July 2, 2019

Sales Rep Performance Benchmarking: What Is It, and Why Is It Valuable?

Sales Rep Performance Benchmarking: What Is It, and Why Is It Valuable?

Kyle Gerbe

Kyle Gerbe
Sales Rep Performance Benchmarking: What Is It, and Why Is It Valuable?

Do you know which activities differentiate your top sales reps from your low performers, aside from revenue generation? Or what differentiates top performers in how they spend their days, what their average deal size is, and what top performers consider a waste of time? 

As organizations face an increasingly competitive market with ever-shrinking margins, it’s imperative to be able to drill down into detailed data that gives you key insights to better hire, ramp, and coach sales professionals. 

It’s not enough to benchmark against industry standards. You need quality data that enables you to benchmark your reps in your org based on their behavior. 

Why benchmark your reps? 

When you benchmark, you give yourself a baseline of data specific to what’s actually going on in your org that allows you to measure initial performance and make smart decisions as to what to change. You can begin to separate high performers from low, and hone in on specific behavior patterns that help you improve reps’ performance, bookings, and efficiency. 

Benchmarking uncovers actionable information, such as the type of activities, the average duration, and cadence throughout the year that separates high and low performers. It answers questions such as: 

  • How much time do your top reps spend sending emails vs your low performers? 
  • Which activities consume lots of time, yet yield disappointing results? 
  • Does the best activity to sell a deal differ based on seasons or peak times in the fiscal year?  
  • Where do you need to coach reps to change what they do and when they do it, to be more successful? 

Benchmark in a way that makes sense for your org 

With People.ai Sales Rep Performance Benchmarking, you establish your criteria for “quality” with an internally used and normalized metric for rep performance, typically a form of attainment. Then, we use AI to determine which activities (by number, average duration, and cadence) truly differentiate performance in your sales org.

This data can be sliced by anything that is valuable to your org, especially when it comes to potentially different sales motions, including, but not limited to: 

  • Phase (renewals, upsell, cross-sell, new business),
  • Product (family, type, SKU),
  • Segment (commercial, enterprise, strategic)
  • Industry (customers, vertical, size),
  • Region (theater, sub-theater, country), or any combination of the above.

From these analyses, People.ai provides specific, actionable playbooks by phase, product, segment, industry, and region, enabling your sales enablement team to set dynamic goals to ensure all sales activities are high-value.

Isolate behaviors of high performers for coaching and goal-setting

It’s not enough to count activity levels. The number of activities itself doesn’t drive performance, but rather it’s the TYPE of activities your reps do, and when they do them, that leads to success (or failure). People.ai has multiple ways to conduct benchmarking, with the simplest requiring access to email and calendar data.

Here’s an example of benchmarking results based on email and calendar data for a company in the commercial segment (but which was selling as if to enterprise customers):

Key insights you might glean from these results: 

  • Top Performers send 8-10x as many emails to current contacts from January to July as low-performers, showing the necessity to build pipeline early.

  • Top Performers send over 4x as many blast emails as their Low Performing counterparts throughout the year.

  • From January to June, Top Performers spend ~5 hours writing blast emails, compared to just 0.5 hours for Low Performers.

  • There is an inverse relationship between the number of in-person meetings and conference calls booked and rep performance, further wasting Low Performers’ time.

  • The number of Received Emails is a great leading indicator of whether a Rep will hit their attainment. If a rep is not receiving ~600 emails per month by 3 to 4 months into the year, they will not hit their goals.

Based on data like this, you can coach reps to ensure they are doing the right activities, at the right time, with the right cadence, as well as discourage reps from spending too much time on less valuable activities.

Improve hiring and rep onboarding

You can use benchmarking data to hire better. Based on the above data, you might ask candidates how they prefer to engage with customers. Do they prefer to meet in person or by email? It should be noted that enterprises often do need in-person meetings, so this data can be used to make sure new hires are placed in the right roles and that their strengths are leveraged. 

Benchmarking data enables you to customize your onboarding and ongoing enablement programs for maximum success. With clear numbers for 30, 60, and 90-day activity levels of top performers that ramp, you can coach new hires accordingly. 

Benchmarking is a powerful way to move the needle

More data points and better data quality leads to better questions, insights, and decisions. People.ai benchmarking can deliver actionable insights across your entire go-to-market team using activity-based goal setting for success, ensuring you have an organization of Top Performers.

Learn more about what performance data like benchmarking can do for your team by scheduling a demo of People.ai.

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