The evolution of sales continues to be everchanging; however, one thing stays very consistent: how do you fill the frontend of the sales funnel with leads? Most of the time your sales team is your company’s biggest asset and it is crucial for the sales leader to build a predictable revenue model, and it all starts with creating leads that turn into meaningful conversations and meetings.
When looking at the life cycle of the sales journey, we divide it into six simple steps, which will be discussed below. The front end of the funnel will be the first four boxes: your targets, the right activities, converting your activities into meaningful conversations, and converting meaningful conversations into meetings. The first four steps are key for the inside and outside sales team to attend qualified meetings. Lastly, it is very important that the inside and outside sales team gives feedback on the meetings ran.
Since the front end of the funnel is so key to the sales journey, let's spend time focusing on the right steps to accelerate revenue by building an effective lead generation team.
Revenue Acceleration Process
#1 – Creating Prospect Personas
Start with identifying what your top existing clients' decision makers had in common. We highly recommend involving your marketing team, top sales producers, sales leadership and key executives in this conversation. It should only take a half-day and it amazes us what comes out of a half-day session like this. During that session, you should ask questions that will lead to your answers before you ever purchase your lead generation lists (companies with those individuals that are your ideal future clients).
Here are some questions to start with:
- What did your top 20 customers have in common?
- What did the decision makers have in common?
- Why did the decision makers buy?
- Did anyone else along the way get you in front of the decision maker (influencers in the buying journey)?
- If so, who are they and what titles did they have?
- What are the common features/benefits that typically intrigue them before buying from you/your organization?
This step is usually skipped, and organizations jump into acquiring large lists with gut instincts and very little interaction. If done right, this will save you a lot of time and money!
#2 – Purchasing or Enhancing Your Database
Now that you have determined your prospect personas or companies to call on, you want to be crisp and sharp! We usually have found this is the fun part of the process. Since you have spent many hours determining the ideal buyers/companies, you can now investigate utilizing different tools and providers to build your exact database (e.g., ZoomInfo, Data.com, LinkedIn, Hoovers and many more). This will include areas such as revenue size, segmentation by states or territories, industries and titles that you want to focus on (C-Level, VP, Plant Managers). Additionally, keep your meetings, pipeline and revenue goals in mind.
Now, you can build the lists based on your KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, if your goal is to close an additional 50 deals in 2019, you will likely need thousands of prospects (not hundreds). A friendly reminder that if you have 500 accounts and the average account has 5 influencers/decision makers, you have 2,500 people to focus on for lead generation. Make sure you spend time with multiple providers to investigate what type of lists you can create and what tools can help get the best information. This is like buying a car: you may have to look at multiple dealerships to get the best car for you.
#3 – CRM & Marketing Automation
In step #3 you want to make sure you have a system to track all your lists so you can track your KPIs. Managing and analyzing prospect connections through customer relationship management (CRM) software (integrated marketing and tools) will allow you or your organization to pinpoint coaching opportunities and strategic changes to yield a better output.
Also, the more you can optimize your CRM to integrate marketing will increase your chances of setting more meetings. Like the traditional sales funnel, the more granular you can break down the lead generation process, the more strategic you can be. Analyzing each level of the funnel throughout the sales process can support your sales team and drive more sales. Goals are set and expectations are clear.
Sales Journey Lifecycle Steps
Daily Activity Target
How to measure: Business Development Reps (BDRs) should be measured by the metrics in your CRM and, therefore, be extremely diligent with their data entry. Further, your sales team should be able to classify activities in the graph above. Of course, you can adjust these according to your organization.
Daily targets: Daily activity targets will depend on your cadence. This involves phone calls, emails, research, LinkedIn outreach, providing educational pieces to your targets and more. The cadence (tempo) should be determined before you start your outreach.
How to improve: If BDRs are struggling to reach a reasonable daily activity goal, explore opportunities to reduce the amount of time spent on data entry and research. Tools like email to CRM plugins and dialers can help automate the logging of activities and allow reps more dialing time each day. Further, work with your reps to instill an efficient method of working through sales cadences within your CRM.
What it is: A simple equation used to determine the average number of activities it will take before getting in touch with a decision maker at one of your target prospects.
How to measure: A CRM report can break down all completed activities by BDR and activity type for a certain time period. The contact rate will be the percentage of completed activities that resulted in contact made with a decision maker.
How to improve: If your contact rate is below that 5-7% range, you may consider analyzing your outreach methods to ensure you have a good cadence and make appropriate adjustments to increase your contact rate. You can also use CRM software to dissect the different methods that are most helpful in creating a contact.
What it is: Conversion rate is used to measure the rate of success from advancing a contact made to a meeting set.
How to measure: From your CRM, run a report that includes all completed activities where activity type equals contact made or meeting set. The conversion rate will be the percentage of all contacts made which resulted in a meeting.
How to improve: There’s a lot to consider when analyzing what a successful conversion rate might look like for your business. For example, what does the meeting that you’re attempting to schedule look like and who are you reaching out to? An on-site meeting is harder to set than a phone call and a CEO may have a tighter schedule than a purchasing employee. Pinpoint key areas of improvement when listening to your sellers’ calls, such as the value in messaging, clear product attributes, and tailoring the conversation to each individual buyer.
What it is: Total number of meetings scheduled by each sales rep, most often meaning a set appointment with an outside sales person.
How to measure: After assigning the meeting to a specific outside rep, create that task in the CRM software, and leave it open. Once the meeting has occurred, the outside rep can change the status to complete.
Target: 3-4 meetings/week
How to improve: As we move down the funnel, room for improvement is often described in a higher section of the funnel. Look to conversion rate, contact rate and daily activities to see where the team might be falling short.
What it is: Determination if the sale was made.
How to measure: Take the sum of all completed tasks where type equals meeting/demo or cancelled or rescheduled and bucket by “created by.” The percentage of this sum represented by the meeting or demo tasks will be your close rate.
How to improve: When prospects are not following through on scheduled meetings, it’s wise to explore factors that would cause that meeting to be cancelled. Can they not recall the product you are selling or is it difficult to pinpoint what value your product will bring to their company?
To help ensure your prospect shows up:
- Don’t schedule meetings three months out without a few touchpoints in between
- Ask at least three discovery questions (with follow-ups) during your initial interaction so you can cater your service or offering to their needs
- Include an agenda in the meeting invite
- Send over marketing collateral and/or an applicable case study after you have scheduled the meeting
What it is: The total number of meetings scheduled by a rep that occurred between the prospect and a member of your sales team.
How to measure: If using the process outlined above (How to measure – Meetings Set) you will be able to report on meetings run by pulling all completed activities where type equals meeting/demo and “created by” is segmented by rep.
Target: 2-3 meetings/week
How to improve: Meetings run is the goal of most business development reps and the reason for examining the sales funnel. If a BDR is not hitting their quota, using the techniques discussed in this article can help you pinpoint areas of improvement.
Putting the Funnel to Work
Using the technology and data from CRM software and working with your BDR team can greatly improve your company’s sales numbers. Look at the goal for each BDR, and work backwards up the funnel to reach targeted sales.
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