Sales Efficiency: The Little-Known Metric to Track for Real Sales Success

Agnee Ghosh
June 1, 2022
min read
January 22, 2024
Photo credit
How to measure, monitor and improve your sales team's efficiency in order to strategically uplift your sales.


There are a several key performing indicators you can use to measure sales success. At the top of that list is sales efficiency.

In almost every corporate and practical situation, efficiency is the first step toward productivity and — eventually — success. If you want your sales team to consistently close, you need to make sure they're making the most of their time and resources.

Sales efficiency is an important indicator because it gives insight into the performance and context of real revenue generated.

In this article, we'll explore the concept of sales efficiency in depth and learn about some practical strategies to increase your team's performance.

What is sales efficiency?

With sales efficiency metrics, managers can see how each dollar spent on expenditures or investments directly affects revenue. Here's how:

Take your company's sales and marketing costs for the last three months of the previous fiscal year and divide them by the amount of new revenue generated in the current quarter.

In order to calculate sales efficiency, multiply the revenue by the cost of sales by 100.

To put it another way, if you spent four dollars in Q2 and earned four dollars in Q3, your sales-to-revenue ratio is one. You'd have a sales efficiency ratio of 0.5 if you spent $4 on sales in Q2 and only earned $2 in revenue in Q3.

If your sales process has a ratio of 0.5-1, which indicates that your organization is effectively breaking even, then it's regarded as adequate. This, however, is not a long-term solution.

It's safe to assume that your company has excellent sales efficiency if your sales efficiency ratio is more than 1. Make sure you don't fall into the trap of under-investing in marketing or sales if your ratio is much greater than 1.

Scores for Sales Efficiency are generally agreed to be:

  • Under 100 percent: Reevaluate your sales and marketing strategies to see where you can improve. Become familiar with up-sell and cross-sell strategies.
  • 100 percent: If gross margin and turnover are within acceptable ranges, this is a profitable company.
  • 101 to 300 percent: Do what you're doing and don't stop.

More than 300 percent: tops in its field. Product-market fit is a key predictor of this. Adding Sales and Marketing personnel has the potential to boost growth even further.

Sales efficiency vs. sales effectiveness

Effectiveness in sales is a term used to describe how well your sales force is able to turn prospects into leads, then into paying customers or clients. Every step of the way, you should have more "wins" than "losses" if your sales process is productive.

Sales efficiency relates to the speed with which your sales procedures are carried out. So, how soon you can convert consumers into leads or sales while still producing the maximum return on your investment. Your sales team's profit margin is the difference between their revenue and expenses.

In a fair amount of time, at a reasonable cost and under the correct conditions, a successful sales process will be able to close transactions.

Why is sales efficiency important to track?

Simply put, it's the simplest way to measure a company's performance. Additionally, it makes it possible to see the link between a company's sales efforts and resulting revenue. It's an easy-to-understand KPI that may serve as a springboard for deeper investigation into your sales organization, in particular your attempts to improve sales enablement.

Your sales efficiency score will tell you how effective your program is in maximizing efficiency. Having less time spent on manual chores means more time for sales reps to focus on driving the sales cycle, interacting with prospects and cultivating long-term connections that in turn lead to revenue.

That sales efficiency statistic can be improved with a sales enablement investment. Reps are given all the tools they need to succeed when a sales enablement program is running well. They are able to concentrate on selling because of this. The lack of an effective plan for sales enablement may lead to a variety of inefficiencies in your sales operation, including a lack of current information, marketing misalignment, and a sluggish onboarding process that leaves your sales staff with gaps in their skill sets.

Sales efficiency, on the other hand, is not a perfect indicator. It's a great tool, but it's not without flaws. As an example, a low sales efficiency number might not be a warning flag for a new company. You can't create money without spending money, and businesses often do so throughout growth periods, which reduces the effectiveness of sales.

Aside from that, sales efficiency generates money from new sources rather than revenue from previous ones. When it comes to upselling and cross-selling, your team's success might not be fully reflected in an efficiency indicator.

📌 💡 ‎Related resource: 18 Sales Productivity Tools to Supercharge Your Team's Performance

5 ways to improve sales efficiency

Here are the five ways you can improve your company's sales efficiency.

1. Achieve your SMART goals by defining them in detail.

When trying to boost sales productivity, you want to be as specific as possible.Your representatives must know what you want to accomplish before they can focus their efforts and attain your goals. For this reason, it's critical that you create SMART objectives that are both clear and actionable. They should also be both realistic and time-bound.

The "measurable" aspect of sales efficiency is maybe the most critical. In order to measure the performance of your sales representatives, you need to establish clear key performance indicators (KPIs) to act as a guideline. Does the company require them to close a certain amount of deals each month? Is there a specific amount of money they want to make?

By clearly defining your representatives' goals, you're advising them on how to perform at their best.

2. Have a clear idea of who you're trying to reach with your product.

The importance of clarity cannot be overstated. With properly defined customer personas in place, your salespeople have a better understanding of what they should be doing and how to do it. Salespeople have a better understanding of what to do to attract the target audience when they know who that audience is.

