5 SDR Metrics That Align Sales and Marketing Teams

The age-old battle of Sales vs. Marketing continues. Getting the two teams aligned and working well together can feel challenging – especially if your business isn’t hitting its targets.

Last time your business fell short of a revenue goal, who was at fault?

Was it Marketing falling short on lead volume? Or if the lead volume is there, was it the lead quality that was the problem?

Or was it an issue with the sales team? Were they missing leads coming through the door? Were they abandoning leads too early? Or maybe it was due to mismanagement of deals that made it to the pipeline?

When you miss your business targets, it could be any of these issues plus about 1,000 more – but you can bet that Marketing will find a way to blame Sales, and Sales will find a way to blame Marketing.

To bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing, many teams have a Sales Development Rep (SDR) team (sometimes referred to as a Business Development Rep (BDR) team.)

What is a SDR Team?

At a high-level, an SDR team takes the leads your business generates and attempts to turn them into a sales opportunity. The marketing team plays a crucial role in generating and qualifying these leads for the SDR team to engage with. Depending on how your business is set up, the SDR team can report into either Marketing or Sales, but in either case, they are the bridge between the two teams and play a crucial part in keeping them aligned.

After the SDR team qualifies the leads, account executives take over the sales process, engaging with the qualified leads and setting up introductory calls.

5 SDR activity metrics to align sales and marketing teams

1. Pick-up rate

What is pick-up rate?

Pick-up rate = # of leads worked / # of leads assigned

Pick-up rate is measured as the percentage of leads worked out of the number of leads assigned in a given time period. This is important to understand if an individual rep is working all of the leads that are assigned to them.

You can also break this down at a campaign/source or team level to understand how reps working the leads may be impacting the revenue performance for that campaign/source or team.

Outbound SDR metrics can provide insights into the productivity and performance expectations of SDRs, including the number of meetings or sales accepted leads (SALs) generated, and factors influencing their productivity such as data quality, tools used, and message resonance.

How does managing pick-up rate improve sales and marketing alignment?

One of the complaints you’ll hear from Marketing about Sales is, “our leads are good, they just aren’t working them!”

And to be fair, if that’s true, that’s a big problem!

Now, on the other side of things, what you’ll hear from the Sales team is, “leads from X campaign(s) are crap!”

But what do the numbers say? Well that’s the thing, you don’t have any numbers if the SDR team isn’t picking up every lead. If leads from certain campaign sources aren’t being worked, it’s impossible to tell if they are good or not, because you aren’t able to measure how they perform through the funnel.

As an organization, you should be tracking pick up rate as an SDR activity metric and be striving towards a goal of 95-100% at all times. Picking up and working every lead is the first step in being able to make accurate, data-driven decisions about what leads are good or bad for your business.

2. Lead response time

What is lead response time?

Lead response time = date of first touch - assigned date

Response time is how many minutes, hours, or days have passed from when a lead is assigned to a sales rep to when they log their first touchpoint. Lead response time is a critical metric for managing inbound leads.

How does managing lead response time improve sales and marketing alignment?

Statistics tell us that a fast lead response time with a personalized message improves your chances of a successful reply.

If your SDR team is responding to some leads in 5 minutes and others in 2+ days, chances are the ones getting responded to in 5 minutes are going to convert better – but is that because they are a good lead or because you caught them while they were hot? Fast response time is especially crucial for converting high-intent leads, as these leads have a significantly higher conversion rate.

On the other side, chances are the leads that were responded to days later will not convert well – but is that because they are bad leads or because they forgot what your company name was by the time you reached out?

So, similar to the pick-up rate metric, lead response time is an SDR activity metric you need to track and monitor to make an accurate, data-driven decision on what good vs. bad leads look like for your business.

3. Cadence compliance

What is cadence compliance?

Cadences (or sequences) are a number of pre-defined sales activities for sales reps spread out over a certain number of days and are usually implemented with a sales engagement system like Outreach, Salesloft, or Hubspot.

As an example, a cadence could be set up to have 14 sales touchpoints over a 30-day period.

In a cadence, the sales touchpoints can be split up by delivery methods – like email, phone call, and social touch. Based on how sophisticated your inbound lead process is, you could have your cadences split up by campaigns, persona, industry, and more.

Think of a cadence as the full set of interactions you want your rep to do if a lead doesn’t reply to them immediately. How much effort do you want them to put in, and what does that effort look like?

Why is cadence compliance important to Sales and Marketing alignment?

A common complaint from Marketing about Sales is that they aren’t working the leads correctly, and a lot of times they have some ground to stand on. Sales development representatives (SDRs) play a crucial role in following cadences to ensure leads are properly nurtured and qualified.

Sales engagement tools, like Outreach and Salesloft, make it easy for sales reps to work leads in a personal way at scale, but there are still far too many times when leads are not worked through their cadence in entirety.

