BLKNS Academy is now live!
Learn more

How to measure B2B sales: Key metrics and KPIs to track

Brian Hicks
Brian Hicks
Reading time:11 m

Metrics and KPIs are interesting beasts. Like shape-shifting boggarts from the “Harry Potter” books, they show themselves differently depending on who looks at them. Website bounce rate is useless to a COO, while the demo-to-purchase ratio is of little use to social media managers.

How do you pick KPIs that will make sense for your specific case? A rule of thumb is that they should align with your goals. What does success mean for your company? Imagine you have an absolutely fantastic month — how would it look? Would it mean you hit a certain number of sales or got more people in your pipeline? Or maybe some product page on your website blew up in terms of engagement?

Based on these ideals, you will define your central and secondary KPIs and know what metrics to look at.

Sales metrics vs. KPIs

Sales metrics and KPIs may sound like similar concepts, but they mean different things and should be approached in different ways.

Sales metrics are data points that indicate the progress in the business processes. 

Metrics state facts, like “Our sales are $175,000 this month.” They are useful in assessing the company’s movement toward short-term and long-term goals.

KPIs, in turn, can either be tied to the numbers from the sales metrics or can be standalone indicators. What matters is that KPIs are specific metrics connected to company-wide goals or objectives.

KPIs are more actionable than sales metrics, and they tell a story. They are the short-term goals breakdown that you use to track the team’s performance and improve upon it month to month. Sales metrics, on the other hand, are high-level indicators that show a company’s direction and progress toward strategic goals.

Sales KPI Dashboard Example

If it were a car dashboard, the KPIs would be your speedometer, showing how fast and at what engine capacity you are moving toward your goal. Sales metrics would be your navigation and gas levels, indicating whether you are moving in the right direction and will be able to reach your destination. 

Factors that influence the choice of B2B sales KPIs

Deciding what metrics to track and set as KPIs depends on your company’s specific targets. For example, if your business needs to grow, then customer conversion is the only relevant factor. If your business needs to increase margins, then the average spend is all that matters.

"Sales KPIs are pretty similar across companies of all sizes, typically focusing on the number of deals closed monthly or quarterly. The key difference lies in how you gauge the success of your sales process and each SE.

For a startup, the goal is often to move quickly and close a few deals each month. Startups might have lower-priced offers or provide special deals to attract new clients and start generating revenue. It’s a month-to-month existence; failing to acquire new clients for a few months could lead to bankruptcy.

In contrast, established companies and enterprises can adopt a more strategic approach. They can withstand lower sales KPIs for a few months without facing existential threats, allowing for more time to make and test decisions. Moreover, larger companies typically categorize their clients into groups, like corporate clients and small to mid-sized clients, and assign dedicated teams of SEs to each segment, each with its own KPIs and success benchmarks."

Yuriy Boyko, Head of AM at Belkins

If other departments need to view the results, our recommendation for managers is to have 1 central KPI (e.g., form submissions) to measure overall business objectives, and a set of other KPIs to complement the whole picture (e.g., newsletter signup clicks and average time on page).

The central KPI helps the upper management grasp what happened during a particular period. The additional set of KPIs helps you to understand the whole story.

According to Databox, most companies have specific KPIs for different departments, but you can opt for individual or company-wide options if they’re a better fit for your business.

According to Data Box, Most Companies Structure Their KPIs Departmentally, With Individual KPIs Being Second

Principles to guide you through KPI setup:

  • Gather data to inform your decisions. Identify which lead channels or strategies are most effective. The goal is to understand why they work so you can replicate them.
  • KPIs should drive action. In the case of sales, the action may be coaching for underperforming reps. Ensure you have protocols in place to get your KPIs to where you want them. 
  • Review the goals every 6 months. Adjust and adapt to market conditions. This will help to keep a realistic sense of how you will finish each quarter and year.
  • Remember that KPIs aren’t everything. Always look at the broader picture. Call new signups or customers to find out what converted them and what they think of your product.

