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7 Posts authored by: Mike McKinnon

As we talked about in my first post, velocity is a key measurement for marketing efficiency. In my second post, I talked about all the levers you could pull to increase velocity. In this post, I am going to give you some suggestions on how you might measure velocity in your organization.

Time stamps are critical to measuring velocity. Most modern CRMs and MAP systems are capable of adding a time stamp when a field is updated. Within our organization, we date stamp our prospects as they flow through each step of our sales and marketing funnel. This can be done with a simple workflow rule and either your CRM or MAP system is capable of accomplishing this feat.

Once you date stamp the transitions, you can then either export the data or use a fancy formula field to get the duration between the two date stamps. In excel, this is called a DAYS360 formula.

The DAYS360 formula is great for measuring large scale velocity changes in days or months. But, what if your SLA calls for a 1 hour response time on all inbound inquiries; how do you measure that? The process is generally the same but you will need to export the data and run one of the following formulas depending on how you want to splice the time.

FormulaDescription (Result)
=INT((B2-A2)*24)Total hours between two times (4)
=(B2-A2)*1440Total minutes between two times (295)
=(B2-A2)*86400Total seconds between two times (17700)
=HOUR(B2-A2)The difference in the hours unit between two times. This value cannot exceed 24 (4).
=MINUTE(B2-A2)The difference in the minutes unit between two times. This value cannot exceed 60 (55).
=SECOND(B2-A2)The difference in the seconds unit between two times. This value cannot exceed 60 (0).

If you wanted to get real fancy, you could set up an export of these date stamps on a periodic basis, do the calculations in excel and then schedule an import of the returned values for dashboard reporting.

What are some of the ways you measure velocity within your organization?

As you read in my first post on this topic, you first need to identify all of the breakpoints in your lead process before you can start tweaking them. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do at each breakpoint to increase velocity. I have included the image from my previous post for reference.Velocity with Average Sales Time.PNG

First, the one document every organization needs that will have the greatest impact on velocity is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales. The SLA will contain a lot of things but one of the most important is putting time constraints around each transition. As a start, you could take your average sales cycle from inquiry to close (I like to use 80% of closed won deals to weed out the outliers) and establish your SLA around that time frame. In the diagram above, you see a sales cycle of around 23 days. Knowing this, you can estimate times at each break point while ensuring the total duration never exceeds 23 days.

Once you have a framework of times to work towards, you can look at different tactical options to get you there and improve. Below are a few examples:

  1. These days it’s essential to implement automation in order to greatly reduce velocity. You can use automation to cut down the time to first contact with an auto response. You can also use automation to cut down the time to hand-off to a sales representative as well by routing the lead immediately.
  2. Define an efficient lead process for your qualification team. Make it easy for them to mark leads appropriately and hand them off.
  3. Another component of the SLA would be an established cadence. For example, how many phone calls and emails must be sent in a given time period. This can be tweaked as necessary to see how it affects velocity.

I would love to hear some more ways you tweak velocity at your organization.

In my final post, I will talk about some of the ways you can measure velocity.

Mike McKinnon

It's All About Velocity

Posted by Mike McKinnon Aug 21, 2014

This post is the first in a three part series I will be doing on velocity.

These days marketers are really good at measuring a lot of things. Most marketers can tell you their CPA or CPL, their MQL conversion rate and a whole host of other metrics. However, very seldom do I hear about velocity.

Velocity can have the biggest direct impact on closed deals considering data reported in 2013 by Yahoo Small Business Advisor showing that contacting a lead within five minutes yields a 78 percent close rate, compared with a 19 percent close rate when the response to a lead is within five to 30 minutes. Further, a pipeline moving 2x as fast can be 1/2 the value of a comparable pipeline. The essence is simple - move deals as fast as you can through the sales pipeline. Time is the enemy of every sale.

While understanding the average sales cycle is an important part of velocity, you cannot impact velocity without also understanding the break points that lead to your average sales cycle. Consider your basic lead flow below.

As you can see there are 5 levers available that will impact velocity. I can tweak anyone of these breakpoints to increase my velocity. Further, by measuring these breakpoints you can also see where your leads are getting hung up. Mapping out a process like the above is an important first step in understanding your organization's velocity. How many breakpoints does your organization have?

In my next post, I will talk about some of the things you can do to increase velocity at each point.

This is the third installment in ReadyTalk series of  pre, during and post webinar inforgraphics. The first one can be found here and the second one can be found here. The 3rd infographic allows you to benchmark your webinars vs. your peers in areas of qualified leads, marketing automation use and content re-purposing. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues!


Here is the 2nd in a series of infographics we made at ReadyTalk. This one focuses on the event itself. What is a good registrant to attendee conversion rate? What are the best days to hold a webinar and how many attendees are other organizations averaging?



Here is a nice little infographic we created over at ReadyTalk so you can measure your pre-webinar activity against that of your peers. If you have ever wondered what was the best channel for promotions or how many invites to send, wonder no more! Feel free to share the infographic.




Do you have zombies in your pipeline? You know those opportunities that have stalled out and are shuffling along or just stopped moving altogether. They are for all intents and purposes lost deals but the rep has usually forgotten to close them out or has kept them open in a vain attempt to resurrect the deal.

As we all know, the accuracy of a pipeline is only good if opportunities truly belong at a certain stages. So, how do we combat these “walking dead” in the sales and marketing pipeline? The problem can be attacked from two ends, reporting and management.

  1. One great way to measure pipeline speed is a Days Leads Outstanding (DLO) report. Take the average DLO for closed won deals and then compare it to the deals in a reps pipeline. A flag can be thrown when open deals DLO begins to reach the DLO for won deals. You could set up dashboards like the one below for each rep or territory:



DLO w zombies.jpg

In the example above, the pipeline of Rep 1 and Rep 4 would warrant further investigation.

  1. Having a consistent way to evaluate whether opportunities belong at a certain stage is also critical. Create definable and measurable criteria around each stage so there is not grey area between reps as to whether something belongs at qualify or investigate.  You can easily track this in the SFDC opportunity object by creating sections for each stage. If BANT is required to move an opportunity out of Qualify have fields for the rep to capture BANT on the opportunity record.
  2. Monthly pipeline reviews between the reps and their managers will also help flag Zombies. Using the DLO report above, managers can investigate deals that are approaching or have surpassed the Avg. DLO of closed won deals.


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