With companies that we’ve worked with, it’s not uncommon to find that a large number of leads are abandoned after their first touchpoint because the sales rep doesn’t like the campaign the lead came from. Something else we see is that the majority of cadences are completed late and so a 30-day cadence takes 60-days to complete.

By tracking, measuring, and managing cadence completion as an SDR activity metric, your SDR team will be held accountable over completing each cadence in entirely and completing each step on time so your business (and Marketing specifically) can be sure that leads are being worked the way they are supposed to.

4. Sales pipeline generated

What is pipeline generated?

Pipeline generated is the amount of dollars in pipeline that has been created from leads the SDR was assigned over a certain span of time. The sales pipeline is crucial for tracking the amount of pipeline generated by SDRs, as it helps measure the health and effectiveness of the sales process.

For example, if an SDR was assigned 100 leads in a month, worked them all and turned 5 of them into opportunities that made it to a pipeline stage, and each opportunity was worth $10,000, they would have generated $50,000 in pipeline for that month.

Why is pipeline generated important to Sales and Marketing alignment?

The first three SDR activity metrics – pick-up rate, lead response time, and cadence completion – are directly tied towards the fact that the sales rep are making sales touchpoints, doing so in a timely manner, and doing them consistently.

But as a business you’re not just doing sales activities for the sake of high activity numbers, you’re doing them to create pipeline that will then turn into revenue. And by tracking pipeline generated, you’re able to see Marketing’s contribution to pipeline based on how many Marketing generated leads make it into pipeline.

By having an accurate reading on what Marketing’s contribution to pipeline is, you’ll be able to see Marketing’s impact on previous quarters as well as how they are influencing the current sales month/quarter.

5. Revenue generated

What is revenue generated?

Revenue generated is the amount of dollars in revenue that has been created from leads the SDR was assigned over a certain span on time.

For example, if we take that $50,000 in pipeline generated from the previous example, and follow that through to the end of the funnel to see that 3 deals were closed-won and 2 deals were lost – that breaks down to $30,000 in revenue generated.

Why is revenue generated important to Sales and Marketing alignment?

Similar to pipeline generated, revenue generated is a metric that tells you about the quality of leads and opportunities being passed along by Marketing and the SDR team.

Companies tend to put a big focus on the quantity of leads being generated and the number of meetings booked, but there is less attention on the quality of them – we think that’s backwards.

Let’s look at a quick example. You have Sales Rep A who is exceeding all of their SDR activity metric targets and booking a lot of meetings – let’s say 20 per week – they look like a rockstar SDR. But if we look at where those meetings go, only 2 of them make it to pipeline, and neither of them close, are they still a rockstar?

Then we look at Sales Rep B. This rep is a little behind on activity targets and only booking 5 meetings per week. If we follow those 5 meetings through the full funnel, we can see all of them make it to pipeline and 4 out of 5 turn into revenue.

That’s $0 in revenue generated from Sales Rep A and $30,000 from SDR B – now, who’s the better SDR?

The answer is obvious, but since most companies don’t have visibility into tracking leads through the full funnel, Sales Rep A will continue collecting their bonuses while Sales Rep B might have to look for a new job.

And if we take this back one step further, you’re able to see what Marketing generated leads are performing the best through the funnel and break it down by source, campaign, time, and more. Having Marketing’s number on revenue generated is very important to show their contribution to the business. The quality of qualified leads directly impacts the revenue generated, as higher quality leads are more likely to convert into sales and contribute to business growth.

The only issue is that depending on the length of your business sales cycle, this number could take 3, 6, 12+ months to get, so by the time you’re measuring it, it’s old data. We recommend that companies with sales cycles greater than 9 months pay closer attention to pipeline generated for a more up-to-date rating on Marketing performance.

Align Sales and Marketing with key performance indicators

The battle between Marketing and Sales may not be ending anytime soon, but there are things you and your SDR team can do to minimize it. One crucial step is to ensure that your sales development teams are aligned with marketing efforts. This alignment helps in setting and tracking performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for both inbound and outbound sales development teams.

The first thing sounds obvious, but make sure your SDR team is doing their job and keeping up on all of their SDR activity metrics – including picking up every lead, responding to them quickly, and working them through their cadences consistently. Tracking sales accepted leads (SALs) is essential in evaluating the productivity of sales development reps and measuring the synergy between marketing and sales.

By your SDR team keeping up with those sales activities, you can accurately tell if Marketing’s leads are good or bad with data to back it up – so no more arguing!

After you know if Marketing’s leads are qualified or not, the next step is to see how they are performing as opportunities to see the impact your Marketing initiatives are having on the bottom line – do they make it to a pipeline stage of the sales process? And how do they convert into revenue?

By tracking leads through to pipeline and all the way to revenue, you’ll be to the place where Sales and Marketing can have productive conversations about how to increase company revenues by focusing on top performing lead sources.

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