4 Sales Development Reporting Tips for Answering the Tough Questions

September 16, 2016 Sam Laber

Even the most well-oiled sales development teams fall victim to tracking vanity metrics. Things like open rates, activities completed, and even meetings booked can incentivize the wrong behaviors and distract SDRs from the bottom line.

So what kind of reports should SDR managers be building? Here are a few sales development tips that address four common questions all managers have when it comes to managing the performance of their team.

1. Is it about meetings, pipeline, revenue or what?

Think of your sales funnel. If you invested in an SDR team, you’ve likely subscribed to the predicable revenue framework, which separates business generators from business closers. As Ralph Barsi puts it:

“SDRs lead horses to water, AEs make them drink.”

Now think about the absolute last part of the sales funnel SDRs can control. I would argue that this comes before revenue, but after meetings booked. This is why many SDR managers choose to measure (and compensate) their reps based on Sales Accepted Meetings (aka opportunities). Acceptance criteria tend to vary company to company, but there are a few things that remain standard:

  • The contact must show up to the demo.
  • The contact must have authority and budget to make or strongly influence a purchase decision.
  • The closer has “accepted” this opportunity and added it to their pipeline.

Admittedly, the second and third bullets leave something to be had, but there are plenty of BANT-like acceptance frameworks to get lost in.

2. Does measuring SDR activity obscure productivity?

In my opinion, yes.  Daily and weekly activity metrics may lay a good foundation for assessing productivity, but as we all know, correlation does not imply causation. There are simply too many “untrackable” channels (think social, blogs, community forums etc.) that SDRs can and should use to engage prospects. If you narrow the reporting lens to only include emails and calls, you are disincentivizing critical activities that lead to demos being booked.

As an alternative, I recommend working with each rep individually on an engagement plan that fits their outreach style, then setting weekly goals from there. Instead of measuring activity volume, try looking at the number of new prospects being worked each week. It’s pretty easy to leave another unreturned voicemail for Mr. CMO, but it’s a bit more difficult to find a fresh contact and execute a new approach.

3. How should I measure cold email performance?

For most sales orgs, cold emailing is still the meat and potatoes of outbound life. Find a contact, send an email, send a follow up, enroll in nurture campaign. The good news is that today’s mix of sales communication tools (think Outreach.io, SalesLoft, Yesware, PersistIQ) offer great out-of-the-box A/B testing equipment. The bad news is that A/B tests aren’t always set up to improve the metrics that matter.

Let’s take the metric “email opens” as an example. Everyone loves testing subject lines – it’s easy to do and it delivers quick results. But are these results going to improve the bottom line? Maybe – maybe not.

Here are a few cold email subject lines that will get opens, but not favorable replies:

  • Re: meeting
  • Fwd: Response needed
  • We need to talk.

Perhaps that last one is a little dramatic, but I think you see the point J . When evaluating cold email performance, keep the end goal in mind. You want to measure meaningful conversations, that means replies and more importantly, the ratio between replies and meetings booked. This will ensure that the content of your team’s emails is garnering positive responses.

4.  How can I get SDRs to look at metrics?

CRM dashboards are great for setting up an initial process for measuring performance, but I would encourage you to take it a step further. Look for way to make things more interactive. Try creating a whiteboard filled with the weekly metrics your team cares about most. Then have SDRs write up their progress at the end of each day.

There are also some cool solutions out there like GeckoBoard that plug in to TVs and aggregate multiple reporting sources at once. Bottom line, make sure you have living, breathing metrics that everyone has access to – even other departments.

Hear from other SDRs!

Want more sales development tips? Check out our co-written ebook with HubSpot, The Sales Development Playbook Written by SDRs. It features dozens of tips and tricks straight from the minds of today’s most successful reps. 

Featured Image Source: Working Woman Technology Computer by Startup Stock Photos CC0 Pexels

About the Author

Sam Laber

Sam is the director of marketing at Datanyze. He's a big John Hughes fan who occasionally fills the DZ office with the sweet sweet sounds of 90s rock giant, Creed.

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