The descriptions below will unpack the most critical B2B metrics so you can pick the ones that make sense for your business.

Metrics for planning a B2B sales process

Before diving headfirst into sales, you need to understand what to expect. Two metrics to set the scene for your performance are the length of the sales cycle and your average check (the selling price for your flagship product).

Knowing these, you can calculate the needed sales volumes (Desired revenue / Average check) and then estimate the runway you will need to start receiving these checks.

Say you sell a product for $200,000, and your target revenue is $1 million. This means you will only need to sign 5 clients to reach your goal. But if the sales cycle is 6 months, you’ll need funding for at least 9 months of operations till you start getting revenue.

The B2B sales cycle length is usually much longer than that of B2C. Big deals come with intense scrutiny and extended time frames. A typical enterprise sales cycle lasts about 6 months and involves reaching out 6–8 times to contact the decision-maker and 10–12 times to lock in that first meeting. The chart from Databox below shows that the average sales cycle for B2B is 3–6 months. If this is too long for you, learn how to shorten the B2B sales cycle

The Average B2B Sales Cycle

Knowing your sales cycle length is important since underestimating it may lead to missed targets, general frustration, and demoralized sales reps. 

Average selling price and product mix

Take Adobe, for instance. Between 2018 and 2022, their Creative Cloud was worth 3 times more than their other digital goodies. Both were growing, but Creative Cloud was the VIP. The lesson? Not everything sells the same way, so the most meaningful metrics can vary between products. 

Know your flagship product or service and highlight its value and the solutions it provides. This boosts revenue in the long run and simplifies the sales process.

Productivity & demos: KPIs and metrics

Your top-of-funnel metrics refer to the stage of cold outreach, finding new leads, and sifting them for opportunities. These numbers will help you measure the productivity of your lead generation and define whether and when you should pump up your outbound and inbound budgets. 

Number of accounts contacted

This metric shows the scale and effectiveness of prospecting efforts.

  • For whom: Businesses with heavy reliance on outbound sales efforts, especially in industries where personalized outreach is critical
  • When to track: Regularly to ensure a consistent flow of new leads

Engagement rate

This is a comparably new metric in lead generation that replaced the open rate in terms of importance. Here is an explanation from Belkins’ co-founder on why it emerged and what it shows: 

"If you are running cold email outreach campaigns, you’ve probably used the open rate, once the go-to metric in outbound email. However, it is not going to work after 2023. 

High open rates don’t guarantee satisfactory ROI. Besides, in some sectors, like software development, effective outbound campaigns are challenging, with lead-to-appointment conversion rates dropping from 2% to a mere 0.25%.

This is why we employed engagement rate as a pivotal metric. It’s calculated as follows:

Engagement rate = (Number of positive responses / Total number of responses) x 100

For example, receiving 40 positive responses out of 150 total responses translates to a notable 26% engagement rate. 

  • Greater than 30% engagement rate is a good benchmark.
  • Greater than 70% of negative responses signal that ICP needs improvement.

This metric is crucial for assessing your outreach’s effectiveness, allowing you to refine your approach based on specific segments and job titles."

Michael Maximoff, Co-founder at Belkins

Number of follow-up attempts

This metric reflects the reps’ persistence in engaging with leads and maximizing opportunities for conversion.

  • For whom: Companies with sales processes that require nurturing leads through multiple touchpoints
  • When to track: Continuously to refine follow-up strategies and improve lead engagement

Our research found the optimal number of follow-ups to increase your chances of getting a reply without annoying the prospect. For B2B cold outreach campaigns, 3 email rounds (or 3 total steps in the email sequence — 1 initial email and 2 follow-ups) tend to have the highest reply rates (9.2%).

Contacted-to-booked ratio

This measures the amount of contacts that resulted in booked demos or sales calls.

  • For whom: Businesses relying on booked demos or in-person sales appointments
  • Formula: (Number of booked calls / Number of accounts contacted) x 100
  • When to track: Regularly to improve the booking process

For example, you may need to enhance your demo pitch or find a way to get more highly qualified sales appointments. This is one of the must-have metrics for your sales team.

