The internet has changed the way people buy – and how successful companies sell. Modern sales organizations are investing a lot of time and effort in their inbound sales methodologies, and the most successful sales organizations are becoming increasingly data-driven. Inbound sales KPIs are key to this approach because they can help sales leaders understand which sales activities yield the best results.
This article will help you maximize your inbound sales strategy, including the exact inbound sales KPIs to measure – so you can optimize your efforts and make sure your inbound sales representatives are prioritizing the right activities.
What's an Inbound Sales Strategy?
Outbound vs. inbound sales – you might have compared the two strategies on occasion. It’s not a question of which is better, but rather what suits your business model and how you can optimize the one (or both) you choose. So, what’s the difference? Briefly put, the main difference between inbound and outbound sales is who makes the first move.
Inbound sales focuses on prioritizing the needs, goals, and interests of a prospect – who has already expressed an interest in a product or service – during their decision-making process, to convert them into a customer. With so much information available online, today’s customers expect to deal with inbound sales representatives who are skilled in consultation and can guide them in making informed decisions.
The case for inbound sales is compelling. According to buyers, a positive sales experience includes the following four attributes, which are all hallmarks of a solid value-based inbound sales strategy:
In inbound sales, prospects make the first move. They’ve already identified a pain point, and now they’re looking for a solution. By some estimates, up to 90% of the buyer journey is over by the time a salesperson gets involved. Your inbound sales representatives’ first job is to help the prospect understand how your product can alleviate their pain and why it’s their best choice. A successful inbound sales strategy is buyer-focused with an emphasis on providing information, building trust, and finding solutions. Hubspot recommends building your sales process around the customer journey.
Inbound sales removes the prospecting step of the sales process because your prospects are entering the sales funnel of their own volition. They’re sending emails, submitting online forms, and perhaps even calling to request more information. This is great news for sales organizations because it takes an average of eight cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Now sales reps can use that time educating prospects who’ve already shown interest in what they’re selling.
3 Simple Ways to Get Started With an Inbound Sales Strategy
1. Develop your content library
30–50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first, so make sure you’re ready to respond when a prospect comes knocking. Inbound leads already know the problem they’re trying to solve. You need to show them how you can solve it – and quickly! Create a content library that’s organized by topic or persona.
2. Develop an email library
Why reinvent the wheel? Your prospects are all unique, but they're probably trying to alleviate the same pain points. Create highly-specific templates for the most common types of inquiries. This will lessen the workload on your inbound sales representatives and make your prospects feel heard and understood.
3. Focus on value-based selling
Research shows that inbound sales representatives who focus on the value their product can deliver and how they can ease a prospect's pain points are 96% more successful than those who focus on why their product is the best on the market.
Why are inbound sales KPIs important?
Before we dive into the inbound sales KPIs examples, let’s talk about what inbound sales KPIs are and why they’re important.
Inbound sales KPIs help sales leaders and the inbound sales representatives themselves understand how well their activities and processes are working. But in order to do this, it’s essential to give everyone in your organization access to the right data, preferably in a visual format – like charts and graphs. With the right data, in an easy-to-understand format, your team can optimize their pipeline, track progress against targets, and focus their attention on the activities that matter most.
Many sales organizations make the mistake of measuring and sharing too much data that’s irrelevant to their day-to-day operations. To get the most out of your inbound sales KPIs, focus on a handful that directly measures your team’s inbound sales activities. Over time, your inbound sales KPIs can help you understand why some deals closed while others didn’t – and what you can do about it.
10 Inbound Sales KPIs to Track
Every sales leader should be tracking these 10 inbound sales KPI examples. They include a mix of top-level, tactical, and operational metrics:
👉 Top-level KPIs can be a good indicator of how your department or company is performing overall. These higher-level metrics showcase the broader result of your inbound sales representatives' efforts.
👉 Tactical KPIs measure how well your current activities are driving business.
👉Operational KPIs monitor and evaluate the efficiency of your daily operations to help you understand which processes are effective and which could be improved.
Your main objective when choosing which inbound sales KPIs to track is to see where your process is well-tuned and where it could use some tweaking. In this sense, it’s not unusual to focus on operational and tactical KPIs instead of top-level KPIs. Just always make sure that your KPIs correlate with your overall business strategy – and you're bound for success!
1. Average Response Time (Operational)
With 30–50% of sales going to the vendor who responds first, your inbound sales representatives can’t afford to be asleep at the wheel. Someone from your inbound sales organization must respond immediately to every inquiry. Failing to do so almost ensures your company will miss out on the deal.
Start by benchmarking your response time, and then incentivize your inbound sales representatives to improve it. You can do this by running a short sprint contest to get your team energized and focus on the activities that matter. Check out this blog post to see how you can use gamification tools like contests and notifications to have your team performing like never before!
2. Follow-Up Percentage (Operational)
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s imperative that someone responds immediately to every inquiry. This is the only way to ensure that missed deals aren’t due to missed opportunities.
The target for this KPI should be 100%. If it’s less than that, you might want to investigate productivity or staffing issues. Maybe your sales team is tied up with other tasks, in which case adequate support and coaching can help identify and fix the issues.
3. Average Call Duration (Tactical)
Your inbound sales representatives’ average call duration can give you insights into the effectiveness of their sales pitch. A first call should be quick, to the point, and enough to pique the prospect’s interest in setting another meeting.
If some of your inbound sales representatives are spending a lot of time on the phone without converting, it could be time to schedule some training. You might also find that underperforming reps aren’t spending enough time on the phone. Conversely, if you see other reps blowing away their targets while spending less time on the phone, you might want to take a closer look at their pitch and perhaps have them share it with the rest of the team. Sharing tips and tricks within your team will help everyone improve their value-based selling skills.
4. Number of Meetings Booked (Operational)
Incoming inquiries are useless if your team can’t convert them. This KPI tells you how effective your inbound sales representatives are at moving prospects through the sales funnel.
The first step in this process is getting a meeting on the calendar. If your sales reps aren’t converting leads to meetings, you should probably start looking for barriers – common roadblocks include inadequate training or support and inefficient sales materials and processes. Also, pay attention to how many booked meetings are actually completed. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Booked meetings are only valuable if they’re actually held.
5. Number of Offers Sent (Operational)
Your inbound sales representatives are killing it! They’re following up on new leads as soon as they come in, their follow-up rate is around 100%, they’re booking meetings left and right – things are looking fantastic!
If your sales process is on-point, the next step should be sending an offer. Comparing the number of offers sent to the number of calls, emails, and meetings will give you a pretty clear indication of whether your team is providing the right consultation to their prospects.
6. Close Ratio (Top-Level)
Close ratio measures how efficiently your inbound sales representatives are closing deals. This inbound sales KPI can be measured for each individual sales rep, and at the department level.
You can use this formula to calculate the close ratio:
Close Ratio = Number of Closed Deals
÷ Total Lead Opportunities
The close ratio can be used to validate other inbound sales KPIs. For example, if your average response time is lightning-fast and your follow-up percentage is at or near 100% but your close ratio is lagging, it’s time to look at your sales process and messaging. Is your content library up to scratch? Is your email messaging on-point? Are your inbound sales representatives using value-based selling? Try to identify the weak spots in your process and see what you can do to fix them.
7. Average Inbound Conversion Rate (Tactical)
Average inbound conversion rate tracks how many inbound leads become customers – and within what timeframe. It’s one of the most accurate indicators of whether you’re on track to reach your targets. If this KPI is on-point, your team is likely on the road to success. It’s a great way to assess your team’s value-based sales techniques.
You can use this formula to calculate the average conversion rate:
Average Conversion Rate = (Total Number of Conversions / Total Number of Inbound Leads) x 100
To help identify coaching opportunities, use this KPI to compare conversion rates between inbound sales representatives.
8. Inbound Pipeline Velocity (Tactical)
Inbound pipeline velocity is a tactical KPI that will help you understand the customer journey from when they first contact your company and enter the pipeline until they actually convert to a sale. This can help you identify points in the process where prospects drop off and stop engaging with your inbound sales representatives. By segmenting this information, you’ll be able to pinpoint where it’s going wrong.
You can use this formula to calculate your inbound pipeline velocity:
Pipeline Velocity = Number of Opportunities x Win Rate x Average Deal Value ÷ Current Sales Cycle
With a clear understanding of your typical customer journey, you’ll be able to better identify and address issues, keep doing what you’re doing right, effectively manage your pipeline, and hit your targets.
9. Inbound Sales Growth (Top-Level)
Inbound sales growth measures your inbound sales representatives’ ability to increase revenue over a specified period. This top-level KPI is directly tied to revenue and profitability. It can be an early indicator that not enough leads are coming in, not enough leads are converting, or the average deal size is too small.
You can use this formula to calculate inbound sales growth over a specified period:
Sales Growth = (Current Period Sales - Sales During Past Period)÷Sales During Period
At a minimum, you should track inbound sales growth monthly – but don’t forget to keep eye on how your revenue is tracking against your quarterly and annual goals.
10. New Business Revenue (Top-Level)
Perhaps one of the most obvious KPIs, this one tracks how much income you’re generating from first-time buyers. New business revenue is a good barometer of how well your sales machine is functioning. However, it isn’t specific to inbound sales, which is why it’s at the bottom of this list.
New business revenue is best tracked monthly against a target percentage (e.g., 30% of revenue should come from first-time buyers). If you aren’t hitting this target, consider doing a deep dive into your inbound sales processes to identify any areas that could be improved.
So, What’s Next?
Your sales reps are putting in the hard yards, you’re measuring the KPIs that matter to achieve your business goals, perhaps you’re even excelling and visualizing these on data dashboards or running contests – and then what? While you’ve been putting these changes in place, you probably noticed that the friendly competition within your team is making your agents more motivated and performing better than before!
Want more sales KPIs examples? Check out this blog post for another 21 sales KPIs examples. Still not enough? Look here for 100 more marketing, support, finance, development, and sales KPIs examples that will get your whole company on the data-driven road to success!
Take it a step further and use these metrics to guide your sales coaching sessions. Or better yet, ‘wow’ your CEO with automatic, real-time reports of the top-level KPIs mentioned in this list. You’ll save time so you have even more time to focus on what you do best – leading, coaching, and of course… selling!
Your Sales KPIs Are Only as Good as Your Tracking
We’ve given you 10 great inbound sales KPIs examples, but KPIs are only effective if you measure them and act them. To drive performance, you have to actively track your KPIs. An excellent way to do this is by visualizing the data on dashboards that are accessible to everyone in your organization.
Plecto integrates with most major sales-tracking software and offers almost unlimited options for customizing your KPIs, data visualization, and performance agreements. Plecto also includes built-in performance-driving features like leaderboards, contests, and instant notifications to spark friendly competition and keep your employees motivated.
Sign up for a FREE 14-day trial – and watch your inbound sales skyrocket! 🚀