lead gen sales activity funnel

Is Your Sales Team Really Looking at Conversion Rates?

You might be examining activity numbers all the time (‘high activity levels — looks like it was productive week!’), and of course you are well aware of the outcomes i.e. deals closed. But what about the conversion rates?

Are they always improving? Are they declining? Are they at hovering at steady rate, but you are also hitting your goals? If you are not sure, it’s time to start paying attention!

So what conversion rates should you be looking at on a weekly basis?

  • Calls to conversations
  • Conversations to appointments (i.e. scheduled call that has an agenda with a valid prospect who understands your value prop)
  • Appointments to opportunities
  • First stage opportunity to subsequent stages
  • First stages opportunity to closed deal
  • Subsequent stages to closed deals

…and from there, examine the trends. How were your conversion rates this week as compared to last week? This month’s average? This quarter’s average? This year’s average? THIS IS THE KIND OF STUFF THAT WEEKLY RETROSPECTIVES ARE MADE OF!

Unfortunately, Salesforce.com really doesn’t do a good job allowing you to report conversions for front of funnel activity — remember Salesforce.com was not built to be a lead management system, but rather an opportunity managing system. What this means is that you are probably going to have to build a good ol’ excel sheet to track your conversions.

So here’s the deal, you might be thinking, ‘Devon — what SHOULD my team’s conversions be? Throw me a bone here!’ Honestly, I wish I could tell you. The problem is, it’s not simple. (And don’t go snooping around the web looking for industry benchmarks, because it’s unlikely you are going to find some that are completely applicable to your business!)

Think about it, there are many different variables that will impact your conversion rates. Here are some questions the would affect your conversion rates, just to list a few:

  • Who are your target buyer personas?
  • What target segment are you calling into?
  • What is your average sales cycle?
  • What is your average deal size?
  • How mature is your team? Are they still ramping up?
  • Does your team handle inbound leads and outbound leads?
  • What is your qualification criteria?
  • What is your definition of a conversation?
  • What type of sale are we talking? Something COMPLETELY new to the market, a replacement, something highly competitive?

My suggestion: Take your conversion rates for the last X number of weeks/months that your team has been fully ramped. Start tracking now. Make it a goal as a team, and individually with your reps, to start increasing those conversions week over week. How can you do this? Refine targeted messaging, and focus on what the bottlenecks are and removing them.

Focusing on improving conversion rates will help keep you working SMARTER — not just harder — to achieve your goals.


Devon McDonald is a Partner at OpenView, where she sits on the firm’s investment committee and oversees OpenView’s Growth team, a group of Research, Sales and Marketing Strategists responsible for helping its portfolio companies acquire more customers and scale at an accelerated rate.
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