The structure of a sales team is just as important as the reps. A process built on attainable KPIs for SDRs is the most efficient way to achieve your revenue goals.
And since revenue is the ultimate goal, you have to know what you should measure.
Not all KPIs in sales development are created equal, as we’ll see, but we’ll get you started with the basics.
With this brief guide, we’ll provide some insights into what it takes to succeed, starting with a definition of KPIs.
What are KPIs?
In short, a KPI stands for key performance indicator.
KPIs measure performance towards a specific objective. In the case of an SDR, a KPI is used to track the progress of moving a prospect through the pipeline.
KPIs provide an analytic basis and objective road map on how to achieve results. Which KPIs to use will largely depend on the organization and structure of the sales team. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Specific KPIs follow the objectives and goals of an organization and may require testing to get the right solution.
Regardless, forming the structure of a sales development team is why they’re important. They create transparency of expectations and a clear sense of direction. By hitting KPIs, SDRs can confidently work towards their goals without excessive micromanagement.
They’re a critical element in reaching sales goals and the decision-making process that guides them.
Common KPIs for SDRs
Before we begin, it’s important to note KPIs we’ll discuss belong to sales development.
We’re only looking at KPIs relevant to SDRs who’ll fill your pipeline with opportunities. These won’t include ones that measure the effectiveness of actions taken later in the sales cycle – like the number of proposals sent or closing rates, for example.
Also, we’re not making a distinction between outbound and inbound KPIs. We find much of what we cover here applies to both.
Nevertheless, KPIs set your SDRs up for success. This means they’re measurable and attainable.
They allow us to assess objective performance data and make improvements where necessary. They’re attainable because they need to be realistic if you want an accurate measurement of progress.
Progress, however, looks different for everybody. To keep things simple, we’ll list what we believe are the most common KPIs.
Let’s start by exploring how they’re organized.
To help identify bottlenecks and areas of improvement, sales development teams will often use specific frameworks to segment and organize KPIs into the different stages of the sales cycle.
One such framework is the AQC framework. AQC stands for Activity, Quality, and Conversion.
Below, we’ll break down what each means and include examples of the KPIs our SDR teams use.
KPIs under Activity are the daily actions your team takes in outreach.
These activities can include the number of emails sent, calls made, or prospects touched. Activity KPIs act on a more granular level as the starting point for launching a campaign.
The numbers vary per client, but to accurately measure performance, our SDRs follow these KPIs:
- LinkedIn invitations sent
- LinkedIn messages sent
- Emails sent
- Calls made
- Social engagements (comments, likes, posts)
- Prospects touched
- Campaigns launched
Note: Along with more common KPIs around email and dials, we also expect our SDRs to engage with a prospect’s content on LinkedIn. Social engagement (part of our highly-recommended LinkedIn social selling strategy) is measured by the number of reactions – be it a comment or like – on a prospect’s page. Additionally, SDRs are asked to post frequently from their own profiles to build their personal brand as a consultant for curious prospects.
KPIs labeled as Quality are quality control. These include any KPIs that determine the quality of engagements and prospects in the pipeline. Some examples of these KPIs are the number of responses or titles of the respective prospects.
Specifically, our teams measure quality by the number of:
- LinkedIn connections
When not using LinkedIn InMail, a connection with a prospect is an open door to message them. A connection also serves as a way to engage with a prospect through the content they share or vice versa.
Engagements as a quality KPI represent any kind of response from a prospect.
Finally, Conversion KPIs measure the number of opportunities that move forward in the sales cycle. Hitting these KPIs signals a prospect is moving through the pipeline. At this stage, they are often passed on to the AE to further qualify the lead or close the deal.
Conversion KPIs are:
- Positive responses (a request for info; a referral)
- Meetings booked
- Meetings completed
As a KPI, meetings completed is another way to qualify the prospect. Although sometimes it’s outside the control of an SDR, generally speaking, a prospect who doesn’t show up to a meeting isn’t a good one.
Evaluate & refine
Because there are so many variables to getting a prospect into a meeting, it’s important to evaluate KPIs and refine them when necessary.
If you find your SDRs are hitting their KPIs but aren’t moving prospects through the pipeline ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the contact information updated?
- Are we leveraging all supporting functions in Sales Ops, Marketing, and AEs?
- Are we targeting the right people?
- In what channels do we find the most success?
- Are we using the right tools to track and measure our KPIs?
- Do we have the right number of touches in our cadence?
There’s not always a strict right or wrong answer. What works for one industry or solution may not for another.
SDRs are not all alike either. Adjust your KPIs so they’re challenging but attainable for the right person. And be sure to prepare an action plan for SDRs who aren’t meeting their KPIs.
Lastly, KPIs are most effective when they become habits. Use your best months as a benchmark for what works: what is the minimum number of calls, emails, and messages we need to make?
With time a successful process becomes second nature.