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Track These 7 Sales Analytics To Increase Team Performance

Jonathan Costet September 22, 2021

We’re kicking this one off with a tough truth: 

By the time you realize a rep is struggling to reach their number or bring in deals, the damage is already done. Opportunities that could have been converted into customers have been lost.

Know what would have helped? A dashboard with clear metrics and analytics about that rep’s real-time interactions with customers. 

You could have used those analytics to steer them back on course the moment things went sideways. You’d have fewer lost deals right now and you’d be heading for the long-term results you want (like an accurate forecast and a President’s Club-level sales team).

In this post, we’ll explore the analytics you should track now using sales analytics software so you know where to invest your coaching time. Plus, we’ll tell you what to do if you aren’t tracking them or getting the metrics you want. 

(PS: Feeling super pumped about improving your sales processes? Us too. That’s why we created a key-metrics-only sales report template in Excel. We’re down with sharing it. Go on… have a boo. It’ll give you a real picture of your sales team’s performance.)

Sales analytics to improve booked meetings from cold calls

Watch these metrics to understand whether your approach to booking meetings using cold calls works:

Calls made

Measure the number of calls your reps make per hour, week, and month. That will help you ensure that they’re putting in the effort needed to meet their sales target. And if they’re putting in the right effort and not getting a decent return, it’s time to dig deeper into your analytics to figure out why.

Connect rate

How many attempts does it take each rep to engage with prospects? The more calls it takes, the less time they have to reach out to other — and possibly better — potential customers. Of course, if they give up too soon, they’re throwing away potential deals. It’s all about finding the right balance.

Calls longer than one minute

Are your reps’ calls leading to productive conversations that open up new opportunities, or are they stuck in voicemail purgatory and sidelined by hangups? Track the number of sales calls that last one minute or longer to be sure they’re actually having conversations that can make an impact.

Meetings booked

When you know the exact number of sales meetings that are booked, it’s easier to forecast the number of future opportunities in your pipeline. If there’s no meeting, there’s no potential sale being lined up, and no analytics to guide you.

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Use the right tools

Evaluate your analytics strategy, tech stack, dashboard, and sales analytics software to be sure you can track the right analytics in your reps’ cold calls. Give your reps tools that make them as efficient and productive as possible (and track that they actually use them!).

Minimize non-essential tasks

Make it easy as pie for reps to quickly capture call details, update the CRM, and analyze customer feedback. Every minute they spend on post-call work is another minute they can’t spend on another call or booking a meeting.

Batch tasks

Help your reps stay focused on completing their essential activities first by grouping similar tasks. They should batch things like prospect research, sales analytics report prep, and CRM maintenance into time blocks. This approach helps them complete routine tasks faster by focusing on one thing at a time, rather than switching back and forth between tasks.

Identify and share call best practices

Here are three cold calling tips to get you started:

  • Get reps to ask “How’ve you been?” on cold calls. Using this question boosted success rates (measured in meetings booked) by 10%. Why? It’s unexpected because it’s not a usual introduction. That sets the prospect off kilter just long enough to open a conversation.
  • Reps should immediately state their reason for calling. Our research shows a 2X higher success rate for salespeople who state it right away. Don’t clog up the front end of cold calls with anything else.
  • Reps should avoid asking too many discovery questions early on. Cold calling isn’t about discovery, it’s about selling a meeting.

Sales analytics to improve booked meetings from cold emails

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan for booking meetings using cold emails works:

Emails sent

How many targeted sales emails does each rep send per hour, week, and month? Just like with calls, measuring analytics around the quantity of reps’ email outreach is key to ensuring that they’re putting in 100% effort… and getting the results you’d expect. If either number is off, do some investigating.

Email open rate

How many of your reps’ emails are even opened? A low open rate is a sign of trouble, which is why tracking email open rates is critical to optimizing your sales outreach strategy.

Response rate

Do prospects respond to your reps’ cold emails? Analyzing prospects’ response rates across time and initiatives (with various analytics filters for market segment, audience, etc.) can help you troubleshoot the quality of your target list, subject lines, value prop, messaging, and CTA.

