We love to praise our sales teams that hustle. If you make the maximum number of outbound calls, emails, and prospect connections, you’re setting yourself up for success. Sales is a numbers game; the best way to find winning deals is to try as many times as you can, as fast as possible.
But that’s not the whole story. We also all believe in working smarter, not harder. Yet for some, the concept of efficiency can lose priority to hitting your numbers. All leads are not created equal. Intelligently choosing the leads to focus on, which team members go after which leads, and automating as much of your system as possible are key to improving your odds of success and spending your sales rep’s time efficiently.
Picking Your Best Leads
I’ve previously discussed how your RevOps team should define your lead quality score and ideal customer profile (ICP). For a quick refresher, your RevOps team should review your best customers’ technographic and firmographic details to develop a lead scoring system. Once you have your ICP, you can layer on Buyer Intent Data to find companies fitting your ICP already in the market. These leads should be the top priority for sales.
But like any process, the above isn’t perfect. Poor data quality can cause leads to be identified as fitting your ICP when they don’t. Data harvested online is likely to be out of date. If your leads aren’t having their information human-verified by your contact provider, guess who must spend the time verifying each lead? Your sales team.
Taking the time to filter and verify your leads will reduce your total number of leads. Having fewer leads is scary, but improving their contact accuracy before passing them to sales means sales can spend their time efficiently. If a sales rep knows 8 out of 10 times that they hop on your dialer, they’ll be talking to or leaving a message for a high-quality lead; then they’ll love being on it. Having 15 successful conversations in an hour with 20 dials is far preferable to 5 successful conversations after 200 dials. The more results that the sales team sees for their time spent, the more encouraged they will be to invest more time.
Follow the 70/30 Rule for Assigning Leads
Besides controlling for lead quality, you can also decide which leads are directed to which sales reps. Ideally, you have made a sales playbook and frequently coach your reps, so all your reps can copy your best performers and see success. But, some team members will always have more experience than others and a higher closing rate. You’ll want to assign your best reps to handle your inbound leads.
We have found success following the 70/30 rule for assigning leads. Approximately 70% of your new accounts will come from inbound leads and 30% from outbound leads. So, you want to prioritize as many inbound leads as possible without neglecting healthy outbound targeting. Targeted outbound leads tend to have a higher account value over time and are your chance to aim at your ICP clients.
So, the second part of the 70/30 rule is to spend 70% of your sales time on healthy ABM outbound leads and 30% of your time on inbound leads. The inbound leads will be easier and take less time overall to close. Your top reps will have the easiest time harvesting those leads. But you’ll always want to be proactively going after the big fish.
Remember Marketing and Automation are Your Friends
The number one goal of sales reps has almost always been to pass as many qualified leads to account executives (AEs) as possible and have as many of those leads close as possible. It’s a sensible goal!
But if you’re using a data provider, have built your ICP, and have access to intent data, you should have all the high-quality leads you can pursue. You’ve established both quality and quantity. The new question is: How can your sale qualify and move a lead to your AE faster? Once you’re no longer struggling to find leads, you instead need to work on efficiency. How fast can a lead go from discovery to close?
Remember that marketing and automation are your friends. You should be in alignment with marketing about what your team needs, what messaging is resonating, and how much sales work can be automated. How can a lead automatically be pulled from your data provider, go through marketing messaging, reach their lead score, and start receiving sales messaging from one of your reps?
Your sales reps should be able to spend time responding to inbound sales requests, replies from outbound-focused automated sales emails, and calling qualified leads. Working with marketing and setting up automation is how you remove as much busy work, wasted time, and data entry as possible from their daily routine. Help your sales team do what they do best: sell.
Simply working hard isn’t enough. You need to work with your best leads first. Then you can go faster.
- Filter leads to match your ideal customer profile (ICP) and have a system in place for acquiring verified, high-quality data.
- Higher quality trumps quantity. Once the quality is established, you add in quantity.
- Spend 30% of your sales time on inbound leads and 70% on outbound leads. Inbounds leads should close quickly with help from your best reps, and outbound leads let you focus on high-value accounts.
- After gaining both qualify and quantity of leads, work with your marketing team and use automation to speed up your days-to-close. Now that you are getting the maximum results for your work, you’re good to focus on working hard.