The Strike Zone: How 90% of Outreach reps hit their goals

Posted June 13, 2024

I don't know if you know this, but I'm great at my job. If you were at Unleash 2023, you heard Angela Garinger make this factual declaration on stage. But she wasn’t just referring to her skills as a VP at Outreach, she was also referring to her ability to make pipeline more accurate and achievable for the teams she leads. She broke down how to achieve pipeline generation goals not by trying harder, but by working smarter. She demonstrated the real Moneyball-style equation she created and uses with her teams to hit their revenue goals. She referred to it as the Strike Zone. 

Outreach is rooted in data, so we were inspired by this approach. This calculation was too good to remain in the confines of Unleash, and we knew customers would want this unique insight – and then some. We knew the potential was there within Outreach to report on performance and drive the specific actions that could improve results. Our newest feature, the Pipeline Generation Report, is inspired by the original Strike Zone. We’re breaking down the methodology you can use with or without Outreach.

In case you missed it:

What is the Strike Zone?

Angela is a fan of Moneyball, the movie, but she’s an even bigger fan of Moneyball, the book. In case you haven’t read or seen it,  it’s based on the true story of the Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane, and his assistant, Paul DePodesta. They used statistical analysis to assemble a competitive baseball team on a budget. By focusing on metrics other teams overlooked, like on-base and number of walks the hitter drew, they could identify undervalued players and create a winning team using cold hard data.

Sales and  baseball are both driven by the numbers. Angela realized that creating pipeline is a lot like assembling a winning baseball team. You need to identify the metrics that matter and focus on them relentlessly.

She identified two key metrics that make up the "strike zone" for pipeline creation: the Correct Connect Rate (CCR) and the Meetings Booked Rate (MBR). The CCR tells you if your reps are talking to the right person when they make a call, and the MBR tells you if they're converting those calls into initial meetings with prospects. By focusing on these two metrics, our teams at Outreach are able to create a winning pipeline.

Here is the real equation Angela developed, you can plug and play your own numbers to determine your Strike Zone:

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Image graphic of the strike zone formula
Skip the math

Use our simplified (and free!) Strike Zone calculator for a quick peek at your numbers.

Controlling the Strike Zone

We know the zone consists of Correct Connect Rate and Meetings Booked Rate but we often get asked, how do we get there? By “controlling your strike zone.” To control your strike zone, you need to determine the right activities to drive those metrics. Ask yourself and your teams these questions when thinking about the numbers: 

These specific questions help sales leaders diagnose (or self-diagnose) why one manager or rep might be more successful than another – and how to duplicate results. You can ask these questions with or without the Outreach platform, but Outreach will identify the answers more accurately and provide insight into recommended next steps.  

1. Are my reps doing the right activities?

Using the new Pipeline Generation Report, you now have the ability to understand how Outreach does pipeline generation. In this new report, there is a coaching calculator that helps you identify the weekly targets your reps need to hit in order to generate your pipeline goal. This will help you answer this question. If the coaching calculator tells you your reps need to make 150 calls a week, start there.

2. Are my reps talking to the right people?

Now that you have your weekly targets based on the calculator, you also need to look at if your reps are targeting the right people or personas. Each industry has different verticals, personas, or people they want to target because you know your buyer better than anyone. If your reps are reaching out to ICs in their communications, do you think they will convert that into a Meeting Booked? Probably not. Given the way the market has changed, you have to think about who you are talking to and who your reps target in their prospecting strategy.

3. Are they saying the right things when they are on the phone?

The coaching calculator is a powerful tool, but if your reps aren’t hitting the right people and saying the right things when they get that person on the phone, nothing will convert into a demo or the next stage. To dig into what your reps might be saying on the phone, hit the calls page in Outreach to discover the calls they are making and coach accordingly.

4. Are they saying the right things in emails and in sequences?

Any good prospecting strategy means setting up multi-step sequences that include dropping prospects into sequences that have automated emails, calls, and manual emails (hint, hint). In those emails, are you personalizing the content to the prospect you are targeting? Have you done your research on that prospect so you can add in their business goals or objectives to those emails? Around the Outreach office, you will notice that most of the reps are using this personalization for their emails but it also helps them write a script so when they get that prospect on the phone, they have that information at their fingertips.

