Data Challenges for Sales Managers & How to Overcome Them

Last updated on January 2, 2024
10 min
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To get a full understanding of their team’s performance and how each action in the sales process contributes to closed revenue, sales managers rely heavily on data and reporting.

Team and individual performance dashboards give managers an ongoing view into how their team members are doing, whether they’re on track to hitting their objectives, and identifying areas of improvement accordingly. Needless to say, the revenue that’s brought in by sales teams directly impacts company growth, making it a key function for companies of all sizes.

While there are a lot of intangible skills and nuances that go into every relationship with every lead (and at every touchpoint), the fact that we’re usually talking about specific dollar amounts in sales makes it easily trackable as data points that inform company growth. Thankfully, these days, there are plenty of ways to track all sorts of other metrics throughout the entire sales journey down to specific activity types.

Today, we’ll be zooming in on the BDR manager role and the data that’s critical for the outreach, prospecting, and discovery stages of the sales process.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Patrick Wojcik, BDR Team Lead at Aircall, to get his perspective and insights into how he leverages data to ensure the success of his BDR team. Patrick is based in New York and leads Aircall’s North America BDR team. He currently manages a team of four BDRs (and his team is expected to grow in the coming months), so data plays a big role in performance and KPI monitoring.

Patrick and his team are responsible for outbound outreach to attract new prospects. They leverage various channels to engage prospects, set up intro calls, gauge their interests and needs, and conduct discovery. After qualifying the leads, they hand over qualified demos to the Account Executives to continue conversations and eventually close the deals.

Q&A with Patrick

Q: What are your primary outreach channels?

PW: We primarily use email, cold calls, LinkedIn messaging, and other marketing initiatives like webinars and in-person events to reach out to prospects. For us, the key events are the HubSpot Inbound Conference and Salesforce World Tour.

Q: What are the metrics that you track?

PW: At Aircall, BDR team performance is tracked on a demo point system, that places the most emphasis on opportunities booked and opportunities qualified.

To quickly explain our demo point system, we have different account tiers based on opportunity size or MRR, and points are assigned and given accordingly. When opportunities are successfully created, the team racks up points and strives to reach their monthly goal. Ultimately, the AEs decide whether the opportunity is qualified, which is how the BDRs earn points.

We also look at closed won MRR as a whole and the percentage of conversions, but the BDRs aren’t scored against these metrics.
Last but not least, we of course have the day-to-day metrics that are based on prospecting activities.

Q: Can you elaborate on your prospecting activity metrics and process?

PW: In terms of prospecting activities, we track the number of emails and calls. We target prospects in a few different ways:

Lowest-hanging fruit: These tend to be previously lost opportunities. We’ll follow up based on timing or introduce new functionality that could benefit them based on previous intel or revisit an account that’s been cold for a while. We have cadences for these that we can personalize based on use cases.

By specific integration: We leverage integrations and partners as a good strategy in our email prospecting since it’s working well and we’re seeing the highest conversions. Our two key integrations are HubSpot and Salesforce, but we also have hundreds of others.

By personas: Sales and support leaders are our main buyer personas, but we also target those working in IT & Operations. They’re the ones consolidating tools in their stack and understanding where Aircall can fit in within their tool ecosystem. Aircall is industry-agnostic since we can help sales and support leaders regardless of industry.

Q: What tools do you use for data reporting

PW:

  • Salesforce is our CRM and is the main platform that I use on a daily basis for performance monitoring. It’s where we have our team dashboards, individual performance dashboards, and day-to-day activity metrics from many different customized reports.

  • We use SalesLoft for email outreach, and LinkedIn messaging, but both data sources are connected to Salesforce, so we can see our numbers reflected there.

  • We use Aircall for cold calling. From Aircall, we can see the number of calls made or connected, understand and analyze the different dispositions (prospect picked up;  connected; left a voice mail; discovery was completed on call; intro call booked; demo call booked; objections (timing/bad fit). We can understand and map out what came of that cold call.

  • Lastly, we have our universal company BI platform that is managed by the data team.

Q: Do you personally use your BI platform for insights? Or does your Rev Ops or Data Analyst help you with that?

PW: The data team owns the BI tool, but I have access to it and I look at it every day. I don’t use it so much for daily activities—I go to Salesforce for that—however, I refer to our BI platform often to get an understanding of overall revenue and pipeline metrics. Questions like: “How much revenue have we generated?”, “How many opps have been created?”, or “What’s in the mix to close or come in this month?” are answerable within our BI platform.

The data from our BI platform is pushed as a Slack notification every single day. This way, we all get a high-level update on a daily basis that goes out to the whole company, broken down into different regions. I like that everyone is informed of our results and progress on an ongoing, automated basis.

Overall, I use Salesforce as my holy grail for day-to-day activity and performance monitoring, but I enjoy using Looker for higher-level company revenue metrics.

Q: What are some of the data and reporting challenges that you face?

