The Problem: Wasted Time at the Very Start
Old methods of prospecting and productivity are still prevalent throughout many sales organizations. Methods like cold-calling and blind mailers are not as efficient anymore, with the vast majority of salespeople citing this as one of the worst parts of their job.
However, modern data collection CRM tools like Salesforce and Hubspot have put a wealth of potential insights into the sales prospecting process available to anyone capable of seeing that information and acting on it. Systems like these, coupled with a sales performance platform that makes insights more actionable, are allowing top-performing organizations to instantly analyze which lead sources and prospecting practices are resulting in the most leads and enabling them to refocus their efforts on these more promising sources. And it starts by looking at KPIs.
We will go through a set of 5 KPIs that you need to consider in order to start prospecting the smart way, turning this unpleasant task into a pleasant, productive activity. Art Sobczak, author of Smart Calling, writes “When you systematize your pre-call routine (information gathering, preparing questions, etc.) you can place many quality calls quickly.” To find out more about these KPIs and more that will positively impact your bottom line, check out our free eBook.
Deal Size / Representative Aptitude
The second that a lead comes into your pipeline, whether you purchased the phone number or it originated organically through marketing, it is associated with a deal size. Many modern marketing applications such as Hubspot come with the features built-in to track this information, and purchasing lists of phone numbers from reputable sources always come with the organization attached to them.
Just knowing how large the prospective deal might be is only half the battle. To get the most productivity out of this KPI make sure that you are matching the right representative to the right deal sizes, taking full advantage of their unique skills and expertise. To discover representative aptitude simply track how many won opportunities of each deal size your representatives have. In this way you can easily match the right representative to the right prospect, increasing your odds of success.
Lead Flow / Closed Deals
Lead flow is simply the amount of new leads your marketing or prospecting is generating each month. For the case of prospecting these are the sheer amount of calls or new lead your sales team gets in a given month. The eager Executive might be tempted to send your sales team to a cold-call list in the absence of any marketing leads, but with a little data analysis you can avoid this unfortunate and unproductive activity.
It starts with balancing the lead flow you get from warm sources like marketing or social media with the number of closed deals your organization is producing each month. When you know these two metrics then you can balance out the number of new leads from quality sources and the amount of closed deals, ensuring that your team never has to resort to outdated methods. Ideally you want slightly more leads coming in to your sales team than they are closing each month. Avoid stockpiling warm leads, as these do not have a long shelf life. You can achieve the balance by either suspending new lead generation or cutting your sales force to match the amount of new leads.
Number and Type of Activity / Win Ratio
When it comes to prospecting, not all methods are created equally. To understand the most efficient way of prospecting set your CRM and sales performance platform to collect and analyze the data relating to how many prospecting activities a sales rep performed, and exactly what those prospects were. Collecting this metric will not only allow you to gauge productivity, but will also help you identify a list of best practices perfectly suited to your industry by comparing it with the next metric.
What you need to do is track these activities all the way downstream to the most wins. Many modern sales performance platform comes with the ability to filter data this way, looking at each win historically to discover not only where the lead came from but what kinds of activities were completed at the very beginning of the buyer’s journey. With this data in hand you can set your sales team to only doing the most productive activities that will increase the odds of a win later on.
Revenue by Lead Source / Average Time to Close
One of the best ways to make prospecting more efficient is to focus on those sources that are most likely to yield the highest amount of revenue in the shortest possible time. You can discover exactly what lead sources are the most likely to lead to the best possible opportunity in your own data by correlating revenue earned by where the leads came from. The best method is to go through all of your wins, though if that is too much we would still recommend getting the widest possible sample size to avoid wasting your time plumbing lead sources that were anomalous.
Once you have this information in hand compare it with your average time to close. What you are looking for is the “sweet spot” where you have larger deals closing faster. Of course if some of the deals you have are large enough to be more lucrative even though they took longer to close you should obviously focus your prospecting efforts on those instead. Ultimately through comparing and contrasting these data points you will find a pattern in your data where you will not only know what size of deal is best for fast, profitable closings but will know where they come from so you can focus your prospecting efforts.
Top Representatives / Opportunities Won.
According to Aberdeen research “It costs around $30,000 and takes more than seven months to bring a new sales rep up to speed. Most often, that's due to a lack of a formal training and onboarding process.” Therefore, one of the best things you can do to improve the productivity of your prospecting is to enhance and formalize your training process in this area. The way you can do this with data is by tracking what activities your top performers are accomplishing and then starting off your training that way. The most basic way of discovering this metric is by seeing how many new leads each of your representatives has.
We know that there is more to being a top performer than just what you do, it’s how you do it. However, once you know the frequency and type of activities these successful representatives are accomplishing then you can make it part of your official training program. Put simply it is starting each of your representatives off on the right foot, equipping them with the customized information they need to know how to succeed in your particular industry.
Track each of these five KPIs through your prospecting and you will dramatically increase productivity. If you are wondering where exactly to begin gathering and monitoring these KPIs try out a free version of VisualCue- it’s a sales performance platform that comes pre-loaded with everything you need to start improving prospecting productivity fast.
Also, if you want to learn how to leverage sales and marketing data to increase revenue, download our eBook " The war is over: The ultimate guide to aligning sales and marketing data."