Home Resources Blog

Sales performance metrics drive high-performing and happy sales teams

8 mins to read
Sales performance metrics drive high-performing and happy sales teams

Imagine a football coach who never reviews game footage, ignores player and game metrics, including wins and losses, and makes strategic decisions based solely on gut feelings. The likelihood of such a coach leading a team to victory is slim. Similarly, businesses that do not measure sales metrics risk missing out on critical insights that could propel them toward success.

The adage "what gets measured, gets managed" holds a significant truth, particularly for sales teams. For CFOs and sales leaders, understanding and leveraging sales performance metrics is crucial, for driving revenue and cultivating a motivated, efficient high-performing sales force.

This blog will explore the importance of measuring sales performance, identify key metrics that should be tracked, and explain why integrating Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and Business Intelligence (BI) tools is essential for a comprehensive and accurate assessment and show how having good key performance indicators in place can lead to happier sales teams.

Why measure sales performance?

Improvement: pinpointing and enhancing performance

Regular measurement of KPIs allows for precise identification of areas that need improvement. By tracking key metrics, businesses can detect underperforming aspects of the sales process. For instance, if a product is not meeting sales targets, drilling into the underlying data will reveal which sales reps or regions are not meeting targets and so the sales manager can understand why. The leaders can use the data to trouble shoot underperformance with relevant teams or people and determine whether it’s a lack of training on the product or ineffective sales strategies. Once these issues are identified, targeted training programs can be developed, and strategic adjustments can be made to address the specific challenges. This proactive approach helps resolve current issues, prevent future ones, and lead to a more efficient and effective sales team.

Motivation: energizing your sales force

Sales teams thrive on goals and recognition. Clear, measurable targets provide a sense of direction and purpose, which is crucial for motivation. When salespeople know what is expected of them and see their progress toward these goals, it creates a tangible sense of achievement. Meeting or exceeding targets often leads to recognition and rewards, further boosting morale and encouraging continued high performance. Conversely, when targets are not met, the data can provide constructive feedback and support, helping team members to improve and stop doing tasks that aren’t useful or working.

Sales team morale

Morale within a sales team can be significantly enhanced through the establishment of clear goals and transparency. When each sales team member knows exactly what they need to do to succeed and how to get there, it can help to reduce uncertainty. Up-to-date metrics that are easy to access allow salespeople to understand their contributions to the team’s success, creating a sense of belonging and accountability. When a sales person can keep track of their own performance and view the same data as everyone else (and not have to rely on others to pull reports) this clarity helps reduce stress and anxiety. Team members are fully aware of what’s selling and what’s not and can focus on achieving their targets without ambiguity.

A vehicle for strong sales leadership

Strong sales leadership is greatly facilitated by having KPIs in place. These metrics serve as a vehicle for leaders to guide their teams effectively, showing clearly what is expected and providing the necessary tools to succeed. By using data-driven insights, sales leaders can communicate expectations and performance, fostering trust and accountability within the team. Sales leaders can also present the sales metrics to the CEO and board, providing a clear picture of the sales performance and its alignment with broader business objectives. Accurately recorded sales metrics enhance the ability to provide more precise sales forecasts and bolster strategic decision-making. The metrics can strengthen the credibility and influence of the sales leadership within the organization.

Streamlining resources for maximum productivity

Efficiency metrics reveal how resources are utilized, highlighting areas where processes can be streamlined to boost productivity. Businesses can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the sales process. If data shows that a significant amount of time is spent on administrative tasks, automation tools can be implemented to reduce this burden, allowing salespeople to focus more on selling. Efficient use of resources ensures that the sales team can achieve more with less, optimizing both time and cost. This enhances productivity and contributes to a more sustainable and scalable sales operation.

Goal alignment

Aligning sales performance with business goals helps to align sales with the broader business. This alignment fosters a cohesive, goal-oriented workforce where each team member understands how their performance impacts the business. By setting sales targets directly linked to strategic business goals makes sales activities purpose-driven and contributes to long-term success. It also enables the sales team to see the bigger picture, understanding how their work fits the company’s mission and vision.

What are sales performance metrics?

Sales performance metrics are quantitative measures used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of a sales team. These metrics provide a data-driven view of sales activities and outcomes enabling leaders to make decisions and adjustments.

Which sales performance metrics should your business track?

Determining which metrics to track can vary significantly based on industry, business model, and strategic goals. Here are some sales metrics to consider for your business:

Total sales This metric tracks the total amount of revenue generated from sales over a given period of time.

Year-over-year (YoY) growth This key performance indicator compares growth in one period against the comparable period twelve months before

Sales conversion rate This is an important sales KPI that helps measure the effectiveness of sales teams at converting leads into new customers.

Sales efficiency ratio This measures the return on investment for sales efforts by comparing revenue generated to the cost of sales. This ratio helps determine if the sales team is producing sufficient revenue to justify their expenses.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) This is the total cost of acquiring a new customer. Lowering CAC while maintaining or increasing revenue is a key goal for any business.

Sales cycle length This is the average time it takes to close a sale. Shorter sales cycles generally indicate a more efficient sales process.

