The SDR Funnel Math – Fix the key Metrics before you increase the size of your SDR Team

sdr funnel math

As we work with clients, we hear the same questions over and over again: Should we hire more Sales Development Reps (SDRs), or sales reps? Or both?

And our response has been invariably the same—it depends.

  • If your conversion metrics are all good, then by all means hire more.
  • If not, fix your conversion metrics first before you hire more. Otherwise, you are throwing good money after bad.

Let’s say your sales goal is $10 million and your average deal size is $100,000. This means your reps need to close 100 deals. So far, looks pretty straightforward.

Here is where the “it depends” part begins.

·   If your average closing ratio is 10%, then you will need 1,000 opportunities in your pipeline

·   If your average closing ratio is 20%, then you will need 500 opportunities in your pipeline.

Just this one metric alone clearly demonstrates that improving the quality of the pipeline reduces the burden on both your sales and SDR teams. SDRs don’t have to book as many meetings, and sales reps don’t have to struggle to work with so many prospects at the same time.

It also makes it easier to see why you will not need to hire more SDRs or sales reps with the second scenario, while you are more likely to believe you “need” more of both with the first one.

The SDR Funnel Math

But, I’m sure you know it’s more complicated than that.

Working with the conventional three-tier funnel model (Top, Middle, and Bottom), Marketing is supposed to keep filling the Top of Funnel (TOFU) with qualified prospects so that enough go to the Middle of the Funnel where your SDRs call to qualify and book appointments for the Sales team, which works on the Bottom of the Funnel to push prospects through the funnel to a close.

For this article, we will focus on understanding what is happening in the Middle of the Funnel.

Let’s say on average, each of your SDRs can book around 5 meetings a month, of which sales accepts about 70%, and of those Sales accepted meetings, about 66% make the meeting (one-third are no-shows or cancellations because the prospects didn’t see any real value in making the meeting).

Also, let’s say the average deal size of these leads were they to convert is about $75,000

So, the pipeline value that your average SDR is building for the sales team is =  5 meetings x 70% acceptance rate x 66% show rate x $75,000 or  $173,250/month per SDR. Not much, and may be the reason why you were thinking of hiring more SDRs.

However, before adding to your payroll cost, think of what can be improved.

What if I showed you that you can increase the average pipeline to $484,500/month per SDR—a 180% increase in pipeline built?  Would you first look into that to see if that were possible, or still go ahead and waste time and money hiring more SDRs?

I am going to assume you said you wanted to first look into how you can increase the average pipeline built by 180%.

Key Metrics

Looking at our formula above, there are four key metrics we can improve:

1. Average meetings set by a SDR per month

2. Average Sales acceptance rate (a measure of quality of the meeting)

3. Average meeting show rate by prospect (also an indication of the quality of the meeting set)

4. Average deal size (again, a measure of the quality of the meeting)

Improving any one of these metrics will improve the average pipeline size built by each SDR. Improving all four metrics will dramatically improve the average pipeline built by each SDR.

The Before and After In Action

Look at the chart below:

sdr funnel math

We see that we are making small improvements in the range of 20% (for appointments set per month/SDR) to about 36% (number of appointments accepted by Sales).

And yet, the cumulative impact is 180% increase in sales pipeline built

Not just Pipeline Metrics—Sales Metrics also Improve

In fact, you can argue that if you improve the quality of the pipeline (highly qualified and more motivated prospects in the pipeline), then the average closing ratio of your sales reps should also improve. After all, they are meeting with the right people who are also highly engaged.

If we assume we improved the average closing ratio by 25% (from 20% to 25%), then actual booked sales will improve by a whopping 250%–just from the above quality tweaks.

Training and Support–The Secret Sauce to SDR Funnel Math

Improving the SDR metrics and understanding SDR Funnel Math is the key to improving sales metrics. And the secret sauce to that is training and optimizing your existing SDR team.

Before you hire more people, fix these metrics. As an old mentor of mine used to say, “First, Nail it. Then, Scale it.”

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Let’s schedule a call to see if we can help you analyze your current SDR operations and see if there are any gaps that need to be addressed. Visit our homepage to learn more about us.

The Hidden Cost of Sales—Low SDR/BDR Performance

cost of sales

The Story Behind Rising Cost of Sales

According to HubSpot, the cost of new customer acquisition (cost of sales and marketing) has increased by 60% over the past six years or so.

What makes this even more alarming is that when we combine it with another finding in a 2019 Accenture study reporting that 80% B2B buyers are switching vendors at least once in a 24-month period.

What the heck, let’s add a third stat—a 2019 Salesforce study found that 57% of sales reps weren’t making their numbers.

I don’t know about you, but I am having a hard time reconciling these numbers. If 80% of B2B buyers are changing vendors within 24 months, how is it that 57% of sales reps have trouble making their numbers? Shouldn’t it be easy to win new customers?

Looks like there is more to the story here.

And to tell that story, I have to tell another one first. In the 1990s (feels like a century ago, doesn’t it?), Dell Computers was growing faster than any other company—growing at least 100% every year for many years. Needless to say, they didn’t miss their numbers much.

One strategy Dell used to grow that fast was to cut sales territories by half each year. Sales reps screamed in anguish how this would kill their income…and each year they made more money than ever before.

Why? Because they got to know their customers more intimately when their territories were smaller. They focused more, learned more, and became far better resources to their customers—who became raving fans of Dell and wouldn’t buy anything else.

It seems that’s the story with every company that is growing fast—Zoom, Amazon, Netflix, HubSpot, Salesforce…They all know their customers—deeply. They, therefore, don’t lose customers, and their customers only buy more and rave about them to others—which means their cost of customer acquisition is going down, not up.

cost of sales

The “Cost” in Cost of Sales

With that setup, let’s focus our discussion on what we mean by knowing your customers deeply. And for our discussion, I’m going to focus on just the front end—sales and marketing.

