No longer are sales development metrics in the minor leagues. The top of the funnel sales model has officially gone pro.

Traditional sales organizations have always had these three mainstay metrics for Account Executives:

  • The concept of opportunities
  • A consistent sales cycle
  • A win rate

But with the professionalization of the SDR team, modern sales development metrics do, too. They’re in the form of:

  • Account stages (the pre-opportunity)
  • A sales development cycle (starting at the first touch)
  • An account conversion rate

The differences are subtle, but the key to top of the funnel success is in the specialization, the personalization, and the focus on the right sales development metrics.

First up is specialization. Sales development answers the most important question in sales: How do I get the decision makers in front of Account Execs efficiently and effectively? Modern sales organizations leave the prospecting and front-line selling to the SDRs, and the demo-running and closing to the AEs. This idea of specialization and improved efficiency is what’s taking organizations to the next level.

But even with the specialization of roles, the front-line selling process needs an added level of efficiency.

Beta-testers of the SDR team started with a “lead-list-scorched-earth” approach to prospecting and appointment setting. The problem with this was that some SDRs would set 30 appointments per month from prospecting 1000, while some would have to prospect 5000 to get to the same number of appointments. Some reps would push over deals that closed, and some would not. Some reps would push over deals that closed at small amounts — some at high.

The best SDR metric is not the number of qualified opportunities, it’s the percentage of qualified opportunities to accounts worked. What is their conversion percentage? There’s one KPI that people don’t pay enough attention to, and it’s an efficiency rating.

Next up is personalization. If it looks and feels like automation, it won’t continue to be successful. Sales without sales personalization skills doesn’t scale.

Traditional sales organizations are doing predictable, automated emails. But a modern Sales Development Rep needs to differentiate herself from the pack through thoughtful and intentional account customization. SDRs need to build their own personalized cadence — one that includes things like LinkedIn profile views, power dialing, email intelligence, CRM integration, etc. — because the more you automate, the more that likely tactic will eventually quit working.

Personalization leaves accounts untainted by the depersonalized nature of automation. It protects your prospects, and leaves them ready to receive genuine communication, with more opportunity for you to reach out to the rest of the prospect universe. Personalization sets the company up for years of loyalty, reputation, and success.

As a growing sales development organization, we’ve hit all of these roadblocks before. We’ve said “forget personalization… forget top of the funnel metrics… just focus on volume of qualified appointments and the appointment-to-deal ratio.”

But we were wrong. We were focusing on traditional Account Executive metrics, not modern sales development metrics. And as we continue to grow into a specialized, personalized, sales machine, we are constantly learning what metrics to focus on, and what elements of sales development will keep us modern. What do your sales development metrics look like?

For a more comprehensive look into SalesLoft’s internal SDR process, download the second section of our newest playbook trilogy, The Sales Development Playbook: Executing. In this section, we share the ins and outs of efficiently using SalesLoft to call and email prospects. Download our free white paper and optimize your sales efforts to start crushing your sales development goals today.

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