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Imagine being responsible for something, and having no benchmark for what’s good, bad, or acceptable. It would be pretty hard, right?

It would be like trying to throw a dart at the bullseye, all while blindfolded.

When you don’t give a sales team, or individual representatives, metrics to base their success off of, success is rendered arbitrary.

And yes, we know what you’re thinking: Isn’t quota the metric that matters here? We agree! But if you don’t look for context around what’s happening, hold reps accountable, nor can you find blind spots in your sales process.

When you ask sales leaders about their best sales rep, the answer is usually the person with the most closed deals. But that’s not enough.

Just like the inbound SDRs, who are held accountable for the 90 second response time, demo completion rate, and qualification rate, we have a transparent structure that provides every account executive visibility into how they’re ranked, how they’re rated, in a way that they believe to be fair.

That’s where sales rep scorecards come in.Today, we dive deeper and talk to Senior Finance Analyst, Dylan Conant, to get the inside scoop on how ZoomInfo built out sales scorecards, and the improvements our team  saw after doing so. 

What Is A Sales Rep Scorecard And Why Do You Need One?

You can think of a sales rep scorecard as a more granular report card. You know the ones you got in school that tell you how you did in a certain class, what you did well, and what you could improve on?

Basically, a sales scorecard is a personalized report for specific sales reps and their development/goals. It compares them to industry average, as well as other reps at the same level within the company. 

At ZoomInfo, sales managers started to realize that reps weren’t necessarily performing consistently, or as well as they could. Dylan Conant points out that identifying performance metrics was the difference maker when it came to building out their scorecards. 

The purpose of our scorecard is to tell a story. But that story needs to be informed by data. And that’s where you need to consider the context of your sales cycle and identify what data points matter, and why. At ZoomInfo, we identified five key metrics. Trailing three-month: 

  • CV Won 
  • Win Rate 
  • Average Sales Price (ASP) 
  • Opportunity Creation
  • ACV per Opportunity

“We aligned at the leadership level to create an easy-to-understand rubric for communicating performance in a subjective, data-driven way: Ultimately, we aimed for our rep scorecard to highlight the following: This is what matters. Here’s what you should be doing. Here’s where you should be.”

So How Do Sales Rep Scorecards Really Work?

It’s wise to iterate off whatever base model you implement to look for the right combination of metrics that really work for your sales organization. Even if the additional models are not made public, you can analyze the impact of variables you’re using. That said, once the core metrics are established, and your sales teams know the goals they’re trying to reach, it’s time to create baselines that you can tier based on an average. In other words, you can weigh different metrics depending on what you want to incentivize.

“The different teams tier up and down from an average, then you weigh each metric on what you’re trying to incentivize,” Conant explained.

“Sometimes if, for instance, we ended up adding average selling price (ASP) on a later version, but then when we did these kinds of promo pricing over the past few months, we were like, “Okay, it’s probably like we’re telling them to go sell things for less. Probably shouldn’t hold that against them.”

What’s important here is that while metrics may be weighed differently at different parts of the year, the metrics themselves remain static. 

“ASP is the only KPI that has changed over time,” Conant continued. “For the most part, we’ve been able to stabilize the other core metrics, which has helped us consistently communicate what’s expected of our sales performance. 

If everybody knows key benchmarks to hit, month-by-month, then the entire organization benefits from transparency. The C-level, operations, and of course our entire sales organization benefits from a single source of truth that explains what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and why.” 

What Does A Sales Rep Scorecard Look Like?

Below is an example of a scorecard that our sales teams at ZoomInfo use to keep them on track. 

Figure 1 shows an example of how we weight our scorecards.

Our scorecards divide reps into four quartiles. There’s the top 25%, 50%, 75%, and so on. By providing them with clear metrics that they are being measured on, Dylan explained how ZoomInfo sales teams have seen the bottom quartile consistently improve over time. 

“This is kind of how we look at all the metrics around the last three months and normalizes for those quarter spikes that you’d get…You see that across the board with the exception of the top tier people… All of those other groups got way better over time.” 

The Results

When developing sales rep scorecards, the question arises “if you’re always giving the best people the best things, how can anybody move up or down?”

Dylan Conant has the answer:

“It’s only comparing you to the people who are getting the same leads as you. If you do really well with lower leads, then you’ll move up and then you’ll get compared against those people for a little bit. You’ll start at the average in that group.”

From a management perspective, scorecards enable sales leaders to stack rank their sales teams in order to see who needs more engagement and support and who can take on the more difficult leads. 

Scorecards = Sales Success 

When you develop scorecards with clear sales metrics for each sales rep to work towards, you’re setting them up for success, rather than sending them out and just hoping for the best. It both provides the opportunity for and motivates salespeople to grow and constantly aim higher. 

Dylan explains how clear metrics push reps to aim high because they have a clear view of how other reps are doing. 

“It gives them pretty clear visibility as to how close they are to moving up, down, and also each month the average recalculates based on who’s in it.

“The argument, one of the things that people said, like during COVID was like, “Oh, obviously I’m going to sell less because there’s a pandemic.” It’s like, well, I mean, you compare it against your peers, if they’re doing it then, why can’t you?” 

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About the author

Reyna LaRiccia

Reyna LaRiccia is a Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution.

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