Everyone in sales knows that their goals have to be S.M.A.R.T. That is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The keyword that we will be covering here would be “measurable.”
Without measuring the impact of your sales activities, you would be in the dark as to where your company is heading! Sales KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) allow businesses or team members to measure the performance of a sales campaign against the overall organizational goals. Further, you can use it to optimize the sales process and ensures that you are prioritizing the right set of tasks for enhanced results!
In this post, we will explore the concept of inside sales along with the inside sales metrics that will propel your business’ growth.
A Brief History of Inside Sales
Before getting into KPI for inside sales, one needs to have a robust understanding of what constitutes as “inside sales.”
Traditionally, sales were primarily divided as Inside Sales and Outside Sales. The latter comprised of on-field sales representatives, who traveled places for face-to-face sales calls and lead hunting. On the other hand, inside sales had on-premise sales agents, who played a minor role in aiding and supporting the outside sales reps.
However, with technological innovations in the field of telecommunication through telephone and later the internet, the inside sales team assumed a more proactive stance to conduct sales outreach through cold calling and cold emailing.
Soon enough, inside sales started to dominate sales, especially in B2B industries. Insides salespeople started to work directly and independently with clients and acquired the lion’s share of closed deals. Naturally, this transition called for defining inside sales KPIs to measure and monitor the progress.
The need for quantifying sales efforts have become even more crucial since the advent of remote sales. At a time when the world started to shrink and the scope of businesses expanded to a global scale, there was a need for handling and facilitating sales even without physical meetings. In this context, inside sales and remote sales metrics gained prominence, which brings us to the present - its role during the global pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak was a wake-up call for several businesses that were operating a traditional operation. They were now faced with a choice between “pivot” or “perish.” Such a situation accelerated the worldwide adoption of digital technologies and transformation. As per a McKinsey report, technology-driven sales interactions registered a two-fold growth! The same report also highlights that over 90% of B2B businesses have adapted to the virtual sales model.
Hence, remote selling is no longer “the future” but it is very much the present!
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9 Powerful and Insightful Inside Sales Metrics
As we have seen, more and more businesses are adopting the inside sales model for various reasons ranging from cost-effectiveness to higher productivity. As a result, they should clearly define the inside sales metrics to give direction to the sales team and to measure the result of their efforts.
Following are a few standard inside sales KPIs that are worth tracking:
1. Number of Activities Completed
In the present context, inside salespeople reach out to clients and prospects in a number of ways. Hence, the first and most crucial KPI for inside sales relates to these activities.
When you count the number of activities completed, it should include the number of calls made, emails, LinkedIn emails, or text messages sent, and connections built on LinkedIn. Any other communication channel used by your company must also feature in this metric.
Why Does it Matter?
Naturally, accelerated customer outreach would unlock greater opportunities. Hence, salespeople who make more attempts for initial contact will be at a greater advantage to actually get in touch with someone!
On the other hand, a fewer number of activities could indicate low energy or burnout experienced by your sales reps. At the same time, it could also mean that they are more engaged in unproductive tasks, which is not contributing to your sales outreach. Hence, diagnosing this issue could help improve this output.
Even if these attempts at establishing connections do not result in a closed deal, they contribute towards generating interest and establishing brand presence amongst the target audience. Organizations can enhance these through sales prospecting tools, such as Clodura, which help you connect with more decision-makers with accurate contacts, emails, and direct dial numbers.
These tools allow your sales team to zip through the entire contact database without any distractions.
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2. Number of Fruitful Conversations
While it makes sense to make use of an aggressive call or email outreach program, it also needs to be meaningful and smart. You cannot blindly shoot arrows in the dark!
As a result, your sales team will also have to keep a log of the following:
- The number of people that responded to the call or mail
- The number of connections that resulted in conversations
- The position occupied by the contact (Were they the deciding authority?)
- The duration of the conversation, and so on.
Keeping track of the above KPI for inside sales can offer a holistic overview of your efforts.