In most B2B companies, and especially those that sell to enterprise accounts, their “front end” consists of Marketing, Sales/Business Development (“SDRs”), and Sales. Each is focused on a specific operation. Marketing builds the top of the Funnel, SDRs focus on the middle funnel, and Sales focuses on converting the bottom funnel into revenues.

Unfortunately, In many of the companies we work with, only their best sales people truly understand their customers, and thereby close the largest deals and have the highest win rates. Alas, they make up maybe 10% of the entire “front end”. The rest barely know anything about their customers, let alone deeply understanding them.

The inevitable consequence of that lack of customer understanding? 

Marketing content that is too generic and doesn’t draw the right customers; SDRs not getting leads and sending their own generic emails that mostly lead to more unsubscribes; meetings that are canceled because prospects don’t see the value in keeping them; underwhelming pipelines forcing sales reps to spend their time generating their own leads rather than moving the sales pipeline to close.

In short…more sales reps missing their targets, leading management to hire more SDRs and sales reps in the hopes of making their numbers, leading the cost of sales to rise each year.

Before you spend more…

As yourself, in your company, who really deeply understands the customers? Who can talk for hours regarding the customers? Who is that person, “you can turn on your recorder, sit back and let them talk?”

How many will describe your customers in terms of: what they struggle with each day, what their priorities, concerns and goals are; how their company makes money and how they get compensated; what they have worked on for so long to get right, and what they are afraid could change to disrupt that? How many know where the customer’s industry is headed, where new competition, regulations, and other threats are?

Does your marketing team understand this clearly? Is that what they are building their marketing content on? Are they driving the right prospects into the top funnel for your SDRs?

Do your SDRs know this? When they pick up the phone and call a senior decision maker, do they clearly understand how they can eliminate the key pain/cost/risk of that person and improve their numbers by “X” amount? Can they articulate that? Can they book and keep meetings with highly qualified senior decision makers?

At the very least, hold off spending more until you know the answer to these questions.

The Hidden Cost of Sales

That is the hidden cost of sales for most companies—their SDRs/BDRs don’t really know how to engage their prospects to get quality meetings booked for their sales reps.

As a result, pipelines are not sufficient to hit revenue targets and too many of your sales reps are spending too much of their time prospecting rather than moving leads in the pipeline towards a successful close.

Unsupported SDRs/BDRs are the hidden cost of sales and there is a simple solution to fix that—support them with these SDR services.

Let’s schedule a call so we can discuss your specific environment, challenges, and potential solutions.

Quadrant 3: Customer Retention and Upselling to Drive Sales

customer retention

Quadrant 3 is all about encouraging existing customers to buy new products; generally upgrades, add-ons, and bundles. In general, the goal is to increase the number of products your customers use by about 15-20% per year. It may seem like a big ask, but keep in mind that, apart from Quadrant 2, these buyers have the lowest perceived risk — they’ve bought from you before and are going to be a lot more willing to buy from you again, studies show. Meanwhile, the chances of selling to a new prospect are between 5 and 20%; selling to an existing customer skyrockets to as much as 60-70%. 

It’s crucial to invest in 3rd Quadrant prospects as it’s been proven to yield massive ROI. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. In the following sections, we’ll be looking at the strategies industry leaders are using to drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

customer retention

Customer Support Strategy

The reduced risk factor for Quadrant 3 prospects is dependent on their elevated trust in your company. Make sure your customer support strategy continually renews their trust in you and keeps you fresh in their minds. 

This can be facilitated by having a scalable support infrastructure like chat and self-help portals that can offer painless and quick support to customers as they learn and use your products. You should also maintain good communication with customers in order to stay relevant and keep them educated on your products and updates as they come out. 

Keeping close contact with customers also yields valuable insights into their buying behavior, which can help when it comes to pitching new products to them down the line. Knowing your customers well (including their needs and pain points) translates into knowing what to suggest to them to make their processes more efficient. 

Customer Retention Strategies 

Quadrant 3 sales rely on offers like bundles, packages, and deals that incentivize customers to buy more products from you. Make sure you figure out which products are best paired together and create promotions that offer added value to the original products your customers want to buy. 

Automation can play an important role here, too. Use it to promote targeted marketing campaigns to customers based on what they’re already buying. For instance, if a customer is already buying product X, use marketing campaign A, and if they’re already using products X and Y, use campaign B. 

Sales reps should also be invested in these strategies. Train them on which products are to be recommended together and on how to pitch an additional product without coming off as too sales-y; customers want to know that you’re on their side and trying to add value to their purchase rather than simply selling to them. Management can build a compensation plan around account penetration to encourage Sales reps to fine-tune their upselling capabilities. 

Upselling Strategy

Everything discussed previously has essentially been strategies that support upselling, which is the main goal in Quadrant 3. Upselling is when you recommend additional products that will complement those the customer is originally buying. HubSpot has outlined some key strategies that support upselling and will ultimately drive Quadrant 3 sales. 

First, determine which product combos get the best results, both in sales and in customer satisfaction. You want to find combinations that make sense to customers when pitched (and can be backed up by proof, like with case studies or infographics) and that will ultimately add value to the customer’s original purchase. Tracking KPIs and asking for customer feedback can give some direction to these efforts and highlight which pairings you should be pushing. Oftentimes, segmenting customers by personas can help fine-tune which recommendations to provide and to whom.

Make sure your upselling strategy is based on integrity; you’re only hurting yourself if it’s done with anything less. Though upselling is generally very profitable, if customers sense they’re being taken advantage of or don’t find added value with the extra purchases you recommend, they’ll lose faith in your business and might churn. The products you upsell must be chosen with customer experience in mind, with the main goal of making them better, easier, or more efficient. 

To support upselling, make sure to consistently introduce new products that can complement one another. Releasing a new product every 2-3 years is recommended in order to keep complementary items current and relevant. 

