Why it’s important to understand your sales development funnel

Posted August 7, 2018

By Joe Vignolo

Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach

Guest post by Taft Love, Global Director of Sales Development, SmartRecruiters

This is the first entry in a series focused on how to choose, capture and measure the metrics needed for sales development leaders to truly understand their funnel.

Ask any experienced VP of Sales about their funnel and they can rattle off all sorts of metrics. Close rate, win rate, average deal size, sales cycle length, etc. They know these metrics because it’s their job.

Companies understand why these metrics are so important. Sales organizations invest heavily in operations teams that help them identify, track, and trust their funnel metrics. But few companies give much thought to understanding their SDR funnel.

Most Sales Development leaders aren’t expected to know their funnel metrics like the VP of Sales—yet. The landscape is shifting rapidly for SDR leaders and knowing your funnel will not be rare within a year or two.

This series will focus on showing you exactly how to capture the metrics that SDR leaders need to understand their funnel like a VP of Sales.

To be clear, knowing open and response rates of emails is not the same as understanding your funnel. Sales Development leaders often use these ratios in place of an actual funnel because they are easy to measure, thanks to email automation tools.

SDR funnels are more difficult to measure than AE funnels for two reasons:

  1. In most teams, no two SDRs prospect in exactly the same way.
  2. The AE funnel is tracked within a single object (Opportunity), but the SDR funnel is spread across four (Contact, Account, Task, Opportunity).

This represents a huge problem for data-driven teams. If you don’t know your Sales Development funnel, you can’t accurately forecast the resources necessary to deliver pipeline. You can guess, and you may even get it right sometimes, but guessing gets harder as you grow.

In order to understand your funnel, there are two things you need to do:

  1. Reconcile your TWO Sales Development funnels: activities and accounts.
  2. Build a system for measuring your funnel.

By the end of this series, you’ll know how to confidently answer the question that makes Sales Development leaders nervous: “What resources do you need to deliver $X of new pipeline next quarter?”

I’ve chopped the series up into the following topics:

  • How To Standardize a Sales Development Funnel
  • Measure Your Sales Development Funnel Inside Salesforce
  • SDR Funnel Math: The Resource Cost of Pipeline

I’ll add links to the topics above as they are published, so stay tuned!

And let me know in the comments what you think about this type of content. Thanks in advance!


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