How An SDR Team Improved Conversion Rates By Nearly 300% Within 5 Months

The Challenge

In August of 2016, Mavis Norwich was hired as a Sales Manager to oversee the growing Sales Development Representative (SDR) team of 8 by coaching and tracking progress as they qualify their portion of the sales process, while also assisting in re-defining the sales process.

Within her first few weeks, Mavis and her Director, who was also hired just a few months before her, began to notice that the SDRs were inconsistent in their approach. While TINYpulse had developed a sales methodology, the complexity of the solution and the sensitivity of discussing culture and employee engagement often resulted in SDRs going off script.

Many times, sales conversations evolved to a feature-specific discussion that would pigeonhole the SDR without any resolution at the end of the call. In addition, most of TINYpulse’s SDR team members are young professionals who often face objections about their “Millennial mindset”. Rather than argue with prospects, they would get stuck in a back and forth spiral.

The struggles were apparent to Mavis and her Director, and SDRs were equally frustrated and desired to improve how they managed prospect conversations. Mavis also struggled with a lack of insight. While she saw gaps in the sales process, she wasn’t able to coach reps on specific conversations or give them practical guidance for how to improve. Mavis was forced to be reactive in her approach, but she knew there had to be a better way to assist SDRs during calls while also obtaining more data to make improvements.

The TINYpulse team began taking steps to create their own in-house Excel spreadsheet solution. Fortunately, the team was introduced to Costello shortly after, and Mavis’ outbound SDR team began using the platform in April of 2017.

The Solution

TINYpulse’s outbound SDRs adopted Costello as their sales playbook platform and many began to refer to the technology as THE sales methodology. The SDR team utilizes many of the platform’s features, allowing them the confidence to guide the conversation while staying in their “swim lanes”, a term that TINYpulse uses to describe the reason an organization would choose to purchase their solution. Now, SDRs can:

  • Tailor questions about the prospect’s current employee engagement solution, along with implications and goals
  • Capture in depth information about the prospect’s status quo—the biggest competition
  • Lead a goals-oriented conversation about what the prospect wants to achieve
  • Determine what company culture means to that specific prospect

As SDRs are guided through each conversation with a series of dynamically populated questions and pointers that help them navigate even the toughest prospect call, data is captured in Costello and synced to Salesforce. This allows Mavis to gain real-time insight into what’s working and how each rep can improve during the process. Now, Mavis can:

  • Identify patterns and reinforce consistent behavior during the qualification process
  • Coach in real-time by reviewing calls and identifying areas where the SDR went off script
  • Measure performance by SDR to help coach on weaknesses and reinforce strengths
  • Adjust not only what happens during SDR calls, but be agile in the sales process

The iterative process between the SDRs and the sales manager populates a high-level overview that VPs of Sales are typically interested in, such as sales velocity, conversions by reps, gaps in the process, and overall metrics. These visuals and data points serve as a benchmark for strategic decision-making, such as hiring, re-organization, or a move to a more agile sales methodology.

Mavis, Sales Manager at TINYpulse, commented on her experience:

“Costello helps me to be a better manager because I can now measure what’s working and what’s not, and we can have a real-time conversation about what we’re learning. The solution has been incredibly beneficial as I’m able to quickly identify consistent patterns and, if something isn’t working, I can work with my team members to address it right away.”

The Results

Since adopting Costello’s sales playbook platform, the outbound SDR team has experienced tremendous and measurable success. One of their biggest success criterias for Mavis is measuring the conversion from cold prospect to qualified lead, which has nearly tripled:

  • July: The SDR team attained just over a 10.4% conversion rate
  • August: The conversion rate dropped to 7.3% before the team identified challenges with rolling out a new product offering to the market, resulting in updated sales scripts
  • September: Conversion rates rose to 13% after the sales script iterations were made
  • October: The team experienced nearly double growth with a 24% conversion rate
  • November: Trending to date, conversion is nearly 40%—a 4x improvement over July

“Costello has been incredibly instrumental in the success we’ve seen these past several months,” Mavis explained. “I’m now able to have 1:1 conversations when SDRs have challenges, such as not converting when they get prospects on the phone or when they go off script at certain points during their calls. I can simply pull up the scripts and notes, which adds another level of accountability to the reps as well. We’re not only tracking data and reviewing conversations, but we now have Costello to back up our assumptions.”

Finally, Mavis and other sales managers have been able to identify gaps in overall sales process beyond the SDR team, which has allowed them to be highly iterative and test hypotheses to determine whether the issues are quality or skill related.

In the future, Mavis plans to combine the inbound and outbound SDR teams to focus on quality while simultaneously helping inbound reps develop more skills and improve in their careers. She plans to use Costello to allow new reps to adjust to the process by slowly introducing scripts to help individuals feel more comfortable on the phone, knowing they have a well thought out agile sales process to guide them through even the most complex conversations.

“Costello has become not only a place to understand the sales process and to make improvements, but to improve our SDR’s career paths and development at the same time,” explained Mavis. “The platform has allowed us to achieve both aspects within the same platform, which is a huge win for us. Costello has far exceeded what we even could have imagined, and it’s opened up an entirely different realm for how we perceive the sales process. We’re excited to see how our two companies will continue to partner together even more in the future.”