Mining the Sales Graveyard: There is Gold in Them Hills

Mining the Sales Graveyard:  There is Gold in Them Hills

At CrossBorder Solutions, each account executive receives 40 market qualified leads per month from the SDR team.  Of those appointments approximately 10 opportunities are immediately discarded because the solution being offered is not relevant.  The other 30 opportunities are live and will be moved through the sales process.  As the each opportunity is worked, historically, 20 of them fall out of the funnel – not because they don’t like the solution but because timing is not right.  In most cases, either budget does not exist or they have already engaged with a competitor but they remain interested in our solution once their existing contract expires.  These leads are placed into the Hold for Future Close (HFFC) sales bucket in the ASSEMBLY system.  Account Executives are only allowed to hold 140 opportunities in this bucket.  Others must be thrown back to the SDR team.

In theory, each Account Executive should “touch” each opportunity in the HFFC bucket once per month.  A touch might be a phone call, a voice mail message, an email message etc.  It is anything that reminds the opportunity of the company’s offering/solution.  Hopefully, this keeps our solution top of mind and when the opportunity is ready to purchase, the company is still a viable alternative.

While this should happen, it often doesn’t.  Due to the fact that the Account Executives are kept so busy with new leads each month, they often don’t have the time nor the inclination to properly nurture these leads.  Certainly, one way to combat this is to lower the number of new leads, this is a risky proposition that could negatively impact revenue goals.  As such, except for sporadic efforts, the opportunities in the HFFC bucket sit fallow and eventually die.  This is distressing because there are live opportunities here that would eventually close if they were properly worked.

To ensure that these opportunities do not go to waste which would result in a lower close rate, management chose not to constantly fight with the account executives to touch their HFFC opportunities and allowed them to focus on their new monthly opportunities.  However, to ensure that they were nurtured properly, an additional station on the Company’s sales assembly line was established.  Specifically the role of the SUPER SDR was established.

Instead, of placing opportunities in the HFFC bucket, opportunities that were “live” and might license our solution within the next 9 months, were transferred to the SUPER SDR.    It was this professionals job to speak with EACH opportunity on a monthly basis and to begin to build a tight relationship with the potential buyer.  To help accomplish this, the SUPER SDR would also regularly send content, small gifts, invitation to seminars to help keep the Company top of mind. As these opportunities become ripe, they are passed back to the original Account Executive to close.

By employing a SUPER SDR to work the HFFC opportunities, the Company has seen a dramatic increase in its sales close rate.  Moreover, our account executives are happier as they are book more revenue without significantly greater effort.   Management is also very happy with the change. It no longer needs to play the nanny role and since the sales professionals pay for the SUPER SDR resource by sharing their commission payment on any HFFC deal that has closed, it is cost neutral for the company.