Over the last twenty-five years, I have worked in a variety of environments and roles that, in one way or another, focused on the pursuit of sales. During those years, there were many times when I was frustrated by the lack of reporting capabilities necessary to drive continuous improvement. Through it all, it was clear that having the right metrics presented with actionable insights was the key to getting better.
Running the sales development team at InsightSquared has afforded me the opportunity to create such an environment and keep our team motivated by exposing a clear path to improvement.
Last week, I talked about how to use data to run your sales development team and drive results during a live webinar. If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the recording in your own time. Here are some of the key takeaways:
Choosing the Right KPIs for Your Sales Development Team
Choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your sales development team is the first step. Some KPIs will be specific to your business and some will be the same across the board for all sales development teams. My advice? Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Leading, Leaning and Lagging Indicators
I have found success in using what I like to call leading, leaning and lagging indicators so you can understand where you are and where you want to get to. By tracking across all three of these phases, more control is maintained to achieve positive results.
Leading indicators are activities that will be indicative of the outcomes that you are looking to drive. Stress the system to go as far back in the process as possible to understand historical trends to inform your processes and decisions moving forward.
Leaning indicators are outcomes that come from leading activities that correlate directly with results. They are the glue that connects the dots from the front end to the back end. The leaning indicators are the ones most commonly missed. However, they provide clarity in the gaps and create a clear understanding of what is lacking in a BDR/SDR’s performance, such as activities or skill sets. Managers can then provide the appropriate coaching to improve rep performance.
Lagging indicators are the results driven by activities aligned with key outcomes. Ultimately this is what you, as a leader, will be judged on so ensure your leading and leaning KPI’s are aligned. Then, you can take action before poor results are realized.
We all have an emphasis on the lagging indicators because they are the easiest to identify. If your business intelligence environment does not accommodate tracking leading and leaning KPI’s, invest in a solution like InsightSquared or invent a way to do so.
Take Actions from Your Insights
Once you have identified the right KPIs to measure, the next step is to take action from the insights you uncover. Using InsightSquared, I measure my activities vs. goals as part of my leading indicators as you can see in the chart below.
BDR/SDR Activities vs. Goals
These insights can help me uncover and take action on which activities will help us achieve our goals. For example, the data may show that we need to do any combination of the following:
- Front load activities to get ahead of our plan to meet goals
- Understand time management and goals and coach the team accordingly
- Drill down on leading activities and actions and then pressure test for impact and relevance
- Look at the historical performance and compare against your best reps
- Get together with other leaders (Sales VPs and Marketing VPs) to iterate on the process and environment to address any gaps cohesively as a team
I also measure my activities ratios to as part of my leaning indicators to understand how efficient our BDRs are. Of the number of call connections they make, how many of those connections become meetings scheduled?
These insights can help provide clarity in the gaps and create a clear understanding of what is lacking in a BDR/SDR’s performance. For example, the data may show that we need to do any combination of the following:
- Drill down on individuals and help coach them 1:1 based on what the data tells you
- Mix team and individual training, coaching and reinforcement sessions
- Understand the conversion rates and determine the level of consistency to identify gaps in individuals and/or the team and take action accordingly
- Quickly identify both positive and negative trends and let the data guide you to the activities that drive the greatest impact
Lastly, I also measure the quality of opportunities sourced to understand the conversion rates for our BDRs. Of the number of total opportunities they sourced, how many of them become closed opportunities won?
Quality of Opportunities Sourced - Conversion Rates by BDR/SDR
These insights can help me understand how the sales development team’s activities are aligned with our key outcomes as a business. For example, the data may show that we need to do any combination of the following:
- Identify the quality of the pipeline that SDRs are creating
- Have discussions with sales leaders and BDRs to get feedback from your team to standardize process and communication
- Compare the total number of opportunities and how they progress through the funnel to identify coaching areas and blueprints for success
Maintain Visibility in Team Performance to Hit Your Goals
Using data to run your sales development team is ongoing. Maintain visibility in your team performance and understand from an activity and results standpoint where you are daily, monthly and weekly. It’s also important to maintain visibility in the overall company performance. Keep it simple and track the key metrics that are important to your business and then be able to drill down to identify the root causes of any anomalies that reveal themselves. If you notice that something is off, address it with the BDRs/SDRs and respective teams. Then call a meeting and course correct so together, you can iterate to reach your goals.
Want to learn more about using data to run your sales development team? Watch the webinar recording where we dive deeper on this topic or contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your SDR team drive results.