Every great salesperson knows there are metrics they should measure in order to improve their processes and increase their overall sales success. But are those metrics the same as they’ve always been?
Some are, but I believe there’s been a shift in today’s sales process that has driven companies to focus on something new. In this article, you’ll discover which sales metric has come front and center in 2015, as well as how you can ensure you’re measuring it accurately.
The #1 Sales Metric In 2015
The evolution of the sales process in recent years has changed the way companies look at key performance indicators (KPIs)—rather than focusing on raw figures, like a company’s total sales figure, they are focusing on customer retention.
Obviously your company’s overall sales figure is still extremely important and will always be something you’re working to increase, but there are a number of ways you can get to that ultimate sales goal. Customer retention—that is, attracting and retaining a wide variety of customers and keeping them satisfied is the best way to do that. And because sales and marketing processes have shifted from being product-focused to customer-focused, customer retention is more important in 2015 than ever before.
Customer retention can be broken down into two important sub-sales metrics—new prospects and customer satisfaction.
Even if you have a current customer base, attracting new customers will always be important. You find new prospects by using things like your website and blog to attract a relevant audience—not just any audience, but one made up of people who would actually be interested in your product or service. But that’s more of a job for your marketing team.
The sales team comes in when you begin measuring these new prospects and start following up with them. The way to measure new prospects is to look at how many hits your website gets—then you can analyze the interest you’re generating and bring the right prospects into the sales funnel.
Customer satisfaction is the other component of customer retention. But because customer satisfaction is subjective, it’s very difficult to measure. How can you say that one customer is objectively happier than another? You can’t—at least not in a calculated, scientific way.
What you can do is compare how a customer felt about your service or product a year or two ago to how they feel now. Are they happier with your product now? If so, what made them happier? Have they become unhappy with your service? Why?
In order to understand whether or not an existing customer is satisfied, you have to look not only at your relationship with the customer, but also the factors that could be affecting that relationship. What changes have you made in the last year to your processes that could have changed the customer’s view? What changes have happened in the customer’s business that may be altering their opinions?
The way to make this metric measurable is to keep track of how many interactions you had with the customer in the last year. And not only that, but how many of those interactions were actually important or influential? Not the times you simply picked up the phone to ask the customer how their weekend was (although those interactions help keep the relationship meaningful), but the times that truly affected the sale. Things like sending a marketing email to the customer, visiting them on-site to view their facilities, or when they actually purchase something from you.
How Can You Measure These Sales Metrics?
All of these interactions with the customer can be tracked with a CRM. In fact, a good CRM will let you automate an integration between your email, your website, or another platform where customer interactions happen, which removes the need for you or your employees to manually input each encounter.
The reason this automation is helpful is because it takes out the possibility for human error. What I mean is, a good customer relationship begins to cool down when something has gone wrong. And when something has gone wrong, a salesperson will be reluctant to record the negative interaction—not because they want to hide it, but because it’s human nature to want to fix the problem before reporting on it. And if an employee decides not to input a certain interaction, you can end up missing an important piece of the customer relationship puzzle.
Having a CRM that automatically records every interaction, good or bad, gives your company an accurate measure of your customer retention. And knowing exactly where you stand with your customer relationships will help you meet your ultimate sales goals.