Srivatsa Marthi
Product at SetSail
Table of contents:

Successful reps are efficient reps — they know when to keep pushing and when to save their breath. Or so goes the conventional wisdom.

The only problem is, despite their success, they tend to underestimate their chances of connecting with high-level contacts, leaving wins on the table. As a result, going after senior contacts is actually one of the most efficient activities a rep can perform.

What the Data Shows

Looking at sales activity data we see time and again from our customers, after introducing reps to a SetSail incentives program, not only do the number of emails sent to senior contacts increase by over 60%, but the number of those contacts that followed up with meetings double. This suggests that the increase in volume results in not only an increase in overall activity but also an increase in efficiency.

More Volume or More Efficiency? Why Not Both?

So… why does this matter? Well, the added email volume can be thought of as casting a wider net; starting more conversations with senior-level contacts. What we would naturally expect to follow from a strategy like this is an increase in net engagement but at the cost of efficiency, diluting the useful contacts with countless duds.

However, we have actually observed the opposite result; the increase in volume actually coincided with an increase in efficiency.

A senior rep at one of our customers gave insight into his own experience with SetSail:

“I used to be focused on a few contacts… I was hesitant to go around them or tread on any toes… Once your program started, it incentivized me to go higher and wider.”

Change Your Perspective

From the rep’s perspective, this should be hard to believe. After all, at some point it may be difficult to rationalize sending yet another email to a high-ranking potential contact. However, it looks far more sensible when viewed from the contact’s perspective; this might be the only sales rep they talk to all week, and there is no immediate reason why they should be any more or less receptive than any other contact of similar rank.

I won’t attempt to fully diagnose if the reason is psychological or practical. The bottom line is this: reps are consistently underestimating their ability to connect with high-quality contacts.


By settling for lower-level connections, reps aren’t just less efficient. They’re slowing down their deals. They aren’t hitting their numbers. And they’re throwing a wrench in their company’s revenue goals.

To all the reps out there: don’t settle. Aim higher.

For more cases of sales data overturning conventional wisdom, check out our State of Sales Productivity Report or book a demo to see how SetSail can increase rep productivity by 15% in just 12 weeks.