Sales KPIs: Activities vs. Dollars

January 14, 2010

There is an ongoing debate over whether sales is an art or a science. While the debate continues, I think it’s safe to say that it’s probably a little bit of both. Another ongoing debate related to this is whether to hold sales people accountable to leading indicators like calls, conversations, new opportunities etc… or to only hold them accountable to their number.

When sales reps are consistently hitting their numbers, it’s easy to ignore metrics like the number of conversations/ week, however when reps start missing their numbers, pipeline reviews can’t always explain why. Activities are important leading indicators to the success of a sales person, yet many sales managers do not manage to them, or even hold their reps accountable to at least a minimum set of expectations for their activity levels.

On the other hand, managing too strictly to the activities can be detrimental if as a sales manager you don’t have a good sense of the quality of leading indicators that you are measuring. At an expansion stage company with a growing sales team it can be particularly important to measure both. Holding reps accountable to leading indicators can help a young and growing company create a metrics driven and goal oriented culture within in their sales organization.

VP, Sales

Ori Yankelev is Vice President, Sales at <a href="">Own Backup</a>. He was previously a Sales and Marketing Associate for OpenView.