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Creating A High-Impact Outbound Scoreboard

by Doug Davidoff | May 6, 2019 6:00:00 PM


If you know me at all, you know that I’m a very competitive person (some have said too competitive, and I can’t really argue with them). I love to win and I hate to lose.

One of the great lessons I’ve learned about myself, and found applies to the vast majority of people (even those not as competitive as me), is how important clarity is if you want people to be engaged and motivated. A BIG part of clarity is the ease with which an individual knows whether they’re winning or losing the “game” they’re playing. I’ve often said that a key to someone being happy and engaged in their work is the ability to go home each day knowing whether they won or lost the day, and whether they’re winning the week, the month, the year and so on.

A scoreboard is a necessary element to creating such clarity. If you doubt the importance of “knowing the score,” just watch how the intensity changes when a bunch of kids are playing a game and start keeping score.

A strong scoreboard has five required components to be truly effective: 

  1. It must be easy to track (the “don’t make me think” mantra applies here)
  2. It must be predictive (meaning that a “winning score” must increase the likelihood that the desired objective are achieved)
  3. It must be relevant (which is why vanity metrics like dials per day are not effective metrics)
  4. It must be directly influenceable by the “player” (which is why lagging indicators like Sales Qualified Leads, closed sales, etc. are not effective)
  5. It must reinforce and empower the ownership of the individual playing the game

What does the fifth point mean? It’s simple; the scoreboard can’t take away the choice or creativity from the individual. If you want the game to be effective and motivating the player must feel in control of their day and the actions they take to achieve the desired objectives. That said, you have to have a balance at this point. If you take away too much individual empowerment/choice, the game suffocates the players, but if you give too much, the complexity and chaos becomes unmanageable.

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I’ve been designing and implementing scoreboards for more than a decade, and I’ve gotten to be pretty good at it. I’ll admit though that I’ve always struggled with designing a scoreboard that is both simple and easy to monitor and reinforces the empowerment and ownership for the individual.

I think I’ve figured out the solution to this challenge, and in this post I’m going to take an approach that I rarely take. Today, I’m going to share a new approach that I’m initiating (for Imagine and for a few of our clients). I usually wait to share these types of things until I know they work, but I thought it would be useful to share the idea before I know for certain whether it achieves my objectives or not.

6 Steps to Design An Effective Scoreboard

The scoreboard that I’ve designed here is for sales/business development reps and/or for the prospecting efforts of an account executive. Additionally, this scoreboard is for a very complex offering that has both a longer-than-average sales cycle and requires more touch points.

With that in mind, here is the process I follow to design a strong scoreboard:

  1. Get clear on the outcome for this game. In this case, I’ve defined the desired outcome as accounts achieve Engagement Qualified Account status. This is a lifecycle that we created that represents significant progress beyond a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), but one that has not yet met the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) status.
  2. Determine the key influenceable contributors to achieving the outcomes (the milestones). In our case, we identified four contributors: connects with a targeted persona, meaningful conversations, meetings booked, and meetings held.
  3. Determine the one most important contributor. For us, that was easy. We chose meaningful conversations.
  4. Assign relative point values to each contributor. (I share our point values below.)
  5. Based upon historical data, model winning performance and establish appropriate goals (define “winning”). If you don’t have adequate data, guess.
  6. Adjust periodically.

Our Outbound Scoreboard

Based upon these criteria, we established the following point values. Note, I freely admit that at this time, I don’t know if the point values are right, but as a result of the model we put together, I know we’ll be able to get it right pretty quickly. Here they are:

  • Connect with a target persona = 5 points
  • Meaningful conversation with a target persona = 10 points
  • Meeting booked = 5 points
  • Meeting held = 5 points
  • Advanced to Engagement Qualified = 10 points

With these point values assigned, we then modeled the activity and performance levels that we would define as “winning.” We determined that a “good” hour of prospecting/outreach should produce on average 30-40 points per hour. A new/junior rep may only produce 20-30 points, while a strong, experienced rep who’s built a powerful network and has a presence may be able to produce upwards of 50 points in a dedicated hour of prospecting/outreach.

With that determination, we assigned the scoring rubric:

  • For each allocated hour of prospecting:
    • Less than 20 points = Red
    • 20 - 30 points = Yellow
    • More than 30 points = Green

We expect that a full-time SDR will do 4 - 5 hours of dedicated outreach per day, so if they score 175 points in a day, they can go home knowing they’ve won, and if they’ve only scored 80 points they’ll know they lost the day. A full funnel account executive may only allocate 1- 2 hours per day, so they’d be shooting for 50 points.

The reason I’m excited by this scoreboard is that it allows the rep to decide how to allocate their time and energy. They can shoot for higher quality, lower value actions or vice versa. Ultimately, we’ll get this scoreboard dialed in so that it reinforces a strong balance between off the activities that ensure consistent production and success.

What do you think about this scoreboard? What would you do differently?

I’ll keep you posted with how it’s working.