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Marketing for IT Companies: 8 Questions to Measure and Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance


Software development outsourcing is a booming industry with incredible potential for growth. But even amidst this exciting landscape, business owners like you face a crucial challenge: ensuring your sales pipeline flows seamlessly and converts promising leads into lucrative deals. A sluggish pipeline can stifle expansion, leaving you gazing longingly at untapped opportunities.

The good news? You’re not alone. Many business owners need help to optimize their sales processes, leaving countless potential clients needing help to get through the cracks. But what if there were a set of powerful questions that could unlock the secrets to pipeline efficiency, propelling your company toward sustained success?

Get ready to:

  • Define clear criteria for identifying high-potential leads.
  • Measure the pulse of your pipeline and diagnose any sluggishness.
  • Set achievable goals that fuel revenue and profit.
  • Unearth hidden inefficiencies and unlock conversion potential.
  • Foster a culture of experimentation for continuous improvement.

So, are you ready to transform your pipeline from a trickle to a torrent? Let’s begin!

Question 1: What are the Criteria for a Sales-qualified lead (SQL)?

Why This Matters

Having clear criteria for identifying Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) is crucial for several reasons:

  • Efficiency: Focusing on high-potential leads helps save time and resources nurturing unqualified ones. Resources can be efficiently allocated to nurturing leads with a genuine interest and ability to become paying clients.
  • Improved Conversion Rates: By attracting leads that closely align with your ideal customer profile, you’re more likely to convert them into deals, boosting your overall sales effectiveness.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Well-defined SQL criteria allow you to track progress and measure the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts, providing valuable data for optimizing your pipeline.
  • Improved Sales Process: Knowing your ideal customer characteristics enables you to tailor your sales messaging and approach, leading to more relevant and compelling interactions with qualified leads.


  • Profitability analysis: Consider the average deal size and profit margin associated with different client profiles. Tailor your SQL criteria to target leads most likely to contribute to your desired profit goals.
  • Resource allocation: Align your ideal client profile with your resource capacity. Only chase large, infrequent deals if you can serve them effectively.
  • Industry expertise: Focus on industries where you have proven expertise and a strong value proposition. Your SQL criteria should reflect this specialization.
  • Market needs and trends: Align your ideal client profile with emerging market needs and growth sectors – this ensures you’re attracting leads with long-term potential.
  • Competitive landscape: Understand who your main competitors target and consider ways to differentiate your ideal client profile for a competitive edge.
  • Service alignment: Ensure your SQL criteria attract leads seeking the services you excel in and enjoy delivering. Save resources nurturing leads for services you offer reluctantly.
  • Solution fit: Consider the complexity and scope of projects you handle most effectively. Your SQL criteria should reflect your ideal project size and technical requirements.
  • Scalability and growth: To scale specific services, tailor your SQL criteria to attract clients who will contribute to that growth trajectory.

Remember: Your ideal client profile and SQL criteria are living documents. Review and adjust them regularly based on evolving market trends, financial goals, and the specific services you want to prioritize.

Question 2: What is the Current Percentage of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) in Your Funnel?

Why This Matters

  • Pipeline health: A low SQL percentage indicates wasted resources on nurturing unqualified leads.
  • Targeted action: Knowing your numbers helps you allocate resources effectively, focusing efforts on channels generating the most qualified leads.
  • Goal setting: Your ideal SQL percentage should align with your revenue/profit goals.


  • Healthy range: Aiming for an Industry benchmark SQL conversion rate is generally a good starting point.
  • Dig deeper: Don’t stop at the overall number. Segment your data by source (marketing, referrals, paid promotions, etc.) to identify areas performing well and those needing optimization.

Remember: Your SQL percentage is a dynamic indicator, not a fixed target. Regularly monitor and analyze it, using the insights to fine-tune your funnel for maximum efficiency and lead to a pipeline bursting with ripe opportunities, ready to be converted into successful partnerships.

Question 3: What Percentage of Sales Qualified Leads Should We Have Based on Our Revenue/Profit Goal?

