Optimal Metrics for Lead Generation

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Driving performance requires accurate and focused measures of performance.  This is especially the case for account development and lead generation teams.  I have recently been interviewing both XANT customers and non-customers (predominantly from the B2B High Tech/Services/Telecom industries) to identify the optimal metric to use when measuring the success of account development reps.  I found that these companies are actually using a wide array of criteria that include talk time, dials per day, appointments set, appointments held, and opportunities set.

The most successful teams, however, are all using some variation of opportunities set.  Specifically, the most common metric I heard is called TQO, or Totally Qualified Opportunities.  A TQO is an opportunity that actually contributes to the sales pipeline and has a close ratio that is within the same ratio as the existing sales process.  This metric provided much greater visibility than any of the others I saw.

Then I dug into the number of TQOs that an account development rep can reasonably achieve in one month.  This number ranges from 16 to 28, and seems to vary due to differences in industry, maturity of rep, list type and source, and company/product brand.  The maturity level of reps ranged from young (20 year old non-experienced) to 45+ veteran reps.  Generally speaking, reps in the companies I talked to were calling on Jigsaw-, ZoomInfo-, or InsideView-type cold lists.

The next metric I looked at were the metrics measuring reps’ effort.  These were also extremely varied, although I did find an interesting pattern.  Companies that sell higher ticket items (valued at $100k or more) tend to have fewer dials per day (between 75 and 100 dials per rep) and spend more than 50% of their time researching the companies they are calling.  In contrast, I found that reps in companies with lower cost items typically dialed twice as much—between 150 and 200 dials per day—and spent much less time researching.

So, in evaluating your own team, consider focusing on 20–24 monthly TQOs per rep as your primary success criteria.  Additionally, depending on your average revenue per customer, set the expectation that your reps achieve 100–200 dials per day, where they spend the rest of their time researching, networking and connecting with the people they are calling.

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