Measuring Sales Operations – A Selfie

Oscar SelfieSales Operations teams typically produce and analyze dozens of metrics and KPIs related to the productivity of the sales team or qualitative measures regarding other aspects of Sales.  Rarely is qualitative and quantitative analysis focused on measuring Sales Operations.  We never take a selfie and it’s about time we did!

A few days ago I was asked by a VP of Sales, how should he measure his Sales Operations organization?  Is his Sales Ops investment optimized?  Is Sales Ops effective at adding value?

Since Sales Ops organizations are responsible for vastly different tasks across different companies (read my theory as to why here) there can be no standard set of questions or metrics that apply to all Sales Ops teams.   Below I have compiled a starter list from which you can choose but I’m also looking for your input.  How have you measured Sales Operations in your past?

These questions have been categorized by major area of Sales Ops responsibility.  Some of these items are not easily translated into numeric output but I believe them to be critical questions that should help position your Sales Ops organization for a greater impact on the success of the company.

Sales Enablement (beyond training)

Balanced burden of policy requirements

  • Validate Legal/Finance policies are essential and not merely created to shift work to sales.
  • Validate that the risk mitigation created by Legal & Finance policies is appropriately balanced.
  • Does Sales compliance with these policies materially impact bookings?
  • Balance of process complexity
    • How much time does Sales spend on low-value activities?
    • Has the process been simplified as much as possible given the environment?
    • How much has automation simplified/accelerated Sales’ role?
    • Is each segment of each process or approval coupled with a valid business requirement?
    • Are your processes more or less burdensome than your competitors?


Relevance, accuracy and timeliness of pipeline and forecast reporting

  • Is the data an accurate reflection of Sales’ input?
  • Is the report data focused for the audience?
  • Are the Sales metrics actionable by the audience?
  • Accuracy and timeliness of sales activities reporting
    • Is the data source accurate?
    • Are the reports produced in time to be relevant?
    • Are the metrics actionable?


  • Quality, accuracy and timeliness of lead assignments after handoff from Marketing
    • Are the leads of the agreed quality?
    • Are the leads fresh?
    • Are the leads delivered to the right person?
  • Account firmographics data quality
    • Is the data complete and accurate?
    • Does the data support how the account is assigned?
    • Is the account hierarchy documented and match the coverage model?
    • Can the data be refreshed from an external source?
  • Relevance, accuracy and currency of contact record quality
    • Is the contact data current and associated with the correct account?
    • Is the contact role relevant to the sale?
    • Can the data be refreshed from an external source?

Sales Compensation Design – Some responsibility shared with Sales Management

  • The Terms and Conditions address nearly all questions that arise about the plan
    • How many issues need to be clarified or escalated to management for resolution?
    • Document is distributed on a timely basis
  • Quota Letters (Exhibit As)
    • Are quota letters are accurate and distributed on a timely basis?
    • Are quota letter delivered to new plan participants on a timely basis?
    • How many quota letters had to be revised?
  • Accuracy and transparency of sales territories and account assignments
    • How many account or territory assignments require correction?
    • How many assignments have to be escalated to management?
    • How many complaints are there about imbalanced territories?
  • Clarity of account assignment rules (rules of engagement)
    • Are documented rules approved by management and published to Sales?
    • Are the rules followed by Sales Ops?
  • Comp plan alignment with corporate goals
    • Chart $ vs. time for commission and the corporate goal (lines should be parallel)
    • Above metric can be adjusted to apply to specific sales teams and plan components
  • Accurate quota setting
    • Distribution should appear as a normal (“bell”) curve. 
      • Too many outliers or “abnormal” curve reflect inaccuracy. 
      • Averages are a poor measure of this metric.
    • Were quotas set such that ~60% of participants achieve them (SaaS Industry = 61% per HBR in 2013)
  • Design changes during the plan period were released to the effected plan participants in the form of a revised quota letter in the first month of the revised period.

Sales Compensation Execution – Some responsibility may be shared with Finance

  • Credit for comp plan components determined accurately
    • How many revisions to the proposed bookings credit were required?
  • Commissions are calculated accurately
    • How many corrections for miscalculated commissions were required?
  • Credit and commission data clearly communicated to participants
    • How many questions are heard from plan participants?
  • Accuracy and timeliness of sales commission reporting
    • Is the commission accrual timely and within agreed accuracy expectations?
    • Accuracy and timeliness of attainment reporting to Sales management

Which of these are relevant to your organization and what worthwhile metrics have I not mentioned?   As always I look forward to your insights!


Bob Bacon


About Bob Bacon

I work with global B2B high tech Sales leaders to help them enable and optimize the effectiveness of their organization Find out more about Bob here:
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2 Responses to Measuring Sales Operations – A Selfie

  1. Doug Loudenslager says:

    What types of Sales Ops metrics have you found most effective in measuring the proposal & contract life-cycle management functions of sales ops? I’ve used cycle times, % Target Execution Attainment, & Avr. # Internal Cycles to Execution but wondering if there are others you or others have found useful. Thanks dl

    • Bob Bacon says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thanks for writing! I believe the guiding principal should be to develop metrics that measure the perceived problem you’re trying to solve. If you think the amount of rework on transactions is excessive then measure the number of times it’s handled and by whom. If you think the contract life cycle is too long then measure it. With metrics you can establish benchmarks and SLAs. Identifying outliers in the data can lead to methods for improvement with a little root cause analysis.

      One thing to guard against is measuring too much. I’ve found operations that have metrics for everything but haven’t improved anything because they didn’t have a plan!

      Good Luck!


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