analytics

Data-Driven Cold Calling: SDR Metrics to Prioritize

When it comes to cold calling metrics, it can be difficult to get started. Clients come to us wondering how to improve on their cold prospecting campaigns but often have no benchmarks set in place for success.

Tracking is one of the most important pieces in understanding how successful (or not) an outbound cold calling and prospecting campaign is performing. There are hundreds of activities and metrics that we monitor on a daily basis – but which ones hold the most value? 

What is a Sales Activity?

To effectively manage your sales reps and campaign performance, you need to know which sales activities and metrics to track and monitor.  

Sales activities are the day-to-day practices or operations performed by sales representatives.  Quality sales activities have a direct correlation with business growth and pipeline opportunity, so it is important to focus on the right metrics. 

At Superhuman Prospecting, we define a call activity in 3 aspects: 

  1. A dial, in an attempt to have a sales conversation with a decision-maker or stakeholder that has been identified prior to starting the cold call campaign. 
  2. A proper result code based upon what happened as a result of the call. Was it an appointment? A no decision-maker conversation? 
  3. A note with a minimum amount of 5 words. This allows our team to provide more value and gives us insight into every single attempted conversation. 

One of the benefits of a call activity is that it can help provide you with the full transparency and information you need to make better decisions on what activities hold the most value. The results of call activities are instantly recorded in a customized, soft-coded workbook that is shared with our clients. The more you can record and track, the better you can measure your cold calling campaign progress. 

Sales leaders should be aware of how much time their team spends working on each type of activity. Investing in the right tools is important for tracking and monitoring performance. Take the time to search for the right CRM and sales engagement tools for your business. They can help your sales reps increase productivity and spend less time performing tedious tasks. 

Monitoring and tracking the right key sales activities can help identify what’s working, what’s not working, and who might need more training. It is important to note that an increase in activity doesn’t automatically equate to growth. To measure your sales activity performance, it is important to set KPIs or key performance indicators. 

KPIs are the specific metrics that connect specifically to your company-wide goals, priorities, and objectives. KPIs will help you identify and focus on the activities that lead to the most amount of success for your time. 

KPIs are dependent on what your business considers to be the most important factors for success. Use your KPIs to track progress, discover trends, and manage individual performance. Measuring these objectives will allow you to see if your cold calling strategy is working and which part of the process needs improvement. 

Some outbound sales experts break their activities into two main categories – qualitative and quantitative. 

Qualitative Activities – Unable to be measured by data, the focus is on nurturing, relationships, branding, customer support, and account management. 

Quantitative Activities – Raw numbers that are used for determining performance, growth, revenue, etc. This could look like: make x number, x number of conversations, x number of appointments over a period of time – per hour, week, day, or month. 

You can set a wide variety of many objectives for your cold calls, from collecting sales intel to brand awareness. But most cold calling goals come down to one ultimate objective: Setting an appointment between a qualified prospect and a sales manager who can then close the deal.

Cold Calling Metrics

Most salespeople don’t know how to properly track and monitor their outbound cold calling campaigns. With so many dials in a day, it can be hard to constantly update your CRM and other tools. Cold calling without a strategy is like getting in a car with no gas and driving, clueless about where the next gas station is. 

If you are looking to scale your outbound cold calling, reevaluate your ideal customer profile (ICP) and reconnect with your target audience to refine and improve messaging. Think about who really needs what you sell and which sectors are currently doing well. The people who fit both of these descriptions should form your new ICP. Technology and automation can help you complete tedious tasks faster and more effectively. 

If you are a startup looking to generate more leads from cold calling, focus on building your ideal customer profile and researching the root issues of their pain points. Use this information to write your script. Listen, ask the right questions, and participate in active listening. Refine and improve your messaging as you go. If you need more help writing a script, check out H2H Sales Scripts

No matter what stage of business you are in, using a quality leads list is one of the most important aspects of your cold calling campaign. Building your own quality lists can be difficult but there are multiple databases, platforms, and tools that can help provide more effective targets. 

A list of cheap leads might sound great, but if they aren’t engaged and in need, you don’t have much. Focusing on high-quality leads will increase productivity, speed up the completion of your sales cycle and reduce inefficiencies within your sales pipeline, which improves your bottom line.

Obviously, the bottom line is important but focusing solely on those numbers won’t propel you forward. And while the big picture may tell an intriguing story, it often leaves out some really important information. 

SDRs have limited time and resources to make a big impact, which is the best argument against vanity metrics. Instead of wasting time and energy on boosting vanity metrics, focus on improving S.M.A.R.T. goals and improving processes to meet those goals. 

Tracking

It can be difficult to measure the specific revenue impact of some SDR activities. The right metrics, however, can give you a pretty good idea about the overall value and impact of your SDR team and can many times yield specific insights into revenue, cost savings, and ROI.

What is your average deal size? What percentage of new opportunities result in new customers? How long does it take to close new business from top of the funnel operations? Answering questions like these will help you determine which specific activities and metrics will help you meet your goals.

Cold call tracking is important for your records.

The more information you have about each call leads to more insight into how your campaigns are performing. A lead status tracker can help you better define the results from your calls to answer the questions above.

Use a call tracking software or coded workbook to display the results of each call activity ​including round, disposition, time of call, & notes.

