“A Guide to PreSales Metrics within Hero by Vivun”

Aaron Sun Avatar photo

While Sales Account Executives traditionally open doors for opportunities and negotiate deals through the close, it is the PreSales team who’s tasked with driving the technical win. This is the critical act of getting prospects to confirm that your technology is needed and the preferred solution over all competitors.

PreSales can also play critical roles in achieving smooth post-sales transitions, driving successful product adoption among customers, and gathering insights that influence the product roadmap—elevating the PreSales team to becoming your company’s most strategic asset. 

Without data, PreSales has flown under the radar, leaving critical insights on the table—this blind spot in your department is also a blind spot in your business, impacting forecast accuracy and revenue. 

What follows is an overview of the 12 most important PreSales metrics, included in Hero by Vivun™, that can give PreSales leaders a competitive advantage. The metrics are accompanied by illustrations, definitions, and how they can be used to drive change within your organization.

And they’re broken down into 3 main categories: Focus Metrics, Capacity Metrics, and Efficiency Metrics.

The first kind of metrics we will be looking at is: Focus Metrics. They help determine how effective the team is at working and closing business. 

  1. Opportunity Outcome—Are the deals we work closing? 

Tracking Opportunity Outcome (whether an opp has been qualified out, closed lost, or closed won) in Hero helps us understand whether the deals we work as PreSales are closing. 

Opportunity count by month grouped by qualified out, closed lost, and closed won

Too many closed lost deals can be a sign of skill gaps in the PreSales team. Too many qualified out deals can be a sign of poor sales qualification, poor product-prospect fit, or unclear marketing messaging. If the field is focused on the wrong opportunities, it becomes much harder to hit the company’s booking goals. 

Opportunity Outcome can be used to establish control over when PreSales engages with an opportunity, and who from the team should be assigned. 

  1. Opportunity Time—how much time do we spend on revenue-generating activity? 

In Hero, Opportunity Time helps us understand how the PreSales team is spending its time and to what extent they are focusing on revenue-generating activities like discovery, demos, POCs, etc.

A breakdown of PreSales activities by hours spent as shown in Hero 

Spending an excessive amount of time on non-revenue-generating activity hinders individual attainment and negatively impacts revenue. Additionally, while PreSales professionals are often valuable partners to other departments because of their deep product knowledge and empathy for buyers, overreliance on PreSales for post-sales deployment efforts or customer success/support can actually hide skill gaps in those teams, or issues in the product itself. 

The second main metric type is Capacity Metrics which asks: What is the opportunity volume that the team can reasonably support and sustain?

  1. Attach Rate—do we need PreSales to close opportunities? 

Attach Rate helps us understand how often a PreSales team member is required in order to work an opportunity through the close. 

While this will vary depending on your company’s product and sales process, involving PreSales on a given opportunity increases the cost of sale. If PreSales is required to work every single opportunity, your business may struggle with growth efficiency. 

In high volume segments (commercial and SMB), you should drive lower attach rates and deal closure without PreSales. For example, by pushing for the creation of more self-serve assets and providing sales reps with product training so that they’re not as reliant on SEs to close deals.

  1. Support Ratio—how many account executives are being supported per SE? 

In Hero, you can see the number of account executives each PreSales team member is supporting across all of their open opportunities.

Consistently overworking SEs can easily lead to burnout or low morale within your team and make them less efficient at closing business. Looking at the data around support ratios can help you make changes that increase individual attainment for your PreSales team and improve company efficiency. 

Additionally, this can be combined with “opportunity outcome” metrics to ensure that SEs are spending the majority of their time closing deals rather than on non-revenue-generating activities.  

  1. Open Volume—how many open opportunities are there per PreSales team member, and how much are they worth? 

Open Volume represents the volume and value of business that can be realistically sustained by your PreSales team. Understanding this metric will allow you to intelligently determine the right Support Ratio for each segment of the business. 

Value of open opportunities assigned per PreSales team member
  1. Utilization—is the team overworked? 

Utilization compares the number of working hours reported by your team to the number of hours that exist in a standard work month. 

