Key performance indicators to start a real "Sales Ops" strategy - Part 1

We talked to you a few weeks ago in our article “sales operations, this new ally to boost your numbers and your teams” about this new concept that is exploding in the world, since according to LinkedIn’s “State of Sales Operations 2021” report, the number of Sales Operations Manager positions has increased by 38% between 2018 and 2020.

As a reminder, the main mission of Sales Ops is to focus on optimizing internal processes and in particular:

  • Redefining sales goals
  • Adopting new systems, tools and technologies to support the sales effort
  • Analyze data to identify business trends and areas for improvement
  • Establish and refine lead generation strategy
  • Automate prospecting by implementing the right tools and processes, such as personalizing sequences or harmonizing email templates
  • Automate recurring tasks such as CRM data entry, reports, email follow-ups, etc.
  • Harmonize sales practices and assist in sales force recruitment.

But how do you know if your sales team is working properly? How to evaluate your actions?

In this article, we will explain how to measure your results thanks to the main KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) used by Sales Ops. These KPI’s are divided into 5 categories and we will only deal with the first two in this article: the KPI’s for the analysis of your CRM and the KPI’s for the analysis of your sales funnel.

1/ Your CRM hides essential KPIs

This first part focuses on the indicators you can get out by analyzing your CRM. As a reminder, CRM software helps you manage your interactions with your customers, leads, and prospects by centralizing and analyzing your customer data to improve their satisfaction and maximize your sales. If you don’t have a CRM, these KPIs are still essential, they will just be a little more complicated to get out and/or analyze.

With these KPIs, you will be able to better manage your customer pipeline and better target your prospects. 

The Average Deal Value says more than you think…

Your Average Deal Value represents the average amount of money your company makes per deal closed. Considering that not all your customers are the same, the value of theAverage Deal Value tells you how much the average customer spends on your company’s services.

Increasing the Average Deal Value can be a powerful lever for developing sales and margins. But you still need to know this average basket!

For packaging manufacturers who do customization and therefore pricing, it is particularly interesting to compare this indicator to the Average Quote Value.

For example, on HIPE, by crossing your Projects, Configurations (*) and Client Companies data, you can quickly obtain the measurement of these two indicators.

Let’s imagine that the average Shopping Cart is 2500€ and that the Average Devised Amount is around 3200€.

Many questions arise when you have visibility on these two figures:

  • Is it in line with your positioning and strategy?
  • Is it in line with your equipment, production rates, etc. ?

Moreover, you can also analyze from there:

  1. These indicators by company salesperson
  2. The volatility of the average basket and the total amount spent
  3. The average basket by customer type and by order type
  4. The volume of orders placed per customer account over the last few years
  5. The average amount spent vs. ordered for each customer
  6. Analyze the difference between the amount spent and the average basket

In our illustration on the right, it is interesting to see that Salesperson A is the only salesperson below the company’s average basket.

  • How can we explain and then model the overperformance of Salesperson C?
  • What unique methods and processes can he share with Salesperson A?

    (*) this analysis is only possible with the HIPE “Price” module

On the 6th point (the analysis of the gap between the estimated amount and the average basket), HIPE is a very powerful tool because it can allow you to concretely analyze the “market” positioning of your industrial equipment.

Indeed, each estimate, each order corresponds to a manufacturing process with the measurement of the time of use. You can draw some very interesting conclusions, for example

  • For printing,
  • For cutting,
  • For folding and gluing, …
  • … which machines are selected and what is their correlation with your transformation rate?

Other questions :

Which operations / machines / subcontractors position you “negatively” on the market? If these operations, machines and subcontractors are generally less selected than your transformation rate, it is because they are too expensive or because your know-how is not recognized. These are all avenues for adjusting your industrial, equipment and purchasing strategy.
Ultimately, your work in Sales Operations should lead to :

  • Align your strategy with real data
  • Understand and model the success factors
  • Adjust your internal processes and tools

All of this, in order to improve your average basket in line with your strategy.

The art of closing a sale or the Close Rate

A salesperson’s close rate is therefore a simple percentage, which nevertheless tells you a lot. It tells you the percentage of deals that your salesperson has closed, compared to the total number of open deals. It can also tell you the percentage of leads that your salesperson has converted into a customer if you only take into account new business.

The formula for calculating the Close Rate is therefore very simple: 

Closing Rate = (Closed deals ÷ Total prospects) x 100

The close rate is especially important when your goal is to increase the lead/customer ratio.

