Back to Posts

Sales Development Efficiency: Not All Appointments Are Created Equal

4 min read
Jan. 5, 2016

December’s blab chat was full of powerful takeaways from Jacco van der Kooij, Craig Rosenberg and Kyle Porter on moving past elementary sales development metrics. We shared Jacco’s top piece of advice for SDRs and his 3 metrics to measure for success, and now we’re onto Kyle’s metric for sales development efficiency.

The #1 metric in sales development is one we touched on in the 5 Common Questions for Scaling a Sales Development Team, and it remains Kyle’s top KPI metric: the sales development efficiency rating.

Here’s the idea:

Let’s say you’ve got 2 Sales Development Reps, Spencer and Susan, who set up 30 sales accepted leads in the month. Each of these 30 appointments are equally qualified — it’s equal pipeline opportunity.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 4.40.37 PM

On the surface, both Spencer and Susan have given the organization in equal amount of value. Spencer had to approach 3,000 different accounts in order to get those 30 appointments, while Susan only had to prospect 400 accounts to get those 30 appointments.

From a VPs of Sales and inside sales development leaders perspective, Susan is way better for the organization. She’s helping out in a number of different ways. She’s creating an environment that’s scalable, more predictable, more cost effective and efficient, and doesn’t cause harm to the organization.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 4.40.22 PM

Here’s why:

1. She’s saving the complexity, cost and time around data management. If she’s only going after 400 accounts, and they’re splitting that amongst their team, it’s easier to manage that information coming into the system.

2. She’s not scorching the earth as she goes through prospecting (unlike the thousands of accounts that it took Spencer). The most important aspect of this is when Susan is prospecting — and touching people with more personality, more customization, more intentionality about converting that account — she’s not eating up all of the other prospects the other SDRs could be approaching.

This is beneficial because, in most organizations, when a rep has a meaningful interaction, other reps can’t touch that person for 40-60 more days. But by being more efficient in her process, Susan is eating up less of those opportunities for the rest of the organization by not sending out blasts or having non-meaningful or non-personalized connections.

The tip here: take a smaller amount of accounts and go deeper with them. Pick the accounts that you want. Pick the accounts that you need. Pick the accounts that you can win, and then surround them with all of your touch points. Don’t just touch them two times (which is the average amount of times that sales reps are touching their prospects) but touch them the amount of times that it takes in order to convert them.

This level of depth is what allows Susan to able to focus her intentionality on individual accounts, and make those relationships better. She and the prospect understand one another. They’ve gone deeper, and that lays the groundwork for a more effective sales cycle.

But why is this not commonly understood in the marketplace? 

Well, when you look at those two reps, they have the exact same number. Spencer went home and said, ‘I got 30.’ Susan went home and said, ‘I got 30.’ And they likely got the same commission for those 30 that they brought in since they’re the same pipeline opportunity.

They’re the same qualification, but the rep doesn’t realize the bigger effects. The rep doesn’t realize how this affects the organization 6 down the road (or even a month down the road) and they don’t understand the downstream implications.” – Kyle Porter

Look at number of accounts you were able to convert over number of accounts you tried to convert, and watch that number grow higher and higher. In great sales organizations, that number is close to 10% in some places for outbound sales development to pick the account they want to get and then be able to close them within a month or a quarter.

Talk to your leadership team and lay out these two paths. Path A, the scorched earth policy, and Path B, personalization, customization, account-based sales development — where you’re not focused on volume, but on conversions. The second path is always the one chosen by business leaders.

Sales Development Reps need to start thinking this way — and their team needs to start coaching them to think this way.