Recapping

Quadrant 3 is a great place to invest selling resources and if your customer retention and upselling strategies are well-thought-out, it can bring in considerable ROI. Driving sales in this Quadrant is all about investing in an excellent and helpful customer support strategy that will build trust between your customers and your brand. Some key customer retention strategies can also help boost your upselling capacities to reach your maximum Quadrant 3 selling potential. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Quadrant 2: Customer Retention Strategy for Increased ROI

customer retention

Hubspot has shown that customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed by as much as 60% in recent years, making the customers that you do have that much more profitable to your business. As McKinsey notes, if you’ve already spent a sizable amount of time and money to acquire a new customer and they churn early in the process, you’ve lost out on the full potential revenue of that customer. Their study goes on to show that what’s separating top-performing companies from their competitors today is how efficient their customer retention strategies are. 

Customer retention is hugely important in today’s business world. Falling under the 2nd and 3rd Quadrants of the Four Quadrants of High Growth model, customer retention is all about encouraging existing customers to buy more一 either of what they’re already buying (Quadrant 2), or related products (Quadrant 3). Optimizing your customer retention strategy can lead to considerable perks.

Many companies tend to take their paying customers for granted, placing most of their marketing budget in Quadrant 1 and favoring customer acquisition over retention. Invesp found that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition whereas only 18% focus on retention. It’s only when unsatisfied customers churn (and their revenue is halted) that these companies realize how crucial it is to invest in Quadrants 3 and 4. More importantly, they see how important it is to see all the Quadrants as important sources of revenue rather than just the first. In a study by Invesp, 70% of informants reported that it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer, and indeed, existing customers are both 50% more likely to try new products and 30% more likely to spend more on them than new customers. Customer retention can be a game-changer if you invest in it. Bain & Company found that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI. That’s a five-fold return. 

Fortunately, there are a series of proven strategies that today’s industry leaders are using to boost customer retention and drive Quadrant 3, all of which will be discussed in the following sections. 

customer retention

 Customer Support Strategy

Your target audience in Quadrant 2 already uses your products and is familiar with your brand. In order to promote the likelihood of them ordering more from you down the line, make sure you have excellent customer support. You want to develop their trust in the idea that your company is helpful and easy to work with. That way, they’ll be incentivized to become more involved in your offerings and might even become open to buying other products (i.e., joining Quadrant 3) down the line. If customers are unsatisfied with your company after purchasing from you, they’ll be highly unlikely to order any more from you. Conversely, customers that feel well-connected to you through good customer support will be all the more likely to engage with promotional offers or discounts to buy more. 

Remember that, from your customers’ perspective, everyone who works in your company is there to support them一 that includes Marketing, Sales, and everyone else, for that matter.

Also, remember that the best support strategy is to continuously educate your customers on how to use your product better to realize the returns they are looking for.

Customer Journey & the Buying Process

Current customers who have already vetted and approved your company are among the most valuable contacts for marketing campaigns. Make sure to keep your brand at the top of their minds even after they’ve made their initial purchase with you. The best way to do this is through email marketing一 by offering them promotions, discounts, or even premium services as a perk for buying more. Try to send at least one promotional email a month to keep connected with your customers and make sure these campaigns incentivize them to buy more. Update customers on new features that increase ease of use and efficiency and let them know about related products they may be interested in. 

The buying process in this Quadrant should be as simplified and easy for the customer as possible. On your end, too, it should be very low-touch and standardized; automate as much as you can and shoot for the majority of your purchases in Quadrant 2 to be completed without the direct involvement of a Sales rep. The operations should resemble a self-serve portal where customers can easily order more of what they want and have those orders fulfilled immediately. Automate pricing, contracts, and order fulfillment to ensure the buyer’s journey stays as seamless as possible. 

KPIs & Strategy Sharing 

As with any business strategy, the best way to improve your effectiveness is by measuring and analyzing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). McKinsey found that customer retention success is best measured through customer-oriented metrics, such as website traffic, customer engagement time, response time, and conversion rate. However, other figures matter quite substantially here. The customer experience is important and metrics in customer frustration (perhaps with bugs on the website or with the products), a slow load time, or a poor onboarding experience can all highlight crucial areas that may need improvement. 

As these KPIs are analyzed and improvements are made based on them, make sure these valuable sources of information are not limited to just part of the company. Make sure that customer insights are shared across the entire organization, and specifically mutually updated by the Sales, Product, and Marketing teams. Feedback of this type will ensure an overall and constant improvement in customer retention that is propelled by a concerted effort across multiple departments. 

Recapping 

These days, it’s becoming increasingly more costly and time-consuming to acquire new customers, making it all the more important for companies to tap into the full potential of their existing customers in Quadrants 2 and 3. Quadrant 2 is all about encouraging customers to buy more of what they already use, and the key to maximizing this customer retention can be found through the following steps:

  • Grow trust in your company through excellent customer support 
  • Simplify and incentive the buying process
  • Track KPIs and share customer insights across the company 

Considering that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-95% ROI, customer retention is a great place to commit resources and boost sales. You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Three Ways to Categorize B2B Buyers

There’s a few different ways we like to categorize buyers. Though they are by no means fool-proof indicators of any individual’s behavior or preferences, these classifications can help us organize the strategies we use to educate different prospects at a more broad, macro level. 

In this discussion, we’ll be looking at three different categorizations of buyers, each of which will influence the content and strategies we use to educate them and move them along the funnel; 

  • Psychographic Buyer Types
  • Generational Differences
  • Buyer Readiness
buyer

Psychographic Buyer Types

The Psychographics of a B2B buyer tells us that person’s internal attitude towards change. Different people have widely varying openness to change一 from those who are the first to try something new, to those who will never willingly try something new, and to those in between.

Geoffey Moore, best selling author and leading B2B high tech marketing thought leader, describes three types of B2B buyers in his classic book, Crossing the Chasm.

Visionaries

Visionaries actively seek change and are constantly looking for a significant competitive advantage, a capability that does not exist yet, or a “game changer” that nobody else has. They like to see improvements in order of magnitude (5X, 10X) and cost is rarely the priority. Unlike the following two types, they are willing to accept projected ROI.

The messages that engage Visionaries are things like; game changer; dramatic; the first; the only; X times faster/better; cutting edge; “X factor.”

