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You’ve read the signs, and they suggest you are ready to build out your sales prospecting or outbound lead generation team. This team of dogged sales reps will be crucial to your company’s scalable growth efforts, as they hit phones and lists hard to generate leads for your sales team to close. Once they’ve been fully onboarded, the next step is to determine what sales metrics you need to benchmark the performance of your lead gen team.

Fortunately, thanks to great research from our friends at OpenView Venture Partners, VorsightBP, InsideSales.com and The Bridge Group, Inc., we have those key lead generation benchmarks. Here are 5 critical sales metrics and industry benchmarks with which to measure your outbound prospecting team by.

(For even more detailed information about sales benchmarks, check out our full report: New Benchmarks for Inside Sales Teams.)

 

3×3 Research

This isn’t really a sales metric, per se, but is nevertheless an important benchmark that can really help outbound prospecting teams really improve their performances. Created by Steve Richard, the co-founder of sales training firm VorsightBP, 3×3 research challenges lead generation reps to find 3 key points of research about the prospect that they will actually use on the phone within the first 3 minutes of the phone call.

With the growth of social selling, especially with LinkedIn, finding information about cold prospects to use in opening conversations should not be difficult. The trick is to really get your reps to hone their craft and find the absolute best 3×3 research points that generate the best conversations. Richard also recommends that reps enter 3x3s on specific prospects into your CRM system to save time in the future.

Call-to-Conversation Conversion Rate

Once you have armed yourself with the research to get conversations going, the next step is to turn a greater proportion of dials and calls into meaningful conversations. Calculate this sales metric by dividing the total number of dials the lead generation team makes by the number of conversations achieved. Make sure to implement a stringent definition of conversation too – after all, a connection that results in a 30-second conversation might technically register as such, but is in reality not going to move the needle at all. Activities don’t mean anything unless they are converting efficiently. Therefore, the activity conversion rate is much more significant than a raw total number of activities.

OpenView’s research suggests that a good benchmark to achieve is to reach a 9% call-to-conversation conversion rate. If you aren’t hitting this benchmark, try different call tactics, such as calling at different times of the day or using other communication channels (like email or social media) to make the initial approach before scheduling a call.

Sales Management - Employee Activities

Lead-to-Opportunity Conversion Rate

Outbound prospecting efforts are great for generating leads, but a lead is ultimately a four-letter word to CEOs – they care about opportunities that convert to deals and revenue. Therefore, while a big raw leads number is great, what’s even better is a high lead-to-opportunity conversion rate, which OpenView benchmarks at 12%. This sales metric is derived by dividing the number of opportunities created by the total number of leads worked to create them.

A low conversion rate suggests that your prospecting team is consistently reaching the wrong audiences – either the wrong people at the right types of companies, or the wrong type of companies in the wrong industries altogether. Improving lead-to-opportunity conversion rates requires a deep dive into the data to discern what lead sources produce the most opportunities. Then, hone in on those targeted leads that better match your ideal customer profile.

What Are the Right KPIs For You?»

Reach by Seniority

Groundbreaking research by The Bridge Group, Inc. revealed that outbound teams were increasingly successful at reaching C-level executives, instead of the manager-level executives that they were used to talking to. After all, when CEOs and Directors are having meaningful conversations with outbound reps, that is a great sign of legitimate interest.

According to The Bridge Group, Inc., outbound prospecting teams increased their CxO Reach Rate by more than 40% from the same time period in 2012. Additionally, director-level reach had increased 24% year-over-year. Outbound prospecting teams need to keep refining their research and hitting these desired positions on their prospecting lists.

Average Number of Dials per Day

The Bridge Group, Inc. also noted in its research that outbound teams were making an average of 56 dials per day. It stands to good reason that the more dials a team of outbound reps makes each day, the more conversations they are likely to have and, subsequently, the more leads they are able to generate.

However, when power dialing software or other productivity technologies were introduced to outbound prospecting efforts, the average number of dials jumps all the way up to 81 per day. This significant increase suggests that outbound prospecting reps should make more calls, a school of thought heartily endorsed by Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com. Writing on Forbes.com, Krogue succinctly (and accurately) notes that more dials = more quality conversations = more appointments = more conversions = more sales. Simple math.

 

Don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect – pun intended! – of building out your outbound lead generation team. With the right sales metrics in mind to benchmark your team by – and great research and best practices on the subject from experts like Richard and The Bridge Group, Inc. – you will be well on your way toward outbound prospecting success.

What are some key lead generation metrics that are critical at your organization?

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