Sales operations are full of complexity - systems, processes, scripts, and training.
If you walk onto the sales floors of old, it was always the most energized part of any company.
Today, that energy and complexity are harder to see and feel because it’s distributed into hundreds of thousands of homes, coffee shops, and co-working spaces worldwide.
That complexity, and now that distributed team dynamic, is overwhelming to sales directors.
Despite these complexities, increasing sales production or holding the line in a volatile market has only three strategic options.
1. Buy or generate 10% more leads
Looking for linear growth from lead buying can be risky unless your sales operations are highly optimized. Lead buying can be a complex and expensive strategy without the proper systems, automation, and data science.
Buying more leads is problematic if your production is declining. Typically, you will get the same poor conversion rates whether the source of the decline is in the process, the systems, or market-driven.
So, you are essentially throwing good money after bad.
If you’re just trying to grow, this is the most expensive solution requiring you to buy (or invest) in 10% more leads for your team. To earn incremental revenue, you must always add a proportional amount of expense.
So, there is no gained efficiency or profitability in this strategy.
Capacity issues are one of the most often overlooked consequences of buying more leads before optimizing your sales operations. Without an effective lead management system and automation, you'll tank your conversion rates if you scale your lead buying.
Sales agents simply will not be able to engage and follow up with the leads promptly.
So, you’ll need to hire more sales agents, which brings us to #2.
2. Hire 10% more sales agents
Hiring should be your last resort, whether to grow to stop a declining trend.
You’re locking in a fixed expense; it takes the longest time to impact, and the inevitable churn creates an exponential, valueless drag on capital.
Humans are messy, so beyond this growth strategy's obvious direct economic and financial impacts, it makes it the least scientifically measurable part of the sales and revenue production equation.
Until you have a well-defined sales process that delivers predictable outcomes and the technology to assist each new sales agent to execute this process reliably, I would wait on hiring.
3. Convert 10% more of the leads you already have
Given the proper data analysis, you can spot opportunities to increase conversion rates in a highly predictive way. Then ideally, you embed these intelligent systems to grade leads, evaluate sales agents, optimize lead-to-sales agent matching, and determine the best next action(s).
Here are the three essential elements to optimizing any lead management system:
- Lead Scoring and Grading - With data, learn which leads, and sources are the most predictive of a closed deal. Be careful with this lead grading. Too many systems weigh what you think is a good lead - bigger deals, higher credit scores, etc. Many of these attributes are counter-intuitive, contrary to your incentive structure, or aren’t predictive if you analyze the data.
- Sales Agent Grading - Create a process to evaluate your sales agents' performance in real-time. Waiting for the end of the month or quarter to rack and stack your sales team leaves deals on the table. Personal and market changes can radically change the performance of a sales agent. We see this in the mortgage industry - top-performing refinance LOs are getting passed over by rockstar purchase LOs.
- Dynamically Match Leads and Sales Agents - Distributing leads with a round-robin algorithm is only helpful during the calibration of your lead management system. Once you have established your lead and sales agent grading baseline, it’s time to use more intelligent matching algorithms—ideally, machine learning algorithms adjusting to changes in the data.
You can accomplish some of this independently, given an exceptional data scientist and a few savvy programmers.
But, the technology is now readily available, off the shelf from lead management optimization systems, like ProPair; it’s easier to implement and faster to get significant impact to buy these intelligent algorithms.
As a result of the pandemic, every industry and sales operation is moving to a consumer-direct model. Interacting with customers 100% virtually creates a more disconnected and inherently longer sales cycle.
Learn to fill the pipeline with lead generation efficiently, but don’t miss the veins of gold in your mountain of leads.
Solutions for immediately increasing production in your sales operation
To put AI/ML decision support and lead management optimization into your existing lead management system and sales operations (without changing anything), check out: https://www.propair.ai/ —> Talk to Ethan Ewing Paul Duncan
Sales operations are probably still overly focused on outbound calls when text messaging (and email) is increasingly more effective.