Whether you are inbound sales, outbound sales or customer success, account assignment is one of the most difficult and contentious activities that you will undertake. You are constantly trying to balance a host of variables like account load, quota attainment capacity, industry expertise, personal interest. And your finely balanced assignment ‘breaks’ every time a new customer joins or leaves, or more dramatically, when an employee joins or leaves.
So, what’s the answer? Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution. My colleague and I tried once to create software that would figure out automatically and dynamically which accounts should go where. All we ended up doing was massively breaking things, resulting in above-average churn for a couple of months (and annoying a lot of our CSMs in the process).
Given the complexity, there are at least 3 different approaches you can take:
1) Round-robin based upon account load.
In this system, you look at the account loads or numbers of prospects in everyone’s book of business. And you simply round robin them new customers so everyone has similar numbers of accounts/prospects (adjusting for differing quotas). This can be captured in either number of accounts or the dollar value (if it’s a prospect, you can estimate their projected spend). While simple, there are shortcomings in only using a single variable to assign accounts.
2) Best accounts to the best performers.
Imagine if a prospect from Google inbounds. Under the system above, that prospect would simply go to the next rep in the queue. But what happens if that rep is new or a poor performer. Do you really want that lead in their hands, or would you want it to go to one of your better, more experienced reps? To avoid this, use a model where the best accounts go to the best reps. It’s a pretty obvious system, but can be very difficult to implement.
In this system, you segment your reps into different territories/industries/customer sizes/etc. and assign accounts within each of these segments. This certainly builds expertise within your reps, but it can be challenging if you don’t have enough (or have too many) accounts in a specific segment. Moving reps can be hard, so you might find yourself under-capacity in one segment and over-capacity in another segment.
The short answer is that there is no simple, optimal system. Instead, it is important to choose a system but understand all the pros and cons of the system. Minimize the cons, and then explain to your reps why you have chosen a specific system and what you are doing to try and make it as fair as possible. Honesty and transparency will go a long way.
And if anyone has the perfect system, please let me know :)
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Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how to re-ignite your revenue engine. We looked at how to use demand generation to re-fill your pipeline. Then we looked at how your sales team approaches those leads, and gets more of them to close.
This week, we are looking at your existing customers. Because, for most SaaS businesses, 80% of revenue comes from existing customers. So unless you are looking after your customers, your revenue growth will stall.
It’s likely that your customers have had their budgets frozen or cut. But there are 3 things you can do to ensure that dollars still come your way:
1. Call them about THEIR business, not yours
Do not call your customer and ask them about the renewal. Call them and ask them how the company is doing. Ask them about how they are doing. Ask them how their goals and objectives have changed, and how you can support them. Use genuine empathy to build a relationship with your customer, and show them that you care about more than just the renewal.
2. Ask them about their current pain points
It’s more than likely that your customer’s world has changed fundamentally over the last 6 months. The things they were struggling with before are probably not the things they are struggling with now. If you can understand what their current pain points are, you might uncover and opportunities to sell a solution to them that wasn’t applicable 6 months ago. And remember, this is not selling because you need to make quota. This is selling because you are genuinely wanting to help your customer.
3. Be flexible
Now is not the time to stick to the “rules”. You notice they are sharing licenses? Let it slide (for the moment). They want to add a feature but for a price lower than the ‘approved’ discount level. Give it to them (but let them know that pricing will return to normal at next renewal). They need a feature just for the next 3 months? Turn in on for them – if the feature adds value, they will gladly pay for it when the time comes. They need flexible payment terms? Talk to your finance - I can almost guarantee that they will relax the payment term rules because they will want the renewal just as much as you do
Keeping customers will make sure that you keep their revenue. But more importantly, it will also open up opportunities for future expansion.
Two weeks ago, we talked with @David Cardiel about how to fill your pipeline. But that’s just the beginning. This week, I spoke with @Kevin McKweon about how to get the sales team closing the leads generated by the marketing team, as well as creating and closing their own leads.
“I’m interested, but not right now” is a phrase that your sales team are probably hearing over and over again. But the reality is that the customer’s need still exist. So you just need to figure out how to make them realize that your product will solve a real problem for them, and create real value.
So here are our top 3 suggestions on how to get customers to stop ghosting you and start buying:
Azim Nagree is an ex-Bain consultant with 20+ years in leading strategy, growth and operations transformations.