As both the founder of and in my previous life as a sales manager I’ve often been asked what the “standard” measure of sales rep productivity is.

Ultimately, I don’t think there’s a single “standard” measure of productivity that works. How you measure productivity changes from company to company. It’s critical to track activity, not just the end result of a deal won or lost. So revenue/rep or bookings/rep aren’t going to cut it.

Sales is about process, not personality. The key to consistently growing revenue is to create a replicable, scalable, process that works. Once you have that you can just keep hiring more salespeople and coach them to use your winning process. The goal is to create a machine that inputs salespeople and outputs dollars.

But you can’t build your machine without an understanding of what works and what doesn’t at your specific company – it’s unique after all. Most sales managers can tell you who their top performers are – the eagles that constantly meet and exceed their quotas – but they can’t tell you why they’re top performers.

What I suggest doing is to look at the activity metrics of the reps you’d like to have more of and compare them across your team. Maybe your best reps are just doing a better job of replying to their emails and creating a sense of urgency in the emails they send to prospects.

I generated the fictional example above using, but you could do something similar in Excel. Here we can see that there’s a huge gap between reps in both how fast they respond to emails and how fast prospects respond to their emails. Our fastest rep (Bradley Cooper) takes about fifteen hours on average to reply to a prospect email. The slowest rep (the anemic Julia Roberts) takes more than six and a half days. That’s a huge difference. Are you going to want to buy from someone who takes almost a week to get back to you? I know I wouldn’t.

In a similar vein, Mr. Cooper is able to get customers to respond to him in less than ten hours on average. Bradley is able to successfully build a relationship with his prospects and generate a sense of urgency in the emails he sends. By contrast, it takes prospects nearly 18 hours to get back to Ms. Roberts.

Here are some other sales metrics I find it useful to look at:

  • The ratio of a rep’s customer-facing activities to all of their activities.
  • The average number of external attendees in your rep’s demos.
  • The average length of a rep’s calls/meetings with prospects.
  • The amount of time it takes from when a rep contacts a prospect to when a meeting is set up.

Long story short, I’d advise against trying to measure your reps bases on a single “standard” measure of productivity. Find out what your best reps are doing, coach the rest of your team to do the same and track their performance against that. You’ll have much better luck creating a replicable, scalable, process that works for your business.

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