As the year comes to a close, many departments are planning strategies for 2017. And why not? With a wide range of this year’s sales data now available, business intelligence should be able to forecast where and how to ramp up efforts beginning January 1.
In addition to budgeting and financial planning, revisiting sales metrics is an important task for the end of Q4. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you need to. Decide which metrics will matter to your organization and make a difference for your bottom line.
Once those plans are laid out, you can work on hitting your goals.
But how do you know what you should measure? With all the inputs coming in from website sign-ups, blogs, and social media channels, cleaning up your data and leveraging insights from it should be high on the priority list. This will help leaders get to the core information that will strengthen sales strategies moving forward. For many businesses, having data and being able to zero in on the metrics that matter are two very different things.
So, we’ve identified the four engagement metrics sales teams should pay attention to in 2017, if they aren’t already:
1. Email and Content Response Rate
Are prospects looking at the sales assets you send them? No matter what platform you’re using, all sales emails should be tracked. When emails are tracked, sales teams can see how and if they’re being opened and then use those insights to create more customized messaging. From there, you can focus on higher-priority accounts and create a better level of interaction and engagement.
2. Frequency of Engagement
How frequently do prospects interact with your blog, emails, and other types of content? If sales reps can’t answer these questions, they may be missing out on major opportunities. If targeted prospects regularly visit your site, that could mean they’re ready to purchase, upgrade, or take some other action that impacts your bottom line. You can work with marketing to track this data in your marketing automation platform, or use an email tracking tool to monitor your own messages.
3. Core User Actions
Are your prospects clicking your links? Reading materials? Responding to your emails? In addition to frequency of engagement, this kind of qualitative information is a big indicator of buying interest and intent. If they’re not completing certain actions, you may need to pivot to a new strategy or use different collateral.
4. Duration of Content Interaction
How much time do prospects spend reading and reviewing your content and interacting with your messaging? If they open your email, but only look at it for five seconds, probably didn’t make much of an impact. Interaction duration indicates how valuable your content is and help you to tailor communications accordingly. Opportunities for customization and personalization can help score major wins. Of course, you’ll need a specialized lead tracking or sales analytics tool to measure this kind of data.
Mastering your sales data is an important part of ending an old year and beginning a new one on a high note. Once you’ve ensured that you’re paying attention to the right metrics, you may notice that some things need to change. Perhaps your sales process needs to be updated, or you need to revise your marketing collateral based on whether or not potential customers are interacting with it.
When you start tracking these new metrics, you’ll start to see more clarity in your sales sales operations. For example, six months after implementing SalesLoft, the sales team at Digital Reach began to see greater organization in their processes: by having better insight into their key sales metrics (calls, emails, wins, etc), managers were able to start holding their teams accountable. For managers with geographically dispersed or financially stretched teams, having those insights can be crucial.
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Now is a good time to gather any important data, sales numbers, and other metrics you’ve been measuring in order to create a baseline for 2017. Set new targets monthly or quarterly, and compare those numbers to ongoing performance in the coming year. Finding the right mix of activity metrics and outcome metrics will help align your teams to make a big impact in 2017.
Alaysia Brown is a digital marketing specialist at SalesLoft, a sales engagement platform that helps companies test, learn, and adapt their selling process.