You don't want your salespeople wasting their time attempting to sell to people who aren't going to be interested in what you have to offer. With personas, your team will have a clear idea of who they should be interacting with and how to do so most effectively. Your company's sales activities will run more smoothly and... you guessed it... efficiently.

3. Follow a sales procedure.

A sales process is the sequence of actions a sales team performs to clinch a deal. It's a kind of blueprint that your sales staff may refer to as they go about their work in the field.

Prospecting, connecting and qualifying, researching, presenting, resolving objections and closing are all parts of a typical sales process. It's usually customized to the target audience, the buyer's journey, and the strengths and limitations of each company's salespeople for each target demographic and buyer journey.

"Sales attempts that are successful have a plan," said Lewis Banks, Marketing Specialist at Legal Drop. "They require a model to help them determine whether or not their possibilities are worth pursuing, as well as the best method for doing so."

With a well-defined sales process, it's easy to track the progress of each member of your team. This way, you're not wasting money on salespeople who are still learning the ropes.

One of the first steps you should take to make this happen is identifying the right touchpoints with your prospects. Maybe start with an outreach email, keep following up through email for a while, and build your way up to a phone call or a sales meeting. Take advantage of a suitable CRM with email marketing features to enable your sales team to keep with up with your sales procedure more easily.

4. Maintain a high level of active sales training.

An ongoing effort by sales managers to encourage, engage and advise salespeople while reinforcing what they learn in training is called sales coaching. Employ iterative, customized and standard procedures to improve employee abilities and reinforce the right conduct.

You can analyze sales calls and evaluate what went well as part of this type of training program. This also might include reading sales professionals' emails to prospects at various points in the buyer's journey and offering constructive comments.

In the end, sales coaching is a useful and enjoyable procedure that lets you get the most out of your training dollars. Implementing sales coaching programs results in much greater win rates than not doing so. Use this method to get the most out of your training expenditure and increase sales efficiency.

5. Consider employing a sales liaison to help you sell more.

A company's sales and marketing should be inseparable. Marketing departments need to know what channels and personas best support the sales team in order to deliver quality leads.

Despite this, many marketing and sales departments operate in silos, with little or no contact between them. A sales liaison serves as a middleman between a company's sales force and its marketing department, providing information about the latter's activities, preferences and needs.

Sales liaisons facilitate cohesion and make sure that all of the company's various sales and marketing initiatives work together. The function allows for stronger sales and marketing strategies and a better grasp of the firm as a whole.

Having a sales liaison ensures that a company's marketing department supports its sales staff in a timely manner. It's all about connecting sales with qualified leads.

4 sales efficiency metrics to start tracking

A sales team's ultimate aim is to maximize the number of hours they spend selling throughout the workday. The metrics listed below might help you gauge how effective your current sales process is. They include:

1. Customer acquisition cost & customer lifetime value

CAC = Total Marketing Spend or Number of New Customers Over Time

The cost of acquisition (CAC) is a critical indicator for assessing efficiency since it tells you if your resources are being spent optimally.

The next step is to determine the relationship between your CAC and your LTV. Sales processes that are too closely related to one another are unsustainable. As a rule of thumb, your CAC should never exceed your LTV.

An LTV:CAC ratio of 3:1 is regarded as a good benchmark.

LTV is calculated as the average value of sales times the number of sales times the length of the contract.

CLV is equal to LTV times the profit margin.

Your organization may make better judgments by keeping track of your average client acquisition cost throughout the years. It's possible to receive extra money for sales activities or new personnel if you can convince the CFO that the team is making a favorable financial contribution.

2. Lead response time

Is there a standard response time for new leads? It's vital that your sales staff prioritizes answers to ensure effective follow-up, which may make or break a transaction.

Retraining may be necessary if you see that some salespeople are taking too long to respond to customers. There are several reasons why lead response times might increase, such as the need for more sales staff.

3. How many sales calls each rep may make in a day

While looking at sales effectiveness from a team perspective is helpful, it only provides half of the picture. It's vital to keep tabs on sales indicators like the number of calls or visits each team member makes each week.

You should allow an average of 7.5 minutes for each cold call, which includes pre-call research, the actual conversation and CRM updates following the call.

In 60 minutes, you may make eight cold calls at a rate of 7.5 minutes each call.

With the aid of this statistic, you may evaluate your own performance as well as the strengths and shortcomings of your team members.

4. Time spent interacting with customers

An effective sales process relies heavily on the ability to build trust with the customer. Make sure your team is putting in the correct amount of time to build long-term relationships with clients by analyzing the pace of client outreach.

This data may also help you figure out what kinds of sales techniques your clients respond best to. Some client profiles may benefit from more touch-points than others.

Efficient sales = closed deals

Businesses who want to make more sales and receive the most return on their sales investment should focus their attention first and foremost on improving their sales efficiency.

There are various indicators to keep track of and activities to take that guarantee high productivity. Remember, a close rate by itself is not an adequate indication of sales success.

If there is one thing that you should take away from this article, it should be this: always keep track of your sales efficiency. It has the potential to highlight problem areas in your sales processes and provide insight into whether or not you need to make adjustments.

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