SDR Metrics: What to Expect from your Outbound & Inbound Teams

Author:

Catarina Hoch

SDR Metrics: What to Expect from your Outbound & Inbound Teams

Author:

Reading Time: 7 minutes

SDR Metrics: What to Expect from your Outbound & Inbound Teams

Catarina Hoch

VP Global Marketing - Operatix

SDR metrics are important to track, especially to understand if your outbound and inbound teams are performing in alignment with industry benchmarks.

It is common knowledge that Sales Development Reps play a fundamental role when it comes to pipeline generation. They are often the first point of contact your prospective customers will have with your brand, which makes the SDR function so strategic – though often undervalued.

SDRs have a hard job. They have to do the ‘dirty work’ that salespeople don’t have the time or inclination to do, they have to deal with rejection and be persistent in their approach without being perceived as being ‘too pushy’.

No one likes to receive a cold call, be interrupted by an unexpected e-mail or get an unsolicited connection request on LinkedIn, yet this is exactly what the SDR job is all about. Instead of thinking of their job as someone interrupting someone else’s job to ‘pitch’ their new shiny solution, SDRs should be seen as the messengers that will deliver the solution to your business problems.

Pipeline Generation

According to our internal research across more than 500 companies we supported over the past 10 years, SDRs are responsible for producing between 30 – 45% of the sales pipeline in B2B SaaS companies – this stat explains why the SDR function has been more valued than ever before and is making the race to hire good quality SDRs very fierce.  

The Bridge Group found that the median pipeline generated per SDR is $ 3 million/year. There is wide variation across companies — some generating less than $750K in pipeline while others exceed $10M per SDR annually.


For more insights into the world of B2B SaaS, check out our Sales Development Report 2021. Compiled using data from industry leaders, this report details the latest trends, how to businesses manage their SDRs and a financial overview of the market.

So, now we understand the importance and value of the Sales Development function, what kind of activity levels & productivity can you expect from your Sales Development team, and the SDR metrics you should measure?

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The median pipeline generated per SDR is $ 3 million/year

The Bridge Group – Sales Development Report 2021


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Inbound SDR Metrics

First, we need to make a distinction between Inbound X Outbound Reps. Inbound SDRs (also known as BDRs, LDRs or MDRs – see lexicon below to decipher acronyms) will be focused on following up on marketing-generated leads that often need further qualification and research to assess if they are a potential buyer and if they fit your company’s ICP.

Based on our internal benchmark, Inbound SDRs can handle on average 15 leads per day. These leads could be anything from whitepaper downloads, demo requests, event attendees, website enquiries, webinar registrations, etc

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Inbound SDR’s can handle on average 15 leads per day

We suggest that an average of 15 leads are dispositioned per rep daily, so they can do a thorough job in qualifying each lead on the following aspects:

  • Company level – is the company of the right size? Is it in the right Industry/vertical? 
  • Geography – is the company based in a region that your business can serve?
  • Job function / Seniority – is the person that made the enquiry within the correct department & seniority level to be in a position of authority or influence?

If the lead fits all of 3 elements listed above, the SDR’s job is to engage with the contact and understand more about their challenges and goals to then set up an introductory call with an AE.

If the seniority level is too low, the SDR’s job is to research and dig deeper to find higher-level decision makers within the company and engage with them.

Our internal data tells us that an inbound lead fulfilling all 3 of the above criteria happens in only 27% of cases, so most of the time the role of an Inbound SDR is focused on pro-active outbound activities. (More on this in our Inbound Response Management E-book).

It’s worth noting that for some companies, smaller deals will be handled by external partners or Inside Sales teams, that can follow through with the full sales cycle. 

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Inbound Leads Conversion Rates

Now that we know that each Inbound SDR can handle about 15 leads a day, what kind of conversion rates can you expect from inbound leads?

The obvious answer is: it depends.

Let us take an ideal scenario where all the 15 leads are demo requests or meeting enquiries – the conversion rate will be anywhere from 75 – 80% from lead to meeting.

In a less favourable scenario, where all the leads are e-book downloads, webinar attendees or content syndication leads, the expected conversion will be around 5-10%.

So, for you to be more certain about the conversion rates you can expect from your inbound leads, it’s best to assess your conversion rates based on historical data or work out a lead scoring system.

Be aware that while lead scoring is a great way to help prioritize lead follow ups, we believe that prospects would benefit from a more personalized touch. Too often we see companies with hundreds of leads sitting in their CRM systems waiting to reach a certain score and when they get a personal touch it’s often too late.

Based on our internal research, we’ve seen a 27% increase in conversion when an SDR is involved in a pre-scoring target being reached – not in a capacity of qualifying or selling, but more on an educational level. By engaging with the prospect using a consultative approach, an SDR team can steer them to some relevant content and genuinely help them in finding the information they are after.

