typically, but not always, directly related to quota attainment. There tends to be a Goldilocks Principle in effect so look for your sweet spot.
5. Outlier Conversations
When you start to analyze calls with these metrics, you will notice fairly consistent patterns. To truly understand rep productivity, you should look more closely at calls that don’t fit the pattern. For example, an hour long call to a phone number that is not in your CRM is probably not a sales call. If this is happening frequently, you may have a productivity issue.
Understanding these key metrics will give you a greater degree of control over the sales process and help you identify what needs to be done to exceed quota. Of course, understanding what you need to know isn’t very useful if you can’t get the information you need. A business phone system, like ShoreTel Sky, that is integrated with the CRM system gives you the best chance of capturing and displaying the data in a way that is easy to understand and manage. John E. Jones took our favorite phrase about measurement and management one step further. He said, “What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, what gets rewarded gets repeated.” Well said.
What are the key metrics you use to manage your inside sales team?