Why This Matters

  • Targeted effort: Knowing your ideal SQL percentage helps you direct resources efficiently, focusing on generating high-quality leads.
  • Goal alignment: It ensures your pipeline is geared towards achieving your financial objectives, preventing wasted effort on unqualified leads.
  • Predictability: By understanding your “fuel efficiency,” you can predict the number of leads needed to reach your destination and allocate resources accordingly.


  • Target range: The ideal SQL percentage is unique to your company and goals. Aim for a realistic number that balances lead quality with achievable conversion rates.
  • External factors: Consider market fluctuations, seasonality, and competitor landscape when setting your targets.
  • Dynamic approach: Regularly review and adjust your ideal SQL percentage as your goals and market conditions evolve.

Setting the Right Course

  1. Define your revenue/profit goals: Establish your desired financial targets for a specific period (month, quarter, or year).
  2. Analyze your average deal size: Calculate the average revenue generated per successful client engagement.
  3. Factor in conversion rates: Consider your historical (or industry-standard) conversion rates from SQL to closed deals – this reflects your “fuel efficiency.”

Remember: Your ideal SQL percentage is a guidepost, not a rigid rule. Experiment with different lead generation strategies to find the optimal balance for your company. Continuously monitor and adjust your course, ensuring your pipeline drives you toward your desired financial goals.

Question 4: Do We Have a Breakdown of Our Revenue/Profit Goal for Funnels/Channels and Conversions?

Why This Matters

  • Unearthing hidden potential: You might discover unforeseen gems – a previously overlooked channel might hold untapped revenue potential.
  • Preventing channel bias: A single revenue/profit goal can favor established channels, neglecting the potential of newer or specialized ones.
  • Market adaptability: Different market segments respond best to different approaches. Granular goals ensure you tailor your message and offerings to maximize conversion in each niche.


  1. Identify your funnels and channels: Consider different marketing channels (social media, paid ads, organic content), sales channels (direct outreach, partnerships), and even project types (mobile app development, web development).
  2. Set specific goals: Allocate particular goals to each funnel/channel based on their strengths, market reach, and target audience.
  3. Track conversions: Implement conversion tracking for each stage of the buyer’s journey, from initial lead generation to closed deals – this provides valuable insights into performance and optimization opportunities.


  • Targeted optimization: By pinpointing top-performing and underperforming channels, you can allocate resources strategically, maximizing return on investment.
  • Data-driven decisions: Conversion data empowers you to identify bottlenecks, test different strategies, and refine your approach for each funnel/channel.
  • Realistic forecasting: Granular goals facilitate more accurate revenue/profit projections, allowing you to plan strategically and manage resources effectively.

Question 5: What is Our Current Conversion Rate from Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to Deal?

Why This Matters

  • Sales process effectiveness: A low conversion rate suggests bottlenecks or gaps in your sales process, indicating a need for optimization.
  • Resource allocation: Understanding conversion rates helps you allocate resources effectively, focusing efforts on initiatives with the highest return on investment.
  • Predictability: By knowing your SQL to Deal ratio, you can predict the number of SQLs needed to achieve your revenue goals and adjust your lead generation efforts accordingly.


  • A general starting point is the industry benchmarks of a conversion rate from SQL to deal. Higher rates indicate excellent salesmanship or overly lenient qualifications, while lower rates suggest potential inefficiencies in your sales process.
  • Segment your data: Analyze conversion rates by sales rep, lead source, project type, and other relevant factors to identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Dig deeper: Don’t stop at an overall number. Investigate lost deals to understand common drop-off reasons and pinpoint improvement areas.

Remember: Your SQL-to-deal conversion rate is a dynamic metric, not a fixed target. Regularly monitor and analyze it, using the insights to fine-tune your sales process and cultivate a pipeline overflowing with ripe opportunities ready to be converted into lucrative partnerships.

Question 6: What Should It Be and Why? – Aiming for the Right Conversion Rate

Why This Matters

  • Focused optimization: With a clear target, you can prioritize efforts on initiatives with the highest potential to improve your conversion rate.
  • Data-driven decisions: Regularly analyzing your performance against your target helps you identify what works and what needs adjustment.
  • Motivating your team: A transparently set and achievable target motivates your sales team to focus on closing deals and contributing to pipeline efficiency.