Pragmatists

Pragmatists take pride in being rational, practical, and objective in their decision-making process. They accept change as inevitable but do not precipitate it, and they don’t believe in “game changers.” They consider themselves rational and objective and are willing to take some risk for a proven level of reward. When researching solutions, they look for demonstrable incremental improvements, case studies, and quantifiable ROI. Importantly, the cost is not the primary concern, but it is factored in the ROI calculation.

The messages that engage Pragmatists are things like; proven; verifiable; demonstrable; incremental; have x number of the top 10 companies as customers.

Conservatives

Conservatives hate to change unless forced to do so due to regulation, customer demands, obsolete products, etc. They do not believe that things will get better. In fact, they really believe that things are getting worse, more complicated, harder to use, and expensive. 

For this group, cost and brand are everything. They typically buy the cheapest of something they already use all the time. They hate taking any risk, resist change, and deeply believe that the best things in this world have already been invented. They want things to remain the same—forever if possible. They don’t trust or like technology and hardly ever willingly embrace it. 

The messages that engage Conservatives are things like; oldest, most used; most popular; most trusted; award-winning; since 19XX.

Generational Differences

In addition to the psychographic element of a B2B buyer, generational differences add a significant layer of complexity in designing our marketing campaigns. The three dominant generations in the workforce today are Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials, all of whom have had majorly different experiences and involvement with technology and culture. These differences will influence the type of marketing that will most engage them.

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers tend to be highly individualistic and grew up in an era when “A-type” personalities were highly admired by employers. They are therefore generally very competitive in the workplace and not as collaborative. When buying, they generally prefer vendors that have extensive networks, and that are willing to let them access those networks.

Compared to the two other generations, they do the least amount of online research, preferring to use their networks to find new vendors. Unlike later generations, Boomers are more likely to want to talk to someone in real time, so it’s important to be reachable by phone by displaying contact info readily on your website and having a live person on the other end to answer it. Boomers also prefer conferences and webinars because these present venues that allow them to network.

Gen-Xers

Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers like to see data or evidence of a claim before moving forward with a solution. They seem to be more focused on improving organizational outcomes and become the most interested in productivity increases, process improvements, and revenue gains. In accordance with this, they will need to see demonstrable evidence of any claims you make during the Marketing process. 

Gen Xers are tech-savvy and don’t have a problem with any digital channel; they will comfortably chat, email, text, and call. They also don’t mind attending conferences and other physical events to learn about solutions. Importantly, while communication doesn’t have to be formal, Gen Xers expect it to be professional.

Millennials 

Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials make up over 70% of the workforce today. Roughly 51% of all B2B decision makers today are Millennials. When searching for a vendor, they tend to look for characteristics surrounding a company’s values. They want to understand the vendor’s vision on that particular subject and whether it is something they can support. In fact, a survey from Deloitte found that 90% of Millennials today view the success of a business through more factors than simple performance; they’re likely to take into consideration the employee satisfaction, the company’s integrity, and environmental concerns where applicable. 

Millennials prefer to engage digitally, preferring a Zoom meeting to a live one because they find it more efficient. They need lots of content in all types of digital media—documents, videos, podcasts, recorded and live webinars, and more. They’re also much more receptive to chatting casually and virtually than other demographics. As such, chat boxes on website pages can go a long way with them.

Buyer Readiness

As explained in our white paper on Prospect Education, a third way to classify Prospects is by the stage of buyer readiness they’re at in their buyer’s journey. The levels of Buyer Readiness indicate how aware they are of their problem and how engaged they are with finding a solution for it. We can use this classification as a way to further narrow down the messaging we should be sending to Prospects, as not every Prospect is at the same level of Readiness as others, and will therefore need messaging that reflects how far they are along the buyer’s journey. 

Level 1: Prospects with No Clue

These prospects are oblivious and unengaged, just beginning to feel and take note of a pain point in their business. However, they may not know that it’s a problem yet or, if they do, they won’t know how to fix it. They’ve begun some light research into the symptoms of their problem and are starting to understand the various potential options they have to solve it down the line. For those that are clueless, the marketing challenge is immense. You need a way to deliver messaging to them, which generally comes from Lead Generation content such as blogs, infographics, or online ads.

Level 2: Exploring Prospects 

Exploring Prospects are interested but not yet engaged. They’re fully aware of the problem they’ve been experiencing and are actively seeking to solve it. They’ll be researching all of the products available to them and interacting the most with those whose content is the most informative and relevant to their needs. 

At this stage, they should have ample access to relevant and helpful information in order to learn more about how they may solve their problem. They likely won’t be ready to talk with Sales until they’ve learnt enough about the issue and their options to solve it.  

Level 3: Actively Searching Prospects

Actively searching and fully engaged prospects are deep in their buying journey and have likely narrowed their list down to a few options that have stood out to them along the way. They’re now searching for the final information that will let them decide on which solution to employ to solve their original problem. 

Content at this stage should be targeted for those at this advanced level of buyer readiness, like comparisons between your product and your competitors’ or more in-depth content like case studies and white papers. 

It needs to be pointed out that a “Contact Us” form will not cut it here. You must provide them with a way to schedule either a demo or a call with one of your sales reps, on their own and see that the meeting is set on their calendar as confirmation.

Recapping

These three categories (Psychographics, Generations, and Levels of Buyer Readiness) should greatly inform how you target your messaging when educating Prospects. Though we covered the essential information of each category and what messaging works best for them here, you can read a much more in-depth profile of these marketing strategies and possible solutions for your company in this white paper. 

Additionally, you can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How Prospect Education Can Drive the Sales Funnel

The Sales Funnel is a way of defining the process Prospects will go through when getting educated enough to want to meet with Sales. In the following sections, we’ll be breaking down the three stages of the Sales Funnel that make up the buyer’s journey. Additionally, we’ll highlight which Prospect Education content will be the most helpful to Prospects at each stage. Content is becoming increasingly important in the B2B Marketing world today. Studies have shown that the use of Prospect Education content is now one of the top strategies for 77% of B2B marketers. 