Why Does it Matter?
Merely meeting the quota of sending out X number of emails or placing Y number of calls does not present the full picture of where your sales activities are heading. Hence, it is equally vital to measure the remote sales metrics for determining the usefulness of the conversation.
The point of carrying out outreach campaigns is to connect with a human being and to trigger a conversation. Most importantly, it is to connect with the authorities who carry weight in all the purchase-related decisions. Hence, the “fruitfulness” of the conversation only counts when you have managed to bypass the gatekeepers and make break-throughs in the executive suites.
If the number of fruitful conversations is less, it indicates that your sales team is targeting the wrong person. It could also indicate their inability to engage with the target and achieve the desired results. Monitoring such conversations can help you identify and locate the problem areas and take remedial actions on the same.
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3. Conversation Outcome
As stated several times before, businesses are making use of a mixed bag of communication channels to contact their prospects. Hence, the sales reps must record not only the medium of communication but also the outcome of the activity. For example, they could create fields corresponding to the following outcomes:
- Incorrect contact details
- Meeting or demo booked
- Prospect not fit/interested
- Gatekeeper reached
- Decision-maker contacted
- Left voicemail
- No response, etc.
Why Does it Matter?
Capturing the activity outcome helps businesses understand the impact of your outreach and communication efforts. It gives an overview of the subsequent results in response to every activity. Companies can use this data to train and mentor their sales team. Also, it helps to compare the performance and methodology used by each salesperson or team.
For example, Team A makes 100 calls per week, with 60 calls reaching the decision-maker. On the other hand, Team B makes 100 calls per week, out of which 70 calls reach gatekeepers or receive no response! Through this analysis, you can take measures to groom your employees and improve the ratio of the results. Furthermore, you can have Team A coach Team B on how they reach the decision-makers!
Ultimately, it is an overall win for your entire sales unit.
Most importantly, measuring this KPI for inside sales lends insight into the activities that appear to deliver results versus the ones that fail. So, if your salesperson tends to run into gatekeepers every time they make a call but manage to reach the decision-makers through mails, then you could resort to running an effective email sales campaign.
4. Reply Rates for Email & Messages
Your outreach activities pave the way for starting a dialogue with your prospect. Apart from your attempt to establish initial contact, you may also be contacted by potential prospects who would be interested in your product or service.
Either way, this form of communication would be a two-way street. Hence, your inside sales team will have to bring forth their A-game in the mix and make every message or email count. Being proactive is the best way to engage with prospects.
Your salespeople should make an effort to comprehend the customers’ requirements and keep them hooked throughout the communication. Naturally, the first and most effective way to achieve this effect would be through directly addressing their concerns, enriching every interaction with value, and responding quickly.
Next, you should also make an attempt to personalize the conversation. If you are sending out generic emails, you are making your client feel like a part of the crowd. Finally, you need to capture their interest and craft correspondences in a manner that encourages them to read your responses and reply to it. Hence, it can be seen that this act involves balancing several aspects in tandem.
Therefore, the reply rates would be a fitting KPI for inside sales in this aspect. Reply rates correspond to the average time taken by your sales team to get back to a client.
Why Does it Matter?
Your inside sales team can make your prospects feel like a priority by being available and accessible to them at all times. Make your customer feel important, and you would have won half the battle!
If your sales team takes an inordinate amount of time to respond to queries or messages from the prospect, you are inadvertently sending across a message that they are not worth your time.
On the other hand, responsiveness will establish credibility in your business and its ability to serve the customers. According to a Harvard Business Review study, salespersons who contact a lead within an hour of receiving the query are 7x more likely to engage with the decision-makers and tip the results in their favor. Hence, responding quickly to emails and messages will move them along the sales funnel, which will result in higher conversions.
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5. Average Follow-up Events and Number of Touchpoints
Let’s be honest. Nobody likes to be ghosted, least of all, salespeople!