Factors at Play

  • Sales process effectiveness: A well-defined, efficient sales process with clear steps and nurturing strategies naturally fosters higher conversion rates.
  • Lead quality: Stringent SQL criteria ensure you’re nurturing leads with genuine interest and the potential to become paying clients.
  • Pricing and value proposition: Competitive pricing and a clear value proposition that resonates with your target audience play a significant role in closing deals.
  • Market conditions: External factors like economic trends or industry shifts can impact your conversion rate.


  • Industry averages: While industry benchmarks offer a starting point, don’t rely solely on them. Consider your unique selling proposition, target market, and competitive landscape.
  • Internal analysis: Analyze your historical conversion rates to identify trends and improvement areas.
  • Competitor insights: Research your competitors’ conversion rates (if available) to understand the broader market context and potential benchmarks.

Setting Your Target

  • Combine the insights: Integrate your internal analysis, competitor data, and market understanding to establish a realistic and achievable target conversion rate.
  • Start specific, iterate quickly: Begin with a particular target for a defined period (e.g., 20% conversion rate in the next quarter). As you gather data and iterate, refine your target based on your progress.
  • Balance ambition with reality: Be ambitious, but don’t set unrealistic goals that could discourage you. Remember, gradual improvement is vital.

Remember: Reaching your target conversion rate isn’t a singular achievement. It’s an ongoing process of analysis, experimentation, and adaptation. Continuously learn from your data, refine your strategies, and adjust your target.

Question 7: Does the Team Have Hypotheses to Increase the Number of Sales-Qualified Leads (SQLs) in the Funnel, if Necessary?

Why This Matters

  • Data-driven decisions: Experimentation helps you move beyond assumptions and base your pipeline optimization on concrete data and insights.
  • Continuous improvement: Testing and iterating allow you to identify what works best for your specific audience and market, leading to consistent pipeline growth.
  • Team engagement: Encouraging experimentation fosters a culture of ownership and innovation, motivating your team to actively contribute to pipeline success.

Planting the Seeds of Experimentation

  • Encourage questioning: Create an environment where questioning the status quo and proposing hypotheses are celebrated, not discouraged.
  • Provide resources: Allocate time, budget, and tools for running experiments, ensuring your Sales team has the means to test their ideas.
  • Share best practices: Foster knowledge sharing across the team, allowing successful experiments to inspire and inform others.

Remember: Only some experiments will be a resounding success. The key is to create a safe space for learning from successes and failures and using the findings to refine future efforts.

Question 8: Which of These Hypotheses are Currently Being Tested? – Cultivating Continuous Improvement

Why This Matters

  • Data-driven optimization: Ongoing testing provides valuable insights into what works best for your unique audience and market, fueling data-driven pipeline improvement.
  • Resource allocation: By understanding which hypotheses hold promise, you can allocate resources strategically, focusing on the most impactful testing initiatives.
  • Team learning and growth: Actively testing and sharing learning fosters a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging your team to stay ahead of the curve in lead generation strategies.

Remember: Testing is an iterative process. Be sure to start another before every test. Embrace a dynamic approach, constantly learning and adapting your pipeline optimization efforts based on the valuable data you gather.


Congratulations! You’ve embarked on a crucial journey through eight essential questions that illuminate the inner workings of your software development outsourcing pipeline. From identifying ideal leads to nurturing them into successful partnerships, each question offered a powerful lens for optimization and growth.

So, where do you go from here?

Remember, pipeline excellence isn’t a one-time achievement. It’s a continuous voyage of exploration, experimentation, and adaptation. Here are some key takeaways to guide your journey:

  • Embrace a data-driven approach: Let metrics and insights from each question inform your decisions. Track progress, analyze results, and use learnings to refine your strategies.
  • Foster a culture of experimentation: Encourage your team to question, propose hypotheses, and actively test new approaches. Celebrate learning from both successes and failures.
  • Focus on high-quality leads: Don’t chase quantity over quality. Set clear SQL criteria and nurture leads with genuine potential to become profitable clients.
  • Align your pipeline with your goals: Break down revenue/profit targets by funnel/channel and track conversion rates to ensure every element contributes to your desired outcomes.
  • Optimize continuously: Never settle for “good enough.” Constantly seek opportunities to improve lead generation, conversion rates, and overall sales process.