Because these stages relate to different levels of engagement and awareness, the content that should be sent out to buyers will differ depending on what is the most relevant to their interest level. What’s important to note here, too, is that actively searching and fully engaged prospects will enter the funnel from the top like everyone else一 but will then progress through the stages very quickly, hence why it’s so helpful for Marketing to nurture Educated Prospects to meet with Sales.

Prospect Education is the best way to drive the Funnel; attracting more prospects to the Top and helping others advance to the Bottom and eventually on to meet with Sales.

prospect education sales call

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

The Top of Funnel (TOFU) is where your prospects begin their buyer’s journey. Depending on what level of Buyer Readiness each individual prospect is at, the speed at which they progress through the funnel will vary. 

Before prospects can reach the TOFU stage, they must first get acquainted in some way with your company. Demand Generation content is broad, less targeted content that’s meant to attract new prospects to your funnel. This type of content should be created to attract the most people possible and to be broadcasted easily to a large population. The emerging strategies Marketers use today are mainly SEO (optimizing access to blogs, podcasts, or other content) and online ads (perhaps on Google, Facebook, or YouTube), which can all attract attention to, or at least spark awareness of, new products. 

In engaging with this material, the Prospect is sent to a landing page that describes the asset and if they are interested, they’ll fill out their contact information (typically start with just first name, last name, email, and title). Then, they’ll get added to the top of funnel. 

For these unaware Prospects, having online content readily available is the only way for them to find their way into your funnel. Additionally, for Prospects who are already aware of their problem and are close to purchase-ready, letting them find your content is the best way to escalate them quickly through to the Sales level.

Once a prospect is added to the top of funnel, they’ll therefore need quite a bit of education and nurturing before they may graduate to later funnels, and they often repeat the cycle in TOFU a couple of times before progressing. 

What prospects need at this stage is lead generation content, which is generally shared with them through email nurturing. This will still be very broad and educational in nature一 no need to give them the hard sell just yet. Instead, it will build up trust over time as they slowly start to recognize their problem and realize the power of your solution. Light, easily digestible content like relevant blogs, short quizzes, or engaging infographics can all educate buyers at this level. 

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) 

As TOFU prospects engage with the content you send them in their targeted nurture emails (clicking, downloading, etc.), they’ll eventually work their way down the funnel to the middle, at which point the marketing content to be sent to them will become a little more specific and targeted. 

MOFU prospects make up about 20-30% of your target market and have generally already begun to have conversations with Sales to assess their options. At this point, Marketing’s job is to give them all the information they need to see why your company is their best option. This content will be more specific to your solution in particular and can take on a more aggressive sales approach. Content like buyer guides, case studies, white papers, third-party analyses of your product, and competitor comparisons are all good options for prospects in this range.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Once the prospect has narrowed down their options to a select shortlist and has started looking at pricing, they can be moved to the more Sales-oriented level at the bottom of the funnel. Clicking on the demo/meeting request button will also instigate this. BOFU prospects represent around 3-5% of your target market and are already fully aware of their problem and of their options in resolving it一 they just need to find which product is the best fit. 

Actively searching prospects will advance to this level quickly if Marketing educates them effectively when they initially reach the TOFU. Otherwise, prospects can reach this level through extensive prospect education during their buyer’s journey. 

BOFU engagement will lean more towards the Sales side of Marketing, with the ultimate goal being to book a chat with a Sales rep and sign a deal. Chats about pricing, appointments, and deliverables, and customer testimonials will all be relevant to BOFU prospects at this point.

Recapping

Having the right content in Prospect Education available to Prospects during their buyer’s journeys will help them advance down the Funnel and encourage them to eventually meet with Sales. It’s important to have content available that will meet them where they are in their buyer’s journeys. To read more about this type of Prospect Education, and why it’s so important post-Pandemic, click here.

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Educating Prospects: Why It’s Crucial in 2021

The Pandemic changed how we do business in countless ways, and the business leaders who have thrived post-Pandemic have been those who have adapted their strategies to the new demands of their clients. In any business world, but especially that which we’re seeing today in the wake of the Pandemic, educating prospects is crucial in order to ultimately meet with a Sales rep. In the following sections, we’ll be talking about how buyer behavior has changed due to the Pandemic and how the savviest (and successful) thought leaders in B2B Marketing have adapted their Prospect Education to thrive in today’s new business landscape. 

educating prospects

How the Pandemic Changed Buyer Behavior

When the Pandemic hit, the business world was pushed almost completely into the online realm. This reshaped how B2B buyers and sellers interact with each other and business in general. Since much of the buying process went virtual, many buyers shifted their approach to online buying. Reportedly, 68% of B2B buyers now prefer to do most of their product research online—before ever meeting a Sales rep, and even partly as a prerequisite to meeting one. 

When Prospects start realizing they have a problem in their business, they’ll go online to research what it may be and how they may solve it. Often, they’ll come across a variety of products and will then research each promising one to narrow down the ones they’d like to talk to a Sales rep about. During this buyer’s journey, they’ll engage with different types of content that they may come across online; blogs, white papers, videos, infographics, and more. 

Buyers today are used to finding most of their product information online and independently, meaning that they’ve taken much of the Prospect Education you need them to have about your products into their own hands. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you react to this shift. If you have an abundance of relevant, helpful content out there for them to find in their research, this could actually optimize your Sales process. However, the content they use to make a decision could just as easily be that which they find on your competitor’s site… 

What this means for Marketers is that it’s important, now more than ever, to meet Prospects at every stage of their buyer’s journey with relevant, helpful content that will give them the information they need to advance down the Sales Funnel. 

The Three Levels of Buyer Readiness

One way we like to classify Prospects is by the stage of buyer readiness they’re at in their buyer’s journey. As Prospects move along the buyer’s journey, they follow a fairly predictable route that begins with them being oblivious to their problem and eventually ends with them realizing their issue and actively searching for solutions. It’s crucial to understand and break down the various levels that each buyer traverses along this journey to target them with the correct content for the stage they’re currently at. In other words, someone who isn’t currently sure of what problem they’re having isn’t going to want to see a case study just yet. 