Outbound SDR Metrics  

For Outbound SDR’s where their approach will be from cold, with often very little brand awareness from prospects, the conversion rates tend to be naturally lower if compared to Inbound reps. That means a higher activity volume needs to be put in, combined with a profile of rep often known as ‘hunter’.

Based on our 10 years of experience working across over 500 campaigns on behalf of our B2B SaaS customers, this is the level of activity expected from our Reps:

Outbound SDR productivity Operatix

As the graph demonstrates, an Outbound SDR should produce on average 15 meetings a month, with a dropout rate of 20%, meaning 12 meetings attained/month. 

These stats demonstrate the level of activities expected from an Outbound SDR, taking into consideration a multitouch approach of using phone + email + social selling techniques.

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An Outbound SDR should produce on average 15 meetings a month

The productivity of each rep will depend on multiple factors, such as:

  • Data quality
  • Tools
  • Resonance of the message
  • Seniority level of decision-makers your company is trying to sell into
  • Brand awareness
  • Rep experience
  • Level of qualification expected from each lead.

We dive deeper into each of those elements below:

Data quality: a clear set of data with validated email addresses, pre-opted in data and direct dials means your rep will spend less time profiling contacts and trying to find phone numbers & e-mail addresses, which directly impacts their level of productivity.

Tools: Sales automation tools such as Hubspot, Frontspin, Outreach, SalesLoft, Apollo, etc can help automate the outreach process, decreasing the time reps will be spending in sending manual emails and dialling. Tools like UserGems can also help automate pipeline generation by turning buyer job changes into qualified leads.

Resonance of the message: some companies utilize SDRs to assess Product-market-fit rather than as a pipeline source. Especially early-stage start-ups and less established vendors with a disruptive message will take more time to refine their message to the market, which will ultimately impact the productivity of the rep.

Seniority level: Depending on the personas your company is targeting, it may be ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ to convert them. Typically, C-Level decision-makers are seen as being harder to get hold of (although there are some contrary believe in this theory – See ‘Land Bigger Deals Faster by Selling Straight to the C-Suite’)  

Brand awareness: If your company is a more established B2B SaaS vendor with a well-known brand, the SDR will need to spend less time explaining the value your company can bring as there will already be awareness of what your company does.

Rep experience: More experienced reps tend to show higher productivity levels due to their confidence with the message & familiarity with tools.

Level of qualification: If a company expects BANT-qualified leads from their SDRs, the lead quality will increase while the lead quantity decreases.  


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SDR Metrics – Conversion Rates

Now that we understand the typical productivity/activity levels expected from each SDR, it’s time to understand the average conversion you should expect from the SAL’s (Scroll down for acronym lexicon) generated by your SDR team.

Based on our 10 years of experience working across over 500 campaigns on behalf of our B2B SaaS customers, the average conversion from SAL to SQL we’ve seen across the board is 52.7%.

That means that on average, 1 in 2 SALs (i.e. meetings) generated by an SDR will lead to a next step in the sales process. A next step in our definition could be anything from a Demo, a POC, a Proposal/Opportunity to a Sale. 

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The average conversion from SAL to SQL we’ve seen across the board is 52.7%.

So, if we take an example of a B2B SaaS vendor where an SDR managed to secure 10 SAL’s per month, the company can expect that about 5 of those meetings will progress to a next step in the sales process.

To help you understand further these conversion rates, we’ve developed a Pipeline Calculator where you can simulate how many SAL’s are needed for you to hit your Pipeline targets.

Recapping SDR Metrics

In this blog we covered what to expect from your Outbound & Inbound Teams:

  • The expected amount of leads an inbound SDR can handle per day is about 15
  • The conversion rate from an inbound lead to a meeting varies significantly depending on the quality of those leads (can range from 5-10 % for low intent leads – 75-80% for high intent leads)
  • Outbound SDRs should produce 15 meetings a month, with a drop out rate at 20%, meaning 12 meetings attained/month. 
  • The productivity of each rep will depend on factors such as: Data quality, Tools, Resonance of the message, Seniority level of decision makers your company is trying to sell into, Brand awareness, Rep experience & Level of qualification expected from each lead.
  • The Typical conversion rate from an SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) to a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) is 52.7%

If your SDR team is trending below these stats, read further on 5 Tips to Consider when Setting up Your Sales Development Team and How to Choose an Outsourced SDR Company.


For an exclusive insight into the B2B SaaS industry, check out our Sales Development Report. Created in partnership with Pavilion, there is a wealth of information regarding best practises, trends and financial data collected by industry leaders.

Lexicon

SDR: Sales Development Representative

BDR: Business Development Representative

LDR: Lead Development Representative

MDR: Marketing Development Representative

AE: Account Executive

SAL: Sales Accepted Lead (Right persona in the right company that fits your company’s ICP)

SQL: Sales Qualified Lead (SAL + next step in the sales process)

ICP: Ideal Customer Profile

POC: Proof of Concept

BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timing

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

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Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

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Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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