Below, are some examples of how you can classify your leads to learn more about your pipeline, sales cycle, and cold calling campaigns:

DM Interested – Appointment Set (Appt Set):
A “DM Interested – Appt Set” is when there has been a positive decision maker (DM) or stakeholder conversation that has resulted in an agreed-upon date and time to meet with the selected point of contact from your business.

DM Interested – Warm Lead:​
A “DM Interested – Warm Lead” is when there has been a positive DM or stakeholder conversation resulting in permission for a follow-up call, albeit not at a specific date & time.

DM Interested – Nurture:
​A “DM Interested – Nurture” is when there has been a positive DM or stakeholder conversation resulting in permission to email or send info, but no explicit information to follow up call or set an appointment. Typically, these are “email only” leads.

DM Not Interested:
A “DM Not Interested” is when there has been a negative DM or stakeholder conversation resulting in no permission to move forward. This can include hang-ups, full conversations with a “no” at the end, or a varied number of other reasons for stopping the call with no further positive movement. ​

Market Research:
A “Market Research” disposition means there was no decision-maker or stakeholder conversation, but there was NEW information identified on the call that helps move towards setting up an appointment, furthering a sales opportunity, or closing a deal.

No DM Conversation:
A “No DM Conversation” disposition means there was no decision-maker or stakeholder conversation from the call activity. Like if your SDR never got past the gatekeeper or the phone just kept ringing and ringing with no voicemail. From these results, you will be able to see where your process is the most effective and where it is the weakest.

Needs Validation:
This is a disposition defined as when a working number is reached but is determined to be impossible to reach the DM or the stakeholder.

Not Reachable:
A “Not Reachable” disposition means the phone number is bad and no progress can be made with this number.

Breaking down the customer journey into these smaller segments makes it easier to identify the parts of your strategy that are working well. Tracking and monitoring this information will help you create better data-driven strategies around what works best for you.

Number of Dials Per Hour

If sales is a numbers game, then the first thing you should be tracking is the number of dials made per hour. Here, quality is more important than quantity, but both are important. Doubling your amount of calls probably won’t double your number of appointments. 

It’s important to make your calls as productive as possible, so tracking this statistic will help you identify any issues you might be having. Is your list information correct? Are you reaching the right people? Do you need a sales dialer tool to help increase the number of calls you can make? These are all important questions when defining your cold calling activities.

Even more important than the number of dials is the time spent on the phone. Conversations must be meaningful or your numbers won’t matter much.

Conversation Rates

How many of those qualified decision-makers moved on to the next step? These conversion metrics are great for pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign. 

Too many dials and not enough conversations = low quality leads list
Too many conversations and not enough appointments = weak script  

Use these formulas to help define your campaign results: 

Conversations / Dials = Conversation Rate
Dials / Conversations = Dials to Conversation
Appointments / Dials = Appointment Setting Rate on Dials 
Dials / Appointments = Dials to Appointment Setting Rate 

Number of Appointments Set 

  • Appointment Setting Rate on Total Number of Dials:
    At what rate are you setting appointments compared to your number of total dials? Tracking these numbers can help you determine if you need a higher quality leads list or if a better script. 
  • Appointment Setting Rate on Number of Decision-Maker on Dials:
    Do you have the right information? Is the information you are providing enough value to move decision-makers to the next steps? It is important to be asking the right questions that lead to better decision-maker phone calls and fewer dials trying to reach them. 
  • Appointment Setting Rate on Number of Decision-Maker Conversations:
    Or, how many conversations with decision-makers (or stakeholders) does it take to set an appointment? This determines your ability to find and understand how you can contact the Decision-Maker.  

Leads Generated

No leads, no sales, so this is an obvious one for tracking and monitoring. Aren’t looking to add an expensive tech stack to your costs? Your tracking doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Try keeping your notes and metrics in an Excel spreadsheet or some type of workbook.

Feedback Loop

A feedback loop is defined as a process that circles the outputs of a system back in as inputs to improve the quality of a product, service, or workplace: a business “inputs” the “output” feedback to initiate change.

Cold calling is one of the most effective ways of gaining feedback from your ideal customers because of the one-on-one conversations. A recent survey of leading product managers says that over 50% of their new products and features are motivated by customer feedback.

Use this to your advantage. This can help your further determine your positioning and value in the market, which can help improve your script value proposition and other key messaging. Listen to what they are saying as a whole and try to apply or consider necessary changes.

Once you have a consistent feedback loop and relevant reporting, you can compare results and different strategies.

Fill out a performance sheet with all of the information listed above.
For example, your sheet can look something like this:

Lead Status for Cold Calling is important so you know where prospects land in your sales funnel.

At the end of the campaign, analyze your final results:

Appointment Setting Rate: 4%
Decision-Maker Conversation Rate: 12%
Appointments on Decision-Maker Conversations: 33%

Use this information to improve and optimize your cold calling outreach.


Conclusion

In outbound cold calling, there is an obvious emphasis on metrics but don’t get lost in the data. Tracking and monitoring your campaign performance will lead you in a more specific direction for improvement. But remember, cold calls are about building trust and providing value- so focus on building better relationships and having quality interactions for maximum improvement.


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