By definition sales effectiveness refers to a collection of metrics that can give you a better idea of your sales team’s overall success rate. It measures performance either against business goals or against revenue and profit, and sometimes it is even used interchangeably with sales efficiency. However, while both efficiency and effectiveness relate to performance the first is about how fast tasks are completed, and the second looks if the right tasks are completed.
Sales play a key role in strengthening the relationship with your customers and ensuring a sustainable business growth. By monitoring the productivity of your team you can get a better scope of how successful they are in discovering new opportunities and closing deals. What is more, you will be able to spot where improvements are needed and incorporate new and better practices to fill the gaps.
A highly effective team is one that is efficient at performing the right tasks. Every company defines effectiveness in its own unique way and without a clear definition and specific key performance indicators (KPIs), it can be difficult to assess and improve.
There are plenty of variables that come into play, so it’s essential that you concentrate on those directly impacting your company’s short- and long-term goals.
In this article, we’ll share with you some of the most important metrics that can help you track results. We will cover the KPIs that more specifically relate to the performance of a tech company. And we’ll share with you some tips on how to improve your sales efforts and convert prospects into customers.
How to Define Sales Effectiveness?
Before we get into the specific KPIs and best practises, let’s first define what sales effectiveness is.
Sales Effectiveness vs Sales Efficiency
Sales effectiveness is often used together with sales efficiency. Differentiating between the two, however, is necessary for ensuring you are measuring the correct metrics.
Effectiveness refers to the quality of actions and answers the question of what specific tasks are performed so business goals are met. Efficiency, however, focuses on the speed of actions, letting us know how quickly tasks are completed.
Both terms relate to sales productivity and, as mentioned by Seismic, they correspond to the ratio of the obtained outputs (i.e. effectiveness) compared to the invested inputs (i.e. efficiency).
For example, an output can be the number of calls made per day, and an input can be the time each call took. This means that if you can get more output by using fewer inputs productivity will increase.
The 4Ps of Sales Effectiveness
Following up on a potential buyer and guiding them through the purchasing cycle can be tricky. So your reps need to know what it takes to be efficient and which strategies are beneficial for lead generation.
According to a report by Conversica, there are 4 pillars to effective sales:
- Promptness – The speed in which a rep follows-up with a lead after making a request.
- Persistence – The number of follow-ups after an initial contact.
- Personalization – The amount of personalization element in a follow-up message.
- Performance – The success rate of a follow-up message reaching the lead.
Now that we know the key characteristics of effectiveness, let’s look at the ones you need to assess.
Which KPIs Should You Track?
1. Length of Sales Cycles
A good understanding of your sales cycle can help you to spot and address disruptions and delays. Start by looking into the average length of each stage. Outline if some of your reps close deals faster and analyze why.
Based on the data you collect, evaluate what is the optimal cycle length that can help you secure the highest number of purchases. Make sure to check how successful your team’s efforts are in the long run and analyze the information so you can better understand the reason for the results.
For instance, if one of your reps is really good at closing deals quickly, but then the clients become dissatisfied after a certain period of time, you might want to adjust the length of the process or the strategies used.
Some areas that you should evaluate include:
How successful are your reps at getting to know your clients?
Have they established their own timeline?
What are the specific goals and milestones they always try to reach?
Are they able to tailor their communication and practises to the individual customer?
Once you’ve answered questions like these, you can start considering what specific actions to take to improve those processes. Also, don’t forget to link to how this improvement will affect the overall business strategy.
2. Sales Volume
The sales volume reflects the number of units sold over a given time period. This metric is an important indicator of how healthy a company is. It shouldn’t be confused with the number of total deals, as these have a monetary value.
To give you a better estimation of the sales effectiveness, it’s good to look at their volume per location. You can do that by getting data from your physical store(s) or online transactions. This will help you see which product has a higher demand, and help you find out why. Then you can understand what works best for a particular region and find the best strategies to increase sales volumes.
3. Lead Response Time
The lead response time reflects the average time a sales rep takes to follow up with a potential client. This happens after the lead has self-identified as such by for example submitting a contact form, downloading a whitepaper of an ebook, and so on.
To achieve meaningful results, when measuring this KPI it’s important to ask yourself if you are successfully converting leads. You can start by segmenting your prospects from cold to warm and calculate how long they take to make a move. The warmer they are the faster should the response time be for achieving sales effectiveness. For instance, a potential buyer that has requested a demo of your software service is “warmer” than a user who has only downloaded a whitepaper.
If you want to shorten the response time, you should monitor all your lead sources, train your team to prioritize prospects effectively, and ensure clear communication. This way your salespeople will be more effective at sealing the deal, thus improving the effectiveness of their efforts.
4. Customer Acquisition Rate
The customer acquisition rate (or cost) corresponds to the sales and marketing costs necessary to earn and win new clients over a set time period. To relate it to sales effectiveness you should measure it individually for each one of your sales team. This will give you a snapshot of their overall selling success so you can identify potential gaps.