Hence, in addition to responding quickly at lightning speed, your inside sales representatives will also have to follow-up on leads that are going cold. The average follow-up events refer to the number of activities completed by the salesperson, through various touchpoints, to close the deal.
Now, what are touchpoints? Touchpoints are the channels of communications, such as emails, calls, voicemails, live conversations, etc. through which you can prospect for leads and engage them. High-growth companies register an average of 16 touchpoints per prospect for every two to four weeks!
Why Does it Matter?
Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to sales.
However, a staggering 44% of sales reps give up pursuing their prospects after a single follow-up! What’s worse is that according to a NuGrowth Solutions survey, about 92% of salespeople stop following up if they fail to make sales at the 4th touchpoint, while 60% of customers say “No” four times before making the purchase! So your sales team is this close to closing the deal before abandoning it!
At the same time, salespeople tread a thin line while following up as it is easy to over-do it and push away the prospect! It is believed that after the 8th touchpoint, the law of diminishing factor comes to effect and takes away the effectiveness of your follow-ups. So now your salespeople are focusing their energies on a dead lead, which is basically hurting your company! However, this value changes from businesses to businesses as some may need as many as 12 to 13 touchpoints before the interactions start bearing results.
Hence, there is a need to keep a close eye on these remote sales metrics and ascribe a value that best suits your industry.
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6. Number of Meetings or Demos Fixed
In simple words, it is a ratio of the number of activities to the corresponding number of meetings or demos fixed.
For this metric, we are not looking at the outcome of the meeting or demo. It is simply a measure of the number of activities required, in its various forms, to bag a meeting or a demo.
Why Does it Matter?
The number of activities per booking of a meeting or demo is the ultimate KPI for inside sales that determines the productivity of your inside sales team. Almost every activity, whether it is making calls or engaging with prospects over emails, should focus on securing meetings.
By monitoring and measuring such remote sales metrics, you can get an idea of which sales rep is more effective in booking meetings. Naturally, someone who is more adept at handling this aspect should be rewarded with more leads. Conversely, someone who is struggling to secure meetings or book demos may either have to undergo training or may even be discharged from the team.
Measure the inside sales metrics by the hour, day, week, month, quarter, and year to get an overall idea of the effectiveness of your sales team. You may even discover trends and patterns that highlight the peak times corresponding to the increased demand for your product or service.
Alternatively, if you notice progressive decline or stagnation, then it is time to train your sales team to upskill the talent or adopt new remote sales strategies.
7. Number of Meetings or Demos Completed
So, you have booked an appointment and blocked your dates. It feels like a win, right?
However, there is an equally good chance that your client may not show up or be available on the day! At the same time, you may have to postpone the meeting or the demo due to legitimate reasons. It is also worth mentioning here that you may have to hold more than a single meeting or demo to convince the buyer.
Hence, you can’t merely bank on the number of appointments without factoring in the no-shows and the carryforwards. So, logging in the number of meetings or demos that your sales rep completes successfully is one of the many crucial inside sales KPIs.
The process that the salesperson follows, from the very moment when the meeting is scheduled and right until you close your pitch could make or break the deal. Thus, the interactions at this stage must also be closely monitored. A few enterprising initiatives at your end, such as issuing reminders for when the meeting is due or touching base with the client regularly, can help make it a less stressful and nerve-racking wait.
Keep an eye out for the various techniques employed by various salespersons to engage the prospects and to ensure that the meeting goes through. You may find a correlation between those who can harness their “people’s skills” with greater success. While you cannot measure soft skills, you can definitely coach your salespersons to acquire some. Train your sales reps to actively participate in the buying process by forwarding the meeting agendas, rescheduling or following up with those who have been no-shows, and having a Plan B when things go south.
Why Does it Matter?
Even though your sales rep may have scored an appointment, there is a lot that goes on in the background until the very day of the meeting or demo.