PW:

  • Our data lives in disparate tools - LinkedIn, SalesLoft, Aircall, Salesforce, and more. It’s great that we have customized connectors to centralize most of it within Salesforce, but I do still go into each tool individually to check on the more in-depth details of each activity/prospecting channel.

  • Understanding how many demo points we need for the month, and from that, gauging how many qualified opps we need to create. Our objectives are ambitious, so it’s important to be able to break down the # of intro calls and prospecting activities we need to achieve them.

  • Email differentiation - getting a better grasp on how many emails sent are net new emails (brand new points of outreach), vs. emails to existing contacts. This would help me understand whether we’re going after net new accounts, following up with existing accounts, or reaching out to new contacts within an existing account. My current process is to run an Email activities report in Salesforce, filter down by “RE:” (reply), and take those out or remove a subject line. However, this is time-consuming and doesn’t give me the most accurate data.

Q: Do you get insights on your own or do you go to your data team?

PW: We do have a data team, but I’d say I have a lot of experience in and out of Salesforce and on the operations side from my previous roles, so it’s pretty easy for me to manipulate the data in Salesforce and get the reporting that I need. Sometimes, it can be a bit time consuming and I don’t get around to it every day, but we do have a pretty good set-up that’s mostly automated.


I’m a problem solver. I like to figure things out on my own and ask questions that go a step further, like why are we losing opportunities (by looking at Lost Reason in Salesforce)? I like drilling down into the specific reasons to troubleshoot how we can do better.

Q: How do you go about sharing data around your BDR team to the rest of the business

PW: Thankfully, I don’t spend much time preparing slides or reporting to share to other stakeholders. At Aircall, we have a pretty automated set-up for sharing updates in real-time that’s working well. We have a live slack notification system, through which we get a twice-a-day summary of how many calls were made and how many emails were sent. 

We also have a live tool that will Slack-notify our group (which includes those I report into), of any new opportunities that were created and the relevant notes, like integration, MRR, etc. When the opportunities are qualified by the AE, we get live updates as well. 

This way, everyone is informed on updates on an ongoing basis, and it’s a great way to motivate the team, give them an extra boost, and celebrate each other’s wins.

Q: What are some ways to overcome some of the challenges mentioned above?

PW:

  • Select the right tooling for your prospecting/outreach that already includes robust data recording and customizable properties. Aircall, for example, allows you to record call disposition and analyze what happened on the call and next steps. Salesloft allows us to record how many personalized emails vs. non-personalized have been sent. This way, you can already start gathering the exact info that will be valuable later on.

  • Having a predictive revenue model would be helpful in forecasting, and figuring out how many intro calls and how many prospecting activities are needed to meet our goals.

  • Centralize your data through connectors and integrations. For me, it’s great that I can go into Salesforce to get insights around performance and activities from Aircall, SalesLoft, LinkedIn, and more - all from one place. Our BI platform also allows me to get an overview of overall revenue metrics because it includes sales data from all our different sources.

  • This one’s for your data teams - once your data is consolidated from all your different sources in your data warehouse, you can model it out in your BI platform to answer even more complex questions. For example, you can combine Marketing sources (LinkedIn ads, events) with Sales sources (Salesforce, Aircall) to understand the best acquisition channels. Advanced modeling enables you to answer questions that might not be possible within the default analytics capabilities of a source system.

  • Choose a BI platform that has self-service capabilities, so that non-technical business users can get access to the analytics they need on an ongoing basis. I’m glad I don’t need to bug my data team or Rev Ops every time I have data or reporting-related questions.

  • Automate sharing. If your BI platform allows you to push notifications to Slack or the main platform that your business stakeholders are already familiar with, that’s a plus. This way, everyone’s on the same page and trusts the data. Whaly, for example, allows you to share and push updates and dashboards to whichever channel your stakeholders need it. This is a good way to foster a data culture in your company.

Whaly is proud to be an Aircall partner! Whaly integrates with Aircall so that you can take your Aircall data analytics a step further. Back every revenue decision with data, and never have to rely on gut feel. Visit our Aircall marketplace listing here.

What is Aircall?

Aircall is the cloud-based call center and phone system of choice for modern businesses. A voice platform that integrates seamlessly with popular productivity and help desk tools. Aircall was built to make phone systems easy to manage—accessible, transparent, and collaborative.

Aircall believes that a great conversation is the most powerful way to communicate with customers, prospects, candidates, and colleagues. It is designed to enable delightful moments of human connection. Aircall was founded in 2014 and has raised over $226 million in funding, with a valuation of over $1 billion. In June 2022 Aircall exceeds $100 million in annual recurring revenue, and reaches Centaur status. Aircall is listed in Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ for leading the way in technology innovation. Based in New York, Paris, Sydney, Madrid, Berlin, and London, the company currently counts 800 employees.

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What is Whaly?

Whaly is a self-service business intelligence platform that empowers data teams to grow data adoption among business users. Whaly allows companies to make better decisions and drive revenue by reducing the amount of time from raw data to insight, and by removing data teams as a bottleneck for ongoing analytics. Start your free trial here.


Published on January 2, 2024.

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