The Only Sales Prospecting Metrics That You Should Care About

My reptilian hindbrain can only process so many concurrent inputs, so I’m pretty obsessive about keeping things simple.

Unfortunately, most modern sales and marketing tools make this hard to do because they blind users with “data” and “insights” and “charts” and “graphs”.  And if the number is on the screen, then it must be important!

An awful lot of sales and marketing metrics aren’t terribly useful — especially sales development metrics.  So here are the only sales prospecting metrics that you should care about…plus a few that you can mostly ignore.

Quality Prospect Throughput

The # of target prospects that enter your sales development process each day, week, month.  This measures both the quality and speed of your prospect souring process.

Simply put, your prospect inputs need to be clean and you need to have a steady flow of them.  If you’re not sourcing quality prospects at the outset, then you’re going to waste a lot of effort and come short at every subsequent step.

Your volume and mileage will vary depending on your product, your market, and your conversation rates on down the funnel.  For starters, plan on 200 to 500 net new leads per rep per month.

Reply-to-Connect Volume & Rate

The # and % of prospects that enter your process and reply in the affirmative.  This measures the effectiveness of your messaging, early pipeline development, and team / process performance.

Open rate is for losers — reply rate is for winners…and reply-to-connect rate is for champions.  You need to keep track of the # and % of prospects that received your email / call / ping and replied with a sales workable response — meaning a “yes” or a referral or a question that opens a door.

Open and reply rates are fools gold metrics.  If you aren’t generating meaningful conversations for your sales team, then what’s the point?

Plan on 1% to 2% reply-to-connect rates — anything north of these numbers is really good.

Hand-offs / Appointments

The # and % of prospects that complete a first call with your sales team.

This one is easy — just make sure that you measure completed calls that result in a sales hand-off, don’t mislead yourself by factoring in reschedules and no-shows.

Depending on your market size and deal size, you might be happy with 5 completed hand-offs per month…or you might need to shoot for 20 or 30.

Pipeline / Wins / Revenue

The # and $ of your prospecting-sourced sales opportunities.

This is all that matters.  If you’re not getting deals done, then you can forget about all of the other stuff…but you if nail all of the other stuff, I think that you’ll be able to get deals done.  Nice that it works out that way!

It takes an awful lot of work to get to this stage in the process, so leading indicators are a good thing.  A fat pipeline of oppys that are shaping up and likely to close in the near future will give your sales development team confidence that their work is paying off.

If your pipeline / opportunity metrics closely correlate to sales development metrics, then good for you — your process is pretty tight.  

If your sales development metrics are humming but your pipeline is growing at a flat or slower rate or you’re not getting deals over the line, you might have a targeting, process, or closing problem.  Or you might just need to give your process time to percolate — if you’re getting good conversations with the right prospect, the deals will come with time.

In my experience, outbound oppys close at the same rate as other oppys from other sources — they might just take longer to firm up and close.  Group your Closed Won opportunities by source and compare lead time, deal size, and win rate — if you see disparities, you might need to hone in your targeting earlier in the process.

Metrics That We Mostly Ignore @ RevBoss

Open Rate:  useful to indicate that your messages are getting through to the inbox and that your subject line is decent, but is pretty useless otherwise.  Once you hit a cruising altitude — or if you’re personalizing every subject line — don’t sweat over this one too much.  You want replies, so optimize for that.

Click-Through Rate:  doesn’t matter to us at all — in fact, we disable click-through tracking in our emails to lessen the likelihood that we end up in a spam bucket.

Bounce Rate:  is what it is.  For most B2B sales prospecting processes, you’re going to end up with a 20% to 30% bounce rate.  Just make sure that you’re recycling your bounces and finding the right addresses for those prospects.

Finding Your Target Metrics

You have a number for the month, quarter, year that you need to hit. Start there and work backwards:

  1. How many oppys do you need to close?
  2. How many oppys do you need in order to close your target in step 1?
  3. How many first calls do you need in order to hit the oppys in step 2?
  4. How many prospects do you need to start each month to hit the call goal in step 3?
  5. Do you have a plan / process to source the target prospect goal in step 4?

Pretty simple in theory but obviously much harder once the bullets start flying.  Get started, track your progress using the numbers we suggest, and mostly ignore the other numbers.

Stay focused, stay curious, and let us know if we can help!