Sales managers can create a dashboard in our system for any activity type they want. For example, we ourselves track:
- Trial Delivery
- Trial Followup
One of the common activity types that’s conspicuously missing from this list is “Emails Sent,” a metric that is popular with sales (micro)managers.
While you can track anything you want…should you? Is “Emails Sent” a valuable sales metric to track? We don’t think so.
Here are two tests we would recommend to in deciding which activity types to track in your dashboards:
Test 1: Does +1 Matter?
If a salesperson did one less or one more of that activity type, would you care?
For example, this team (screenshot, right) tracks Internal Submissions (“IS”) as a key activity type. The first employee in the list has done 9 submissions month-to-date, up 4 from the equivalent range last month.
As a sales manager, do I care that the top employee in the list has done +4 versus last month? Yes! For this kind of company (a staffing firm), Submissions are key to the sales process because each additional Submission has a chance to convert into revenue for the company.
Conversely, do I care that the same employee sent 255 emails, +94 from the previous month? If they had sent 255+1=256 instead, would I care? No. “Emails Sent” is data but not useful data, because it doesn’t translate either directly or indirectly into sales for the company. These emails could be anything, from confirming a phone meeting, to shooting the breeze about the last Patriots game. 94 additional emails are effectively meaningless.
Test 2: Does The Conversion Rate Matter?
Does the ratio between that activity type and the next matter?
For some sales activities, the answer is clearly yes. In the example data set to the right, the ratio of Sendouts to to Interviews helps this company identify the quality of their sendouts and how easy (or difficult!) a client is to work with.
There is a direct “flow” from one activity type to another. Both Sendouts and Interviews are necessary steps in the sales process for this company. Some quantity of Sendouts will convert into Interviews.
Conversely, Emails can happen at any time during the sales process. Again, a sales person could trade 10 emails just trying to figure out where to get lunch. They are a tool of the sales process, not a phase within it. Thus, the conversion ratio of Emails to anything else would not make sense.
If the conversion ratio to another activity is not relevant, then that’s a signal that this activity is not a critical step in your sales flow. You might as well measure how many cups of coffee someone has. Might be more telling.