You’ve just been hired as a sales manager at a brand new company. With your data-driven mindset, you’re eager to dive into the numbers to see what direction to take your new company’s sales operations in. However, this company is at such an early stage, with only a small handful of prospective clients and an even smaller handful of customers, that you find yourself wondering: are there enough sales analytics for you to study?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Even for data-driven sales managers at early-stage companies, there are already certain sales metrics – namely, top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) data – that could prove critical in charting the direction of the company’s sales, while setting the tone for how things will be done during your sales management tenure. The key is to identify the right sales analytics to study while still in your early stage. Here are the three most critical sales analytics for sales managers at early-stage companies.
Lead Contribution to Opportunity Pipeline
While your pipeline might not be robust and brimming with healthy opportunities yet, there are nevertheless a handful of opportunities in there. Even at an early state, it’s important to discern where specifically opportunities are coming from. Look at how much of your sales pipeline is coming from leads (marketing) to determine which lead sources should draw most of your focus and effort. After all, in your early state before the company grows, you might have limited resources to work with, necessitating a high return on investment (ROI) on all aspects, especially from marketing spend.
This report helps you answer how much marketing is contributing to the creation of pipeline, by both total pipeline value from that specific lead and the opportunity value per lead. Take a look at the example above. Based on your data-to-date, your eBooks have generated the most total value of opportunities in your pipeline, while organic search has generated the highest opportunity value per lead. Before expending a great deal of your marketing budget on other areas, it might be wise to heavily push these two areas in your early days.
Sales Funnel by Lead Sources
Even if you have only closed a handful of deals, or maybe even none at all, it’s important to start tracking which of your lead sources have proven to be most effective. The best way for doing so is to filter your sales funnel by lead sources. Identify which leads from which sources have progressed further down the sales funnel on their way toward becoming a closed-won deal.
If one source is generating leads that don’t progress past the first or second stage, it’s easy to determine that this group of potential buyers is simply not a good fit. On the other hand, if one lead source is progressing opportunities all the way near the bottom of the funnel but your reps are not closing them, this could be a performance or process issue. Identifying where your problems are at an early stage – do you need better lead sources, reps who are more effective at closing, or a refined selling process? – will set you up for better success in the future.
While an early-stage company might not be able to generate predictable revenue (yet) that can be somewhat controlled, what it can control is the input of its employees – namely, are your reps making enough calls? At an early stage, output is much more of a wildcard than input is – therefore, it is critical that sales managers at these types of organizations oversee the input of their reps as much as possible.
This means not only setting activities goals (calls made, emails sent, voicemails left) and ensuring these goals are met, but also tracking the efficiency of these activities, in addition to various other filters. Look at which reps are being most efficient with their activities, i.e. which reps require the fewest number of dials for a connect, the fewest number of connects to book a demo, and so forth. It is critical for a sales manager at this stage to acquire as much information as possible, so task your sales reps with carefully tracking their activities and filtering down into specific segments. For example, track the types of companies or industries that your reps are reaching out to – are certain types of companies (Big enterprises? Small startups?) more receptive to your reps than others?
Sales managers who argue that early-stage companies are poor fits for sales analytics couldn’t be further from the truth – in fact, it is imperative that such companies dive into sales metrics as deeply as possible. Information is an invaluable currency in the business world, and a neophyte company needs to arm itself with all the data and information available to it in order to compete with established veterans.