Closing Time

Using a Sales Activity Calculator to Optimize Outbound Selling Time

Does more outbound sales activity = more success?

The number of a B2B seller’s activities used to directly correlate to the number of meetings booked or opportunities won, but not anymore. 

Setting arbitrary numbers of activities for your sales team – like sending 50 emails, making 100 calls, or booking 10 meetings – won’t necessarily produce the desired result. That is, unless you have the right outbound strategy in place. 

In this episode of Closing Time, Kim Cram talks with Insightly CSO Dave Osborne about how sales leaders can leverage a sales activity calculator and coach their teams to optimize outbound selling time and book more meetings.

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Does more sales activity = more success?

Sales managers often measure success by the number of outbound calls or emails their reps make. However, it’s not always that simple. While the number of activities matters to some degree, it doesn’t always translate to success. Some reps may be putting in a lot of time and effort, but still not seeing results. In such cases, it’s essential to look beyond the numbers and consider the sales strategy. Casting a wide net is necessary to build pipelines, but the messaging and cadence must be right. Merely focusing on more activities can lead to a plateau, and it’s not sustainable in the long run. Some reps may not be targeting the right audience, while others may not have the right messaging or tone. Ultimately, it’s not just about the activities, but how they’re done, and this can significantly impact results.

The sales activity calculator

To be successful in sales, it’s essential to monitor and measure the key metrics that matter in order to optimize your time and efforts. This process is called “instrumenting the business” or “instrumenting the sales cycle.” You can identify the right volume of activities to achieve your goals by monitoring and measuring the inputs that lead to desired outputs.

One tool that can help with this process is a sales activity calculator. This calculator can help salespeople determine the correct number of calls, emails, and meetings set to reach their desired outcomes (like deals closed or meetings held). This is important because arbitrary numbers or goals may not be effective in achieving success. By instrumenting your sales cycle, you can identify the activities you’re doing and the conversion ratios along the way. This information can be used to create a roadmap for success and make data-driven decisions about how to allocate their time and resources.

Curating your sales coaching

With the sales activity calculator, salespeople can manage their time efficiently and improve their performance while sales leaders can provide customized coaching to their sales reps. By tracking and analyzing the most important metrics, sales leaders can identify areas of improvement and avoid wasting time on irrelevant issues. Utilizing data-driven insights, sales leaders can concentrate on coaching where it matters most, giving their sales reps relevant feedback, and achieving better outcomes for the entire team.

Don't just do more

In sales, working hard doesn’t always equate to success. Sales leaders often confuse activity with impact, and not all activities have the same value. The sales activity calculator helps sales reps understand which activities have the greatest impact on their success. By inputting data and goals into the calculator, reps can see if their current strategy is working or not. If not, they can reassess and develop a new game plan. The calculator helps reps understand what they should be doing and helps identify if it’s a strategy problem or an activities problem. Rather than just doing more of the same thing, reps can focus on the right activities to achieve their goals.

Prioritizing sales activities

When assessing your daily activities, consider which ones take up the most time. For example, prospecting and creating presentations may be time-consuming tasks. However, these activities can be done after hours. During your working hours, prioritize the activities that involve interfacing with customers.

It’s also essential to analyze what successful sales reps are doing and when they are doing it. Determine when they make calls, send emails, and schedule meetings. If your company has data, you can identify the top-performing sales reps and ask them what they’re doing differently. They may have found an optimal time for contacting potential clients that you haven’t considered.

To optimize your day, focus on getting results rather than just completing tasks. Instead of just checking off items on your to-do list, aim to set meetings and get responses from your potential clients. By prioritizing your day and focusing on results, you can increase your productivity and achieve your sales goals.


