Scaling Sales in the Era of Automation: A Guide for C-Suite Executives
Companies that don’t adapt new technologies are at an increased risk of being left behind in the market. Technology does not negate the need for a well-trained sales team, but it can change how you scale. Let’s talk about how sales automation tools affect how you grow your sales team.
Sales Tasks and Utilization Rates
In the world of sales, leaders have for years dedicated their focus on sales leverage, which is essentially the ratio of (SDRs) to Account Executives (AEs). The idea behind this focus is to boost productivity by utilizing the following hierarchical order of tasks:
- Closing deals
- Negotiating deals
- Submitting proposals to close deals
- Hosting discovery or demo calls
The logic is simple; if an AE has two or three SDRs booking meetings for them, they are spending less time prospecting and more time negotiating and closing deals.
Just as critical as sales leverage, however, is an AE’s utilization rate. It is a metric that measures how many demos they could potentially conduct in a given time period versus the number they are actually performing. The utilization rate should ideally hover around 75%, with the remaining 25% time being used for other important tasks such as negotiating deals, conducting demo follow-ups, and managing regular AE tasks.
If AEs are surpassing this 75% threshold, it might be an indication that it's time to expand your AE team. Consequently, this expansion will necessitate a search for new SDRs to partner with your growing AE team.
Yet, this leverage model comes with challenges: When is the right time to hire new SDRs? What's the optimal ratio? How can you retain SDRs in their roles long enough so they don't prematurely aspire to become AEs? There are risks, costs, and overheads involved. A wrong hire can set you back significantly, draining valuable time and resources and hindering the growth of your team.
Using Sales Automation Tools to Scale
However, what if there's a way to scale without incurring these risks and costs associated with hiring new team members? A growing number of demand generation leaders are exploring sales automation tools as an alternative strategy to increase headcount.
Consider this: you have an SDR who consistently outperforms their goals and quotas. Just because you have one high-performing SDR does not guarantee that any new hire will replicate their success. Instead, consider deploying sales enablement and automation tools to amplify the output of your already proven SDR. These tools can help them scale their activities without increasing their working hours, thus providing more leads to your AEs.
There's an array of sales enablement and automation tools designed to help your team scale without the risk and overhead needed to hire more sellers. From basic tools like automated dialers and power dialers, which allow your SDRs to make more calls in a shorter period, to advanced AI-driven tools that use intent data to guide your SDRs on whom to call, thereby improving the efficacy of their outbound efforts.
Which sales automation tools your business needs depends on many factors, including what platforms you are already using and the specifics of how your sales process works. There are many to choose from, and something is sure to fit your specific needs and help you scale.
At FullFunnel, we term this approach "Sales 3.0". We believe sales will always be a people-driven business, but foresee it becoming a technology-enabled, people-driven business in the future. If you're interested in discovering how sales automation tools and AI can help your team scale, we encourage you to book some time with us to speak with an expert.