Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, author, and sales leader. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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Your Sales Metrics Are Imperfect

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The numbers of calls you make is an imperfect measurement. It tells you what kind of effort you made today. And it might give you some indication of how effective you might be on the telephone. But it doesn’t tell you much more than that.

Counting up the number of meetings you had today—or last week—is another imperfect metric. It gives you some information about how much time you spent with clients or prospects. But it doesn’t give you any indication as to the quality of those interactions or real commitments gained.

Adding up the revenue for all of the new opportunities you’ve created isn’t a perfect metric either. If the opportunities are real, the revenue might be some indication as to how you will fare in the future. But there are far too many variables for this metric to do much by itself.

Your win rate isn’t a perfect metric. It tells you how you’ve done in the past. But it doesn’t say anything about the value of the deals you won, how competitive they were, or whether or not they were bluebirds (a gimme, or an account won with no real effort).

I’m not really sure what meaningful conversations are. It sounds to me like the salesperson made calls without gaining the commitment they needed. They might tell you something about how many conversations you had with decision-makers or decision-influencers. But it doesn’t tell you anything about the value of those conversations to the prospective client.

Even won business is imperfect. So you made your number? That’s great, but is that what you were really capable of?

Pick the metric you like. It’s imperfect. It only tells some small part of a larger story. Even the most objective metrics have a lot of subjective assumptions behind them.

By itself, one metric doesn’t tell you enough that you can afford to rely on it alone. Activity metrics are important. Outcomes are also important. A careful and thoughtful mix of the two can you give some objective measurement from which you can ask subjective questions to determine how to achieve the results you need.

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Filed under: Activity, Sales 3.0

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