"As a part of SDR’s work, we keep track of various metrics to measure the effectiveness of email campaigns. These metrics include reply rate, bounce rate, conversion rate (which is the number of initial meetings booked out of the total number of prospects contacted) and overall ROI. (This metric takes into account all costs and revenue generated from the campaign, and helps us determine the overall profitability of the email campaign for our client.)"

Anastasiia Ivaniuk, SDR Team Lead at Belkins

Appointments/calls booked based on lead source

This shows the effectiveness of various marketing channels in generating booked demos.

  • For whom: Companies with diverse lead sources, such as cold outreach, inbound lead magnets, and website traffic
  • When to track: Regularly to allocate resources to the most successful lead sources

Note: If you struggle with the appointment setting, you may want to offload the legwork to an experienced appointment-setting agency like Belkins and focus on your sales game.

Booked-to-attended appointments ratio

Assess pitch effectiveness by evaluating the number of booked appointments that resulted in actual attendance. This will show whether people are interested or if they just booked to get rid of your rep.

  • For whom: All B2B businesses
  • Formula: (Number of booked appt / Number of attended appt) x 100
  • When to track: Continuously to ensure your follow-ups drive the right action and that the pre-demo pitch delivers value and increases attendance rates

Demo-to-purchase ratio

This indicates the success rate of converting demos or trials into actual paying customers.

  • For whom: Businesses offering product demos or trial periods
  • Formula: (Number of demos / Number of purchases) x 100
  • When to track: Regularly assess to refine demo strategies and improve conversion rates.

Demo-to-purchase ratio is equally vital for the marketing department to know the accuracy of targeted ICP and for the sales department to fine-tune its sales strategy.

Leads & pipeline KPIs and metrics 

These metrics will give you good insight into the work of your SDRs. At this stage, you want to know that the leads in your pipeline are relevant to your business and that they are adequately served to be converted into customers. 

These KPIs will mostly come from your SDRs. Keeping good track of them will help you fine-tune the lead funnel, avoid bottlenecks, and determine your best marketing channels.

Percentage of sales-qualified leads (SQLs)

In short, this is the proportion of leads that meet your criteria and are open to direct sales negotiations.

  • For whom: Companies with complex sales processes requiring a high level of lead qualification
  • Formula: (Number of SQLs / Number of leads) x 100
  • When to track: Monthly to ensure the sales team focuses on high-potential leads with a high purchase probability at their current business stage

The number of leads by source

This indicates the lead-generation success of various marketing channels.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • When to track: Monthly and quarterly to allocate resources to the most successful lead sources

Lead response time

It shows how quickly your team responds to leads and the impact it has on lead engagement and conversion rates.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Total amount of time between lead creation and first response for all leads assigned / Total number of leads your team responded to)
  • When to track: Monthly to keep a prompt response system and to avoid overloading your reps

Lead conversion rate

This shows the sales team’s efficiency in converting leads into paying customers; indirectly, it shows the pitch’s efficiency and the product’s relevancy to the audience.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Number of converted leads / Total number of leads) x 100
  • When to track: At all times, preferably monthly

Lead conversion rate is your primary metric to see when you need to refine lead-generation and lead-nurturing strategies.

By combining this KPI with the time from the lead-to-deal metric, you can get a chart like the one below, explicitly showing the best channels for your B2B lead generation. It is a perfect indicator of where your marketing money should go and which channels need either targeting or proposal fine-tuning.

Sales & conversions KPIs and metrics

The most important indicators of any business involve closed deals and, ultimately, revenue. By looking at these metrics, you can understand your business seasonality, compare new and old business ratios, and assess account executives’ professionalism. 

Understanding details like business seasonality can help you adjust your marketing strategies and spend budgets more resourcefully. When we were working with Mindstrong, we adjusted the email messaging, adapted templates to a low season, and welcomed the recipients to get back to us after the holidays with no pressure. Lastly, we ensured them that no one would bother them with follow-ups till mid-January.

