If you are a revenue leader, you probably spent most of Q4 planning, most of January in SKOs and board meetings, and are finally executing on your current year plans.
But the following may also be true:
- You may have a smaller team than last year.
- You may not be able to hire new folks.
- You may be worried about losing your top performers.
- You probably still have a big attainment goal, and you’re somehow supposed to hit it with a smaller team.
All of these new market constraints have led to the emergence of what I like to call the everything rep—specialists are being replaced with utility players, who need to do everything from outbound prospecting to qualification to demos to closing.
However, piling on the work and asking your team to do more activities won’t magically create more pipeline. Don't ask reps to do more with less. Teach them how to do less, better.
So, what can revenue leaders do to support their teams in the best possible way and optimize performance to positively impact their company’s bottom line?
Below are the top three things revenue leaders should focus on to help lay the foundation for success in the future.
Increase Rep Productivity and Satisfaction
Step up your coaching efforts to help reps focus on the highest value activities that contribute to your company’s pipeline. This means delving deeper into how reps are spending their time to better understand the number of accounts they're contacting and the depth of that engagement.
Don’t just focus on doing more activities, but instead focus on helping reps figure out how to prioritize the most important accounts and activities.
This will involve identifying what kinds of activities are most highly correlated to success. For example:
- Does picking up the phone work better with your market?
- Do you get higher reply rates on email cadences of a certain length?
- Are there product features reps should always include in a pitch?
With this knowledge and thoughtful coaching, reps can be more productive and hone their efforts to deploy these tactics on the accounts with the highest potential— those that are ready to buy, that are a good fit for your ICP and product, or that look similar to accounts that have converted in the past.
Beyond equipping reps with the tools to do more with less as a way to drive increased productivity, it’s also important to keep an eye on rep satisfaction. In an era where reps are being stretched to do more than ever, it’s no surprise that Gartner reports that 89% of sellers feel burnt out and 54% are actively looking for a new opportunity. Two contributors to this ‘drag’ are vague manager feedback and an increased burden of administrative tasks.
If you want to retain your top talent, you must provide better coaching and increase your level of engagement with each rep so that they feel supported and get actionable advice.
Additionally, think through ways to lighten their load so they can focus on what matters most. For example, are there administrative tasks or certain processes that can be automated? Can other teams support data hygiene efforts to get updated contact info for prospects more quickly?
Lean Into High-Potential Accounts and Customer Segments
Your quota capacity is more precious than it’s ever been. Gone are the days of a ‘spray and pray’ outreach strategy. Just as your own company may be reducing headcount or budgets, your buyers might be too, making it even more important for your reps to be laser-focused on working the right accounts with customized, targeted outreach.
It’s worth evaluating how your team allocates accounts so you can hit quota in a more sustainable way.
Using a dynamic book management approach will ensure reps are focused on the best possible accounts at any time. Instead of assigning each rep a static territory at the beginning of the year, a dynamic books approach rotates the highest potential accounts at any time to reps with availability to work them, regardless of geographic location. Doing so means reps are always engaging the highest potential accounts at all times, and they're not wasting time on accounts that aren't ready to buy or aren't a good fit right now. It also keeps your pool of addressable accounts from getting overworked.
But even if you’re not ready to move to a dynamic books approach, here are a few ways you can build better books of business for your reps and help them focus on the right accounts.
- Develop a simple account scoring or ranking model if you don’t already have one.
- Keep rep books small.
- Regularly assign new accounts to keep rep books fresh.
- Give reps the ability to return an account with clear definitions for when this is acceptable.
- Hold reps accountable for account coverage.
- Retrieve unworked accounts if reps aren't engaging them (adopt a use-it-or-lose-it model).
- Clearly define rules of engagement around account ownership and engagement.
Drive Down Customer Acquisition Costs
At a time when companies everywhere are tightening budgets and reducing headcount, one significant way revenue leaders can help drive sales success is to reduce customer acquisition costs. Customer acquisition cost is the total sales and marketing spend required to acquire a new customer, and this metric is often used to measure how efficient your go-to-market motion is.
As discussed already, increasing rep productivity and making sure everyone is working on the right accounts at the right time are two of the most impactful ways to reduce CAC. When sales reps are more efficient and productive, deals close faster. When qualified prospects become customers more quickly, recurring revenue starts rolling in and attainment goals are more easily met. There are more tips on reducing CAC here.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to get serious about understanding your customers and why they need your product or service. The more you know about them and their current challenges, the better equipped your team will be to offer a solution to those obstacles.
Evaluate what your most valuable and worst performing customer segments are and understand why so you can more efficiently address their needs. Ensure your sales pitches and messaging are fine tuned to resonate with prospects around how you’re making their lives easier and tackling today’s current pain points. Are there segments that are currently underserved where your reps could expand?
Lastly, we know that it’s cheaper to retain business than generate new business. When your new business pipeline slows down, like it might be doing right now due to market and financial constraints, focus on your existing customers to find ways to expand that business. Are there opportunities to upsell or cross-sell? When you delved deeper into truly understanding your customers’ current needs, did new use cases that you could support emerge? Challenge your reps to start renewal conversations earlier in an effort to lock in longer contracts.
While your team of ‘everything reps’ might be smaller than in years past or may be feeling more overwhelmed by current quota goals, helping them prioritize and focus on the activities, territories and customer segments that most efficiently drive your sales engine forward is the key to success.
Lily Youn is the Head of Growth at Gradient Works. She helps RevOps and Sales teams increase their net new pipeline by adopting a dynamic territory model versus a static territory model.