In many ways, data is the lifeblood of a sales organization. The ability to store, interpret and leverage the vast amount of data your team collects is a vital component of managing an effective sales organization.

One important function of this data is tracking your team’s performance to identify and target areas where team members can benefit from training or which reps need coaching to achieve the goals and quotas you set for your organization. Here are some examples of common key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they can help you determine if sales training is the right strategy for your team:

1. Low Lead-to-opportunity Conversion Rate

Let’s say your data indicates a low lead conversion rate. If your average conversion rate dips below your mandated threshold repeatedly or during consecutive months, it could mean that your lead acquisition strategy is attracting the wrong leads or that your sales reps don’t have the skills to stimulate the interest, uncover needs and gain the buy-in needed to convert the lead into an opportunity. If the latter is the problem, consider providing training to address the areas that need improvement.

2. Churn and Retention Rates

Retention measures the number of customers who come back, while your churn is the number of customers you lose over time. A high churn rate results in a lower retention rate. If your data reveals a high churn rate and low retention rate, use the data collected in your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to identify where in the process your customers lose interest or find they no longer need the solutions you offer.

Tailored sales training can improve account management skills such as deepening and expanding existing customer relationships and aligning customer need to account priorities and objectives.

3. Profit Margin

If your average profit margin is sagging, but your order volume remains within range, this discrepancy could point to issues such as unnecessary discounting practices or a lack of negotiation skills. With sales training, your team can revisit the negotiation strategies that result in win-win outcomes.

Are your sales professionals successfully communicating the value of your products and services? Are they too quick to offer discounts or too many incentives upfront? Targeted sales training can correct these behaviors.

4. Sales Pipeline

Tracking expected revenue from all active sales opportunities will tell you if your sales organization is on track to hit your quarterly and annual targets. If the numbers are not where they should be, it can be an indicator of issues such as an inadequate sales process, a poor lead acquisition strategy or a lack of prospecting skills that prevent the development of new business that keeps the pipeline healthy.

In Janek’s recent survey of sales leaders, only 8% of indicated that their salespeople have a consistently healthy sales pipeline 85 to 100% of the time. A key building block of a healthy pipeline remains strong prospecting skills, which sales professionals can acquire and improve on with targeted sales training.

5. Average Length of a Sales Call

If you work in a contact center or inside sales environment, the average length of a sales call can be telling, because it indicates which team members have more thorough conversations with their accounts. Longer calls can be a hint that calls are engaging and meaningful and that a sales professional is going deeper in his or her discovery. However, it could also mean a sales professional is spending time discussing things that are not related to the matter at hand, so take time to listen to calls to learn more.

If your dashboard shows a significant drop in the average length of calls across your sales force, even after you exclude business development and prospecting calls that may skew the data, it could mean your reps are not sufficiently engaging their contacts. Targeted sales training can provide your sales reps with the tools and skills to have better discovery calls, give tailored presentations, be prepared to overcome objections, and have more meaningful interactions with prospects and clients.

Analyze the Data by Team and Individual Performance

Don’t forget to analyze your data more granularly by comparing individual performance and outcome data with organization-wide data. If this comparison points to problem areas that are limited to individual sales reps, then one-on-one coaching may be a better course of action. Analyze a combination of lagging and leading KPIs, listen to recorded sales calls, and sit in on sales presentations. These activities should help identify the areas of improvement that the sales coaching should focus on. From there, create a coaching plan with frequent recurring intervals, and measure whether performance improves.

It’s said that numbers don’t lie and that you can’t argue with what they reveal. To an extent, it’s true: Reading the data your team accumulates can reveal trends in performance and help identify whether an issue is inherent in your sales team or limited to an individual rep. Your KPIs make it easy to determine if your team can benefit from sales training or if your resources are better allocated somewhere else. Sales training is a significant investment in your team. Using the data already at your fingertips can help you decide whether that investment will help move your key performance numbers into the black.