Again, the coaching calculator as part of the Pipeline Generation Report is a tool to help you understand the amount of activities it would potentially take to generate your pipeline goals, but simply doing the activities isn’t enough. You always need to re-evaluate and coach your reps when you see some lag in your pipeline. Within 3 quarters of implementing the Pipeline Generation Report and Strike Zone Methodology, 90% of Outreach reps hit their goals — the highest in Outreach history.

How does the Pipeline Generation Report work?

The Pipeline Generation Report is an easy way to understand what activities your team needs to perform in order to generate a given pipeline goal. Sales leaders assign quarterly pipeline generation targets for teams. From those goals, the report breaks this down by quarter. The three items you will need in order to use the coaching calculator are:

  1. Pipeline quota by quarter
  2. Average SQL value Think of this as average deal size
  3. SQL conversion rateLikelihood of those deals to convert to an opportunity

A few things to note about the above, if you don’t know the average SQL value, put in the average deal size. This could vary by team. If you are a commercial team, your average deal size might be $50,000, for enterprise teams this could be $250,000, etc. If you don’t know your conversion rate, play around with this. Having this conversion rate allowed us to set some audacious goals for conversions which have ranged as high as 60-70% with this methodology.

Once you have the output of the calculator, below you will see the recommended weekly targets. This calculation is based off of the math seen at the top of the blog.  This is the amount of activity your team (this is filtered to a specific Commercial AE team) needs to target each week to achieve the pipeline quota. Below the targets are how many reps are within that team so you know that the rep number times the amount of activity. In this example, there are 6 reps, each rep needs to drop 35 prospects into a sequence and make 140 calls per week which should result in 1 meeting booked per rep or 6 total for this team a week. 

The charts next to and below the coaching calculator are the direct output of your team. The targets help you keep your reps accountable to the numbers in the charts that support those activities. 

Today, we look at cumulative meetings, meetings booked, and meetings held and most of our SDRs are tracked on the number of meetings booked per week.

Looking at the example of our team of 6 AEs, their meeting conversion rate is above the industry best practice which means the manager is doing a greta job of coaching their reps to reach out to the right people. If this number was low, the reps might not be reaching out to the target persona or they may not be doing the right personalization in their sequences or not using the persona-driven sequences. This could affect how they convert those conversations into meetings. This is just one of the many ways that this report highlights the data that is associated with the skills necessary to develop and coach teams

The second chart is Meetings held, in this chart, of the meetings this team is booking they are holding them well. They booked 205 meetings and held 80% of them,  a great indicator that the team’s messaging is driving urgency and interest for the prospect. Those prospects are interested in learning more. 

The last two tables are based on calls. This is where CCR comes into play: first, cumulative calls and second, Correct Connects. Correct Connect calls are calls with an answered call disposition, indicating your reps are talking to the right person. This also means call dispositions are key to success in this report. At Outreach, we outline dispositions that indicate CC (Correct Connect) - qualified meeting booked, or CC- Pitch, etc. These metrics demonstrate they are connecting with the right people via call dispositions. This team has a 3% CCR. Typically, we target a 10% CCR to ensure our team can hit their meeting booked rate. This could mean this team’s prospecting strategy may be off. When diagnosing these metrics, start by digging into the prospects placed into these sequences. Your reps can add those 35 prospects into the sequence, but if they aren’t your target persona or audience, it has the opposite effect – meaning you won’t connect with them on the phone. 

The table below these charts showcases the individuals on that team. The 6 AEs will appear in the table, similar to other reports, and you can see their activity and filter the report to today, yesterday, this week, last week, this month, last month, last 90 days to see any slice of the data.

Get in the zone

Schedule your free strike zone analysis and take a tour of the pipeline generation report.

You need to identify the metrics that matter and focus on them relentlessly. By identifying the Strike Zone using the CCR and MBR metrics and using Outreach to track performance and guide daily activities, Angela was able to create a winning pipeline for her team.

The Strike Zone Methodology and Outreach’s Pipeline Generation Report serves as a powerful tool for sales leaders to understand and optimize pipeline generation. By leveraging the coaching calculator and the comprehensive insights provided, sales teams can align their activities with the metrics that truly matter, ultimately leading to enhanced performance and success.


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