So I grew up in a sales world where there were basically two ways to distribute leads to the sales team:  round-robin, or territories.  And even when you went to territories, leads were generally routed round-robin in that territory.

Four reps?  Each got 1 out of 4 leads.

As time went on, I learned to modify this a bit.  Some reps could handle more leads than others and maintain efficiency.  Some would stop following up after 40-50 leads a month.  And some would handle bigger deals better.  So we went from Round Robin to … Modified Round Robin.  Reps would roughly all get a similar amount of base leads, but 20%-30% of leads would be specifically routed at reps better at certain deals, or industries, or that could close more.

More and more though now I’ve worked with companies that are outbound-first.  We were inbound-first.  And they often have an “earn it” model for inbound leads.

In many outbound-first environments, when someone joins in sales, they have to go hunt and close a certain number of customers themselves.  Then and only then do they earn a shot at some of the inbound leads.  And then, the higher the close rate of those inbounds, the more they earn.

This does seem to create a much more aggressive and mercenary culture.  Because folks aren’t all on the same page, or even fully the same team.  Some have earned the leads, some haven’t yet.  Really, it’s very Glengary Glenn Ross in some ways.

But it may be in today’s world, this just makes more sense, at least to a point.  When I was helping run inbound teams, we had many problems, but raw leads weren’t one of them.  We had plenty of leads, and it made sense roughly, to distribute them, roughly, ratably.  Roughly.  And for high-velocity, low SMB sales ($3k or lower ACV), you probably still have to do just that.

But when leads are both scarcer, and harder to close, you see that the best pull away from the rest even more.  In tougher times, the best keep selling, but the rest struggle more.  You can’t waste scarce leads, you can’t blow too many deals.

So one way or another, you probably do have to make reps earn the good leads at least.  At least in more challenging times.

And more here:

5+ Basic Tips to Assigning Leads to Your First Sales Reps

(image from here)


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