1. ENSURE A STEADY FLOW OF INCOMING LEADS
As the first step of your sales process, lead generation can be tricky to put in motion. It’s up to you to identify the most efficient channels for providing your sales prospectors with leads: blogs, phone directories, use cases, Facebook or Adwords advertising, webinars, events…
If the size of your pipeline is too hard to maintain, you’ll be unable to sustain your own growth - even with your sales people doing all they can.
2. FIRST STEP: QUALIFY YOUR LEADS
The lead qualification stage is essential for ensuring your sales team’s overall efficacy. You must therefore, from the word go, attach special importance to your
“Sales Development Representatives” (SDR). These are your team’s lead chasers who are at the front line of your pipeline and ultimately determine your turnover. Their goal is to turn your prospect lists into qualified leads that they can then pass on to your Account Managers (AM), who will complete closing.
The goal is to gather maximal information on your leads, in order to optimise your sales cycle. You’ll thus save time on accounts that don’t have enough potential to mobilise your Account Managers. Your SDR should manage to send a hundred emails per day (no more, no less) to ensure between 7 and 10 positive responses to focus on and qualify in more detail. In a full month, these numbers translate to a hundred potential clients, of which 20 to 30% you’ll succeed in closing. Your Account Managers should thus have more than twenty qualified leads per month to transform.
You can then optimise the process by hiring more or fewer SDRs and establishing the ideal number of Account Managers (the most valuable profiles) for your company.
3. TO CLOSE, AVOID TECHNICAL PITFALLS
Once the steps of lead generation and qualification are complete, closing is all that remains. This step takes more or less time, depending on your product (price, complexity, impact on your clients…) as well as the duration of the sales cycle. If more than 2 months, mobilise an expert member of your team to jump in on the situation, analyse the use of your test accounts and identify obstacles.
It takes more than an eye for sales, given potential technical problems encountered by your clients. Pair your salespeople with members of your development team. You may not yet be aware of certain bugs or their potential impact on your client’s experience.
At RingOver, for example, some of our salespeople are very attentive to sound compression quality, thanks to the Opus codec implemented by the engineers. This is a crucial aspect for Cloud telephony service and a real differentiating factor from the competition, which doesn’t always take its importance into account in business dealings. To meet the specific demands of our clients, we pair our technical team members with our account managers, which has proved invaluable.
4. DISTRIBUTE COMMISSION EVENLY
Each of your salespeople must be rewarded for their contribution. A good practice used in some startups is to assign a certain number of points to each part of the process. Of a total of 6 points that will serve as the key for commission distribution:
- 1 point will be granted to the person having found the exact name of the prospect to be contacted (company here).
- 1 additional point will be awarded to the person having gathered correct information for the right contact. All employees in your company are encouraged to participate in this "scouting" process.
- The SDR will then be given 2 points if they manage to set up a demo or a call for one of your Account Managers.
- Lastly, if they close effectively, your Account Manager will gain 2 points as well.
There is a perfectly equitable distribution between the three key steps of your process:
- ⅓ of the points for identifying the right targets to contact
- ⅓ of the points for your SDR’s qualification efforts
- ⅓ of the points for your Account Manager closing
No more need for disputes around who the company owes its commissions and its success to. All your employees get their fair share!
5. OVERCOME OBSTACLES
Your rate of transformation will depend upon your ability to streamline your acquisition funnel. Encouraging your SDR to qualify leads without losing steam when it comes time to close will allow you to generate a large, quality pipeline. Your true negotiators will then have the chance to take advantage of a playing field large enough to make your turnover explode.
Too many Account Managers spend their time prospecting, which is not helpful to your company. In addition, many unstructured startups still rely too heavily on profile hunters, who often become discouraged after failing to close. The direct consequence is a decrease in the size of the commercial pipeline in a only few weeks. We at RingOver are attentive to the divide between these two stages. A qualified lead must be able to benefit from the expertise of an Account Manager who is familiar with the area and technical aspects. The SDR, whose focus is on emphasising the innovative aspects of the service sold, thus has the opportunity to contact a large number of targets.
Structuring in 2 steps: the key to your sales team’s success
Structuring your sales team into two distinct specialties is one of the keys to the success of a growing startup. Your CRM’s ability to absorb data flows from both your SDRs and Account Managers is a major asset in reaching your annual KPIs. This is why it’s so important to choose your professional telecom solution according to its integrability in your CRM. RingOver is connected to a large number of CRM market leaders (Salesforce, Zoho, Pipedrive...).