Level 1: Prospects with No Clue

These prospects are oblivious and unengaged, just beginning to feel and take note of a pain point in their business, but they may not know that it’s a problem yet or, if they do, they won’t know how to fix it. They’ve begun some light research into the symptoms of their problem and are starting to understand the various potential options they have to solve it down the line. For those that are clueless, the marketing challenge is immense. You need a way to deliver messages to them, which generally comes from Lead Generation content such as blogs, infographics, or online ads.

Level 2: Exploring Prospects 

Exploring Prospects are interested but not yet engaged. They’re fully aware of the problem they’ve been experiencing and are actively seeking to solve it. They’ll be researching all of the products available to them and interacting the most with those whose content is the most informative and relevant to their needs. 

At this stage, they should have ample access to relevant and helpful information to learn more about how they may solve their problem. They likely won’t be ready to talk with Sales until they’ve learned enough about the issue and their options to solve it.  

Level 3: Actively Searching Prospects

Actively searching and fully engaged prospects are deep in their buying journey and have likely narrowed their list down to a few options that have stood out to them along the way. They’re now searching for the final information that will let them decide on which solution to employ to solve their original problem. 

Content at this stage should be targeted for those at this advanced level of buyer readiness, like comparisons between your product and your competitors’ or more in-depth content like case studies and white papers. 

It needs to be pointed out that a “Contact Us” form will not cut it here. You must provide them with a way to schedule either a demo or a call with one of your sales reps, on their own and see that the meeting is set on their calendar as confirmation.

Why it is Critical to Educate Prospects

As mentioned above, prospects these days like to complete the majority of their buyer’s journey before they meet with a Sales rep. In fact, a study found that around 70% of B2B buyers both define their needs and locate various solutions before agreeing to meet with reps, meaning that what buyers today want is not to be sold to, but instead to be assisted along their purchasing process with the right information that will supplement what they already know. 

It is critical to educate prospects along their journey so that they have all the information they need to want to book a meeting with Sales. We already know that this is the case with B2C; it’s been shown that consumers are 131% more likely to buy after being exposed to early-stage educational content. Keeping in mind the human behind a B2B decision-maker, we can apply this knowledge to the B2B realm to understand just how important prospect education is. Indeed, a study found that 96% of companies agree that customer education is important, whereas another study showed that 69% of B2B marketers point to relevant content as the most effective tactic for lead nurturing. In short, the more educated prospects are when they meet with a Sales rep, the higher the likelihood that they’ll make the deal. It’s up to marketing to educate prospects so that the leads that Sales receives are all actively searching for solutions and are fully engaged with the product. 

In a day of a majority-virtual purchasing process, the products with the most relevant content will win the most meetings with Sales reps and ultimately earn the most closed deals. Since actively searching and fully engaged prospects are the readiest to buy, the only question now is from whom.

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How to Write Engaging B2B Email Sequences

As email marketing has become the most effective way to initiate contact with leads today, thoughtfully coordinated and targeted email sequences can drive curiosity and engagement in prospects — which will prepare them to eventually schedule an appointment with a Sales rep. Understanding your audience when crafting email marketing campaigns is vital to sending out content that will engage leads. As the bridge between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement can play a functional role in managing and automating these emails. 

b2b email marketing sales enablement business development representative bdr training.png

Email Sequences and the Pandemic

During the pandemic, as the push towards virtual business incentivized Business Development Reps (BDRs) to transition their work online, email marketing became the new strategy for contacting leads before calling them. Though email marketing is certainly a wise choice for this, many BDRs were not adequately trained to write compelling emails to connect with leads, especially given how sudden the urge was to shift to virtual engagement.

Many resorted to sending out overused (and, as a result, ineffective) template emails from their prospecting tools that garnered little attention. The result was a series of unpromising emails that didn’t reflect the full selling potential of the company. Worse, they lacked the compelling content needed in emails to spark interest in leads. 

Centrally approved messaging and email sequencing are now the most effective ways to help BDRs meaningfully connect with leads through email marketing. These strategies save the BDR from having to create their own messaging and content and instead will equip them with a library of targeted messaging crafted by Marketing and Sales Enablement. 

Email Sequencing That Makes an Impact

To craft impactful email marketing campaigns, the customer must come first. Sales Enablement should use an intimate understanding of the target audience (e.g., busy executives) to craft compelling emails that will stand out from the rest. High-level decision makers budget their time and read emails on the go; hence, email content should be highly scannable, focused, and bring unique value to the recipient. 

Each email should also use numbers, easily scanned bullet points, and short-form content (e.g., checklists, infographics) to share meaningful information. Each email should be connected to 6-9 emails that altogether educate and inspire trust in the recipient gradually. 

Prospect engagement content should also be distributed with these email sequences, resulting in a streamlined catalog of messaging for BDRs that supports approved positioning. The end goal for any communication should be to educate the recipient enough on the product to encourage them to call or meet with a Sales rep. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Email Sequencing

As a liaison between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement’s primary role in email sequencing should be to ensure that the right content is created and is targeting the right persona profiles. There should be a robust and continuously updated library of content available to BDRs, and Sales Enablement should ensure that BDRs are comfortable accessing key content to share with leads. 

To build on this training, Sales Enablement should also educate BDRs on the various persona profiles they’ll be contacting in order to help them locate which emails and email sequences they should use when initiating contact. 

On the technological side, Sales Enablement should oversee that these emails are collected into thoughtfully arranged sequences with specific personas in mind, as well as including differentiation between inbound and outbound audiences to deliver specific and on-point messaging. 

Operational support in Sales Enablement will also play a large part in automating the sending of each email a sequence. This will give BDRs more time to focus on what matters most in their role: connecting with leads. 