To measure your customer acquisition cost accurately you need to set a period of time – a month, a quarter, a year, etc., identify a few sales territories and assign them to the separate teams or reps.
The idea behind this is to match opportunities with the right efforts, so that your team can plan and control their operations, and develop better strategies. Each territory coms with its own strengths and weaknesses, which can be used strategically for more efficient personalization.
After tracking and comparing the results obtained, you can identify the areas with high-demand and allocate more resources there. You can spot gaps in your rep’s skills and experience, if there are any, and make the necessary improvements on time.
5. Customer Churn Rate
In addition to how many new customers your company acquires, it’s important to be aware of how many turn away.
The customer churn rate, also known as attrition rate, reflects the rate at which customers stop using your service over a specific period of time. It can apply to clients that decide to stop doing business with a company or subscribers who don’t renew their subscription. Hence, the lower the churn rate, the more successful your teams are in retaining your customers.
This KPI is essential to measure when evaluating both your sales effectiveness as well as your overall customer satisfaction. It’s natural and healthy for companies to have certain levels of churn, and especially for tech companies, as these operate in dynamic markets with changing products and services.
However, it’s important to keep track of potential dangerous trends that can lead to lost business opportunities. For example, if too many of your subscribers start canceling the same service it might mean that you should revisit its performance.
6. Upsell and Cross-Sell Rates
Tracking your upsell and cross-sell rates can help you identify which clients respond well to which particular products or services you offer. What is more, these will also help you identify who are your most qualified leads.
Upselling is when reps encourage your clients to purchase a more premium version of the primary product/service. And cross-selling is when they encourage clients to buy additional products related to the primary one. Both are intended to boost customer satisfaction and experience, and ultimately drive up sales.
To ensure your sales efforts are effective, it’s necessary to examine what, how, when and to whom you up- and cross-sell to, and adjust your efforts when needed.
7. Revenue Growth
Revenue growth is one of the most significant measures of business success. The higher your revenue the more profitable your business is, and sales play a big role in boosting your business’ financial performance.
According to Northlink Consulting, when determining the success of a business, the revenue is usually analyzed more closely than profits. This is because revenue can better reflect a company’s ability to generate more sales and increase its customer base over time.
To ensure this metric can yield valuable insights, you should concentrate on your sales and marketing efforts, instead of looking too closely into forecasted numbers. Customer needs change and your internal teams should be flexible in their approach so as to guarantee a sustained business growth over the long-run.
How to Improve Your Sales Effectiveness?
Now that you know which metrics need tracking most, let’s go over some more specific actions you can take to improve your sales effectiveness.
1. Provide Great Value Through a Meaningful Customer Experience
Your team should be able to deliver meaningful value to all your existing and potential customers. This means consistently providing a great customer experience that is well-defined through the whole cycle.
You should set clear goals for each stage of the cycle and focus your efforts to capture the right insights. Indicate the frequency of your client contacts, the voice of the messages you send, and the objectives you wish to achieve.
These all have to be outlined with specific and clear steps. In doing so you need to coordinate your growth and marketing teams so that they can both capture and deliver value quickly and effectively.
2. Have a Customer-Centric Focus
Your clients are the heart of your organization’s success, so every contact with them should get them closer to solving their problems. Every call, email, and message you send should include a clear call to action that outlines the value you can give to your audience, and showcase the specific needs your products and services can satisfy.
Developing the best approaches should be a collaborative activity for your team members. Allow room for asking and answering questions. This will help your reps address challenges and find the right ways to solve them and successfully nurture leads to long-term customers.
3. Gather and Listen to Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is essential for understanding how well your organization can serve clients. So it’s necessary that all feedback you gather is measured and used to create deeper value.
One of your salespeople’s responsibilities is discovering new leads, and to do this successfully they should provide correct responses at the right time. By collecting and analysing client feedback, your reps will have the right knowledge to answer your prospects’ questions and understand their needs. What is more, they will be able to personalize the customer experience, thus scoring quality leads quicker and with a higher success rate.
4. Provide Honest and Helpful Assistance
Effective sales strategies don’t need to be complicated. The goal is to provide helpful assistance to your prospects and show understanding when addressing their concerns.
When your reps try to be of help you can significantly improve the quality of the customer experience. Customers can detect when a rep is only interested in making a sale, so you need to be authentic in your client communication. You should be transparent and show that you’re actively working towards satisfying their needs.
This will reduce the likelihood of your prospects backing off and churning away. Moreover, when your efforts are genuine, clients will be more open to share their honest opinion about the service they receive as well as how delighted they are with your products and services.
To improve sales effectiveness you need to know how to measure it and which are its most important characteristics. There are various KPIs that you can track, and the essential ones strongly depend on the industry you’re in. Knowing which ones are related to your organization will help you improve your processes thus making them more effective and efficient.
Effective processes require promptness, persistence, personalization and great performance. Hence, to boost effectiveness your reps should be able to provide great value through a meaningful customer experience, and have the client at the heart of their strategy, listen to them carefully and provide authentic and useful assistance.
Let us know how you found our tips. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you wish to find out more.