6 Ways to Improve Your SDR Workflow

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 1.14.59 PMWorking late again? In a fast-paced environment where task management and focus are always a priority, it can be challenging to get everything done during the regular 9 to 5 grind.

When there are only so many hours in the day, it’s critical to make the most of them. Avoid extra hours with these 6 tips to help you work smarter and become more productive.

1. Create a Daily Calendar. Knowing what you need to accomplish before you even start your day helps you focus on what’s pressing and what can wait. Dedicate a focused block of time at the beginning of each week for buyer research instead of leaving it for a few minutes before the call. This helps ensure you’re ready, not rushed, when you speak to a prospect.

Another scheduling tip: set aside time to read and respond to email, rather than responding reactively as you receive new messages. Depending on how crazy your inbox looks, set aside enough time to respond to any action items—don’t let your email become something that pulls you off task.

2.  Improve Inbox Management. When your inbox is organized, you spend less time in it because you only see the emails that are important. Organize your inbox with labels, folders and categories and take action immediately once you open an email(even if that means just placing it into a folder) . This way, messages that need to be dealt with don’t stack up. Also, unsubscribe to newsletters that don’t provide value and change settings for social app notifications so that whatever makes it to your inbox is actually important.

3. Avoid Useless Meetings. If a meeting isn’t necessary and you can help it, skip it. Many problems can be handled through email or over the phone instead of bringing everyone into a meeting. You can dedicate a certain amount of time to internal meetings, but protect all other time for prospecting. Consider keeping all meetings short and excuse yourself when your involvement is no longer needed. Too often, meetings get sidelined by unproductive chatter or teammates wanting to voice their opinion when it might not be necessary. Make sure your team respects and values each other’s time by limiting the number of unnecessary meetings and ensuring an agenda is set for the ones you do have to ensure they’re productive.

4. Use a Social Media Management System. Apps like Hootsuite help keep all your social media activity centralized so it’s easy to monitor hashtags, replies and mentions across all of your profiles. By setting up a social media management system, you can easily share content  and engage with prospects quickly. This helps to build relationships that could lead to calls.

5. Use Email Management Tools. Tools like SaneBox work on top of your email account. This software prioritizes important emails and summarizes the rest so you can get a quick snapshot of your inbox at a glance.

6. Automate Administrative Activities. Admin activities are a headache for most people. Use pipeline automation platforms to automate administrative activities. These apps free up time by auto-updating your CRM, so you can focus on selling instead of mindless data entry.

There might be some growing pains at first, but once you’ve analyzed how you spend your time and adjust it accordingly, the benefits trump any initial headaches. Though making changes can take some time, if you’re deliberate in the way manage your workflow and consider the above six ways to improve, we guarantee that you’ll see an improvement in your productivity. No thanks necessary.

 

How Your Open Rates Are Lying To You: What To Track Instead

Outbound prospecting is hard work, but it’s worth it. Prospecting teams can grow your pipeline much faster than inbound marketing or partnerships. According to a study by MarketingProfs.com, outbound is the #1 most effective form of b2b lead generation. Outbound prospecting is also an effective way to break into new markets. Experts use outbound to gather intel on specific customer profiles by experimenting with new messaging.

IMG_0291In order to effectively tweak and improve your outbound email campaigns, it’s important to record and measure the volume and quality of replies you receive using each outbound email template.

‘Open Rate’ and ‘Reply Rate’ data can tell you how many people engage with your emails. But the best way to gauge the ultimate effectiveness of your templates is by measuring ‘Positive Reply Rate’.

Open Rates and Reply Rates don’t tell the full story

The best way to measure the effectiveness of your messaging is by tracking the number of closed deals each template generates. But what if your sales cycle is six months?

For most sales teams it’s impractical to run A/B tests on templates based on long-term close rates. Instead, most outbound prospecting teams measure Open Rates or Reply Rates to compare email template effectiveness and optimize their campaigns.

