4 Tips for Measuring—and Improving—Prospecting Effectiveness
Wouldn’t it be great if prospects fell from the sky like raindrops? Then we could get straight to the business of selling! Alas, they don’t. Instead, inside sales reps have the task of finding them, connecting with them, and attempting to get them into the sales funnel so we can eventually get to the best part: closing.
And as important as it is, closing doesn’t happen with prospecting. Which is why improving the prospecting process can have a big payoff in the end when that leads to more sales.
How would you score your team on prospecting effectiveness? If your score isn’t quite as high as you’d like it to be, maybe now is the time to take a look at ways to improve with these four tips for measuring prospecting effectiveness—because if you don’t measure, you don’t know what to change.
Measuring specific data points also helps to get an accurate reading of effectiveness because it takes the subjectivity out of the equation. Your team might include one inside sales rep who is a real go-getter and always on the phone, for example, yet the numbers show all that going and getting and talking isn’t effective.
Tip 1: Measure daily sales activity
The first thing you’ll want to measure is the most basic: daily sales activity. The daily sales activity is a broad measurement of the overall activities your inside sales reps are doing each day. This data might include the number of phone calls made, voicemails left, emails sent or responded to, and appointments made, for example. If you’re emphasizing social selling in your organization, you could include metrics such as LinkedIn connections, groups participated in, comments made, etc.
To know what these numbers mean, here’s a baseline: In order to be a successful inside sales rep, studies show a rep must complete a minimum of 100 of these kinds of sales activities everyday. Obviously, the tasks need to be prioritized to matter. Sending 100 emails per day won’t lead to success. To be the most effective, at least 70% of the effort should be focused on phone calls, not email.
Tip 2: Measure connection rates
After measuring daily activity, connection rates are your next metric to consider. A connection is just that: connecting with a prospect they’ve been trying to reach. A sales rep who makes 70 phone calls per day but only connects with someone of significance at a target organization five times a day is not being effective. A connection can be a conversation or the setting up of an appointment—anything that moves the sale farther along the pipeline. Experts say a healthy connection rate for a sales rep is 12-15%.
Tip 3: Measure conversion rates
First there’s the reaching out (daily sales activities) and next the connecting (connection rates). The third step in the sales process (and the third one to measure) is conversion. By conversion, we mean a prospect that is converted to a bona fide lead. You want to measure the conversion rate by comparing the numbers of conversions to the numbers of connections, and you want the percentage to be high. Some experts consider 5-7% a decent conversion rate, but you’ll want to determine what it is (or should be) for your organization. If you find low conversion rates, this gives you a chance to delve deeper and figure out what’s going on. For example, a rep who makes a lot of connections but rarely converts might need some coaching around that part of the sales process.
Tip 4: Measure quantity AND quality
Once you start measuring these different parts of the sales process, you might realize there isn’t necessarily a direct connection between being busy and conversions, or between quantity and quality. In other words, the dial:deal ratio is not a number set in stone. As you track the metrics and find the places where numbers literally aren’t adding up, you’ll know it’s time to take action. Find the places where sales reps are falling short and then find out why. Double check call scripts. Review email content. Discuss how many follow up phone calls are made and when. Coach them through places where they are weak and guide them to better performance, so that their dials do lead to deals.
You’re not measuring data so you can pull together a spreadsheet. You’re doing so in order to find areas that need improvement. Make sure your end goal isn’t gathering the numbers but rather responding to the weaknesses the numbers uncover. And recognize the strengths too! If you have reps who excel in certain parts of the process, find out how and why and share that information with the other reps. Your goal is to improve the prospecting process. Working as a team to do so will help.
And even though you’re measuring to improve, adding metrics and benchmarks to the equation just might motivate your sales team to ramp up their efforts when they have more kinds of numbers they’re getting rated on!