Have protocols in place to react to any deviations of the metrics below promptly. For example, if your sales reps are underperforming, you can coach them or re-approach the sales process protocols. If the upsell revenue is declining, you need to revisit the products you give as add-ons, and so on.

Average deal value

The typical size and value of closed deals gives you an idea of how much your reps sell per customer.

  • For whom: Businesses with varying deal sizes
  • When to track: Monthly to set revenue targets and ensure adequate margins

Monthly closed deals

This indicates the pace and volume of closed deals over time.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • When to track: Monthly, quarterly, and yearly to identify trends and adjust sales strategies

Sales by rep

Use this KPI to track individual sales team performance, not for a competitive comparison but to drive coaching and recognition.

  • For whom: Companies with a distributed in-house sales team
  • When to track: Monthly and quarterly to provide targeted support and training

New business revenue

Revenue generated from new clients is a crucial metric for growing businesses.

  • For whom: Businesses focused on growth and client acquisition
  • When to track: Monthly, with quarterly and yearly assessments to gauge the success of new customer acquisition strategies

Upsell business revenue

This reflects revenue generated from upselling to existing clients, as well as renewed and extended contracts.

  • For whom: Companies with upsell opportunities as part of the business model
  • When to track: Continuously to capitalize on upsell opportunities

Sales win-loss rate

This one is straightforward, showing the number of closed deals vs. lost prospects. 

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Number of won deals / Total number of deals) x 100
  • When to track: Monthly to identify areas for improvement in the sales process

Total revenue

Total revenue tracks the overall revenue generated by sales across all branches.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • When to track: Monthly, quarterly, and yearly to understand the business’s overall financial health

Customer acquisition KPIs and metrics

Customer acquisition price is less about day-to-day operations and more about a helicopter view of your business. Startup owners know these metrics well, but they are relevant for every kind of company.

A mature business should take a good look at these every 6 months to ensure its model has enough margin to keep bringing in revenue and that the pipeline is constantly filled with customers of the correct scale.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

CAC shows how much money a business needs to spend to get a customer to purchase its products or services.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Cost of sales + Cost of marketing) / Number of new customers acquired
  • When to track: Continuously, as it’s the primary growth metric used to optimize marketing and sales spending

Customer churn rate (attrition)

This is the number of clients discontinuing their contracts or services.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Lost customers / Total customers at the start of time period) x 100
  • When to track: Monthly, quarterly, and yearly to identify reasons for churn and implement retention strategies

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

CLV shows the expected revenue from a customer over their entire relationship with the business.

  • For whom: All businesses
  • Formula: (Average purchase value x Average number of purchases x Average customer lifespan)
  • When to track: Continuously, as this metric guides strategic decisions on customer retention and loyalty programs

What is the key to making the most of the business KPIs? 

Suppose one person makes 50 calls and sells $100,000 a month, whereas another makes 200 calls and sells $120,000 a month. It seems logical to invest in the person who sold $120,000. But is it?

Though the second person did sell more, their average call value was $600 compared with the first person’s average call value of $2,000. Similarly, as you pick your B2B sales KPIs and metrics, we encourage you to choose quality KPIs over quantity-related measures.

Quality matters. Tactical KPIs like calls-to-demo, demo-to-contract, and contact-to-conversion time identify your best-performing channels, products, and people. Investing in these will give you much better ROI than throwing money into massive cold calling and email campaigns for the sole sake of hitting big numbers.

Subscribe to our blog

Get the ultimate insights on the B2B trends and hands-on tips from sales professionals.

Agree to Privacy Policy by submitting data.
Orange ellipse
Brian Hicks
Brian Hicks
VP of Sales at Belkins
Brian is a professional with 15 years of experience in relationship-based sales and management. He built teams and implemented sales processes in startups and Fortune 500 companies across numerous industries.