Data Driven Sales: Outbound Sales Metrics 101

Last Updated On: August 17, 2016

Outbound sales today has evolved significantly in terms of sophistication and tools available. It is not a “spray and pray” game, where you buy a list of email ids and blast them with a generic message. Today it is about using data to constantly iterate and narrow in on your ideal prospect profile and reaching out with the right message that resonates with their need.

It is about carefully researched and targeted prospecting that differentiates your outreach from the hundreds of other cold emails sent every day.

it is easy to get lost in the data without understanding why we measure what we measure

At the same time, given the multitude of metrics available, it is easy to get lost in the data without understanding why we measure what we measure. For a sales development rep, the objective is to maximize the number of qualified leads that can be handed over to account executives. The metrics you measure need to provide actionable insights towards maximizing the qualified leads that the sales development rep can generate.

There are two types of metrics that can provide insights towards nailing an outbound sales process:
  • Email engagement metrics: designed to measure whether your email messaging content is relevant and targeted to your audience.
  • Funnel metrics: to understand which parts of your funnel need fixing/ improving. Whether you need to increase your top of the funnel activities or modify your messaging or try a different prospect profile. Funnel metrics can help you identify what needs to be fixed and what does not.

Email Engagement Metrics

These metrics are usually measured at an email template level. They help you ensure that your templates are delivering the right message that resonates with each prospect.

targetted messaging

The 3 email engagement metrics to measure at an email template level are: Email Open, Click &  Reply Rates.

Open rates less than 15-20% mean that you need to work on the underlying templates or may be having issues with email deliverability. A well targeted email template with a catchy subject line can usually deliver upto 70-80% open rate. On an average 40-45% open rate implies that you are off to a good start. Open rates are usually a function of email send time and subject line. So these are the levers you need to experiment with to improve open rate.

Click and Reply rates indicate whether you are sharing relevant content and whether your call to action is well constructed and reasonable.

Funnel Metrics –  Key to Predictable Revenue 

predictable revenue

Having a good handle on your funnel helps you understand whether you have a predictable revenue process.
  1. # of Prospects contacted. The first metric at the top of the funnel is the number of fresh prospects you are contacting every day. While there is no good or bad number, the key is to keep it consistent. Rather than 500 prospects one day and no activity for the rest of the week, it is preferable to do say 50 prospects per day. This makes it a daily activity and helps you maintain a consistent email volume which is useful from a deliverability perspective.
  2. # of Prospects who engage with your content (opened / clicked): This lets you know whether your emails/ calls are getting through. If you see a big drop off from the total prospects contacted to the number of prospects who are engaging with your content, then perhaps you need to take a look at the emails you are sending. It is key to nail this step further before increasing the total number of prospects contacted.
  3. # of Prospects who replied: This lets you know whether your call to action is timely and compelling enough. If your prospects are engaging and showing interest in your communication/ solution but not yet replying, then it may be time to tweak the call to action or add a phone call to your sales cadence  or experiment with your call to action etc.
  4. # of positive replies: Here is where it starts getting real. It does not matter how many are opening or reading your emails. But the more positive replies you start getting, it is a good sign that you are finding the right prospects. And are emailing them with the right content.
  5. # of qualified prospects: The number of qualified leads generated helps you understand the over all efficacy of your outbound sales process. This is the stage where your SDRs formally hand off to Account Executives. It is the right stage where you are in a position to compare Outbound as a channel compared to other channels you are using and to estimate the relative attractiveness of outbound prospecting as a channel for your lead generation.
  6. # of closed prospects: It is useful to measure this metric to see if your outbound leads are closing at a higher rate or faster/ slower pace than your other sources. With this data, you can calculate the ROI for your sales dollars invested in an outbound process.
To paraphrase Deming,
In god we trust. All others bring data...
Measuring the right set of metrics for your team is the first step towards a repeatable sales process that can be managed and scaled.

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