Open Rates and Reply Rates tell you that people are engaging with your message; however, they don’t tell you if recipients understand what you do and whether they are interested in learning more. There’s no reliable indication of whether the lead is more likely to become your customer; it’s not uncommon for email campaigns with 6% reply rates to generate more meetings than campaigns with reply rates of over 15%.

Positive Reply Rates tell a fuller story

Here at Predictable Revenue, our clients use the Carb.io platform to classify every response as Positive, Neutral, or Negative, capturing actionable data:

Positive
“I’m available for a call”
“I’m the right person”
“I’m referring you”
“Contact me later”

Neutral
“I’m out of office”
“I need more info”
“I’ve passed this on”
Bounce Notice

Negative
“This is not for us”
“Unsubscribe me”

How Positive Reply Rates Increase Your Close Rate

Positive replies signify that the sales rep has earned permission to present a ‘Call To Action” to the prospect, such as “Are you available for a call”. This indicates the prospect has advanced down the funnel and is more likely to become a customer. Conversely, relying on Total Reply Rate only indicates the customer replied, which could mean the email was antagonizing, annoying, or simply not of interest.

Because Positive Reply Rate signifies the prospect is interested, not just that he or she has replied, tracking Positive Reply Rate helps sales leaders increase campaign effectiveness and produce warm conversations faster.

5 Simple Tips for Determining Lead Quality

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When most people think about developing leads, quantity is often the focus. Hiring more sales reps and front-loading seems to be the default practice of most organizations—whether they’ve actually thought about the process or not. While an increase in sales leads is always a goal, marketing and sales teams should really be focusing on the quality of leads, not just quantity.

Aaron always tells our clients that even if you have a crummy sales process, if you have an excellent system of generating qualified leads, you’re going to do well. It may seem like a lot of work to qualify leads, but it ends up saving you and your sales team a lot of valuable time. Plus, you’ll see an increase in converted leads.

What qualifiers should you use for ranking leads?

Two ways of measuring lead quality: analyze a prospect’s closing potential and revenue potential. Closing potential is how easily the lead will convert into an actual sale. Revenue potential is how much money that prospect could generate over a lifetime or a fixed period of time. How to determine this can be tricky. Just like figuring out which crops are worth your time to grow, qualifying leads will help you determine which to pursue.

1. Be Picky: Don’t Pursue Every Lead. Who’s your ideal customer profile (ICP)? What are some descriptors? What are their needs? Once you identify who your ideal customer is, only pursue leads that fit that description. Being picky will help your team focus on prospects that match your organization’s sweet spot and strategy.

2. Pay Attention: Nurture Your Leads. Because your leads are all at various stages in the buying process, ensure that there’s content that speaks to each level. One way of nurturing your leads is by analyzing the content prospects engaged with. Did they download a white paper about a certain topic or sign up for a webinar? Use these indicators to give you insight on where they are in the sales funnel and target content to them that speaks to that stage.

3. Focus on the Right Things: Track Conversion to Customer Rate. How are leads performing? Are they converting into paying customers? An offer with the best lead-to-opportunity conversion rate won’t always yield the best opportunity-to-customer conversion rate. See which offers are working and double down on that type of content to generate better qualified leads.

4. Work Smarter: Outsource. Employ third-party companies to help identify the habits and pains of your ideal customers. Outbound specialists can generate super-targeted lists of prospects for your team to target. They can also help you increase low email response rates by continually optimizing your email messaging.
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5. Go Old School: Ask the Right Questions. Distinguish good leads the old-fashioned way: by asking prospects the right questions (and getting the right answers). This method obviously requires more time than the others since you’ll have to reach out to every lead to build a profile; be selective about which companies you and your team spend time on the phone with.

While marketing and sales teams are often graded on the number of leads they generate, organizations clearly also need to take into account the quality of the leads. When it comes to evaluating your leads, determine the measure by which to sort and rank so you can better determine with whom to follow up. By cultivating the good leads and weeding out the bad, your team will soon see the benefits of prioritizing quality over quantity.