For instance, your sales rep may still have to actively work towards engaging the client and keep them interested and looking forward to the meeting. Little considerations, such as scheduling or pushing off the meeting in the distant future, that is more than 2 weeks, leaves enough room for the prospect to change their mind. Sales reps should create a sense of urgency to fast-track closing the deal. Similarly, they may have to monitor the buyer’s behavior to ensure that your competitors are not swooping in and stealing their leads!
It becomes apparent that the sales rep must keep their eyes peeled to keep a tab on the conditions and take remedial action. If at any point, your sales team senses that the lead is beginning to lose interest, then they can send them friendly reminders or follow-up to test the waters. They can also employ other tactics such as using a tool like Calendly, where the prospect can pick out a schedule as per their availability.
Hence, through this metric, you can get an idea of your sales team’s intuitive behavior and soft-skills to convince the clients to go through with the meeting.
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8. Number of Opportunities Created
The number of opportunities created is a measure of inflow and outflow of opportunities at the pipeline stage. It is a measure of the number of opportunities already presented to the sales rep versus the leads that they have nurtured and converted into opportunities.
Through these inside sales KPIs, your business can forecast future sales for the given month, quarter, or year, and identify the opportunities that are worth pursuing. It is also an indicator of the effectiveness of your marketing team and how capable they are in capturing prospects that suit the ideal customer profile.
Sales managers can measure this KPI to test the health of the company’s sales pipeline. Further, it plays a crucial role in resource allocation and determination of sales process outlook to capitalize on these opportunities.
Why Does it Matter?
Your sales pipeline is the lifeblood of your business. By measuring such remote sales metrics, your organization can get a granular understanding of the leakages in your existing sales process. Moreover, it is applicable to any stage of the sales process to measure its efficacy.
For example, you can record the number of opportunities created through outreach versus the total number of outreach activities. Similarly, you can test the effectiveness of your sales pitch by comparing the number of opportunities before the pitch versus the number of opportunities arising after the pitch. The same goes for your meeting or product demo, and every other sales touchpoint!
Hence, it is a fairly vital metric to carry out checks and balances at each stage of your sales process.
9. Number of Proposals Submitted
After your inside sales team has qualified the prospect to filter in the high-quality lead, it is time to send them a proposal that they can’t refuse! Do make it a point to ensure that all your proposals are relevant, to the point, and clearly states the critical information such as the pricing, deliverables, timelines, etc.
But first, the sales rep must keep a log of the number of activities, such as calls, emails, texts, meetings, etc. that they had to conduct before turning in the proposal. At the same time, companies must also maintain a record of all the proposals sent to the client, which transformed into closed deals. Both these values give birth to the proposal-related KPI for inside sales.
Why Does it Matter?
If your sales team is submitting an appreciable number of proposals, it is always a good indicator. It means that they have been successful in generating the prospects’ interest and garnered a positive response. Furthermore, it is a sign that you are connecting with your target audience, and your sales activities are heading in the right direction.
However, simply measuring the number of proposals submitted is not enough. You must also measure the impact that it has on the overall output. Compare the number of proposals submitted with the number of proposals accepted. If the ratio is too low, it could highlight the issue with your sales team’s proposal writing skills.
In this case, it would be wise to review the proposals that failed to deliver and set it side by side with the successful ones. It will make it easier to identify the red flags that may have scared off the prospect.
Wrapping it Up
As one can see, the transition towards inside sales has been taking place for decades. However, situations like the COVID-19 outbreak, the proliferation of technologies, and the employees’ desire to work remotely have accelerated the adoption of inside sales.
Naturally, as businesses venture in this realm, they will have to define inside sales KPIs to stay relevant and make the most of their remote sales activities. Further, as remote selling becomes more ubiquitous, there will be a need for an intelligent platform, like Clodura, that connects you with qualified leads, intelligently sieved according to your company’s customer-product fit.
The above KPI for inside sales is a great place for businesses to get started. However, you will eventually have to pick a perfect and balanced set of inside sales metrics that is intrinsic to your business.