For those who have invested staff time, 3rd party consulting, and CRM automation in an effort to improve their sales process, the suffering can be severe when the results do not show up in the numbers.

 

WTB resized 600Many sales process improvement efforts run aground when anxious sponsors wait for the revenue impact almost immediately after implementation. They want to see improved deal close rates and reduced sales cycle lengths, and a higher transaction size. Most importaly, they expect revenue increases to materialize, even as reps and managers are initially struggling to understand and adopt the new process.

 

When these improvements are not born out in the numbers, sales executives cry foul, saying “where’s the beef?”

 

Leading Indicators

With a major organizational change project such as sales process improvement, businesses need to know “how it’s going” well before the final results (such as revenue increases) are finally recorded. The way to do that is to define and start measuring Leading Indicators. For a sales process improvement project, the key leading indicators to monitor are:

 

  1. Pipeline to Quota Ratio
  2. Average number of Days in Stage for an Opportunity (for each stage or phase in the process)
  3. Number of Opportunities returned to nurture
  4. Frequency of use of Tools/Aids related to the sales process
  5. Dollar size of early stage forecast
  6. Stage Progression Rate (% of Opportunities that make it to the next stage divided by total Opportunities in stage)
  7. Stage Regression Rate (% of Opportunities that ‘go back” to the previous stage divided by total Opportunities in stage

 

When organizations monitor these metrics from the first day the new sales process is introduced to the sales force, they are well informed about the future impact that the improvement will have.

 

Lagging Indicators

The most important metrics for a sales process improvement effort, and the ones that determine success or failure are called Lagging Indicators. Here is a white Paper that describes the difference between leading and lagging indicators.

 

Below is a list of some of the most compelling and relevant lagging indicators to track that capture specifically the impact of an improved sales process.

 

sales process metrics

 

I welcome any comments on the challenge of measure interim and final state progress of a sales process improvement effort.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.

Once the leader of SBI Delivery, Mike is now head of the firm’s internal talent development, so he has had the fortune to help some amazing sales and marketing leaders. He starts by earning their trust. Much of this comes from his deep base of experience. With more than 25 years in sales, sales management, pre-sales and sales operations, he’s never met a challenge he didn’t like. And with backgrounds in sales leadership, marketing, and sales operations, he shuns the idea of being a desk jockey and relishes the idea of living in the field.

 

Mike maintains, develops, and leverages SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Maniacally focused on execution, Mike does not believe in giving clients fancy deliverables with no operational details. He knows that field adoption is key. After all, if behavior doesn’t change, the lift doesn’t come. Likewise, if those closest to the field adopt the solution, the client wins.

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