You know those “I’m kidding, but I’m really not” statements? Like telling your cube-mates “If I need to listen to your country music station on spotify one more day I’m moving desks” or “Everyone will hate you if you microwave seafood in the kitchen.” It’s done in a joking tone so as to not offend anyone but you know deep down there is some truth to the statement.
I recently encountered this at Dreamforce when an inside sales manager said to me, stifling a laugh, “I have no idea what my inside sales reps are doing with their days.” I know he was kidding…but really, was he?
Believe it or not I have heard this comment more than once. Even if you are utilizing CRM reporting and have numerous processes in place for tracking activity, outbound emails, conversations, etc. there could still be accountability blind spots when it comes to judging the daily/weekly/monthly performance of an inside sales rep on your team. The truth is, you will never know what your SDRs are doing with their day unless you are directly shadowing their calls 40 hours a week. What rep would like that?
This begs the question, do you have the right processes in place to keep your sales development reps accountable? It’s time to take a hard look at what you’re currently monitoring and what you may have to change. Here are some questions to get you started:
How do you track the activities you expect out of your reps on a daily basis?
We all know that effective prospecting requires a healthy amount of outbound activity (calls, emails, etc.) For us at QF, there is a minimum number of outbound activities that must be met per day. The fact of the matter is, if you have a rep who is consistently not at goal, the issue may be that they just aren't picking up the phone enough. One thing that I find with most of my reps is that they like clear direction and process. Setting expectations that are consistent every day can keep them on track and allow them to set hourly goals for themselves to ensure they hit the metric. Having this metric roll up into a weekly/monthly/quarterly goal that’s tied in with their compensation can ensure your reps are getting it done. If you’re using a PRM like QuotaFactory, then this is a transparent metric that both you and your reps can seamlessly track together.
Do your reps follow a prescriptive attack plan when it comes to prospecting accounts?
So let’s say you have an SDR who is hitting their required activity numbers but still isn’t having meaningful conversations. The problem may be that they are not making the “right” kind of dials. What do I mean by “not the right kind of dials?” I mean that they are blindly attacking a list over and over again just to get their call number up and are not following a prospecting plan. The key to an effective attack plan is to not allow for too much variation. Automation surrounding these functions can help keep reps focused around following a call plan, setting follow up tasks, logging activities and organizing their contacts into buckets based on the number of total touches or title level.
Are your SDRs reliant on their managers or their marketing team for acquiring new data?
As a manager, I like to encourage my reps to assume the role of the hunter and be proactive about the way they obtain new data. Just because you are waiting on a new list from a vendor (which may end up being partially inaccurate) or there is a lull in marketing leads doesn’t mean that outbound activity should diminish. It is imperative that reps know how to source their own data. Every SDRs call plan process should build in time for actively bringing in new points of contact. As a best practice, we believe that a rep should be prospecting multiple contacts within an organization at any given time. Does your CRM have a way to track this? How can they identify accounts that need attention or are slipping away? This is a critical piece of information that your SDRs should have insight into, if they don’t have it already. I have my time team check theirs every morning. The dashboard to keep track of these critical accounts looks like this:
This is only the start of the questions you need to ask yourself when evaluating the performance of your sales development team and understanding your SDR daily activity. The key here is accountability. You can start to put a process in place, but do you know if your SDRs are following it?