What to Measure in Challenging Times

Most companies experience a slow-down in sales and revenue at some point. During challenging times realities can change week-by-week if not even more frequently. So, how does this affect your critical metrics in sales? What should you be measuring? How often?

Your new metrics

Good sales leaders will tell you that you need to be looking at leading indicators to get a good grip on your business. If you look at results only, you won't have a pulse of what is happening right now. It is merely an indication of the things that happened weeks or months ago that have come to fruition. Looking at results is like looking at a scoreboard at the end of a game. You’ve either won or lost, and there are no adjustments you can make to correct it. This article from Bernard Marr & Co talks about which leading indicators are best to examine. 

When your world turns upside down in challenging times, what should you be measuring? Is it any different than before? With things like demand increasing or decreasing, companies cutting expenses, and focus shifting, the strategies you established before may need to be thrown out the window. You’ll need to try new things, measure effectiveness, adjust, and keep rinsing and repeating until you find something that works. This kind of strategic planning is essential during a slow-down.

Here are some things to consider:


Activity is vital to measure always. But now, it may be a good idea to get more granular. Start by determining your two to three key activity metrics. Is it calls? Emails? Demos? Webinar attendees? Discovery meetings? Determine what are the right metrics for your company and set goals for your people around them. These metrics will be new to your team. Work with them to set their goals.

Increased Close Rates

If close rates are down, you may need to increase activity to make up for them. Set new goals each week for your team based on what is happening and monitor trends.

Decreased Close Rates

If close rates are way up, you may be tempted to take anything and everything coming at you. Instead, focus on your priority customers to make sure you are taking care of them as the situation develops.

Additional Metrics

Look at all of your metrics in a more segmented manner:

  • Are your salespeople having more success in one industry vs. another? Success could be defined as more discussions or opportunities generated – not just sales. If so, refocus them on finding more opportunities in those segments. Likewise, if they are getting shut down in some segments, redirect them away from those segments.
  • Is there a sweet spot in the size of companies where you are having success? Focus on those companies.
  • Are one or more of your products in more or less demand.  Re-adjust your focus towards those products as applicable.
  • It is crucial to understand your metrics so you can make timely adjustments.

Inspect your team's work - often

As the sales leader, you'll want to make sure you're inspecting your team's work to ensure they are doing the right things, making adjustments as follows:

  • If your leading indicator (activity or qualified opportunities, or whatever you choose) is off, help the salesperson focus on activity. Manage their time, make sure they have target lists to call, make sure they are not spending time on "non-revenue" things like meetings or customer service.
  • If their close rate is off, help them with targeting the ideal customers, getting to decision-makers, doing a better job at discovery, getting commitments, etc. One suggestion is to help them focus their calls on their client’s or prospect’s specific business needs – not just product or service needs.  That will be a shift for some. 
  • If their Average Deal Size is low, focus on who they should target (may need to focus on more prominent clients), whether they are discounting, whether they present all applicable offerings vs. just the easiest thing to sell, etc.
  • If you see trends in the industry, product, company size and so on, find out why and then refocus the rest of the team if it makes sense.

Your coaching focus and methods depend on reviewing these metrics. Without them, you are flying blind, and it's hard to figure out what is needed to succeed during hard times. You should be looking at this data daily to stay on top. Get feedback from the team. Share ideas. You and your team are in unchartered waters, and they are looking for direction. Metrics and data can be your best friend in determining what direction to give them.

Enhance your leadership skills and proactively build your legacy.

Start Your Journey Today

Get in touch

    Contact us

    15815 Franklin Trail SE, Suite 400

    Prior Lake, MN 55372


    © Pivotal Advisors, LLC  |  Privacy Policy

    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram