When I was the COO at Signpost, we had a very data-driven approach to running sales. While this was partially due to our executive team’s analytical DNA, it was also driven by the reality of having a low average selling price (ACV) at the time.
As a SaaS business, if we didn’t aggressively manage sales productivity, our cost of customer acquisition (CAC) would spike and our unit economics would quickly get out of whack.
To get a handle on where the biggest opportunities were to improve productivity, we needed a report that was both easy to understand and granular enough to create action plans based on its insights.
Our solution was to create a comprehensive conversion rate report that showed the team’s overall close rate — the percentage of deals won for every 100 accounts targeted. This efficiency metric was great because it was easy to understand and share across the management team.
But we needed to make this high-level metric more actionable, so this report further broke the overall close rate into its core building blocks: the conversion rates at each stage of the deal. For example, now we knew what percentage of deals going from discovery-to-demo and from demo-to-close stages.
This was incredibly eye-opening: we could now identify which stages had the biggest drop-offs and could compare each stage-level conversion rate to industry benchmarks.
One stage, in particular, had a HUGE drop-off rate where a high percentage of deals would die. We immediately did a root cause analysis to identify what was underlying this low conversion rate, and executed a number of initiatives to improve performance.
But wait, there’s more! We also calculated metrics for individual teams and reps, so we could identify specific improvement areas at both levels. For example, some reps were great at setting demos but couldn’t close the deal, while other reps had the opposite problem. Now we had a way to figure out which category reps were in and could develop tailored coaching for each one.
Sounds amazing, right?
It was… except for the poor soul responsible for creating this report.
The time and effort required for us to pull the right data — in just the right format — from Salesforce and then manipulate it in Excel was, well, what’s the word? Given how fundamental this metric is for sales teams, the term “borderline criminal” feels about right.
Fast forward a few years to today. Things haven’t changed that much for us or our customers. We’re all still doing the manual work to get to fundamentally important data on conversion rates.
Introducing Conversions by Costello
Our new Conversions feature shows sales teams “all the things” for conversion rates. Now, on one screen, you can see:
- The overall close rate for your sales team and for each individual rep
- Stage-to-stage conversion rates for your sales team and for each rep
- Whether a rep’s conversion rates are above or below the team average or a specified target
- Conversion rates filtered by Record Type and Deal Type (e.g., new business, renewal).
Early reaction from our customers has been euphoric, as we’ve given people countless hours back in their day and powerful data for them to make adjustments to their conversation playbooks and sales process to improve performance.
You might be saying to yourself: “I’m confused. I thought Costello was all about conversation playbooks. Why are they calculating conversion rates now?”
The answer is this: we care about helping our customers improve their performance. By creating the conversion feature, we can now have a more constructive conversation about their starting point — their baseline — and how they can use playbooks to increase close rates.
And this is just the beginning. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking these insights to an entirely different level. Stay tuned.
Ready to Learn More?
For more information on best practices of great sales leaders, check out the Costello resources below. If you’d like to see Costello in action, request a personalized demo of our real-time sales playbook software.