The outbound sales function is one of cold calls, cold emails, and social connections all in the name of generating leads and pipeline for your organization. Some companies choose to rely on website driven leads only (often referred to as inbound); however, the outbound function is critical if your company is looking to explode growth, tackle the challenge of going upmarket, or generally maximize revenue growth for your org. Outbound sales representatives are sometimes referred to as business development reps or sales development reps (SDRs or BDRs). If you are new to managing a sales development org or are thinking about adding the outbound sales function to your sales+marketing strategy, here is a look at the KPIs important for your sales team.

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What are sales pipeline metrics

Sales pipeline metrics refer to your sales funnel. Everything from contacts and leads on down to won deals and customer expansions fall into the broad term "sales pipeline metrics." Tracking these metrics is essential to understanding how "healthy" your sales pipeline is and where in the funnel you may be too light to achieve your revenue goals for the company. Some of the common sales pipeline metric examples are: 

  • New contacts added: tracking this is important to know if your outbound team has enough leads to work
  • New inbounds captured: tracking this is important to know if your inbound sales reps have leads to work
  • Sales accepted leads (SALs): tracking this is an important quality indicator of the inbound leads and call connects for your outbound reps. Measuring the ratio of inbound<>SAL and connects<>SAL give you insight into quality of pitches and website leads. In most orgs, sales accepted leads are meetings booked onto an AE calendar.
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs): Sales qualified leads are post-meeting leads that are qualified to continue in the sales process. This may be where you associate pipeline revenue. 
    • There can be micro-stages of SQLs such as commit, out for signature, etc.
  • Closed Won: These are the deals that have officially signed and are "won" by the sales team
  • Closed Lost: These are the deals that were not won or signed. They made it through the sales process, but did not end in revenue generated. 

The 3 most important KPIs to track for your SDR (sales development) team

  • Activities (calls, emails, connects, talk time, social connections)
  • Objectives (meetings scheduled, meetings held, qualified opps)
  • Results (pipeline generated)

As part of the sales pipeline metrics, you will have different subsets of the metrics "owned" by different departments or teams. The sales development team will usually own SALs and SQLs. Along with SQLs, this means owning a pipeline target. Your reps will focus on setting meetings for the AE calendars. They typically do this by making outbound dials, outbound emails, and social connections on LinkedIn. It is not enough to say "here are your channels, go get some meetings." The process works best when you look at how much activity has converted to meetings in the past and how many meetings convert to qualified. Using these conversion rates helps you make data based decisions around goal setting. This also informs hiring plans when you can accurately see how much pipeline an individual rep can create on average. 

Leading indicator KPI examples

Leading indicators for sales development reps are the activities. Tracking all daily activities with targets in mind is critical to success for your team. A good way to track sales activity is in a comprehensive activity score. Weight the calls, emails, connects differently so that something like a connect carries more weight-- as it is more important. When you track all of the daily activity in a single, comprehensive score, you can focus your sales reps on these metrics and they can strive for 100 before they leave for the day. Some common activity example KPIs:

  • Calls
  • Connects
  • Talk time
  • Emails sent
  • LinkedIn connections
  • New contacts added

activity scoreboard

Lagging indicator KPI examples

Lagging indicators are the outcomes produced by your reps' daily activity. If they are focused on activity KPIs in the day-to-day, you'll want to measure these lagging objectives weekly or monthly. The lagging indicators pertinent to the sales development function are: 

  • Meetings set (SALs)
  • Meetings held
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Pipeline generated ($$)
  • Conversion of SAL <> SQL by rep (ensure meetings are quality)

objective scoreboard

How to set your pipeline generation and activity targets

As mentioned above, there is a formula that goes into setting your targets. When you are given a revenue goal, it is possible to work backwards to the pipeline needed to secure the revenue. Then from there, the number of meetings that will secure the pipeline. Here is a post that gives you the formulas for working backward to know how many sales meetings you will need to reach pipeline and revenue goals.

meeting set formula

SDR sales report template

Present your SDR data in a visual way that will motivate and recognize your reps. This will help build a positive sales culture as well as ensure accountability for your reps. You can download the SDR sales report template here. 

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