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Key Sales Metrics You Should Track in 2018 – And Those You Should Track in 2021

Key Sales Metrics You Should Track

There are some questions we have for you as we update this blog post and examine what we think are the key sales metrics you should be measuring today in 2021, as compared to 2018, the original date if this blog.

  • What has changed in 3 years in the lead generation process for your company?
  • Do you need to re-examine your business development methods?
  • Do you need to adjust your marketing efforts?
  • Does your sales process need to be tweaked?
  • What processes and efforts are producing the best/most return on investment for your company?
  • What are your conversion rates per opportunity?
  • Do you need to fine-tune your messaging and value proposition?

As a sales manager or business owner, your problem isn’t too little data; it’s probably too much. From sales velocity and average deal size to sales funnel leakage and onboarding time, there’s a nearly endless list of metrics and data points to sift through. Which metrics are the most important? That depends on industry, your sales organization, and your sales cycle, but there are a handful of key sales metrics across the board that can help you make smart decisions regarding your people and processes. In 2018, Murray Goodman, CEO of Intelemark, explains how outsourced lead generation campaigns help in the following areas.

Time Spent Selling

Do you know how your salespeople spend their time? According to one study, sales reps only spend 36% of their time actually selling. What are they doing instead? A 2018 survey by HubSpot suggests:

  • 21% of their day is spent writing emails
  • 17% is spent entering data
  • 17% is spent prospecting and researching leads
  • 12% is spent going to internal meetings
  • 12% is spent scheduling calls

There are some good insights and interesting statistics in this infographic by Salesforce as we continue to examine target audiences, a multi-channel strategy, your ideal customer profile, a content marketing strategy, your CRM and automation platforms, and your plans for email marketing and social media channels.

By tracking the time your salespeople spend on various activities, you can discover opportunities to eliminate or outsource different tasks to free up more time for your team to do what they do best: close deals. For example, if your sales representatives report spending a lot of time entering data, you might want to reexamine your CRM platform. Or if your agents are spending nearly a fifth of their time researching and prospecting leads (as the above study suggests) you might think about outsourcing these activities to a lead generation provider. This may be the perfect time to take your in-house lead generation outsourced lead generation company. It is quite a time-consuming effort to determine a good lead from the highest quality potential customers. Lead gen is the perfect activity to outsource!


“Outsourced lead generation and appointment setting services allow salespeople to focus more of their time on the deals they are working. They also mitigate the peaks and valleys that most salespeople must endure. Salespeople who do their own lead generation will focus on getting a bunch of leads and working those deals, but when those deals close or dry up they must start the cycle all over again with nothing in the pipeline.”

Outreach Actions

It could be argued that the number of outreach actions isn’t as important as the quality of actions, but it’s still important to know how hard your sales reps are working to turn prospects into customers. Keeping tabs on outreach action (outreach emails sent, follow-up calls made, demos given, etc.) can also provide you with valuable insight into what your salespeople are doing so you can elevate your bottom performers. For example, if your reps are only making half as many outreach or follow-up calls as your top people, you’ll have actionable steps to lay out for improving their performance—and ultimately your bottom line.

Tracking outreach actions will also reveal how your sales team performs against industry-wide benchmarks, revealing further opportunities for improvement. Some key statistics in this category:


“Companies that don’t use a lead generation or appointment setting vendor may never connect with key decision-makers because their sales people don’t have the time or patience to reach out until they ultimately get the chance to speak with them. Salespeople who generate their own leads may never come close to making 9-12 attempts, leaving opportunities uncovered.”

Lead Flow

Lead flow is the number of new leads that come into your sales pipeline in a defined period of time. But more important than the quantity of leads is the quality. Increasing quality leads is the top priority for 68% of B2B professionals, followed by increasing lead volume (55%). Ideally, you should track the total number of leads as well as where each lead originated. This will help you identify which channels are bringing in the best leads—and you should have multiple channels. According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Inbound report (updated from the 2017 report), 43% of salespeople struggle most with prospecting. Having other ways of bringing in leads is critical to the health and growth of your sales pipeline.


“For most salespeople, their natural inclination is to focus on the deals they are working instead of spending time prospecting. When the time comes to determine what task to do next, most salespeople will focus on the task that generates revenue in the shortest time possible. At Intelemark, prospecting is all our agents do. It’s what they’ve chosen to do for their careers, and they’re exceedingly good at it. We recruit carefully to find agents with the requisite skills and experience needed to succeed where so many salespeople struggle.”

Close Rate

Close rate is the number of closed won opportunities divided by the number of opportunities created in the same period of time. Measuring each salesperson’s close rate can provide additional context and insights when compared against metrics like “time spent selling” and “outreach actions.” At the same time, HubSpot’s 2021 State of Inbound report (updated from the 2017 report) found that 34% of salespeople say closing deals is getting harder, so your sales team may not be completely responsible for sub-par close rates. If that’s the case, you don’t need more salespeople if you want to increase revenue—what you really need is more leads.


 “Assuming it’s true that one-third of salespeople say closing deals is getting harder, the only way for salespeople to make their numbers is to have more deals in the pipeline. How do you get more deals? Intelemark can help.”

In 2021, we would like to add the following metrics to keep front-and-center for your attention as you move forward:

  • Number of contacts to close a sale – once this is determined, everything else in your sales process can fall into place. Examining this metric can tell you if your efforts, like outbound cold calling by your sales team, are not providing convincing information of how your company can solve the prospects’ pain points. It is the job of B2B sales to leave no doubt about your company’s ability to be the right solution.
  • Client satisfaction – it is valuable information to understand your current clients’ feelings about your brand. This data can help you when determining your target audience for future sales efforts. It can also help you determine if your internal processes for customer retention are on the mark so that you can eliminate your competitors for the attentions of your current client base. Remember, customer experience (CX) is a huge priority for companies in 2021. And it is a differentiator for B2B companies to stand out in a crowded field of competitors.
  • Opportunities created rate – you must determine if your lead generation strategy, marketing campaigns, demand generation and prospecting efforts are producing the high quality leads and opportunities your sales reps need to keep the sales pipeline consistently plentiful.
  • Quantifiable effectiveness – what success are you seeing from the most time-consuming lead generation activities? For example, if LinkedIn prospecting is fruitful, what steps can you implement to replicate success with other members of the sales team?
  • Employee Satisfaction – having engaged employees in your company increases productivity, decreases turnover, and reduces absentee rates. This may never have been a consideration in the overall sales process. It should be. Disruption in your sales cycle and any lead generation efforts to secure qualified sales leads can be costly. It’s as important as customer retention.

Sales Metrics Matter: Is Your Sales Team Having Difficulty Generating B2B Leads?

Intelemark can fill your sales pipeline with a consistent volume of quality leads, meaning your salespeople can spend more time working to close sales and less time trying to find deals to work. Before our agents pick up the phone, we’ve already spent hours understanding your message, your market, and your offering, so you can be sure the leads we deliver are not only highly qualified but willing and excited to speak with you.

Learn more about our B2B lead generation and appointment setting services.

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