Meetings booked

How many meetings are booked using email outreach? This number helps you determine whether your approach is really connecting with buyers. And just like with calls, it shows you how effective your emails are at generating serious opportunities.

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Focus on efficiency

As with cold calls, the fastest way to improve productivity is to help your reps eliminate the bottlenecks that slow them down. One of the big ones is time. Make their work easier by giving them one analytics tool or dashboard to work in, so they can spend more time sending emails.

Schedule days around calls

Your reps should write emails when they’re not on peak calling hours. You don’t want them jumping back and forth between tasks. Once they’re written, schedule the emails’ delivery based on times with the best historical performance.

Use email templates

Email templates make it easier to match sales messages and offers with the right prospects based on trigger events, industry news, and other buyer-specific details.

Improve email quality

Below are tips you can share right away with your team:

  • Avoid ROI messaging in cold emails. Promises like “Increase global efficiency by 21%” often get deleted by prospects. Gong Labs team analyzed 132,552 cold emails, and found that using ROI language decreases success rates by 15%. [Want to know more? Read this: “Avoid this (tempting) cold email mistake at all costs.”]
  • Sell the conversation, not the meeting. Why? Because time is a scarce commodity, but interest isn’t. Your reps are better off piquing a prospect’s curiosity than they are asking for precious time up front. 
  • Personalize your subject line. Don’t stop at the easy stuff like ‘recipient’ and ‘company name.’ Mention a shared interest, a mutual connection, or a topic that you know is top-of-mind for your buyer.

Sales analytics to improve lead-to-opportunity ratio

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan to improve your lead-to-opportunity ratio works:

Calls made

How many calls does each rep make to inbound sales leads? This one’s important because reps can’t afford to wait for leads to take a next step on their own. Follow-up is essential to converting them into real pipeline opportunities. 

Meetings set

Track the number of meetings being set, and use an analytics tool to assess the quality of your leads based on buying intent. Did the lead simply download an ebook or did they sign up for a product demo? A low number of booked meetings can also indicate that leads are slipping through the cracks because reps aren’t following up.

Questions asked

Are reps asking questions that unearth information about the prospect’s pain points? When they do, they can more easily position themselves as someone qualified buyers want to speak to. What’s more, solid questions like these can really make buyers think. That’s a good thing, especially if they’re thinking about how your product might solve their pain points.

Longest customer story

How rich and insightful are your buyers’ answers to reps’ questions? Your reps’ ability to convert a lead into an opportunity depends on how often they get buyers to open up and share critical information.

Talk ratio

How much of the conversation is taken up by your rep? The more a rep talks, the less the buyer speaks — and that’s not a good thing when you’re trying to uncover insider information.

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Identify and share the best discovery questions

There’s a direct correlation between your odds of closing a deal and the length of a buyer’s response to questions. Longer answers from buyers are better because they provide your rep with more information. So don’t ask, “What’s your biggest challenge?” Instead, use questions that encourage looong answers, like those included in these sales call scripts:

  • “Can you help me understand…”
  • “Can you walk me through…”
  • “Can you talk to me about…”
  • “Can you tell me about…”

Sales analytics software can help you quickly identify which discovery questions trigger longer (and more revealing) buyer answers. Share them with your entire team using that same tool.

Track talk time

Unfortunately, most sales reps talk more often than they think — for 65% to 75% of the call. The top-producing B2B sales professionals only speak for about 43% of the time, while their buyer speaks for the other 57%. Run analytics on your reps’ talk times to make sure they strike the right balance between speaking and listening.

Sales analytics to improve win rate

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan to boost your win rate across your team works:

Email velocity

The best indicator of whether your deal will close is the number of emails exchanged between the sales rep and the prospect over a given period of time. Remember, it’s not just the number of emails your reps send out. It’s about whether there’s a two-way exchange happening on the regular.

Multi-thread

This one’s a must as it’s critical to deal success (especially for enterprise deals). Your reps should always identify and engage multiple stakeholders on the buyer’s side. Accessing multiple stakeholders means reps have several channels for getting deal updates from buyers. That in turn means getting more insights that can help them close the deal.

