Start with your core sales metrics
An industry-leading CRM like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales allows you to track many different metrics at different levels of detail. Between your CRM’s built-in functionalities and the ever-expanding suites of third-party add-ons, you can customize the right system to track pretty much anything you need it to do. This depth and flexibility are two of CRM’s greatest strengths.
Of course, having so many options can also be incredibly daunting at first. So where do you start?
We recommend you start as simply as you can while still delivering value on your CRM investment. As tempting as it may be to track and report on everything and the kitchen sink right from the get go, trying to do too much can overload your users and create more problems than it solves.
Instead we recommend starting with a few core sales metrics, and building from there.
Remember: as long as you establish good, long-term data collection and consistency practices, that data isn’t going anywhere. You can always create flashier dashboards and more focused reports later.
That said, here are five essential sales metrics you should be tracking in CRM from the beginning:
How many opportunities are in your sales pipeline? How many are at each stage? Are there enough opportunities in your pipeline, or do you need to step up or adjust your marketing efforts? You need to know the answers to these questions, especially if your company isn’t hitting its sales goals.
Fortunately, CRM makes tracking quantity simple. As you and your team add and progress opportunities in the system, your CRM tracks them all the way through the pipeline. You can then run searches and reports on opportunities easily, so you’ll always know how many you’re working with and where they are in your pipeline.
Once you know how many opportunities you have and which are farthest from and closest to closing, you can better understand your pipeline and prioritize your sales efforts.
Do you have prospects who are ready to buy? Start there. Then go down the list, working to move as many opportunities further down the pipeline as possible.
Knowing how many opportunities you have is important, but how much revenue are they likely to generate? In other words, how large is each opportunity? What is the average opportunity size? What is the average qualified opportunity size? Size matters when it comes to sales.
Once again, CRM can track this easily. Systems like Dynamics 365 for Sales allow you to enter the opportunity size as soon as you know what purchase(s) your prospect is considering, at which point you can set your CRM to display the size of the opportunity from multiple views.
Size is another great way to prioritize your efforts. After all, if you have a $15,000 sale and a $150,000 sale at the same point in your pipeline, you’re probably spending more resources on the $150,000 sale.
Size is also a good way to evaluate your lead funnel. If you’re getting too many small opportunities and not enough big ones, you may need to adjust your marketing efforts, pricing scheme, and/or product/service offerings.
How quickly do opportunities progress through each stage of your pipeline? Do they tend to stall at some stages or move more quickly through others? Velocity is important for prioritizing opportunities, evaluating efficiency, and enabling accurate forecasting.
If you have an opportunity that is taking far longer to close than most, odds are good that it’s not worth nearly as much of your time as one that is moving along on schedule.
Similarly, velocity can pair with quantity and size to offer a pretty fair idea of your expected revenue, which helps when planning both sales and marketing efforts for a given evaluation period.
Velocity can also help you spot patterns if your opportunity progression tends to slow or stall at certain points. If those patterns emerge, you can focus efforts on identifying and fixing any snags or inefficiencies in your pipeline.
Which (and how many) opportunities offer enough value to offset the time and money that would need to be invested in that opportunity? Quality combines quantity, size, and velocity to ask a simple but important question: is the juice worth the squeeze?
Wins matter, but quality wins are the lifeblood of any successful sales operation. If the resources needed to score a sale erase too much of the profit from that sale, you’re probably better off putting it on autopilot and focusing efforts on higher-quality opportunities.
Understanding your opportunity quality enables you to maximize your profitability. You are far less likely to overcommit to low-quality opportunities, especially sizeable opportunities that may initially look lucrative.
5.) Close Rate
What percentage of active opportunities close each evaluation/bonus period? Higher close rates are obviously better, but it’s important to evaluate close rate alongside other metrics as well. A high close rate on too few opportunities may not be good enough. The same goes for too many small opportunities, too many low-quality opportunities, or too many low-velocity opportunities.
You can also break your close rate down by size, stage, and velocity to get a better feel for what factors increase or decrease your close rates. Once you have this information, you can adjust your sales process to improve, fix, mitigate, or maximize.
For example, if stalling for more than X amount of time during qualification is the kiss of death for your close rate, then you have a few options: adjust your process to eliminate the stall, adjust your process to mitigate the effects of the stall, or stop throwing resources at opportunities that sit at that stage for too long.
Similarly, if your close rate is much higher on opportunities of a certain size, your next move is likely to break down those numbers and understand why. If you can uncover the secret sauce, you may be able to apply it to other opportunities. At the very least, you’ll be in a better position to market, forecast, and allocate resources.
Moving beyond the basics
This is by no means an exhaustive list. No doubt you will want to track other metrics, especially as you get more comfortable with your CRM system and its capabilities. But these are the 5 fundamental sales metrics you should be tracking from Day 1.
The good news is, because they are so fundamental, you will always have a use for them. They will be the basis for much of you analysis, even as your analytics become more and more specialized.
But when you’re just getting started with CRM, you aren’t just playing the long game. You need some quick wins, too. From the start, these metrics enable you to understand the value of each opportunity that enters your pipeline.
The more clearly and quickly your team can see, the more they can do to turn information into profit.
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