Episode Sixteen

Reverse Engineering the Perfect Sales Metrics

Guest: Andrew Mewborn, Solutions Consultant at Outreach

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About This Episode


Here’s some business advice you won’t hear too often:

Reverse engineering as a best practice.

Before you take apart your iPhone, rebrand it and invite a lawsuit, we’re talking about reverse engineering your own product, by starting with sales, and working backward.

We’re talking about how to determine ideal and significant sales metrics in a world of data pollution. This is about leaders fielding mounds of data input from every possible angle — there is significance within those numbers, but finding the right metrics can be difficult. So we asked a pro.

We asked Andrew Mewborn.

Andrew’s a sales engineer at Outreach.io, and he joined us for the second time on The Sales Engagement Podcast to illustrate how to construct your ideal metrics that truly impact revenue.

(On his first episode, he talked about “Yes, and” — a technique he commandeered from improv to help his team rock sales.)

We’re still getting emails from his first episode, so we had to have Andrew back.

On this podcast, Andrew shares how to reverse engineer your sales to discover pitfalls, toss out wasteful data, and double down in key areas, all to ultimately drive revenue.

Don’t miss this episode.

Start With Sales (Novel Idea, We Know)

Marketing and sales leaders have data. Lots of data: MQLs, SQLs, CTOR, … stats are spilling out all over the page.

Far too often, strategies are built around mounds of data that lead to nowhere specific. A leader could be tracking 20 or more stats that have little to nothing to do with driving revenue. There’s a much better solution.

Andrew Mewborn: Reverse Engineering the Perfect Sales Metrics

Start with your end product and reverse engineer. Follow from your end goal, revenue, and continue backward, to find those activities that ultimately created the sales.

Here’s an example of how this plays out at Outreach:

Andrew starts with revenue, which for his organization comes from sales. Obviously, not all leads are quality leads, and the metric he uses to determine quality leads is called “SAL” — sales accepted leads. These are meetings set up by SDRs that AEs determine to be quality leads, the right fit, ready to buy, and high-potential prospect meetings

SDRs put in massive activity by the time a meeting reaches the calendar of an AE. To understand what activities have generated SAL, Andrew has pinpointed three key metrics: connections, booked meetings and held meetings He knows these are key metrics because these are the activities that have already led to SAL, which turns into revenue.

When he sees an issue in sales, he follows this same process, working backward from sales to uncover if an SDR is lacking in one of these metrics (connections, booked meetings, held meetings).

These specifics may vary by industry, but the process of determining your key metrics is the same: Reverse engineer from your end goal.

Too Much Data Can Dilute the Most Significant Metrics

A byproduct of not following this method is data pollution — if we just pull in every metric we can possibly absorb, we end up with mounds of unuseful data. Diagnosing sales issues becomes an immensely difficult process, with the real metrics hiding somewhere between unneeded numbers.

Follow the principle of simplicity. Boil down your metrics to those that are most significant to your bottom line.

Timeline Metrics: Pump the Gas, Check the Air, Change the Oil

Think of your metrics the same way you think of car maintenance: You have daily, weekly, and monthly/quarterly maintenance.

Here’s a breakdown of how that could work for in an SDR situation in a typical B2B sales cycle:

Daily: check the fuel tank

What is happening in the day-to-day activity of reps? How many meetings are your SDRs hosting, and what is the quality of those meetings?

Weekly: air in the tires (Short-term planning)

Are your reps putting enough on the books for 2 to 3 weeks out from now? Are they being as productive as they can be by making great first touches and setting appointments for next week and the week after?

Monthly: oil changes (monthly or quarterly quotas)

Did a rep miss a quota this month for their SAL? If 12 SALs are the quota, and they only turned over eight to their AE, a sales leader can track backward and see what the weekly and daily metrics were, and diagnose issues from there (not enough meetings set, low daily activity, poor quality leads, etc.).

The Worst Metric

Andrew Mewborn: Sales Metrics

There are insignificant metrics that lead nowhere and unneeded metrics that are ambiguous, but the worst metric is this:

The metric that matters, that has somehow evaded your capture as a leader.

If there is a key metric that ultimately impacts your revenue, hunt it down. Start with the end, work backward, and find it.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Andrew Mewborn from Outreach. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find an energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

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