Decision maker (DM) involvement

Deals that don’t involve DMs are 80% less likely to close. (Read it again, then get concerned.) It’s even worse for enterprise deals — those with sales cycles longer than 90 days and deal sizes over $100k. They’re 233% less likely to close if the DM isn’t involved. “Get to power” isn’t a cliché phrase. It’s a critical rule.

Topics discussed

Are your reps’ sales conversations focused on what matters most to the buyer — their problems, their challenges, and their needs? Or are they “feature dumping” on prospects, hoping to impress with an amazing product? If it’s the latter, watch out. Feature dumping sinks win rates.

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Increase email velocity

The more emails reps and buyers exchange on a weekly basis across the sales cycle, the more likely a deal is to close. When we did the research, we found that closed-lost deals had ~1.87 emails exchanged per week, compared with ~8.21 for closed-won deals. If your reps’ stats are too low, get them to ante up on follow-ups and re-engagement. 

It’s worth noting that in winning deals, email exchanges ramp up noticeably in the last week before a deal is signed. That means ~1.35 emails exchanged in the final week of closed-lost deals, compared to ~11.5 for closed-won deals.

Multi-thread (always)

Sales analytics software gives you a clear line of sight into the number of stakeholders and DMs involved in a purchasing decision. (According to Gartner, that number is 6-10 people, on average.) It also makes it easier for reps to find weak links in their deal by presenting all their activities and the associated analytics in one dashboard. They can bring those “weak links” (i.e., stakeholders) back to the deal table.

When your reps multi-thread, they should keep the timing in mind as well. Over-involving a DM can lead to deal fatigue, so don’t get them involved in every meeting. Win rates are highest when a DM plays an approver role, not an evaluator role, so include them in only a few conversations about what matters most to them.

Stop feature dumping

Most salespeople are overtrained on their products and undertrained on sales skills. Leaning on features to make the sale is a bad habit that should be eliminated ASAP. Talking about product features is not what wins deals; discussing the value your product provides is the ticket. Get your reps to switch tacks immediately.

Sales analytics to improve win rate

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan for improving your win rate works:

Affected pipeline

Do you have clear visibility into the potential impact of direct competitors on your overall pipeline health? That includes knowing how many deals are, in fact, truly competitive.

Discussions about competitors

Have you quantified the amount of risk hiding in each deal based on competitor-specific mentions or objections from the prospect? Are they raising your competitor’s name or pricing or product capabilities?

Stage for competitor discussions

Competitive deals are fine, but only if you win them early on. That’s why it’s so important to spot them quickly — so you can use a competitor-focused approach right off the bat. According to our data, close rates increase when buyers mention the competition early on, and drop when they’re mentioned late in the sales process. (As in, if it’s late in the game and they’re still thinking about the competition, that’s a problem.)

Objection handling

How well do your reps respond when buyers raise objections? Are their sales conversations derailed by buyer pushback or competitor mentions, or do your reps use the opportunity to find out what matters most to their prospect?

Topics discussed

Do their conversations fixate on comparisons with the competition around features and price? Or are reps able to keep the focus where it belongs —  on the prospect and their challenges (…and how you’re uniquely positioned to help them solve that challenge)?

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Influence competitive deals early on

It’s critical to influence your buyer’s preferences right out of the gate, especially where the competition is concerned. Get involved in those deals early on. How? Set an alert in your analytics software to get a notification each time a buyer mentions a competitor on a sales call. 

Set up Gong’s analytics platform to notify you when competitors are mentioned in late-stage deals, so you can take action quickly and get deals back on track to close before they go south.

Link differentiation to their pain points

It’s not enough to be “different” from the competition. Your buyers have to value that difference. Teach your buyer about a problem they face (one that only you can solve), and then introduce your unique strength.

Sales analytics to improve deal size

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan to improve your deal size works:

ACV (annual contract value)

Get your team focused on attracting high-value customers. Watch the average amount of revenue generated by a single contract in a year. This will also help you forecast your revenue by estimating your ACV and conversion rate.

Discounting

Are your reps earning new business at full price, or are they using discounts to close deals? Offering discounts does more harm than good, as it lowers customer perceptions of the value you provide and sets a precedent for future discounted offers.

