Quality vs. Quantity: The Sales Lead Sweet Spot
Have you ever heard the phrase “too much of a good thing is a good thing”? When it comes to B2B sales, that’s definitely not the case. It’s common for businesses to funnel resources and efforts into growing sales, pulling in more leads until their pipeline is practically overflowing.
But surely having so many opportunities is a good thing, right?
It turns out that trying to handle too many leads can actually weaken your sales results, not strengthen them. SiriusDecisions found that companies with a pipeline-to-quota ratio higher than 4X waste 26% of sales accepted leads and close 10% fewer deals. There are several key reasons behind this phenomenon:
Sales reps divide their attention
Times are tough for sales reps. Both quotas and expectations are rising every year. It’s easy for hardworking sales reps to fall into the trap that reaching out to as many leads as possible is the right approach. Unfortunately, there just simply isn’t enough time in the day (especially not with all the non-revenue generating activities that reps waste time on). That doesn’t stop the go-getters on your team from genuinely trying, but what happens is that you have weak, generic touch points that don’t make an impact with leads.
Sales reps struggle to find the diamonds in the rough
Not all sales leads are going to be winners. In fact, if you have an excessive amount of leads in your funnel, there’s a good chance that the majority of them are either poorly qualified by marketing or are not yet ready to buy. When you drop 50 different opportunities in the lap of a sales rep, how does the rep know which one to pursue? While your reps are pursuing leads that aren’t a perfect fit, they’re missing out on golden opportunities. It’s a decision that could cause your company to lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it’s best not to leave it to chance.
Sales reps shift focus to whatever opportunity is newest
Without a set process in place for interacting with each opportunity in the sales funnel, it’s easiest to get distracted by a shiny new lead. The logic here seems sound on the surface—after all, why bother trying to move a deal forward with an old opportunity when a fresh one has just appeared? The problem is that no deal is ever going to close if you drop it before it reaches the finish line. It becomes a repetitive cycle that has a not-so-pleasant result: low win rates.
Now before you start cutting down your pipeline left and right, it should go without saying that a bare-bones sales funnel is just as bad if not worse than an overflowing one. What you need is the sales lead sweet spot.
Think of your company as Goldilocks, and your sales pipeline as a bed that is juuuuuust right. If you try to squeeze into a bed that is too small, you’re going to have an uncomfortable time. But stick with something too large, and you might just find yourself sinking into the middle of the mattress. Find a sales pipeline size that’s the right fit for your company.
You’re probably wondering to yourself how you find that perfect fit. Is there some helpful formula where you can just plug in the metrics for your sales team and have it pop out a number? Sadly, no. Every sales team and cycle is different, and you’re not going to find a black and white answer to the question of “how many sales leads is too many” conveniently answered in any blog post.
But there is a light at the end of this sales funnel in the form of sales pipeline management tools. These tools can help you strategically improve your sales funnel and process over time:
How do you tell which opportunities are worth following up with and which ones should be put on the backburner? You could rely on a process where reps try to remember how many touches they’ve had with a lead or how enthusiastic the prospect’s responses were. Even then, you’re going to get very shallow, genericized data.
Software that automatically tracks rep and buyer activity gives you concrete information about the health of any given opportunity. Instead of wading through vague notes in Salesforce, you have a clear overview of all the communication between rep and buying team. This software also allows you to easily dive deeper into individual conversation threads without having to dig around in your email inbox.
While activity tracking captures and organizes data for your sales team, analyzing that data can still eat up valuable time. Lead scoring software uses sales analytics to assess that captured data and automatically sort each opportunity for you. Every lead in your pipeline is assigned a dynamic score based on a variety of factors, comparing the opportunity’s communication and business characteristics against your ideal “fit” for a buyer. As these variables change over time, the score will change as well, giving your reps a simple daily guide for which opportunities to follow up with.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the problems in your sales process. All those excel spreadsheets and CRM notifications cause information overload without actually advising you on how to improve anything. The data visualization tools in a sales enablement platform seek to solve that problem. Using the data from CRM, your sales tracking tools, and other information sources, the platform visualizes everything into a super clear picture of your sales process. With customizable charts and unique interactive graphics, you can skip the boring excel docs and see at a glance any issues or successes within the pipeline.