The Distribution Blog

5 Key Proactive Inside Sales Metrics for Distributors

June 30, 2022

Table of Contents

Many distributors have traditionally viewed the inside sales role as one that should be focused on inbound calls and reactive customer service. Inside sales is often synonymous with customer service.

But AI can enable a fresh take on inside sales: one that is focused on proactively reaching out to existing and prospective customers with relevant offers and prompts to order more products more often. They are a more cost-effective sales channel than outside sales. These team members are market-making … not market-serving, as Indian River Consulting Group’s Mike Marks says.

Proactive inside sales reps can give your sales efforts a significant boost when implemented strategically and with the right customers. Instead of traveling from meeting to meeting, an inside sales rep interacts with customers via phone or email.  

With the right tools, an inside sales rep can communicate with more customers your outside sales team doesn’t have time to reach. According to Distribution Strategy Group research, “A proactive inside sales rep has a cost of sales 30% to 50% lower than that of a field sales rep while maintaining or even growing sales productivity.”

Although distributors have traditionally favored outside sales in the past, technological advancements have made inside sales teams more effective and valuable than ever.

But how can you ensure they are delivering on that goal?

5 Inside Sales Metrics to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Team

Here are five inside sales metrics to measure the effectiveness of your team.

Number and Quality of Interactions

How often are your sales reps reaching out to customers, either by phone or email? Do they know who to call each day, or are they relying on intuition to qualify leads? One of the best ways to gauge how well your team is performing is by tracking the number and quality of their daily interactions. Once a proactive inside sales rep is up to speed, they should be reaching out and speaking to 20 to 25 customers per day. Your sales team is probably spending less time selling than you realize. According to some studies, the average inside sales rep spends only 35% of their time actively selling and the remainder of their time on administrative tasks and research. That’s largely because in many organizations, inside sales is seen as an inbound, not an outbound role. When you implement a proactive inside sales team, make sure they are not wasting time and missing critical opportunities by manually reviewing account information and sales histories.  

Technology like artificial intelligence (AI) can help reps free up more time by automating this process. For example, AI can analyze customer online browsing activity, historical purchasing patterns, and reorder needs to identify high-quality leads. With this data, AI can provide sales reps with daily call lists based on priority. During their calls, AI tools will also tell them what products to pitch to each customer based on what they are most likely to buy.

AI-powered tools help inside sales reps improve their time management to make more high-quality calls and reduce the number of interactions needed to hit sales goals.  


How much potential revenue is tied up in your pipeline? Sales reps need to know how many leads are in their pipeline, their sales potential and what steps they should take to convert them into paying customers. If your team doesn’t understand how to transition leads into long-term customers, this revenue will remain untapped.

AI can pre-qualify leads to help your team understand the best way to interact with potential buyers. As mentioned above, AI can help reps understand which accounts to prioritize, when to contact them, and what to pitch while they are on the phone to get the most from their pipeline.

Conversion Rates

One of the most critical proactive inside sales metrics to monitor is your team’s conversion rates. First, ask yourself how effective your sales reps are. Do they have a high close rate, or are they spending excessive amounts of time on the phone with little to show for it?

Keep a close eye on your team’s number of customer interactions combined with how well they are hitting their sales quotas to monitor their effectiveness. This metric is especially important for new reps, who may have limited product knowledge and sales ability.

One way to improve conversion rates is by equipping your team with AI. AI can help reps see key customer data and provide relevant product recommendations while they are on the phone so they can make better pitches, close deals more efficiently and promptly move on to their next call.

AI can help sales reps improve their conversion rates by:

  • Allowing reps to look up catalog products on the fly
  • Providing similar product and replacement product recommendations
  • Pairing products that naturally go well together (or are often purchased together)
  • Providing product volume insights (including how much a customer can save when they buy in bulk)

Number of Accounts Managed

One of the most valuable aspects of a proactive inside sales team is the number of accounts each rep can manage. Therefore, another key metric is the number of accounts each sales rep is responsible for contacting and nurturing. A proactive inside sales rep should be able to manage 150 to 250 mid-size accounts.  

If your reps are only getting in touch with a few customers a day, you have a problem. Thankfully, AI can automate time-consuming manual tasks so sales reps can spend more time interacting with customers. A team powered with AI tools and insights can be more proactive and productive while connecting with a wider variety of accounts.

With the help of daily reminders, in-depth customer insights, personalized product recommendations and automated reordering options, inside sales reps can efficiently manage a greater quantity of small and large accounts.

Long-Term Engagement

Our fifth proactive inside sales metric can make or break your business: long-term engagement. Unfortunately, finding new prospects is costly and time-consuming. If you focus on improving your customer experience, you can boost your average lifetime customer value and avoid losing business to competitors.  

When determining your business’ success in keeping customers engaged, your proactive inside sales reps should ask themselves these questions:

  • What is my average reorder rate?
  • How many customers are churning?
  • Are accounts growing or stagnating?
  • Are my customers giving positive recommendations to their peers?

AI can alert sales reps when accounts are at risk of churning and remind them when customers are due to reorder. As a result, AI helps inside sales reps convert new customers and enables them to provide an outstanding experience to current ones.

Inside sales reps can be an integral part of your business with the right tools and training. When determining how effective your team is, pay close attention to:

  1. The number and quality of customer interactions
  2. Pipeline
  3. Conversion rates
  4. Number of accounts managed
  5. Long-term engagement

Proton’s CRM can help you pinpoint these inside sales metrics and give you the tools needed to improve the efficiency and productivity of your team.

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