Recapping

Email sequencing is an important part of email marketing in today’s world. Writing engaging emails and making sure they get sent in the right order and to the right people are both roles that Sales Enablement teams can adopt. To read more about how Sales Enablement can drive sales through email sequencing, click here
You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

The Innovative Content That Engages Leads to Talk With Sales Reps

Engaging online content is quickly becoming one of the most important resources available to Business Development Representatives (BDRs) today. As email marketing has become the most efficient way to initiate contact with leads, BDRs are turning to prospect engagement content to get attention and pique interest when sending out emails. In the following sections, we’ll look at why content is so important today, as well as what types of content BDRs need and what roles Sales Enablement can adopt in managing and creating content. 

innovative engaging content email marketing business development representative bdr sales enablement

Why Content is So Important for Engagement Today  

Because emailing is the rising medium for lead engagement today, one of the most effective ways to pique interest in any communication with a prospective customer is to share compelling, high-quality content.

Email marketing is used to connect with leads before calling them over the phone. During this stage of the buyer’s journey, relevant and helpful information should be shared with leads over email to educate them on the product and inspire a willingness to meet with a Sales rep. The goal is to engage leads enough over email so that when a BDR calls them, they’ll already have the information they need to want to book an appointment to talk with a Sales rep. 

BDRs, then, will need an array of engaging and compelling content to send to leads over email. This content should be specific, highly targeted for specific persona profiles, and come in multiple mediums to reflect the modern trends of today. Additionally, having set email sequencing available to BDRs can streamline and optimize this process. Click here for more information on email sequencing. 

The Types of Content That Best Engage Leads

In a hugely virtual world today, having modern and interesting content is essential to stand out from the crowd. We once lived in an era where PowerPoint seemed fresh and modern, but nowadays, the content that’s most likely to pique a lead’s interest will look a little different. 

Sales Enablement will want to make a wide variety of content available in various mediums, many of which should be easily shareable online. Types of content in this area can include blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, ebooks, product demo decks, podcasts, infographics, presentations, mobile apps, articles, social media, websites, games, online demos, and tutorials. The key is to have content that’s targeted to the specific industries and personas it will be shared with and to create it with engagement in mind.

These bits of informational content are designed to move curious but unconvinced middle-of-the-funnel prospects to a level of high interest and a willingness to meet with Sales. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Content Management

With a robust library of content available to them, BDRs will be well-prepared to engage with more leads and with more success. However, it’s just as important that BDRs be well-versed with what content they can and should send and to whom. For Sales Enablement, a vital part of BDR training should cover content awareness. Additionally, sales coaching should highlight which content to use for which persona profiles. 

The content should also be stored in an easily accessed and organized content library, which can be facilitated through the use of content management tools like Google Docs. 

Finally, Sales Enablement teams should track the dispersal of their content and enforce what content needs to be sent out by BDRs to promote better sales. Using KPIs in CRMs like SalesForce can aid Sales Enablement in the collecting of this information. 

Recapping

As email marketing has become more efficient in lead engagement today, the content that BDRs use to pique the interest of their leads should be of vital importance to the Sales Enablement team. Modern engagement content includes persona-targeted items in varied mediums to stand out. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How Business Leaders are Optimizing BDR Training in 2021

The pandemic pushed a lot of businesses to change how they operate, including those in the B2B selling space. As Sales Enablement has adopted a wider role in business today, we’ve started to see shifts in how business leaders train their BDRs (Business Development Reps). In the following sections, we’ll look at which new practices in the traditional BDR training model have optimized BDR performance in today’s business environment. 

business development representative bdr training

KPIs for BDR Training

Careful tracking of some key performance indicators can highlight specific areas where training should be focused. CRMs like Salesforce and prospecting tools like Outreach both offer effective solutions to track these figures, which can then apply to BDR training programs to track progress, quotas, and areas for improvement. 

Some essential KPIs include: 

  • Average sales cycle length
  • Average deal size 
  • Time to Revenue
  • Quota attainment 
  • Lead conversion rate 
  • Content usage 
  • Sales funnel transition rates 
  • Number of closed deals 

Finding gaps in knowledge or ability is essential in BDR training because it gives direction to what Sales Enablement needs to focus on.

Optimized Training Sessions

Using analysis from KPIs, Sales Enablement can craft highly effective BDR training programs that borrow from some findings of business leaders today.

It’s been shown that 87% of B2B sales training content is forgotten within 30 days (Gartner), which means that the norm of infrequent or even once yearly training sessions has to go. Many Sales Enablement programs today are shortening their BDR training sessions — but also increasing their frequency. Sharing information more often and in more easily processed chunks allows Sales Enablement to reinforce old information and update training as new developments surface. It’s also been shown that continuous training can raise sales rates by as much as 50%. 

Additionally, BDRs are often on the go or in between meetings, and so while having live training sessions is certainly helpful, it can also be wise to include virtual, more convenient options within a BDR training program. Mixing up the format can also help retain attention and engagement among BDRs. Monthly newsletters, games, or interactive videos can all reliably share information while engaging viewers even while being online and remote. 

BDR Training Packs

One of the best ways Sales Enablement can equip BDRs to succeed is through a thoughtfully crafted BDR training package. Effective BDR packs give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The fundamental elements of an effective BDR training pack are industry briefs, persona profiles, and discovery call guides. 

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. They share information with BDRs about their lead’s industry’s growth rate, challenges, competitors, and more. 

In addition, persona profiles give BDRs a familiarity with the challenges and goals of the specific persona types they’ll contact within their targeted industries. This will enable them to make more personalized connections with the leads they contact. In fact, 93% of B2B decision-makers report being more likely to further consider a company if the outreach is personalized to them, making targeted, specialized approaches of the utmost importance to BDRs strategies.

