Data is king

Marcus Oulds, Sales Leader from GoCardless shares with us the importance of data, but what are the metrics that matter?

Last month we staged our 5th Sales Confidence live event at GoCardless HQ London. We had 100 SaaS enthusiasts watching two sales leaders, a consultant and a coach sharing their secrets. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our articles.

Our second speaker on the night was Marcus Oulds. Marcus came from Google to run sales at GoCardless. The topic of Marcus’ speech was the philosophy of running a great sales team. You can find out how Marcus likens running a sales team to a sports team here.

Data decisions

Marcus shared with us how data is behind all the decisions he makes when running a sales team.

‘Like the Boston Red Sox, for me, data is king. What I do when I come into a new sales organisation is built out a blueprint. What are the key metrics we want to focus on? Over what cadence do we need to look at them? And are we constantly iterating to see if they’re actually working?’

Metrics that matter

Marcus moved on after this point, but it’s something we should examine. What are the metrics you need to focus on? Of all the metrics your CRM can produce, how do you decide which are the ones that matter?

Here are some metrics that are important in SaaS sales:

· Win rate — probably the most straightforward metric to measure, this is the percentage of deals closed out of the number of deals you’re pursuing. Win rates not only show who the most effective salespeople are, you can also drill down into them to examine what size of company, what vertical and more, that individual salespeople are most successful at closing.

· Pipeline — How many leads are in your pipeline? If your pipeline divided by your close rate isn’t matching your quota, you need to take measures.

· Sales cycle — How long does it take, on average, from the first contact to closing the deal?

· Individual activity metrics — What contributions are you individual salespeople making? You could measure this with calls per day, meetings per day, contacts with the prospect, anything.

· Annual Contract Value (ACV) — How much is a customer paying you over a 12-month period?

· Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) — How much predictable revenue is coming in every month?

· Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) — How much do you need to spend to land a new customer? This metric involves marketing spend to generate the lead as well as the cost of turning the lead into a customer

· Churn rate — The proportion of customers cancelling their recurring contracts with your organisation.

There are scores of other metrics you can look at. In an article from 2017, HubSpot identified literally hundreds! Today’s sophisticated CRM systems can produce everything you could ever wish to know about your sales team is functioning. The question is, what are the ones you should be focusing on?

Where do you want to be?

As Marcus put it, it’s all about knowing ‘where you want to be’.

You ideally want to focus on data that:

· Helps you hit your goals (revenue targets)

· Keeps your salespeople engaged

· Fosters a team spirit in your organisation

When you know where your goal is, you can work out which metrics will help you get there. It’s never one-size-fits-all. You may have different goals at different stages of your company’s growth.

A final rule is to focus on the things you can control. Let externalities look after themselves.

What do you think?

Over to you now. What do you think? How do you decide what metrics to focus on in your sales organisation? How do you deal with the deluge of data? Let us know in the comments below.

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