How utilization rate is tracked in Hero across the PreSales team

Utilization is used for support ratio and headcount planning. If your team is over 100% utilized, then this is a sign that the team either requires more individuals or needs to spend its time more effectively. 

Understanding your team’s utilization rate can help justify additional headcount for teams that are overworked or reallocate PreSales resources from teams that are underutilized. Looking at utilization in conjunction with opportunity outcome and time can help you ensure that your   PreSales team is spending the majority of its time closing deals. 

  1. Direct Reports—how many direct reports does each PreSales manager have? 

Individuals can only manage a certain number of team members effectively. Leaving a PreSeales leader with too many direct reports can cause team communication, performance, and morale to suffer. 

The most common ratio for direct reports is 1:8 (1 manager for every 8 direct reports). By aiming for this ratio or lower, you can ensure that managers and team members are set up for success—combining this information with other PreSales metrics can help overcome objections related to team “bloat”. 

The last and third type of metrics is Efficiency Metrics which asks: How much and what type of effort does it take to close business? 

  1. Outcomes by Effort—how many hours does it take to close each deal? How much is each deal worth?
Deals on this chart are plotted according to their dollar value and the amount of effort it took in hours to close them

To continue growing efficiently, you’ll need to understand the patterns in Hero that let your team close the largest deals with the smallest amount of effort. Planning for specific support ratios or future headcount is also affected by this metric—for instance, if the business seeks to go to market and the effort required to close larger deals is considerably harder. 

High-effort, low-value closed won deals is a sign of inefficiencies in the sales process or potential product gaps. You should modify the team’s sales tactics and push the product team to deliver enhancements that are relevant to customers to improve outcomes by effort. 

  1. Outcome by Delieverbles—how much time is spent on technical deliverables? 

This metric tells us the average number of hours, sorted by sales stage, that the team is spending on technical deliverables, typically viewed in Hero by outcome (closed won/closed lost).

Number of hours spent on technical deliverables for closed won opportunities, sorted by sales stage

If your team spends significant effort on technical deliverables without getting closed won opportunities, you may need to modify your team’s sales tactics or push product for enhancements that reduce the effort needed to win deals. 

  1. Deal Efficiency—how efficient are each of our team members? 

In Hero, within a given segment of your business (i.e. commercial vs. enterprise), you can understand the habits, strategies, and patterns of individuals with higher deal efficiency and can provide insight into how you can approach team coaching, development, and overall deal execution strategy. 

Deal Efficiency helps you identify your top performers and begin digging into how they actually become successful—it’s a starting point to eventually share best practices within the PreSales team and optimize the hiring process around the characteristics displayed by your most efficient team members. 

  1.  Effort Efficiency—what’s the average amount of bookings per hour, per team member?

As with Deal Efficiency, understanding what kinds of individual behaviors lead to higher Effort Efficiency can uncover important insights to use in team coaching, development, and deal execution. 

Effort efficiency is another way to identify top performers and the behaviors that make them successful, so that you can share those best practices throughout the team and optimize the hiring process to select for characteristics displayed by your most efficient team members. Essentially, Hero can become your best performing teammate that retains all the tribal knowledge. 

  1.  Product Efficiency—how many products are we selling per opportunity?  

Product Efficiency provides transparency into the team’s best multi-product sellers and what contributes to their success, which you can in turn leverage for training and hiring optimization.

For multi-product companies, higher product penetration per account is a strong indicator of customer retention, and indicates a higher average selling price (ASP). Understanding what behaviors lead to greater product penetration in accounts can influence team coaching and deal execution. 

Get metrics that matter

Our platform Hero enables PreSales leaders and teams to lead their organizations toward increasing and accelerating revenue, growing market size and share, and optimizing the return on PreSales all through quality, game-changing metrics. 

Hero delivers instant visibility into critical PreSales metrics so you can reward top performers, learn what it takes to win, and have the data at your fingertips to justify your headcount.

Sign up for a Hero Demo and we’ll show you more!

Aaron Sun Avatar photo June 26, 2021