It would be nice if sales were just a numbers game, but you got to have strategy in there too. Let’s talk about activities and booking more meetings in this episode of Closing Time. Thanks for tuning into Closing Time, the show for Go to Market Leaders. I’m Dave Osborne, chief sales officer at Insightly. And I’m joined by Kim Cram, a sales consultant and coach. Welcome to the show, Kim. Thanks for having me, Dave. Now, Kim, I’ve got a couple of reps on my team that are just consistently outpacing the rest on outbound and not surprisingly, they’re putting in the most time on outbound right. So numbers matter to a certain degree, right? Yeah, 100%. It’s pretty common where you look at the best performers and it is an activity thing. They’re putting in the effort, they’re putting in the work and they’re having the results. But there are times where people are putting a lot of activities and efforts in and they’re not getting the results and they’re frustrated and you’re just saying, hey, well, here’s what you got to do. Here’s a recipe for success. And they do it and then it’s falling flat. So you have to be able to look at it. Sometimes it’s a numbers game and sometimes it’s more of just a strategy thing that they have to really focus in on. Right. There’s so many different variables that go in to building pipe, activity is going to be part of it, right? You need to cast a wide enough net to even give yourself a chance. But we’ve got to make sure the messaging is right and the cadence is right. And, you know, so many different layers to it. Right. So it’s not about just more activity, right? Because just focusing purely on activity isn’t going to I mean, you’ll plateau eventually or you’ll you just won’t be able to sustain it for that long of a time, right? Yeah. No, I see it all the time. And there’s a lot of different ways and reasons why it’s not working. Sometimes I’ll have these reps are like when I look at it, I’m like, Well, let’s dive into this. Why aren’t we having the same results as someone else that is succeeding? And, you know, you talk about who they’re going after and they’re like, Well, I want to go after people that are different because, you know,. I want to go after these people because no one else is like, there’s a reason no one’s hitting them up. That’s not the right focus. It’s not the right target market.. Or their messaging isn’t spot on for that the person that they’re targeting, they’re going with just kind of a blanket, We here’s what we say.. And here’s what we do. But it’s not resonating with the people that they’re reaching out to. Or they’re making their dials, but you listen to their calls and it’s like, man, would you say yes to yourself? I mean, that tone is dead, you sound like you’re like at the dentist office and you’re getting your teeth pulled. So you’re looking at it from a standpoint of you can be doing the right activities, but you’re doing them in the wrong way and it’s impacting the results. Now, like we talked about, inevitably you’re going to hit a plateau or you’re not going to be getting the same results that you’re hoping for. So I’m a big believer in what I call instrumenting the business, or instrumenting the sales cycle, which is monitoring and measuring the key metrics that matter. Or put another way, what are the inputs in measuring and monitoring those inputs that are going to get the outputs that we desire? Right. And I know that in your consulting you have a calculator, right? That you help some of your different customers determine kind of what is the right volume of activities to result in the outputs that they’re desiring. Right. Yep. Yep. You and I are the same. We’re numbers people.. We want to really focus in on, how do we get there and mapping it out and say, okay, here’s the recipe, here’s the thing that you need to do on a daily basis to get there. Not everybody knows that. And a lot of times they have these arbitrary numbers that are given to them, make 50 dials and you need to have reach out to this many people and you have this. Where are those numbers coming from? Because you read it in a blog, because someone told you was a good number, you dreamt about it. I don’t know where those numbers are coming from, but they’re just saying, Here’s what you got to do. Go do it. And the problem with that is it may be the right numbers, but it may not. So knowing your numbers and making it easy so that they can be able to input and say, all right, for me, because every individual is going to be different as well. But for me, how many calls do I have to make? How many people do I need to reach out to? How many e-mails do. I need to send to set one meeting? And then what’s my ratio of a set to held? And then how many deals do I need to close and what’s my how many deals I have to hold to get it to how many deals I need to close? So when you are able to then break it down, then you start to get this like roadmap for yourself or as a team, you may still have your team averages say, Hey, generally this is where we need to be, but on an individual basis, know your numbers and go after it versus again, have this arbitrary number or some don’t even have a number. They’re just, I’m going to work hard and hope that they get there. And then surprise, surprise, they don’t do all the activities that they need to. You know, every salesperson obviously has a different skill set or, you know, when you look at, if you actually do instrument the cycle, you can see not only the activities they’re doing, but like the conversion ratios along the way. So maybe you’re making a bunch of calls or sending a bunch of emails, but those aren’t converting at the clip that you’d hope. Or maybe were get maybe were setting the demos, but they’re not showing up.. Which is a different problem. So having that entire thing mapped out also enables you to provide some pretty curated coaching to your individual players, right? Yeah, 100%. I mean, again, you’re looking at the numbers and not that numbers tell you everything, but it does give you those insights of what to dig in more and be able to understand, hey, well, here’s where we’re at. Looks like we’re having an issue, people showing up or whatever it may be. So you can be able to dial into, hey, let’s