The first step towards improving any team’s performance is to measure and track it. For outbound sales development, this is quite a challenging task. Outbound sales development performance derives from many factors – target industry, target accounts, deal size, activity volume, focus on outbound vs. inbound, SDR team structure, onboarding, and tenure. Knowing what key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and how to gauge and improve them is not trivial.
This guide outlines the outbound sales KPIs that, based on research, best reflect SDR team performance and should be measured on an ongoing basis (Benchmark data based on information obtained from B2B companies before deploying RightBound as well as industry averages ).
If your sales dev team isn’t hitting these numbers, we’ve provided some battle-proven tips (tested and recommended by our top-performing customers) that will help you get there.
Let’s get started!
Email Response Rate
This KPI refers to the percentage of prospects that replied to your email or took the requested action (e.g., completed a survey, registered for a webinar, essentially followed your CTA). Based on our data, your email response rate should be at least 1.5% if your company is a small-medium business, 2.5% for mid-market companies (501-999 employees), and 2% for enterprises.
One way to increase email response rates is to take a more critical look at your email call-to-actions (CTAs), create new ones (consider basing CTAs on your prospect’s interests) and A/B test them to see which works best.
You can also try using more attractive email content, such as gifting, surveys, lunch & learns, short video/GIFs, etc. Poor email response rates might also be a sign that it’s time to review your ICP and make sure you’re messaging the right audience with the relevant value propositions.
Calls Made per Day per SDR
Call quantity is critical for outbound sales development, particularly for SDRs just starting out. Each of your SDRs should be making at least 45 calls per day for SMBs, 35 calls per day for mid-market, and 70 calls per day for enterprises.
If your SDRs aren’t reaching these numbers, increase your daily call count and aim to call relevant leads at least five times over the course of 2-3 weeks before you give up and exclude them from your pipeline. Using the right tech stack and dialing tools can also help increase call quantity.
Teams meeting this KPI can further increase call quantity by implementing autonomous prospecting and outreach tools. Research shows that SDRs spend most of their time on manual research and list building rather than engaging and selling to prospects. Autonomous prospecting streamlines and automates the outreach process, boosting SDRs’ productivity and letting them focus on making calls.
Connect rates for cold calls are a crucial measuring stick for outbound sales performance and should reach at least 10%.
Poor connect rates are often the result of poor data quality. If you don’t have the right phone numbers, your SDRs aren’t going to connect. In such a case, you might need to add another data provider for phone numbers.
Another tip for increasing connect rates is to make sure your SDRs call leads multiple times at different hours and on different days of the week. Also, make sure your reps have dedicated “call blocks” in their schedule every day.
Conversation to Meeting Rate
The ultimate goal of each call is to book a meeting. Our benchmark data indicates that at least 12% of your phone conversations should result in a booked meeting.
One way to improve the conversation-to-meeting rate is to provide SDRs with additional training. Examples might include role-playing, daily meetings to review objections, and weekly reviews of positive and negative calls. Another tip is to have SDRs run through scenarios with an AE and ask for objections before they start calling.
Underperformance may indicate that it’s time to re-evaluate your target audience to make sure your SDRs are calling the right companies and the right persona within those companies. Here too, data quality is crucial.
Main Outbound Channels
In terms of outbound sales channels, we’ve found that an omnichannel approach yields the best results. If your SDRs are only using one or two outbound channels, adding others into your mix (e.g., phone, email, social media, gifting, surveys, and others) will help you book more meetings.
For outbound sales, the phone channel typically yields the highest number of booked meetings. If you’re not already using this channel, consider rolling this out for your team and provide them with cold call training.
Daily Number of Outbound Activities per SDR
Your SDRs should be performing 50 outbound activities (email, calls, social, etc.) per day. If your SDRs are spending too much time on tedious research and data cleansing, or if they’re over-investing in personalized outreach, they’re not going to meet this KPI.
Outbound sales is a numbers game, and performing a high number of outbound activities is critical for achieving engagement. Make sure you have the right prospecting tools in place to allow your SDRs to focus on outreach.
Accounts Targeted/Month (for SDR team)
The ideal number of accounts targeted every month by an SDRs team varies greatly depending on the type of targeted accounts, desired deal size, sales cycle length, overall accounts volume, and more.
To improve the number of accounts targeted every month, it’s important to apply a healthy mix of ABM, territory-based, and persona-based targeting. Such a mix typically yields a good balance between personalization and volume, leading to stronger SDR performance and more predictable results.
In addition, in order to expand the TAM and gain a good understanding of the accounts that tend to be good targets firsthand, it’s essential to allow SDRs to research for accounts that are similar to successful past deals.
As noted above, autonomous prospecting tools can help SDRs allocate more of their time to outreach into target accounts and increase their account coverage.
SDR Onboarding Time
Efficient SDR onboarding is a prerequisite for effective team performance. It should take four weeks on average to onboard new SDRs. If your onboarding period exceeds eight weeks, there are ways to shorten it and get a quicker time to value.
Tactics like onboarding “buddies” and role-playing can help reduce your ramp-up times. Pair each new SDR with a more seasoned (preferably top-performing) rep to shadow call blocks, sequence and email creation, prospecting, and other key activities. Ultimately, one of the quickest ways to get new SDRs up to speed is to make calls and practice their pitch, objection handling, and call flow. Set up a “low risk” call sequence in your sales engagement platform and have your reps make 30+ daily calls to practice their pitch and gain confidence. It’s essential for an SDR to be able to put themselves in their prospect’s shoes in order to get them more informed, so set up a workshop led by your senior sales/product / marketing team going over the main target personas and their relevant pain points and priorities.
SDR Average Tenure
Based on our data, the average SDR tenure is 13-18 months. Finding ways to retain experienced and knowledgeable SDRs invariably results in better outbound sales performance.
In this context, sales leaders should consider initiatives aimed at boosting SDRs’ morale and job satisfaction. Examples include setting up a bi-monthly cadence with each rep to discuss career growth or running a quarterly sanity check on quota goals and attainment. SDRs have a tough job and deal with more rejections than wins. Support your SDRs by properly celebrating the wins, encouraging team collaboration, and organizing offsite team-building activities.
SDR Team Quota Attainment
The benchmark for team quota attainment is 70%. If some SDRs are hitting their quotas and others are not, you should consider having your top-performing reps share some of their tactics with their colleagues. This might include “day in the life” sessions and discussing key processes that repeatedly lead to success.
Sales dev teams that are divided into inbound vs. outbound sales are more likely to succeed. Having a separate “meetings booked” quota for outbound SQLs typically motivates SDRs to self-prospect and hunt new companies.
If your entire team isn’t hitting quota consistently, the problem may be the quota. As the economic downturn deepens and companies cut their budgets, sales leaders should consider lowering the quota to make it more realistic and less discouraging for reps. In parallel, team training and enablement should be provided where needed.
“Support your SDRs by properly celebrating the wins”
Benchmark Your Outbound Sales Development
Want to know how the performance of your outbound sales dev team stacks up against those in similar companies in your industry? Benchmark your outbound sales development using RightBound’s interactive calculator.