Finally, discovery call guides equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Effective call guides give ​​BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training packs, click here

Recapping

The pandemic has pushed many business practices to shift recently, and in order to equip BDRs with the skills they’ll need to succeed in this new business environment, Sales Enablement should optimize their BDR training. This includes tracking KPIs for training purposes, updating BDR training practices, and providing highly effective BDR packs. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Three Things Sales Enablement should include in BDR Training Packs

In the increasingly competitive market today, connecting with leads can be challenging for BDRs. Often, the difference between a successful cold call (one that ends in setting an appointment) and an unsuccessful one is as simple as how efficiently the Business Development Rep (BDR) can talk with prospects. Often, BDRs are the first people that prospects will interact with during the purchasing process, meaning that their training must be a top priority for any Sales Enablement program.

Keep in mind that most companies hire junior-level people to work as BDRs, who then have to talk business with people who are necessarily senior-level decision makers. Unfortunately, many BDRs simply don’t have the experience to lead effective conversations with senior-level decision makers and they struggle to engage them enough to want to meet with Sales.

As the first contact between your company and leads, it’s important that BDRs are educated enough on current business topics relevant to your prospects’ industries to have meaningful and efficient conversations with them. Sales Enablement programs can craft BDR training packs that’ll give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The following will cover the three most important types of content Sales Enablement should include in BDR packs. 

BDR Training Content #1: Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. Intimate knowledge about the target industry is the first step in crafting compelling reasons as to why the product is relevant and to have meaningful connections with leads. 

Industry Briefs in BDR packs should describe the:

  • Industry at large
  • Growth Rate
  • Basis of Competition
  • Key Challenges 

When Sales Enablement gives BDRs this solid, broad basis of information, they will empower them to have interesting and helpful interactions with the leads they connect with. A knowledgeable and well-trained BDR can ultimately foster trust with your company and encourage leads to talk with Sales. 

business development representative having sales enablement training meeting

BDR Training Content #2: Persona Profiles

With the industry already in mind, Sales Enablement should also focus BDR training on the specific personas they’ll be reaching out to. That way, BDRs can come from a place of familiarity with a prospect’s industry while also connecting with them on a more personal level. Sales Enablement programs can give BDRs the focused and relevant information on each of the target persona types that will allow them to make more meaningful personal connections with leads, thereby increasing their willingness to talk with Sales. 

Persona Profiles in BDR packs should describe the persona’s:

  • Responsibilities 
  • Goals
  • Key Concerns

This information, in conjunction with a more broad familiarity with the lead’s industry, will give BDRs the insights to connect more efficiently with leads. In a market where buyers are becoming increasingly difficult to reach (especially over the phone), Sales Enablement’s efforts in this area will boost appointment set rates. 

business development representative training on how to create persona profile

BDR Training Content #3: Discovery Call Guides

With the above background information in place, the next important step for Sales Enablement programs is to equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Discovery Call Guides can boost the efficacy of BDR training packs by giving BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. 

Discovery Call Guides in BDR packs should give them:

  • Strategies to open calls professionally
  • Key messaging to use
  • Opening questions that will quickly qualify leads
  • Tactics to lead conversations to appointments with Sales
  • Voicemails to leave if applicable 

A recent study found that BDRs who asked 11-14 questions on a call had over 70% success rates, whereas those who had less suffered up to a 30% lower success rate. Having the right training can make a surprising difference in whether or not your BDRs book appointments. Discovery call guides are vital to standardizing and optimizing how BDRs engage leads over the phone. 

business development representative training to make discovery calls

Recapping

Effective BDR training packs can empower relatively inexperienced BDRs to stand out in today’s competitive business environment. Quickly making solid and personalized connections with leads over the phone is an important way to set appointments with Sales, and Sales Enablement can dramatically increase BDRs’ effectiveness in this role through optimized BDR training packs. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training, click here

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3 Prospecting Strategies and Why They’re Effective

High Performance Prospecting Strategies  

Prospecting is how companies find new business—it’s the process of searching for potential buyers for your company. But you’re not looking for just any customer. Prospecting identifies buyers who would be a good fit for your products, which increases the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts. This is crucial for any company’s success.

Read on to discover the three key steps to high performance prospecting. 

Planning

Start by determining your goals for your prospecting efforts. What concrete results do you want to see? Set a quota that you want to reach, and then make a concrete plan detailing how you will reach that quota.

Create a short, 1-2 page GOSPA (Goals > Objectives > Strategies > Plans > Activities) to solidify your plan to reach your prospecting quota. You must directly connect Objectives with Activities using realistic numbers and ratios. 

By creating a detailed and concrete prospecting plan, you lay the foundation for your success. This process ensures that your prospecting efforts will deliver demonstrable results.

Intriguing 

Now that you have identified your likely buyers, it’s time to catch their attention. This step involves your company’s value proposition, which identifies your unique offering to customers. What do you have to offer? What can you do better than everyone else? What’s your specialization? This is what your value proposition should explain.

Sales calls are one of the most effective ways to intrigue buyers. They’re quick, easy, and they give you the chance to connect with buyers as individuals. Plus, responses to sales calls demonstrate more interest than responses to emails. So, you receive higher quality leads from your sales calls, which is exactly what you want your prospecting strategies to deliver.

You might be wondering, what if they don’t pick up? If your call is sent to voicemail, that’s no problem—just leave your 10-second value proposition as a voicemail. A well-crafted value proposition will generate interest in any format.

Qualifying and Scheduling

All the processes you’ve completed up to this point work toward the ultimate goal of making a sale. Now, you must ensure that your planning and hard work will pay off.

Create a clear qualifying process that prioritizes the most important, must-have criteria for your leads before the nice-to-haves. You want your prospecting strategies to result in highly qualified leads who are motivated to schedule appointments with sales. Keep this goal in mind as you determine your qualifying criteria.

Prospecting: Final Thoughts

Planning, intriguing, qualifying, and scheduling: these are the key ingredients for your high performance prospecting strategy. Throughout each step, remember your ultimate goal of increasing sales—this will substantiate your decision-making as you build your prospecting strategy. When done right, prospecting strategies will increase the efficacy of your marketing campaigns and deliver more qualified leads to your sales reps. 

To read the complete guide to high performance sales and marketing, download this playbook