Act! Blog

A pragmatic approach to achieving breakthrough sales results

When prospecting, you may be ‘actively working’ referrals from your center of influence, marketing qualified lead lists, opportunities with existing customers, or other self-sourced opportunities.  Some of these prospects result in a sales-ready-opportunity (when an opportunity has been qualified and is ready to share financials).  According to our research 2 about 25% of sales-ready-opportunities will be won (no problem) and about 25% will be lost (they have no chance) but 50% are at play and could be won if . . .

Sales performance findings

According to our research2 less than 22% of salespeople consider time a key performance indicator (KPI) however, more than 25% of sales-ready-opportunities are lost because the sales cycle is too long and, according to CSO Insights, 21.3% result in no decision.  Additionally, at least 60% of salespeople miss their sales goals – 60% of those underperformers are not effective prospectors and don’t find enough sales-ready-opportunities.

The following industry findings3 support our research:

  • Only 17% of salespeople can get a second meeting with a prospect who has an identified sales-ready need.
  • When prospecting, and without help, only 52% of salespeople can access key players and decision-makers.
  • The win rate of an average salesperson is less than 47%, and the win rate for a high performer1 is over 70%.

How many prospects should you be actively working?

The above data provoke the most-asked question in sales: “How many prospects do I need to be ‘actively working’ to achieve my annual sales goals?”

You can find the answer with the following two-step process:

Step 1 Determine how many sales-ready opportunities are needed to achieve your goal.

Let’s assume you have:

  • a sales velocity/goal of $12 million (about $1 million per month)
  • a 50% win rate
  • a $1 million average deal size
  • 45-day (1.5 months) sales cycle


In this scenario, you need to have at least three new Sales-Ready Opportunities (SRO) per month.

Step 2:  Determine how many prospects you will need to be ‘actively working’ to achieve your annual sales goal.

Your prospect conversion ratio is a function of your prospecting skills and the source of your prospects. Your conversion ratio for existing customers is going to be the highest (greater than 20%), marketing qualified leads will not be higher than 10%, and cold calls will be less than 2%.

Assuming you need 3 sales-ready-opportunities per month, and you have a 15% conversion ratio, you will need to be ‘actively working’ 20 prospects every month.

How to find or create more high-quality prospects and increase your prospect conversion ratio

Performance Insights has partnered with the industry-leading sales training company St. Meyer & Hubbard to build a program for Act! Premium users to answer this question. The program is called Managing Breakthrough Results SM and it integrates sales training with visually compelling sales reports and analytics – and it all works the way you already work in Act!.

Training is virtual or onsite and (optionally) comes with a one-day workshop to tailor the reports and analytics to the way you sell and use Act!  You will acquire the skills to find and close more sales-ready opportunities.

Click here for more information on this highly acclaimed program that helps your sales team achieve breakthrough sales results!


1   High Performers are those achieving at least 130% of their annual sales goals
2  What Winners Do Different SM research by Performance Insights
CSO Insights, Gartner, and Forrester
Actively calling, emailing, and having purpose-driven conversations

About the author

Ron Buck is the Chairman & CEO of Performance Insights – an industry-leading software company serving the financial services industry.  Ron is a recognized industry leader and has taken two companies public prior to Performance Insights.