In the last post we talked about general KPIs. In this post I’d like to focus on sales based KPIs. For most organizations, sales is the lifeblood of the company. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have revenue. There are a number of simple Key Performance Indicators you can use to measure how your sales team is performing.


Many of these KPIs can be tracked via your accounting software or CRM software out of the box. Others may require a bit of tweaking.

  1. Quoted Pipeline ($) – The dollar value of your pipeline measured in a consistent way. We used to track the percentage of low, medium and high probability opportunities that closed and would multiple each “bucket” by the closed percentage. For example, if we had 80% of our high probability, 50% of our medium probability and 20% of our low probability opportunities close while they were in those respective buckets, our quoted pipeline would be (Total $’s in the high probability bucket X 80%) + (Total $’s in the medium bucket X 50%) + (Total $’s in the low bucket X 20%).
  2. Win/Loss Ratio (%) – The ratio of the number of leads in vs. the number of deals closed. Once again, this has to be measured in a consistent way. Are you using “qualified” leads? All leads? My preference is measuring all leads. If you get a lot of unqualified opportunities through the door you need to change how you acquire leads.
  3. Quotation Conversion Rate (%) – Similar to the Win/Loss Ratio, this ratio measures how many quotes or proposals you generate vs. the number of quotes/proposals that turn into orders. This helps measure the efficiency of your account team to properly qualify opportunities and should be significantly higher than your general win/loss ratio.
  4. New Clients (#) – A very simple number, this will show you how your account team is generally doing on new customer acquisition. A big drop or a big gain can show everything from market saturation to a stellar marketing campaign. In other words, this number needs to be measured against activities that may affect it.
  5. Existing vs. New Customer Quotes (%) – How many proposals are you generating for new customers vs. existing customers? Once again, this number will tell you whether your team is focusing on new customer acquisition or keeping existing customers happy. A big dropoff in this number says that you aren’t paying enough attention to existing customers.
  6. Cost of Sales to GM Dollar (%) – How much of your operational costs go to sales vs. overall operations? Just take your sales compensation, taxes, benefits, commissions etc. from your operational numbers and then divide by the total gross margin. You might also include marketing expenditures in this. Are you spending too much or too little to acquire each dollar of profit?
  7. % of reps on Quota Track (%) – Consistently measured, this will help you understand the overall strength of your sales team. It would be great to measure on a weekly basis, but most organizations have monthly or quarterly quotas. At the end of each month or quarter, what percentage of your sales team is on track to make or exceed their yearly quota?
  8. Overall % of Quota (%) – Where are you right now compared to your goals? This is best compared against numbers from the same timeframe 1, 2 and 3 years ago.
  9. Number of Appointments (%) – Once again, a simple number. How are your appointments compared to last month or last year?
  10. Web Leads (#) – A significant number of today’s leads come from the Internet. Are you spending money on search engine optimization (Hint: If you’re not, you should be)? If so, this is one of MANY SEO metrics you should be tracking (also rankings, number of terms in rankings, conversion rates, organic vs. inorganic rates, etc.)
  11. Upsell Rate (%) – This may take some manual work to figure out, but it’s the percentage of closed deals that had a higher revenue amount when closed than when the first proposal was generated. Obviously, a good way to determine whether your reps are looking for additional opportunities within a qualified prospect.
  12. Downsell Rate (%) – The opposite of upselling, this is the percentage of deals that closed for a lower amount than the first proposal. For example, if the first proposal was for $100 and the actual order was for $50, this should be included. If you have a high downsell rate there is a good possibility your sales pipeline numbers are inflated and you have an overly optimistic sales team. It’s really tough to make accurate projections when your overall opportunity numbers are inflated.

These numbers aren’t only useful to you, but they are also useful when you are seeking funding – whether it’s from a bank, an angel investor, a mezzanine company or whomever. If you demonstrate a strong pipeline, and support the pipeline number by ensuring that the numbers that make up your pipeline are pretty accurate, you have a great story to tell.

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Chris is Managing Partner of Fair Winds Strategies. Prior to this he was the Chief Innovation Officer at Internet Marketing Ninjas where he managed M&A activity, legal work, and also focused on the use of technology and other solutions to lead innovation and growth. Before IMN, Chris led the sale of his $10mil information technology company, twice an Inc500 fastest growing company in the US, to an investment banking firm in NYC. He has a strong passion for sailing, and had the opportunity to spend two years travelling from Lake Champlain to the southern Bahamas and back with his family.
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