Scalable sales and cooperation with account managers

At RST software house we focus on building our sales based on a model that enables it to scale.

What is our understanding of scalability in sales?

The sales process consists of two stages:

  • Prospecting, or raising interest in our services in as many potential clients as possible, and
  • Individual counselling leading to the selection of the most effective solutions for the customer, which in turn leads to signing the contract.

In line with the above assumptions, we have built a sales department that is made up of two distinct sections:

  • Prospecting - all kinds of content, PR, cold mailing, SEO/SEM (inbound and outbound marketing) activities.
    The purpose of this section is to generate the biggest possible number of leads that express interest in our services and forward these leads to Account Managers.
  • Account management - upon receiving a lead, the account manager begins to identify customer needs, and prepares the individually crafted offer. The goal is to sign the contract.

Sounds logical. Where is the scalable sales model?

Most of the companies I have spoken to believe that increasing sales always involves hiring more salespeople. This approach, although logical, is not as effective in reality.

Consider a situation where:

  • Account 1: Generates 50 contacts in the first week, and in the second week signs 3 contracts
  • Account 2: Generates 10 contacts in the first week, and in the second week signs 2 contracts
  • Account 3: Generates 30 contacts in the first week, and in the second week signs 12 contracts

Based on the above data, can the company expect an increase in sales after employing a fourth Account Manager? The answer is: No.

This won't work, because we are never able to only hire people who have the same exact expertise across prospecting, advising and selling.

More likely, a seller who is good at closing sales will not be very effective in prospecting, and vice versa.

That makes it much easier to scale and evaluate the work of Account Managers by looking at the number of prospects received against the number of contracts signed.

Account 1 Account 2 Account 3 Account 4
Time Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Number of prospects received: 200 200 200 200
Number of signed contracts: 2 10 12 14

The primary focus when building the sales department should be on leveraging opportunities and relevant processes allowing to scale the number of prospects.

Therefore, in our company, the Account Manager does not prospect. Instead, he receives from the team a number of cherry-picked leads that have already expressed their willingness to cooperate.

This allows the Account Manager more time to individually cater to each of our clients, so the quality of the service, need discovery and selection of the right tools are always of high quality.