How Many Customers Should I Get From My Outbound Sales Program?

Our new clients always ask us how many customers they should expect from the RevBoss sales development service.  More often than not, our answer is:

“It depends.”

It is hard to pin down firm expectations for any new client, particularly our clients that are early/mid stage start-ups that are working with some combination of a new product, new market, new messaging, and new sales process.

That said, there are a few rules of thumb that you can consider.  Your mileage will obviously vary!

Prospect to MQL — 1% to 2%

We generally book 1% to 2% of the prospects we work into marketing qualified leads (i.e. a scheduled meeting) for our clients.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.

So if you’re running ~800 prospects through the top of the funnel each, you should set a goal of 8 meeting conversions with a stretch goal of 16.

There are a few factors that can really influence this number:

  • Do you have a brand?  If the prospect has already heard of you when they receive an outbound ping, you’re going to get a better response rate.
  • Do you have a niche?  If you’re niche is narrow and well-defined, you’re going to get a better response rate.  The more targeted your approach, the more likely you’ll get a connect.
  • Do you have a large market?  If your target market is really small (<1000 target companies), then a high-volume, automated outbound sales process probably isn’t the best fit.
  • Can you prospect the market?  Some markets are easy to prospect (online marketers, higher education) and other markets are difficult to prospect (franchise businesses, local businesses).
  • Do you have a unique value proposition?  If you have a unique offering and/or a novel solution to a painful problem, you’re more likely to get a great outcome — particularly if you’ve written a compelling message!
  • Do you have multiple paths into the organization?  We’ve learned that combining email with social outreach creates a multiplier effect vs email or social alone.
  • Do you have a great follow-up process?  Getting an engaged prospect is only part of the battle.  Besides a handful of “Sure — this sounds interesting.” replies, most of the engaged prospects will require lots of additional work — clarifying questions, overcoming objections, running down referrals, etc.  This kind of work at scale requires significant process and discipline?

MQL to SQL — 10%

The number of meetings that convert to a customer will depend on a variety of factors — product, timing, sales process, etc.

For new companies taking new products to market, your conversion rate will probably stink out of the gate and get better as you get more shots on goal and learn more about your market, product, pitch, etc.

The biggest factors here are your pitch and your qualification process.  Can you find the clients problem and then get them to believe that your solution will solve?  If so — can you further qualify that they’re the right person and have the budget to make a purchase decision?

As a SWAG, you could assume that (eventually) 25% of meetings you set from your outbound campaign will advance into an sales qualified opportunity.

SQL to Win — 25%

Your Opportunity to win ratio is largely a function of timing, persistence, and sales process.  If you’ve qualified the Opportunity and made the short list, then you’re almost to the finish line.

The classic sales rule of thumb is that 1 out of 3 Opportunities will close, which comes out to ~1 new win per ~12 qualified meetings if you assume that 25% of your meetings advance to an Opportunity.

Process to Insights — 100%

Both RevBoss and our clients learn A TON as we go.  And as long you keep learning from the process, applying your learnings, and honestly assessing your progress, you’re less likely to waste resources and effort.

We impose learning at RevBoss by building a strategy deck for our clients to help plan our initial combined efforts, including potential obstacles and solutions. We then do a weekly call with our clients to keep tabs on our progress, review the week’s data, and change our approach as necessary.

Outbound sales works but it takes time and consistent effort.  So it might be a couple months — maybe more, maybe less — before any leads you churn up (via RevBoss or otherwise!) sign a subscription agreement.  Once you get the first deal over the line, you can review the funnel economics to determine if you should ramp up your sales development program, give it more time to percolate, or pull the plug.

So keep learning and keep your foot on the accelerator — it is much easier to learn how to steer a bike when you’re riding it and it is moving forward!

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taj Taj Forer, CEO, Fabl
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