fix that problem and really focus in it. So the numbers give you that insight of what’s going on so I can be able to look and dig deeper into that and solve where that problem is versus like scrap it. Like, let’s start over.. You’re not succeeding. Let’s just try it this way. And you’re like, you could have kept the parts that were good, but instead you just threw everything out and started over. Or you fix the wrong problems, you know, you fix the things actually going good. Paying attention to the data so you can be able to know where to focus. Yeah, I like that. And it’s obviously much more relevant for the person as well. Now switching gears, I think another thing that sales leaders hear very often is you have a salesperson says, I’m working my guts out like I’m working on all these things. I’m just not getting the results that I want. And it’s because maybe they’re working on the wrong things. I think in sales, but really in business, a lot of times leaders conflate activity with impact. Right. And not all activities are created equal. So how does your calculator, you know, how do you monitor and make sure that you’re focusing on the right activities versus just activity in general? Yeah, no, it’s a great point. So part of it is and this is usually the aha moment where they start to put those numbers in and they realize because now that you can put those inputs in and see your results, but you also can put all right, well here’s my goals and be able to see how those numbers look. I need to do 10,000 calls a day. I need to and you start to like put all these inputs in and then you put your goals and they’re like, wait a minute, this isn’t going to work. Like there’s not enough time in the day to do all of these these different activities. And so it’s one of those things where it’s be able to say, hey, if it’s working right now, great. Here’s how you’re going to do it. Here’s your recipe. Here’s your game plan of how you’re gonna move forward. But if it’s not working, just doing more of the same wrong strategy isn’t going to move the needle. Or again, there’s not enough time in the day. So it’s helping you be able to understand not only what you should be doing, but, hey, we need to relook at this because and I’ve had reps like, hey, they’re struggling. And I’m like, all right, what’s your game plan? I’m going to do more. And I’m like, How? Like you don’t have a work ethic problem. You know, some people do. Some people aren’t putting in the effort. And this is the thing that says, okay, you got to get going and here’s how to do it. But those that are putting in the effort, we got to do something different because this isn’t working. Let’s again look at it. Who are reaching out to?. What’s our messaging? And then is that messaging right? And you start to look at the strategy of it. So it may be a strategy problem, not an activities problem, but sometimes the easy thing is like just do more, just do more. And it’s yes, if that’s what’s needed. But a lot of times it’s more of a strategy. Another strategy that needs to move, not just do more of the same thing. Right. It’s also important to consider like what are the activities that you’re spending so much time on? So, for example,. I mean, most people have the same 8 to 10 hours a day that they can work right and actually interface with customers. So, you know, for example,. I’m spending a lot of time pulling down contacts for prospecting or I’m spending a lot of time building PowerPoints for a presentation that I have later today. Well, something I like to tell my reps is those are activities that can be done after hours. Like a common thing when I was in AE was, during the hours of 9 to 5 or 8 to 4, whenever you’re going to be working is like, let’s be all in on kind of optimizing the amount of time we’re interfacing with customers. And then, you know, after you put the kids to bed, you throw on SportsCenter, you have dinner, now’s a good time to be putting together some PowerPoints or sourcing contacts or like rethinking and reprioritizing the activities, because those not to say those aren’t important, but those are things that can be done later versus trying to optimize, you know, the number of meetings, the number of calls, the number of things that we could do during that 9 to 5. Yeah, no, absolutely. And then the other thing with it is when you start to see those that are doing well and you look at, hey, this person’s doing really well, what are they doing,. When are they making those calls? When are they sending out those emails and having some of those things that you’re looking at it from a standpoint of, you know, everybody like, well, this is the this is the time that’s most comfortable for me. Cool. I’m glad that’s comfortable for you, but it’s not getting results. So we got to do something different. Let’s look and see who’s doing it well. And if you’re an individual contributor, it’s a really easy thing. I mean, if your company has data, you can see who is succeeding and says, Hey, tell me what’s going on here. When are you making the dials? For some reason, I’m having a struggle here. What are you doing differently? So be able to optimize during the right times versus just say, oh, I just need to do these tasks and you do them, but you’re almost doing them just to check the box, not to get the win, because those are very different thing. Just going through the motions of getting all the activities done versus, Hey, I want to set meetings when I make dials, I want to when I’m emailing and I’m about to personalize this email, I want to actually have them respond back to me versus look, look at how many emails I did. Check. You know, it’s not working. It’s really focusing in on getting those results and looking at optimizing, like you talk about, your day to make sure that you get results, not just go through the motions. Absolutely. Great call out. Kim, thanks again for joining us on Closing. Time the show for Go to market leaders. It’s great to be here.. Thanks for having me. Yeah, absolutely. Now remember to like this video. Subscribe to the channel and tick the bell for notifications so you don’t miss an episode. We’ll see you next time on Closing Time.

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