Pricing discussions

Was pricing discussed early in the sales cycle? Was it presented in a way that aligned with the product’s value? Deal size isn’t limited only by the buyer’s budget, but also by how much bang they expect to get for their buck. Make sure they know the value is real.

DM involvement

Large deals almost always require involvement from DMs higher up in the org chart. Are your reps multi-threading large deals to ensure that a big purchase request lands on the right desk at the right time?

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Have pricing talks during discovery 

Our analytics data shows that win rates are 10% higher when pricing is discussed on the first call. Top-performing reps bring up pricing inside the 38-46-minute window of that call. Make sure your reps are aware of just how early they should raise pricing, and use your sales analytics software to track that it’s happening. 

The longer a sales rep waits to discuss pricing, the lower their chance of winning the deal. Don’t let them get caught up in “the dance.” Teach them to get down to business, build their value case, and move directly to pricing.

Seek out high-level DM involvement

Focus on what your C-level buyers care about most so they can give deals the green light. Reps should be prepared to address three questions that are top of mind for most DMs:

  • How will this deal affect my strategic goals? 
  • What’s its time to value?
  • Who will own this?

Sales analytics to improve sales velocity

Watch these metrics to see whether your plan to improve your sales velocity works:

Average deal cycle

How much time passes between a rep’s first touch point with a prospect and a closed deal, when averaged across all closed-won deals? If you use sales analytics software to identify this number, you can create more predictable forecasting.

No activity in 14 days

Time kills all deals. Knowing which ones are stuck in the pipeline means you can focus on them, and build a plan with your reps to kickstart them before they fade into oblivion. 

Next steps

Securing next steps plays a major role in shortening the sales cycle. In the fastest-occurring deals we analyzed, sellers spent 53% more time discussing next steps during the first meeting than in the deals with the slowest sales cycles.

Time in stage

Knowing how long a rep takes to progress through each sales stage is an important indicator of your pipeline velocity. It also helps you forecast more accurately, and coach reps who get stuck in specific stages (discovery, demo, etc.).

Buyer engagement

How much activity (e.g., email exchanges and phone conversations) are buyers and your reps engaging in, and how does that compare against the activity in closed-won deals? Remember, you want to see two-sided communication. Bombarding a buyer with emails they don’t respond to doesn’t count as engagement.

Not getting great results? Here’s your improvement plan:

Use deal warnings 

With Gong, you can get alerts for issues that often send deals sideways, including having no next steps set, having a deal stalled in-stage, and being ghosted (i.e., no buyer activity in 14 days). If these alerts pop up, act fast. The deal is at risk.

Use a specific CTA

Once a rep has their buyer’s interest (i.e., they’ve entered the sales cycle), they should drop a specific time-and-date CTA into their deal emails. That has a 37% success rate for booking a meeting within 10 days, compared with 32% for an open-ended CTA, and just 25% for a CTA that asks for continued interest. Providing a clear ask helps buyers make decisions faster. This means saying something like, “Can we meet next Tuesday at 4 PM PST?

Make more time for next steps

During sales calls, reps should shorten their pitch to leave more time to work through next steps without rushing. They can dive deeply into three or four customer problems, then wrap up with next steps. It’s no fun talking about critical next steps when a prospect is rushing to get to their next meeting.

The wrap up

It’s time to catch your reps before they fall, and you can only do that if you have the right sales analytics platform up and running. If you do, you’ll be able to track key metrics, prevent more deals from going south, and help your reps WIN more often.

(PS: Reminder that there’s a key-metrics-only sales report template sitting right here. Waiting for you. Plug in your own numbers and it’ll paint a brilliant picture of your sales team’s performance. Feeling curious?)

Take your team to the next level by setting yourself up with a clear and transparent dashboard that gives you astounding levels of insights using AI and modern sales analytics. It’ll focus you on at-risk deals that need help now. You’ll know which reps need coaching and which behavioral changes could have a lasting impact.

Ready to see what sales analytics software can do for your team? Great. Cause we’re ready to show you (and we’re darn excited about it).

WRITTEN BY
Jonathan Costet

Senior Growth Marketing Manager @Gong | Au revoir opinions, bonjour reality