We asked a group of executives at a building materials client not long ago to provide us with a list of their key performance indicators (KPIs), or the measures they use to drive their company’s performance.  “Uh, we’ll get back to you.” Two months later we received a list of the measures. Yay! But … wait … it was just a list of what to measure, not what the actual goals were, the how-much-of-what-period kind of thing.  Sigh.

Now.  I’m sure that’s not you.  But just in case you’re looking for some fresh ideas for how to suss out key insights from your CRM, we’ve got a few for you.

Relationship Management
Some folks call this call tracking, but let’s call a spade a spade.  Tracking activity from a measurement perspective should let you see that your team is making the right kind of calls on the right customers – in other words, they’re measuring whether they right things are being to do maintain and enhance business relationships with your most important customers.

  • Calls per week
  • Visits per week
  • Prospect first meetings per week
  • Literature drops per week                                                                                                               
  • Training events, product or installation, per months
  • Architect lunch and learns per month

Naturally, you have to apply a framework around this.  Are you trying to build, or just maintaining, a channel?  Are you focused on residential, commercial, or both? Are your territories geographically concentrated, or do they span states?  Pick what’s appropriate for you.

Sales Performance
Since almost all building products actual sales are based on orders placed to customer service or through EDI, sales reps have very limited visibility to actual sales performance.  They have to wait till month-end when a batch report gets dumped from the ERP. So real-time (ish) sales data within the CRM is very often the #1 use case we see for a CRM in this business:

  • Orders, Invoices, and Shipments by customer
  • YoY and YTD performance by customer, territory, and in aggregate
  • Product category performance – YTD and YoY performance
  • This requires some sophistication, but surfacing emerging trends by customer down to a product category (Product category B had a 30% decline in the last quarter) can be very actionable

    Channel Building 
    It’s possible you have a mature channel, but even then you’re probably experiencing some churn in your dealers, manufacturers reps, distributors, etc.  Regardless, you’ve got to be adding or refreshing your channel.
  • Database of prospects [dealers, contractors] by territory, ranked by potential (A, B, C)
  • A pipeline of prospects by stage 
  • Competitive flips – are you adding a new customer by stealing market share, or by growing the market with firms that don’t currently even carry your category?
  • Onboarding / permanent conversion of new prospects (stocking order, repeat orders placed?

Share of Wallet Growth
OK, so you have a good suite of customers.  But it’s a given that many (most?) are not buying all your products, and certainly aren’t buying 100% of each category they’re already buying from you.

  • TAM – total addressable market, in terms of what all your customers could buy from you
  • Priority targets for upsell – who’s the best fit to purchase the most of the most profitable lines?
  • Pipeline of upsell opportunities

Architectural Specifications & Projects (Commercial-only)
If you sell into the commercial channel, getting specified is almost certainly a material part of your game plan.

  • Design-stage projects identified that fit your products’ application profile
  • Specifications that have emerged by-product where your brand is spec’d (self-identified, or from Dodge or ConstructConnect)
  • Your competitors’ specifications volumes by-product (where you’re also included, but most importantly, where you’re not included)
  • Architects by territory who are specifying only your competitors
  • Number of lunch & learns delivered
  • Number of attendees at lunch & learns attended


Homeowner Leads (Residential-only)
Got a dealer or contractor locator on your website?  Residential product focus? Then you’re in the category of building material firms where homeowner lead generation is meaningful to your business.

  • Number of locator hits
  • Number of locator hits by geography and which trades from your database got shown
  • Number of Leads:  “Request a Quote” form completions
  • Number of Leads accepted by one or more trades (a method of ensuring leads don’t go into the great “sales black hole”)
  • The outcome of Leads – won, lost, no-bid


What’s NOT Going Right:  Managing by Exception
Knowing what to measure is good.  But it’s also very helpful to have what is NOT going right surfaced for you when it isn’t happening as you’d proscribed.  Management by Exception reports can help you.

  • Tier A customer accounts that haven’t been called on in 30 days (pick your number)
  • Customers with negative trends in sales/categories
  • New customers without product training completed
  • Architects specifying only the competition where no lunch & learn has been scheduled
  • Pipeline opportunities that have gone stale

Let’s not forget the power of competitive spirit in a sales team, as well.  “Stack ranking” the members of your sales team on the same dashboard is a popular way to set the bar high.  

Want to see the magic happen?  If you’re leveraging exception reports, MBE can also stand for  “Management by Embarrassment”, where charts of those stats show publicly who’s out of compliance.  Run a meeting from that dashboard, then refresh the screen at the end of the meeting; we’ll wager you a cheeseburger that bunch of the miscreants’ names has suddenly disappeared as they update the CRM mid-meeting;)