Updated: Jan 8, 2022
Most Outbound Business Development Teams are measured on a lot of different activity metrics to ensure pipeline generation. I have seen and done
# of emails,
# of calls,
# of LinkedIn,
# of new accounts touched,
# of new contacts touched and many more.
The main question I asked myself at a certain stage was
"Does it actually makes sense to measure on accounts touched for outbound?" and "Is this fun for junior people getting into a sales role?". And I answered both questions with "no".
A couple of months later, I know, that it's still valid to approach certain accounts, especially in the enterprise field, individually. But if outbound at scale should work, smart automation and smart clustering is required. SDRs or BDRs feel micro-managed if you talk about every single account with them you are going to reach out, and, it's a lot of overhead. In addition, it's especially hard for new joiners to understand every single account from day 1 on and provide relevant value to contacts within these accounts.
In this blog post, I explain how outbound success and outbound planning looks like and how it can be fun for the BDR Manager as well as every single BDR. Furthermore, this way of executing is way more predictable in terms of the number of opportunities, $ of pipeline and $ of revenue.
Option 1: Measuring Outbound Success via Activity Tracking
Measuring the success of outbound by tracking activities is still really popular. But measuring every single activity of your BDR is kinda exhausting - for the manager and the rep. It's even more exhausting if you have not set up your entire sales tracking perfectly. And this is usually never the case.
In most cases, there are so many systems involved, e.g. Outreach Tools like Outreach.io or PersistIQ.com, CRM Software like Salesforce.com or LinkedIn automation tools like LeadConnect.io. It's nearly impossible, to connect all dots together and have an easy to understand view of what's going on with all the outbound efforts your team does.
A typical view of measuring outbound success via tracking activities can look like the following:
In this model, the BDR together with the AE is fully responsible to find new accounts and find new contacts within these accounts. Except for the ideal customer profile and the ideal targets, there is no further information. The numbers listed above are the numbers to hit to get opportunities and meetings. In most cases, there are some sequences available and the BDR team is using a sequence which fits for a certain persona.
The big disadvantage here is that there is no learning for a certain industry, for a certain business unit or for certain products, or even for certain situations. The team has to figure out how to touch the accounts and the contacts within these accounts - doesn't matter if new or existing ones. And also for managers it's hard to see what message went to which account if not checking it one by one.
Option 2: Measuring Outbound Success via Campaigns
A different way of measuring outbound success is through the number of executed campaigns. In this method, the heavy work and the heavy-lift are in the whole campaign definition and campaign preparation. This should be done together with product leaders, business unit leaders or people who are way more experienced than the BDRs.
An outbound campaign is defined as an email/LinkedIn/call sequence to a defined set of accounts and a defined set of personas within these accounts. You can group them by certain industries, trade shows, LinkedIn groups etc. So the target audience is clearly defined and a clear message and value proposition will be sent to this group. Which makes it more likely that people respond.
Campaigns can contain new prospects, existing leads or even existing customer for cross- and upsell purposes. Important is, that the message and the audience fit together and ideally sales, marketing and the product or business leaders are aligned.
With campaigns, it's actually possible to scale business development efforts and to generate outbound sales pipeline at scale. In addition, for the team it's a way more fun because they actually build something strategically, execute it and measure the results afterwards as well to get better with the next campaign.
A typical view of measuring outbound success via campaigns can look like the following:
In this funnel, one campaign consists out of around 300-1,000 prospects, leads or existing customers. This varies from campaign to campaign. Ideally, you need a certain number of people with similar interests and a similar grouping to gain some interest.
The big advantage of this method is that a campaign will be clearly defined in terms of
prospects/leads/customers within the campaign,
message to the selected people in the campaign,
medium for outreach like email and/or LinkedIn and/or calling and/or others,
and, you only have to define, check and approve it once. In addition, the whole team learns out of executed campaigns. Furthermore, every BDR learns while preparing and executing the campaign. They learn about the issues, pain points, positive business outcomes, ... and the whole story around why we are going to contact a defined set of people with a dedicated message.
Depending on the size of the campaign and the complexity of your business and your solution, it's possible to prepare 3-5 campaigns every month per Business Development Representative. The goal should be that at any given time there should be at least 3 campaigns running in the background and your BDR/SDR is waiting for answers from people who are definitely the right fit because they have been cherry-picked before.
A campaign can run over weeks or even months, depending on the touches you use. With this approach, you actually do outbound as it would be inbound for your BDR/SDR. Because the BDR/SDR is preparing the campaign once, setting everything up and multiple touches on multiple channels will be sending out fully in the background so that the SDR/BDR can focus on what's really important: Engaging with prospects and calling prospects.
In addition, this method is way more predictable than anything else. If there are too few meetings or opportunities, let's start a new campaign to fill the funnel again with outbound meetings.
Find further information on how to set up an outbound campaign standard operation procedure in this blog post.