Passing qualified leads to the sales team is the primary objective for any Sales Development Rep (SDR) and even some inside sales teams. A high volume of qualified leads means more closed business and an increase in revenue. This seems like a straightforward equation without many supporting variables. However, passing leads comprises only a small portion of a rep’s day. Much of their time is spent on auxiliary work that results in production that can often be overlooked or undervalued. Getting the most out of this work is vital when moving forward on an account with the goal of passing it as a qualified opportunity. In order to do so, these five metrics should be tracked and incentivized:
- Rep Added Contacts
- Competitive and Market Intelligence
- Sales Planning
- Lead Quality
Added Contacts by SDR
Account mapping is one of the most beneficial ways an SDR can add value to an account, and one of the primary components to account mapping is the addition of new contacts. List services and databases aren’t perfect, and it’s unrealistic to expect them to be. After being provided a list, reps should be adding contacts as they research each account. Cross checking resources like LinkedIn, Zoominfo, Hoovers, and other databases allows a rep to paint a more complete picture of the account. As the rep begins connecting with these added contacts, admins and colleague referrals should provide even more clarity and direction.
This process allows the rep to identify budget owners, qualified suspects, and influencers, which provides invaluable context for the sales team. In addition, “rep added contacts” indicate that the SDR attempted to connect with multiple people within the organization, mitigating biases or misleading conversations. These additional conversations also help the rep gain a better understanding of pains, needs, and time-frames.
Do your reps source enough relevant contacts within each account?
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is defined as a lead who fits the defined criteria of your targeted account profile and is either an influencer or decision maker. These leads have not yet been sales qualified, and may not be for a period of time. At dD, we separate MQLs into two groups: leads who are simply identified as an influencer or decision maker, and leads who fall into nurture campaigns based upon conversation details.
When a contact is identified, account mapping resurfaces as a critical strategy. Top performing reps will then be able to identify other prospects who will be involved in the decision making process. This is crucial, particularly in larger targeted companies, when aiming to find a champion for your solution.
Nurture candidates have been fully qualified, fitting each defined criteria other than having an “active” project. Rather than simply placing them in automated email marketing campaign, dD reps execute our Two-Way Nurturing process. Our reps periodically connect with the nurtured lead, even if the prospect doesn’t foresee a project gaining momentum until a later date. This allows the rep to gain feedback on any changes in the organization or needs of the prospect, while building a relationship that goes beyond that of merely a buyer and seller.
By tracking MQL metrics, managers can begin quantifying top of the funnel metrics more accurately and better project qualified opportunity forecasts. As this process develops with your sales team, revenue becomes predictable and growth becomes sustainable.
Are you able to forecast reliable revenue goals based on your team’s activity?
There are times that an SDR will to do everything right while prospecting an account, but there is no real opportunity within the next 12 months. This can be due to a number of reasons such as budget constraints, competitive solutions, or management biases. Most SDR’s give up after hearing that there is no opportunity and leave the account for dead. However, plenty of value can be extracted and quantified in the form of sales & marketing intelligence.
When a rep is clear that they are no longer in “selling” mode, a lot of information can be gained from an uninterested prospect. Identifying competitive solutions, and the prospect’s experience using them, is important for the executive sales teams. It will help reps overcome objections and improve talking points with future prospects who use that solution and are open to discussing your product. Discussing pains and needs with the uninterested prospect will also help you identify shifts in the market, changes in standard requirements, and the development of any trigger events.
Collectively, this information is valuable to sales and marketing teams, helping them create collateral, optimize messaging and solution persona, and create new target account criteria based on your sales and market intelligence.
Do your reps proactively seek intelligence that helps your sales and marketing teams?
When an SDR is working on a project but failing to get the results expected out of them, demandDrive looks at multiple different factors to explain the lack of success. These factors are both internal and external, meaning it’s either the rep themselves that control their own success or it’s something beyond their control. When it’s beyond the control of the rep itself we find that most managers aren’t taking it into account. Whether it be the market for your product or the overall size of the selling universe, managers need to understand everything there is to know about the environment and use that to set realistic expectations.
When it comes to a lot of products in the software space (demandDrive’s specialty) a lot of managers tend to see a saturation of technology in their specific space within the industry. The more saturated a market is the harder it will be to penetrate and deliver consistent levels of leads. Managers need to plan for that and lower their expectations when it comes to how many leads they believe their reps can get. Conversely, if the product is being introduced into a brand new market you could see a slight rise in the amount of leads your reps will be able to deliver. By evaluating your product and the market that your reps are selling into, you can plan accordingly and set realistic expectations.
The same goes for the overall universe of prospects to call into. If you’re trying to penetrate the Fortune 500 market but expect 20 leads per month, you’re going to be disappointed. The size of your universe is too small to expect your reps to deliver a high volume of leads, you’d need to plan for a smaller number of leads based on the total number of accounts to call into. Here at demandDrive we’ve found that an ideal number of accounts for a rep to have in the first 3 months of calling is 500-750. That will give them ample accounts to drive up activities and connects, which will eventually lead to a qualified opportunity.
Are you aware of the external factors that could alter your reps’ lead rate?
When an SDR books an appointment or gets a lead there’s always reason to celebrate. However, some managers look at the raw lead rate numbers in order to judge the effectiveness of a project or a rep. For example, a manager could be overseeing a project that gets 20 scheduled appointments every month. On the surface that sounds like a very successful project, but if you look a little deeper you’d be able to see some glaring problems.
A no show rate is a metric that all managers should be tracking. While a project may be yielding 20 appointments each month, it could be that 5 of those leads don’t show up for their discovery call or product demo. This could be because of a scheduling conflict or because the lead wasn’t qualified enough in the first place for them to warrant actually taking that second step. Inevitably reps will have a few no-shows based on a lot of external factors, demandDrive has found that on average 80-90% attendance for that second step is average. Now instead of the supposed 20 qualified leads you’re passing to your client, which number drops to a still robust 15.
Take those 15 leads and then look at their overall quality. Let’s say that out of those 15 only 8 were deemed qualified by your client, and the other 7 didn’t fit the profile they were looking for. Lead quality is a big factor into determining how effective your SDR team is, and if 60% of the leads they passed made it past the client qualification it’s time to take a look into the overall lead-passing process. This lets managers set realistic expectations for their SDR team and gets a more accurate measure of the team’s performance. Taking this modified SAL to SQL rate will give you a more overall picture of your team: 1 – (No Show Rate + Unqualified Contact).
The great thing about demandDrive is we won’t bill a client until a lead is fully qualified on their end. So if an SDR at demandDrive passed those 20 leads, they would only be paid on 8 of them in the end. This assures that the leads we pass are qualified to the extent our clients want them to be.
Are your reps passing leads that are qualified enough for your clients?