17 October 2023 |

The Metrics Mirage

By Alex Alleyne

Early in my career, I was drowning in metrics. I had spreadsheets galore and dashboards that could make a NASA engineer blush. But here’s the kicker: all that data didn’t make me a better leader or my team more successful. What it did was create noise—too much of it. 

In my first VP role, I was given what seemed like the keys to the kingdom. A huge budget and all the sales reporting tools I could ever want ( almost a dozen, if I recall correctly ). I could instantly measure any metric, determine the direction of every pound, and dive deep into my team’s performance. 

I was almost instantly overwhelmed. This is not to suggest all that data isn’t valuable. Under some circumstances, it can be. But I came to realize there were only three sales metrics that truly mattered. 

  1. Pipeline Generated: The lifeblood of any sales operation.
  2. Average Time to Close: Efficiency personified.
  3. Win Rate: The ultimate measure of sales effectiveness.

Pipeline Generated: Your Sales Lifeline

Your pipeline is where it all starts. No pipeline, no sales—it’s as simple as that. Your team’s ability to generate a robust pipeline is the first sign of health. But be wary of vanity metrics. A pipeline swollen with low-quality leads is a ticking time bomb.

Average Time to Close: Speed Matters

In sales, time is often the enemy. The longer a deal lingers, the more likely it is to disappear. Monitoring your average time to close gives you a front-row seat to your team’s efficiency. If this metric is ballooning, it’s time for a tactical timeout.

Win Rate: The Final Frontier

The win rate is your batting average. It’s the ratio of closed-won deals to total opportunities. If your team is talking to 100 prospects and only closing one, Houston, we have a problem.

Protip: The 200% Rule: Double or Nothing

Here’s a pro tip that served me well. Aim for 200% of your sales target, not just 100% ( or what the organization needs ). Why? Because if you aim for the stars and miss, you’ll still land on the moon. Aiming low sets you up for mediocrity, and mediocrity is death.

Your Game Plan: Next Steps

  1. Audit Your Metrics: What are you measuring right now? Strip it down to essentials.
  2. Dive into the Big Three: Pipeline, Time to Close, Win Rate.
  3. Embrace Audacity: Don’t just meet expectations. Shatter them.

Wrapping It Up: Your Numbers Tell a Story

Your sales metrics are more than just figures on a dashboard; they’re the roadmap that guides your team’s performance. These metrics can be the difference between a high-achieving team and one that falls short. Focusing on the right metrics is critical to steering your team towards success.

Until next week, my fellow sales leaders.