How frequently do your SDRs not follow up on all the leads the marketing team passes to them? Rarely? Weekly? Every day?

I’ve seen SDRs be guilty of this in pretty much every organization. However, something very few marketing and sales leaders understand is why that happens. It’s not always because they think your marketing leads aren’t high quality (although this is sometimes the rationale). Rather, most of the time your salespeople don’t follow up on leads because there is just too much on their plates.

Very few companies, if any, plan sales capacity from the bottom up instead of top down. They don’t take the time to calculate how much time a salesperson needs to spend per lead, and then use that data to give them the right amount of leads to go through. But without this due diligence, you’re setting your salespeople up for failure, and potentially wasting valuable leads.

Solving this problem requires a two-pronged approach. First, you need to know much time/effort/sales calories/touches the average good lead requires to maximize its chances of being converted into a solid opportunity. Second, you need to figure out each salesperson’s capacity per day/week/month for how many leads they can process with maximum quality.

How to Determine SDR Capacity

In order to calculate how much time needs to be spent per lead, you’ll need to look into your company’s historical sales data and see how much activity was spent on every lead that led to a closed/won deal in the past.

While some may try to do this manually, at we do this using our own product out-of-the-box (shocking, I know).

Thanks to our rich sales activity data, at we know that every MQL requires a minimum of 18 minutes of sales activity on the part of our SDR to give it a real shot.

Activity Example

From here the math is simple :

The average SDR will work eight hours per day. That’s 480 minutes per day minus 60 minutes for lunch and another 60 minutes for coffees, distractions, watercooler conversations, etc.

That leaves us with 360 minutes of concentrated work per day.

360 minutes per day divided by 18 minutes = 20 minutes.

This means a solid SDR can only process a maximum of 20 qualified leads per day. That’s 100 leads per week, or 400 leads per month.

Seems pretty simple, right? Surprisingly, most companies we speak with give their SDRs thousands of leads from marketing, partners, etc EVERY DAY or WEEK—not even just per month! Every selling motion is different—from the product or service you’re selling to the buyer you’re selling to—but thousands of leads per week, for a single person, is nearly an impossible feat.

Don’t Throw Away Marketing Budget on More Leads Than Your Sales Team Can Handle

Your SDRs may be drowning in often poorly qualified leads, scrambling to produce meetings and opportunities. And with an overly full plate, this is often when we start seeing untargeted emails riddled with mistakes.

While the rise in prospecting software has allowed sales to reach more customers in a systematic, it’s also led to less tailored, personalized outreach—and leads that are going to waste.

Luckily, it’s entirely within your power to dig your sales and marketing teams out of this rut by implementing individualized capacity planning—and you likely have the data you need to get started. This process is vitally important for making sure the organization spends resources wisely while maximizing results.

Instead of drowning your SDRs in leads, quantify the ideal amount of time needed to successfully work a lead, and adjust the number of marketing programs and MQLs accordingly. While it can be tempting to focus more on quantity, your SDRs don’t need 1,000 leads a day—they need the 20 right ones. And your sales and marketing teams will both thank you for it.

To get a demo of how can optimize your sales capacity, learn more here.