This indicator is relatively easy to live with HIPE.

For example, on HIPE, by crossing once again your Projects, your configurations (*) and your number of client companies, you can apprehend for each of your sales representatives (internal or external like VRP) their closing rate.

However, this indicator alone can mislead you. It is thus advisable to analyze it by taking into account the number of opportunities (Projects in HIPE) declared. Some salesmen will indeed tend to declare only very mature Projects while others will declare all the opportunities, including those which they estimate upstream of the customer meetings, without real preliminary request of these last ones (which can be a good practice for the budget which a salesman gives himself on his customer base or within the framework of his commercial follow-up of each of his customer accounts).

In any case, analyzing and helping your salespeople to increase their closing rate will lead to an increase in your conversion rate (which we will see below), thus increasing your revenue and profitability per salesperson.

The Upsell rate

A sales agent’s upsell rate indicates how often a customer ends up buying more than he or she originally intended. It can also be called upselling.

You may think that upselling is not particularly relevant to your business. However, every company should offer upselling, either during the sale or after a customer has purchased.

Upselling is an excellent way to increase your company’s profitability. Best of all, it usually involves little or no additional marketing or sales costs. A high upsell rate will drastically increase your average basket.

Remember that you have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer, but only a 5-20% chance for new customers. It is therefore much easier to sell and increase sales to the existing customer base than to create a new one. So it is important to develop your upsell strategy and know how to measure your upsell rate to make it grow.

If you’re still not convinced, consider that – especially in our custom industry – no (good) salesperson wants to be a pass-through or a mailbox between the customer and the design office. They want to offer customers larger quantities to lower the piece price of an order while increasing the ordered turnover, alternative configurations with better papers and cardboards, better eco-designed, packaging solutions with higher added value (design, printing, finishing).

By analyzing the configuration history for each project, you can work with your sales people to identify which ones correspond to the initial customer brief vs. which ones come from them, and the transformation rates according to their “origin”.

Imagine a table like the one on your right:


We could even imagine going further to see the upsell on Projects transformed into orders (second table):

With these indicators, you already have a measure of the activity of your sales representatives: Who offers more often “upsell”? Who converts more with their counter-proposal?

You can also analyze which parameters your teams had an action:

  • Re-designing the packaging: changing the packaging solution
  • Modification of the construction options: addition of a gluing strip, proposal of a case structuring for customer mechanization (offset slitters, beveled flaps)
  • Modification of the paper-cardboard choice: more premium, more eco-designed (FSC)…
  • Modification/addition of decorations: choice of digital for adding variable data, a proposal of a hot stamping to increase the premium of the packaging…
  • Modification/addition of finishes and coatings: addition of a silk-screen varnish, choice of a soft touch lamination instead of a matt UV varnish…

Looking at your upsell conversion rates and comparing them to industry average conversion rates and past rates can give you important insights.

For example, if your upsell rate is high, it shows that customers are very interested in your complementary products. This indicates that you could probably raise the price without losing too many sales. Wouldn’t this be a simple way to increase your profits?

On the other hand, if the conversion rate of your upsells proposals is low, it could mean that your complementary products are too expensive or simply a lack of interest for your customers. You may want to:

  • Reduce their price to make more sales,
  • Offer other complementary products instead,
  • Conduct market research to see what complementary products your customers would like.

What about the downsell rate? 

We could even analyze the downsell, which is the opposite measure, of an order that is less important in terms of turnover than the initial demand quantified by the customer.

Does having a high downsell rate demonstrate underperformance?

Here again, you can get all the source data for the analysis from HIPE; by crossing your technical data with the configurations, the Projects, and the customer information:

It’s underperformance if:

  • Your business strategy is aligned with your industrial capacity and your positioning. In other words, if you want to increase your average basket and your equipment is geared to do so. And yet salespeople are “underselling”. A customer asks them for 3000 pieces and the final order is finally 2000. Why is this?
  • Is your production cost calculation in line with your machine’s capacity? Do your quotations show an unjustified “overpricing”? What parameters should be adjusted to eliminate the downsell?

It is not an underperformance if :

  • Your sales people, accompanied by their technical referents (methods, quotations), finely analyze customer requests and propose more adjusted solutions, with thinner paper/cardboard but just as resistant to the customer’s need.
  • They propose smaller quantities to avoid customer overstock and increase their satisfaction while increasing the number of replenishments.

