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The Golden Question For Inside Sales: What Metrics Are Good Metrics?


I recently read a great question from one of my LinkedIn groups, Inside Sales Management: “Is anyone measuring activity rather than opportunities? If so, what activities are you measuring and how?

Our operations team frequently re-evaluates which metrics to capture for our clients and strategic ways to use and other tools to gather this data.  Obviously, opportunities would be the industry standard, but what other information could we capture and share through reporting that would be of value to our customers?  Our reporting capabilities contain all sorts of data points, but we need to ensure that we include data that is not only relevant to us, but also to our clients.  We surveyed our clients to find out what activity measurements, in addition to opportunities, would be valuable to them.

The goal of this survey was to learn what components of our reports are:

  1. Read Weekly
  2. Adding value to weekly sales/marketing meetings from an analytics perspective
  3. Adding value to the database. (Cleansing Data)
  4. Shared up the food chain
  5. Help identify trends in the market.

The survey revealed that our clients are leveraging these reports in all 5 of these areas. They are using leads passed reports, Quality Conversations by lead status, Critical Account Information, Database reports filtered by lead status, Interested Pipeline reports and not interested Reports to measure the success of our engagements.

It is important for our clients to know exactly what is going on within the verticals we target, how is the integrity of data and how is the audience reacting to the message? That alone cannot be captured through opportunities alone.

One comment to this question that really stuck with me:

“Activity metrics measure how hard a person is working. These are "back-up" metrics. If a salesperson is achieving his targets for opportunities and revenue, then the activity metrics are only an indication of effort.”

“Finally, how much measurement and what you measure depends on the problems that you are experiencing and the type of activity your team is carrying out.”

While I agree with this statement that “Activity metrics measure how hard a person is working”, I don’t necessarily agree that they are “back-up” metrics. Even if an inside sales rep or business development rep is exceeding their goal from an opportunities passed perspective, sales and marketing executives are going to want to know why and how. They are going to question if it’s due to sheer volume of calls, email automation tools, adjustments to messaging, a new target audience or specific follow up to marketing campaigns.

I guess this particular comment stuck with me was because I don’t think all metrics outside of opportunities passed are “back-up” metrics. I have been questioning “what activities are you capturing and why” for a while so this was really interesting to read through and compare to my experience. I see, on a weekly basis, the amount of market research our inside sales reps provide, and the feedback they have on what is going on in the market place is powerful and useful information. The challenge is, making sure you share it effectively and leverage this information.

What is your opinion on valuable metrics and reporting? 


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