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Sales Metrics for Marketers: Why You Need to Understand These Four Metrics

Marketing leaders should understand and care about four important sales metrics. If you are a marketer, perhaps you operate under the assumption that once you hand off the marketing function to the sales team, your job is over; now it’s up to sales to complete the process of closing a deal.

That kind of approach can lead to two different results - one is limiting the revenue potential of your company, and the second one is limiting your career advancement.

Most successful marketing leaders are invested in their company’s growth. Marketing is not just about creating materials or managing the trade show calendar. It is about contributing towards increasing company revenue, which requires tighter integration with the sales department.

However, even if revenue growth is not a central motivator, you should absolutely be invested in your career, especially being able to market yourself as a company leader who knows the key metrics of the sales department inside and out.

In order to be more connected to the sales process and understand whether your marketing efforts are leading to revenue growth, you should focus on these four key sales metrics for marketers.

1. Understand the Activity Metrics

The sales team needs to be able to measure activity levels within the sales function. This measurement is essential because it is a leading indicator of future results.

If the sales team has the right level of activity to support your company’s objectives, the activity metrics will be able to predict outcomes over time with a good amount of certainty.

The question for many organizations is what counts as “activity” or “touches” with a prospect? Here are common examples:

  • Phone calls made (especially in inside sales)
  • Appointments set
  • Appointments attended
  • Emails sent
  • LinkedIn connections made

Some organizations start tracking activity metrics when appointments are set, not when prospect calls are made at the top of the sales funnel. Regardless of where the sales team starts tracking activity, it is crucial to understand that the activity metrics are tied to success.

So, what should the amount of activity look like? The metrics are unique to your organization and the solution that you are selling.

If your business model is transactional or high-volume, then it is important for your organization to track the activity of each salesperson to determine their success or failure supporting the sales function. However, if your solution is high-dollar, solution-based, or complex, then you will see much different metrics where only a certain amount of sales need to be completed in order to reach or exceed revenue goals.

As a marketing leader, you need to understand the nature of the solution you are selling and the key activity metrics that tie to success.

2. Follow the Sales Cycle

This is your opportunity to increase company revenue and shine as a marketing leader by helping accelerate the sales cycle.

Before formulating a plan to improve the sales cycle, the baseline question to ask is: How long does it take for our sales team to close a deal?

Some organizations track the sales cycle time based on when the first appointment was set, when the first discovery meeting took place, or when a proposal was presented to the prospect.

Regardless of the starting line for your organization, you need to understand how much activity your marketing team should have in order to impact future revenue.

For instance, if the sales cycle is three months, that represents a full quarter. So, whatever marketing effort your team puts forth in the current quarter will impact next quarter’s revenue. Your team needs to understand their role in the timing of the sales quarter because marketing has a direct impact on the sales cycle.

If your team is aligned with the sales function, you can enable the salesforce to close more deals in a shorter amount of time by providing the materials and support they need.

Important materials that sales needs from marketing include:

  • Email/letter templates
  • Proposal templates
  • Case studies
  • Reference documents

These types of sales aids provided by the marketing department have potential to reduce the sales cycle. This will trace back to your team to show great teamwork between sales and marketing to benefit the company.

What should you do right now? Ask the sales team what they need. Find out how you can help them shorten the sales cycle.

3. Track the Close Rate

One of the most important sales metrics for marketers is the close rate. The perception is that marketers do not need to focus on this metric because it’s at the end of the sales funnel, several steps after marketing provided sales with the resources they need to close deals.

That mentality will limit your company’s growth and stunt your career advancement.

Marketing needs to proactively investigate how they can help sales close more deals by better articulating the value of your company’s solution, especially compared to a competitor.

If the sales team fumbles a lead, it’s not always sales’ fault. Sometimes it’s a lack of supporting materials or research provided by marketing. As a marketing leader, you need to focus on the close rate to understand whether your support function is succeeding or failing.

The key to interpreting the close rate is understanding what factors impact this metric. Important things to keep in mind include:

  • The competitive nature of the market
  • Is this the best market for our solution?
  • Your company’s pricing structure
  • Seasonality of selling the solution
  • Events affecting the sales team’s performance
  • What market conditions are keeping prospects from making commitments?

After evaluating the factors that go into the close rate, you should determine whether this metric aligns with the organizational goals for selling the solution. If the close rate is not where you think it should be, then continue evaluating how marketing can better support sales to close more deals. Then, come up with a plan to act upon your evaluation.

4. Evaluate the Average Order Size

Consider this your opportunity to go behind the sales team to evaluate their ability to sell as broadly, widely, and deeply as possible. This metric speaks to a salesperson’s ability to do a true solution sell by hitting a customer’s true pain points, not just the first pain point they come across.

Another important reason to evaluate the average order size is determining why salespeople might be selling smaller and short-term deals, rather than larger and long-term deals.

When you measure the average order size and determine that a salesperson is actually underperforming against the goal, then marketing can provide additional resources and materials to support the sales team to reach the benchmark.

This metric is also important because upper management will be looking at average order size to measure a salesperson’s ability to achieve quota.

If you understand the benchmark of success, where each salesperson ranks in relation to the benchmark, and how your team can provide additional support, it creates more opportunities for collaboration with the sales teams as well as revenue growth. It also positions you as a leader in the organization who is committed to the company’s revenue and growth potential.

Study the Sales Metrics for Marketers

Whether you care about your organization, career advancement, or both, understanding that these four sales metrics will provide more value to your organization and position you for advancement to a senior level position.

Remember that the marketing function does not stop when prospects are handed off to the sales team. You still have a vital role continuing to support the sales process as well as the sales team to ensure that both teams are aligned to achieve the common goal of completing more sales to drive revenue and growth.

If you are interested in finding out more about how ProSales Connection can help your organization fill in the productivity gaps to generate more business, let's start a conversation today!

Mike Faherty

Mike Faherty is the Founder & CEO of ProSales Connection, a sales and marketing firm based in Houston, Texas. ProSales Connection specializes in helping B2B and technology companies grow through sales appointment setting and outsourced inside sales programs.

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