By keeping these points in mind and revisiting these questions regularly, you’ll equip your company with the tools and mindset to cultivate a pipeline that’s efficient and a powerful engine for sustainable growth and success.

IT businesses in today’s fast-paced digital world require innovative marketing strategies to connect with their audience. At The Digital Bloom, we specialize in crafting tailored Marketing Services for IT Companies to elevate their brands. Boasting a decade of expertise in marketing for software development outsourcing, our strategy revolves around data-driven solutions that elevate online visibility, allure top brands, and nurture exponential growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find the industry benchmarks for SQL conversion rates and deal sizes in software development outsourcing?

  • Research Industry Reports: Look for industry-specific reports, whitepapers, or studies published by reputable organizations or research firms. These often provide benchmarks for various metrics, including conversion rates and deal sizes.
  • Industry Associations: Explore websites of industry associations related to software development outsourcing. They might share benchmark data or offer insights based on aggregated industry performance.
  • Networking and Conferences: Attend industry conferences, webinars, or networking events. Engage with peers and experts to discuss benchmarks and best practices.
  • Consult with Experts: Reach out to consultants, mentors, or professionals with expertise in software development outsourcing. They can provide valuable insights and share benchmark data.

What are some examples of successful experiments that have improved the number of SQLs or the conversion rate from SQL to deal?

  • Personalization Tests: Experiment with personalized email subject lines, content, or landing pages. Tailoring messages to individual leads can significantly impact conversion rates.
  • Lead Nurturing Sequences: Test different lead nurturing sequences (e.g., frequency, content type, timing). A well-optimized sequence can move SQLs through the funnel more effectively.
  • Chatbots and Live Chat: Implement chatbots or live chat on your website. Assess how they impact engagement, lead qualification, and conversion rates.
  • Referral Programs: Experiment with referral incentives for existing clients. Encourage them to refer potential SQLs, which can boost the quantity and quality of leads.

How can I track and measure the performance of each funnel/channel and conversion stage in my pipeline?

  • Analytics Tools: Utilize tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, or Mixpanel to track website traffic, lead sources, and conversion rates at different stages.
  • Conversion Tracking: Set up conversion tracking for critical actions (e.g., form submissions, demo requests, downloads). Monitor how leads progress through the funnel.
  • Attribution Models: Understand which channels contribute to conversions (first-click, last-click, linear attribution). This helps allocate resources effectively.
  • Sales CRM: Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track leads, opportunities, and deal stages. Monitor conversion rates from SQL to deal.
  • Funnel Visualization: Create visual representations of your funnel stages. Identify drop-off points and optimize accordingly.
  • Regular Reporting: Generate regular reports to assess performance. Compare metrics across channels, campaigns, and periods.

Are these questions relevant if I’m not in Software Development Outsourcing?

Absolutely! While the context leans towards this industry, the core principles, such as identifying ideal customers, optimizing conversion rates, and boosting performance, apply across various sales scenarios. Think of it as a versatile toolkit adaptable to your specific business.

I already track data. Are these questions still helpful?

Data is robust, but asking the right questions unlocks its true potential. This guide goes beyond generic metrics, delving into specific areas like qualified lead penetration and ideal customer characteristics. Think of it as a refinement for your existing data analysis.

How long will it take to improve my sales?

The beauty lies in the flexibility! Start with quick wins like refining your ideal customer profile. For more complex implementations, prioritize based on impact potential and available resources. Remember, progress, not perfection, is critical! Small changes can lead to significant results over time.

Will these questions help me measure my sales performance and close more deals?

You bet! By understanding your buyers and optimizing your funnel, you attract more qualified leads, and qualified leads equal more closing opportunities. Think of it as building a sales magnet that attracts the right prospects, making closing deals a breeze.

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