Sales KPIs and Performance Metrics for Your POD Business


You can't adequately evaluate business performance based on hypotheses, personal preferences, intuition, and other beliefs that don't have any factual confirmation. On the contrary, parameters based on metrics help to build the right business strategy and set goals. 

As a POD business owner, you can understand the achievements using key performance indicators or KPIs. These are milestones on the road to success that allow you to track what is happening in real-time and shed light on closed revenue, the work of team members (managers, marketers, and salespeople), etc. 

According to Vantage Point, there are about 300 KPIs, but it's unproductive to track all of them. The idea behind this article is that the metrics should differ depending on the goals you pursue in your print-on-demand business. Thus, by focusing on some strategic initiatives, you won't cloud the team focus or waste time and money.

To find out how to measure sales performance and ensure you're targeting the right KPIs, read further.

Table of contents 

What are KPIs and why do they matter?

Our list of essential metrics to look at


A KPI is an indicator of the on demand print services efficiency. In other words, it’s a specific goal that you must achieve. KPI also stands for marketing, sales, customer service, project management, and product manufacturing productivity. Simultaneously, a metric is a quantitative process measurement and represents numbers that can be applied to track growth. Many performance indicators can often be assumed for a single purpose. Therefore, marketers narrow them down to two or three data points that briefly show how business prosperity moves towards its goals.

Without such indexes, it'd be difficult to assess the progress of a business over time - it's inappropriate to make decisions based solely on your intuition. Backing them up with practical conclusions, you can more accurately develop goals and strategies for increasing sales in the e-commerce business. Besides, data analysis can identify weaknesses and solve critical problems.

As we move on to the list of important metrics, it's necessary to ask how often this analysis should be done? We propose to consider the feasibility of checking some goals, depending on different time slices. 

  • Weekly analysis: to ensure that your print on demand business is doing well, check your online store website traffic, audience engagement on social media, and reviews. 
  • Track low-variability indicators every two weeks with large selection sizes. For example, an AOV measures an average amount of each order over a slice of time, CPA or cost per purchase, and the number of abandoned carts.
  • Monthly analysis requires more detailed data depending on traffic types and marketing models. You will analyze the effectiveness of email marketing, multi-channel retailing, audience reach, and any micro-conversions (for instance, refusal adding to cart). 
  • It's worth checking the most strategic KPI quarterly to prove that the business is doing well. That includes email clicks, customer value, and subscriptions.

We've compiled a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) to get a proper bird's eye view of your trading operations. They'll help you influence not only your sales but also a whole business strategy.

To properly analyze your print on demand business without spreading yourselves on numerous indicators, they must be powerful and critical. We've prepared for you 6 of the most important ones, which you should focus on while developing your print on demand business. 

MQLs (number of marketing qualified leads) 

That's the KPI for sales based on the leads’ marketing data and indicates the interaction of potential customers with your brand. It includes voluntary contact for feedback, goods inclusion in the cart, PDF files downloading, repeated visits to the website. So with the help of analytics, you can identify which customers needed marketing assistance before making a purchase decision. 

SQL (sales qualified lead)

SQL (sales qualified lead) means any offer that led to a direct realization. MQL shouldn't be mistakenly confused with SQL - there is a difference in readiness to buy between them. To clearly understand the boundaries between these two concepts, analyze user behavior:

  1. The number of visits to your site (the more visits you get, the more likely you're dealing with SQL)
  2. Number of conversions (MQL could upload one or two pieces of content. On the contrary, SQL looked through a lot of texts)
  3. Referring channel (if you know that most of the sales are made through Facebook, then they'll be better than those, came from Quora or Twitter)
  4. Contact information (MQL may request specific information, but usually you’d contact them differently. On the other hand, SQL can take the time to talk to the sales team)

The interaction strategy between the seller and customer cardinally changes depending on the demographic information and the lead value. Indeed, after assessing the KPIs of potential customers, you'll be able to identify them better and decide how to transform MQL into SQL and achieve sales targets. If this metric doesn't comply with the norm, it means that you should redirect your marketing efforts and explicitly revise your ideal client profile (ICP).

SAOs (number of sales accepted opportunities)

That’s a revenue KPI that shows how effective your business development team acts at building a sales funnel. If you don't convert 80% of SQL queries to SAO, your qualification criteria worked poorly. To turn leads into opportunities include the following characteristics in SAO: 

  • Client’s pain. Usually, people make a purchase to reduce their need for something, that is, their pain. If the product isn’t a “painkiller” for that client, then the likelihood of its sale is too low.
  • Interest. Each potential buyer is interested in solving their problem. 
  • Fit. The product and prospect situation must be concordant. Otherwise, this can bode well for dissatisfied customers and a decline in your online reputation. 

Number of wins

It's a KPI that allows managers to dive deeper into the sales process and is intended for diagnostics and solving critical issues. If you don't win more than 35% SAO, this means that:

  • the eligibility and qualifying criteria need revision;
  • some of your sales representatives are ineffective at closing deals;
  • the value proposition doesn't resonate with customers.

You can solve this by changing the approach to the sales process. For instance, attract additional personnel, clarify qualification criteria, conduct additional training, etc.


Your income can come from both: new customers and existing ones, who repeatedly return to purchases on your site or upgrade their product subscription tier. This indicator can be easily explored by deduction. For instance, look at each manager’s revenue per sale to understand the reputation performance. Then compare this indicator with the average and find out that adding one more person to the team will have a higher ROI. 

how to set the right KPIs

Sales team happiness

That's one of those terms examples (although non-technical) that directly affects sales KPIs and, accordingly, the prosperity of your business. Happy employees work better, make customers more satisfied, and are the heart of a well-functioning business. The “quota at all costs” approach very often leads to burnout of the most talented people. Keep in mind that these are the only living participants in the strategic dialogue, so if you want the team to work as best as possible, you’d have the tools to motivate and support them during the working day. 

All the above performance indicators will allow you to improve the productivity of your POD business. For leaders, this data is indispensable in making strategic solutions that require any factual confirmation.

Continuous diagnostics of problems, and changes in setting up the sales scheme, require the most reasonable and adequate approach. While studying each of these six performance metrics, you could explore the team effectiveness, conduct a SWOT analysis,  and apply measures to prevent any impending problems.

You shouldn't neglect such indicators if you're a business owner, leader, marketer, and sales manager in one person. By maneuvering among the metrics, it'll become easier for you to assess which path you're doing daily, whether it's worth investing in the business by creating another job, and how to improve the tactics of selling the products. 

PODApril 22, 2021
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