Lead generation These metrics can include the number of leads and the volume of qualified leads. These are important metrics to capture to inform sales leaders where their main source of new leads are coming from so they can allocate resources accordingly. It is also helpful for the marketing teams to optimize their marketing campaigns to maximize new leads and conversion rates.

Sales pipeline Captures the number of sales opportunities in the sales funnel created by the sales organization

Key customer sales metrics These include tracking the customer base, customer retention rates, customer lifetime value, and customer satisfaction levels.

To illustrate the breadth and depth of sales metrics, let’s explore examples from two distinct industries: manufacturing and wholesale distribution.

Manufacturing sales metrics

Sales efficiency ratio Just like in other industries, this ratio is crucial for understanding the cost-effectiveness of the sales efforts in manufacturing.

Sales performance by location Tracking sales across manufacturing plants or geographical areas can reveal location-specific trends and opportunities.

Sales performance of sales representative Measures the performance of sales personnel on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to assess individual achievements.

Product-level profitability Identifies the profitability of individual products, helping to focus efforts on the most profitable items.

Customer-level profitability Evaluates which customers are the most profitable, guiding targeted sales and customer service strategies.

Channel-level profitability Assesses the performance of different sales channels (e.g., direct sales, distributors, online sales) to optimize channel strategies.

Budget variance Compares actual sales to budgeted sales to identify deviations and adjust forecasts or strategies accordingly.

Variance by customer Examines differences in sales performance by customer to uncover insights for personalized sales approaches.

Wholesale distribution sales metrics

On-time delivery Measures the percentage of orders delivered on time, critical for customer satisfaction and retention.

Number of deliveries Tracks the volume of deliveries, providing insights into operational capacity and efficiency.

Order lead time The average time taken from order placement to delivery, impacting customer satisfaction and inventory management.

Order accuracy/order In full Measures the accuracy of orders delivered as requested by the customer, crucial for maintaining customer trust and loyalty.

Turn & earn/GMROI (Gross margin return on investment): Evaluates inventory profitability by comparing gross margin to the cost of inventory.

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): Tracks predictable monthly revenue from ongoing customer subscriptions or contracts.

Average deal size The average value of each sales transaction, helping to understand and optimize sales strategies.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) Measures the average revenue generated per customer, useful for assessing customer value and growth potential.

The role of FP&A and BI in measuring sales performance

Accurate and comprehensive sales performance measurement requires integrating Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and Business Intelligence (BI) tools. These tools offer several key advantages like data consolidation bringing together financial and operational data, providing a holistic view of the business performance. This integration ensures that sales metrics are accurate and reflect the broader financial context. Consolidated data helps facilitate meaningful discussions about what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve. Sharing insights on mistakes and successes promotes continuous learning and improvement.

These tools offer up-to-date data, allowing for timely decision-making and agile responses to market changes.Sales teams can set up customized dashboards to track and share results, fostering transparency and collaborative goal-setting.

With FP&A and BI tools, sales metrics can be aligned with overall business objectives.

Phocas brings all your sales data into one place, providing quick access to ERP and other data such as your sell thru data from retailers so everyone is connected to the same numbers. With custom reports, your sales team and sales managers have the information they need without chasing data. Freely explore any sales metrics, pivot, and drill down, or ask the Phocas AI chat to do it for you.

Just as a football coach relies on game footage and player metrics to devise winning strategies, sales leaders and business leaders can utilize sales performance metrics to guide their teams to success. For CFOs and CEOs, the strategic measurement of sales organization is a cornerstone of business success. By understanding the importance of sales KPIs, selecting the right metrics to track, and leveraging advanced tools like FP&A and BI, businesses can drive efficiency, motivation, and goal alignment within their sales teams. In doing so, they are designed to enhance sales performance and foster a culture of continuous improvement and success.

Read more about KPIs and metrics sales managers should be tracking

“With Phocas, when we’re having a live discussion in a meeting and want to quantify someone’s instincts or intuition, we can have a quick look at Phocas. It’s like Video Assisted Referee in sport (when done well), it literally takes 10 seconds, and we can all move on,” explains Phocas customer, Sam Moss, Chief Operating Officer at Quality Bearings Online.

Whether in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, or any other industry, the principles of measuring and managing sales performance remain universal. Embrace the power of data, invest in the right tools, and watch your sales teams thrive and contribute to the overarching goals of your business. With Phocas as your partner in performance tracking, the path to sales excellence becomes clearer and more achievable than ever before.

Featured report

The Planning Survey 24, BARC

Download now
The Planning Survey 24, BARC
Written by Dave Kenyon
Dave Kenyon

Dave Kenyon is a seasoned writer specializing in sales, marketing, FP&A, and BI technology. Dave enjoys making data and tech highly accessible and understandable in creative and innovative ways. With over 20 years of experience in tech sales, marketing, and communication, Dave has a rich background in both large multinationals and agile start-ups. His expertise spans software, technology, start-ups, and sales and marketing, making him a valuable resource for insights and strategies in these dynamic fields.

Browse by category
Key data in one easy to understand view
Get a demo

Find out how our platform gives you the visibility you need to get more done.

Get your demo today