Here, we discuss how to make a strategic sales development action plan that can help boost the performance of your sales team, crush your revenue goals, and bring overall success to your organization. Read on to find out more.
In this article:
- Creating a Sales Improvement Plan from Relevant Data
Improve Your Business Strategy and Reach Goals With a Sales Development Action Plan
Creating a Sales Improvement Plan from Relevant Data
The post is about the data Gabe Larsen shared in the State of Sales Development report and how I think sales leaders should put that data into action. How to interpret, how to test, how to implement, etc., to create a business development action plan and improve your sales team’s performance.
There’s a lot of data in there, and I can put a spin on that data to see what may or may not work. I’ve been running sales and sales development teams for years and have utilized different compensation plans, gone to market strategies, and deployed different technology and processes, and I know some tactics work and some don’t.
So, I can take this from a practitioner perspective by utilizing the report findings and applying my own experiences with them. Doing this helps me identify and share possible solutions to achieve an effective sales business action plan for sales reps to follow.
Here are some points I observed with Gabe Larsen’s State of Sales Development report that are crucial in creating a business action plan to achieve your team’s sales goals.
1. Understanding the Relationship Between Compensation and Quota Attainment
I think the biggest item that struck me from this report was the negative correlation between compensation and quota attainment. To me, this shows a misalignment of performance-based results.
I’m a HUGE fan of performance-based compensation where the individual contributor (SDR, AE, etc.) receives compensation based on their direct influence of what they can control the most. This means SDRs are comped on qualified pipeline contribution and not only if the deal closes.
What is Performance-Based Compensation? With PBC, employees get paid based on the results of their direct effort or their sales performance, such as achievement or excess of quota.
The negative correlation from this report begs the misalignment between individual sales goal attainment and compensation. This goes in line with the next finding that 62.6% of organizations use closed deals to determine compensation, and for SDRs, that’s just not great.
That number is also up from 2017 so it’s becoming more widely adopted. Which again leads to the next data point about companies comping on pipeline generation report highest SDR quota attainment.
2. Identifying Activities Through Opportunities
The other area that I want to double click on (as Gabe would say!) is the activities through opportunities section. I made a lot of notes in these next few areas because this needs to be dialed in a bit.
For instance, on page 27, it says the average activities per day is 107.8. However, in the next graph between inbound and outbound reps, neither of those are above 100, so how is the average 107.8? This is the same with the other metrics.
One comparison is average by day, whereas some are average by month. Creating consistent alignment on those will help for comparison purposes.
What I think needs to be identified are directional paths toward activity-based results starting with calls/e-mails (and even separating the two), conversations, appointments booked, appointments held, opportunities created, and opportunities accepted. These could be averages per day/per month, as well as separating between inbound and outbound SDRs.
Ultimately, where I see this being important is compared to page 5.
On one hand, it’s easier to forecast outbound activities because it’s somewhat consistent from day to day. Whereas inbound can fluctuate based on the marketing plan and other marketing activities (email blasts, campaign blasts, new product blasts, etc).
Inbound creates more peaks and valleys, which is inconsistent call flow. So, the fact that inbound quota attainment is higher makes sense because it’s harder to predict inbound call flow.
Whereas outbound call flow is pretty static (60 dials per day, 30 emails per day, 15 conversations per day, one demo per day, etc.). Those benchmarks can be easily formulaic when determining pipeline contribution (average deal size) and revenue (average close rates).
So, activity-based KPIs can be peeled back a bit to see what kind of correlation can be drawn from outbound activities and quota attainment vs inbound.
3. More Activities But Fewer Commitments
Lastly, I think what’s really interesting on page 28 is that activities increased by over 10% between 2017 and 2018, but meetings held decreased by 20%! That’s crazy sauce!
More activity is leading to fewer commitments. This is an area I’m personally struggling with now—trying to create effective cadences from demo booked to demo held and what tactics work (email reminder 24 hours before and/or day of, text message reminders, accepting calendar invites at time of meeting booking, qualifying questions on demo booking, agenda setting, etc).
Clearly, there’s a need to produce some best practices to increase demo hold rates and all we are seeing now is that more activity isn’t yielding better results and revenue.
So that’s a start, but cadence activity is certainly interesting as well on page 34. Double-clicking into how long cadences last, how many touch points and through what channels is really interesting to see how those shift.
I’d even think separating those into < 90-day sales cycles vs > 90-day sales cycles could be really interesting as well. Qualification method is interesting, too.
These are three points I noted from Gabe Larsen’s sales development report. In making a sales development action plan for 2019, it’s important to address these past issues from the data presented in the report.
Looking for more materials that can teach you more about sales development and how to write a sales plan will also benefit your organization more.
As for me, I’m starting to become a fan of PACT (Pain, Authority, Consequence, Timing) from Trish Bertuzzi’s book, The Sales Development Playbook. I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to ask for these, but it’s a great qualification idea for sure.
Have you created your sales development action plan for 2019? What did you consider in coming up with a team and individual sales plan? Share what you came up with in the comments section below.