Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ
Inside sales is more than a numbers game. The best reps aren’t necessarily the ones who make the most phone calls each day.
But that doesn’t mean the numbers aren’t important. Sales data and activity metrics provide a yardstick to keep SDRs accountable and insight into how they can improve. What gets measured, gets managed. More importantly, what gets measured gets improved. By measuring sales KPIs, you can optimize your sales process and ensure you and your team are prioritizing the activities that lead to the most success.
With so much to gain, it’s vital to track the right metrics. Track too few or irrelevant metrics, and you won’t get a good idea of SDR performance. Track too many, and you’ll struggle to track them at all.
Bob Marsh, the founder and CEO of LevelEleven, recommends picking three leading indicators and one lagging indicator. Leading indicators are the daily activities you carry out to hit your goal. Lagging indicators are the goals themselves. So, for an SDR, leading indicators would be things like the number of calls made, while a lagging indicator would be the number of appointments booked.
We agree that less is more. That’s why this article won’t waste your time with a list of 30+ KPIs to track. These lists may look impressive, but they are completely impractical. No manager or rep can track that many KPIs without losing sight of the bigger picture.
Instead, we’re going to keep it short and sweet. Here are the 5 KPIs we believe every inside sales manager should track.
1. Number of Calls Made
We believe SDRs should be making at least 100 calls a day. The more calls your reps make, the more conversations they can have, and the more appointments they can book. Fundamentally, it’s that simple.
If you want to take this metric further, you could also track the number of calls reps make into prospects at each stage of the sales funnel. This will tell you how many times they call cold prospects compared to warm ones. Appointments are rarely booked after the first call, so you want your reps to spend a reasonable amount of time trying to convert warm leads.
2. Number of CRM Updates
Inside sales reps should regularly be populating and updating your CRM to make sure it remains accurate and relevant. We like to see SDRs adding between five to 10 new contacts every day. Each entry should include basic data like a prospect’s name, their company and their position.
Ideally, they should be adding more nuanced purchase intent data, too. Reps should always be on the hunt for purchase intent information when making calls or searching LinkedIn. Assessing a prospect’s purchasing authority, determining a company’s budget and identifying other decision-makers within an organization are all valuable nuggets of knowledge that should be added to your CRM once ascertained.
3. Number of Quality Conversations
Some reps will take a quantity over a quality approach if you only track the number of calls they make. Having 100 calls that last for 10 seconds each isn’t nearly as good as having ten conversations that last for five minutes each. That’s why we track the number of conversations our reps have that last longer than a minute. If prospects are still on the phone after 60 seconds, there’s a good chance they are interested in what you have to offer.
Getting people on the phone is hard. When you do get them to pick up, it’s essential to have high-quality conversations. At the same time, long calls don’t always lead to more appointments. You may find that some of your highest performing reps have relatively low call times. That’s why we set the benchmark at a minute as opposed to five minutes, say.
The number of quality conversation is often overlooked, writes Wendy Weiss, president of ColdCallingResults.com. “Many sales professionals will track their number of Appointments, some will track their Dials and Appointments, but very few track the number of Conversations they’re having with qualified prospects,” she says. “Without that middle number, it’s impossible to know how you’re doing.”
“Many sales professionals will track their number of Appointments, some will track their Dials and Appointments, but very few track the number of Conversations they’re having with qualified prospects”
4. Number of Appointments Booked
At the end of the day, we employ our SDRs to book appointments. So naturally, it’s important to track the KPI directly tied to their performance. They can be making 150 calls a day and having dozens of quality conversations, but if they aren’t booking appointments, they aren’t doing their job.
We recommend tracking this metric over 30 days at a minimum. Ideally, you’d be tracking it over three months to get a true reflection of the SDR’s performance. Every rep can have a blowout month just as every rep can have a poor one. But the best SDRs are consistently good over the long-term.
There’s no need to overcomplicate this metric. Don’t get too hung up on the nitty-gritty of how each appointment was booked, writes Ilya Semin, the founder and former CEO of sales intelligence platform Datanyze. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how your SDR scores the intro call or demo, be it through social media, email, phone, etc.,” he says. “What matters is that the meeting is booked and that it’s with a prospect that is qualified to purchase your company’s solution.”
But you should consider measuring the efficiency of your SDRs, writes Kyle Porter CEO of SalesLoft. If one rep books 40 appointments by contacting 1000 prospects and another rep books 30 meetings by contacting 5000 prospects, the first is much more efficient, requires less data and burns fewer prospects.
5. Appointment Conversion Ratio
SDRs are not responsible for closing the meetings they book. But that doesn’t mean their actions can’t influence the sales pipeline. As such, it’s worth tracking pipeline metrics like the appointment conversion ratio and the value of the pipeline generated. At EngageTech, we also track how many appointments were attended to make sure reps are booking meetings with genuine prospects and not timewasters.
There’s a problem with only using the number of appointments booked to track the success of your SDRs, says Shabri Lakhani, founder of SalesWorks. A good portion of those meetings won’t take place. Focus on the number of meetings that actually happen, however, and you’ll soon see the close-ratio increase.
Joe Keane, an inside sales manager at STERIS Corporation, believes the ratio of leads converted is a crucial SDR metric. “ It is a clear indicator of your team’s probing, listening, understanding, solution matching, selling and most importantly their closing skills,” he writes. “Lastly, it is reflective of their ability to drive the sales process forward from a qualified lead to an order.”
It’s also a measure of how good your leads are, says customer Success consultant Brooke Goodbary. If sales executives aren’t closing a reasonably large portion of the leads they are passed, there’s probably an opportunity to improve how you qualify leads.
Reviewing KPIs with SDRs
There’s no point tracking KPIs and setting related goals if you don’t spend time reviewing the numbers with your reps. Such reviews help keep your reps focused and motivated, and also highlight areas for improvement.
It’s worth going over top-line KPIs, like the number of calls made, every time you have a coaching session with your SDR. You need to make sure your rep is regularly meeting their daily targets if they are to have any success in this field.
For metrics that sit further down the funnel, like appointments booked, we recommend reviewing these either monthly or quarterly. It can take time for your contacts to schedule an appointment after the first contact, so taking monthly or quarterly averages creates a more accurate picture.
Your reps’ commission packages should be paid quarterly where possible, too. We’ve found monthly commission cheques result in short-term thinking, whereas quarterly payments encourage a long-term approach which is much more consistent with the actual sales process.
Smash KPIs with EngageIQ
It’s in your interest to help your SDRs meet their KPIs. The more meetings they book, the more potential deals your sales executives have to close. That’s why inside sales managers use EngageIQ to empower their sales team. Our purchase intent data provides the insight they need to have high-quality conversations with the prospects most likely to buy your product. Find out more by requesting a demo or speaking to a member of our team today.