2/ Your sales funnel could be measured and optimized

Your sales funnel shapes your customer journey. If we were to sum it up simply, it attracts your potential prospects, interacts with them, and finally deploys your sales tactics in hopes of converting them.

Another term for the sales funnel would be “customer pipeline”. The metrics in this pipeline give you an overview of how your marketing positioning and the overall sales process are working.

Through its key performance indicators, you will discover which steps in your customer journey could be streamlined or better calibrated. 

The Pipeline Forecast

Your pipeline forecast is a quarterly projection of the health of your sales funnel. Each salesperson must estimate how many prospects they will negotiate deals with and what percentage of deals are likely to close. They will use the total number of open sales opportunities based on sales history, market trends, and the current state of the sales pipeline.

With HIPE, your sales representatives centralize all their customers’ packaging projects:

  • Projects with no configuration: pure and simple projection (next year’s budget for each customer based on the information collected over the current year)
  • Projects with unclear configurations
  • Projects with configurations ready to be ordered
  • Projects with firm orders, registered on your website, via the HIPE configurator


By using the opportunity amounts and due dates per Project, you can simply and quickly get your revenue projection each quarter for the current quarter/semester/year.

The Open opportunities

In your business process, “opportunities” are deals in progress. An open opportunity is a project with sales potential that has not yet been committed to. It is the earliest phase of a project.

The ratio of generated leads to open opportunities tells you how effective your prospecting strategy is in targeting leads. The total number of open opportunities helps you forecast sales.

Via the Project statuses in HIPE, you can filter Projects “open” and “in progress” to measure the number of open or in progress opportunities – which also serves you for the previous indicator.

When there are a lot of open opportunities, a sales team may need to reorient itself to better allocate lead acquisition tasks. If open opportunities are allowed to languish, the team may miss them entirely.

The Win rate

The success rate is the ratio of the number of closed and won deals to the total number of open deals in the pipeline.

For example, let’s say your sales funnel generates forty-five leads. At the end of the funnel, the sales team has closed nine deals. Your team has a 20% success rate.

You can for example try to maximize your win rate for customer callback campaigns (e.g. for reorders) for which you need to wait for a high chance of a transaction. The win rate then becomes a valuable indicator of your customer’s satisfaction with their last orders with you.

Conversely, a low win rate is not to blame for new prospects/projects. All these percentages are not to be analyzed in the same way. You will not compare reorders with new projects.

In another application, you can use the win rate to determine which periods, sales representatives, and which win/loss reasons produce the highest probability of a lead becoming a customer for the company.

There is a simple formula to calculate your win rate:

Win rate = Deals won ÷ (Deals won +  Lost Deals)

In HIPE, you can extract all of this data.

In the packaging industry, some companies choose to include the “No Decision” category in their win/loss rate metric, which means that if a prospect had a sales meeting, saw a quote and ultimately decides not to buy from you or one of your competitors, that contact will be factored into your win rate.

Other manufacturers divide the win rate only by the number of prospects who made a buying decision – meaning that only those prospects who decide to go (or stay) with a competitor count as a loss against the win rate.

In our industry, these situations can make sense. However, the key here is to be consistent in choosing which accounts and projects are and are not included in your win rate calculation (see our reorder vs. new project example).

For a good Sales Op strategy, the most important thing is :

  1. Analyze the win/loss rate by criteria and clearly define reasons for losses. For example, analyzing the win/loss rate by rep can help you identify reps who need more sales training.
  2. Clearly define the next steps. By defining and clarifying the next steps in the sales process, you increase your chances of closing the sale.
  3. Engage your customers/prospects as much as possible. One way to improve the success rate is to ensure that the decision-maker is involved in the process from the beginning of the project. By involving the right people from the start, you send more qualified leads into the pipeline.
  4. Don’t make assumptions. Identify their packaging needs and your ability to meet those needs.

To end on a high note

Most importantly:

We are hosting a webinar (in French) “Sales Ops: Boost Your Sales Strategy” on Tuesday, March 07 at 5:00 PM with two exceptional guests:

  • Rogelio Cárdenas Arriola, Revenue Operations Manager at Splio


  • Lyes Boukeroui, Head of Sales Operations at Uptoo


Two specialists in the subject, working in hypergrowth companies in which they were able to have a real impact. We are convinced that their valuable advice will be more than useful to you and that their ultra-optimized sales methodologies will give you a definite competitive advantage if you decide to apply them in your company.

We try to bring original and relevant content to our industry every month, and your presence at this webinar is very important to us: