What Is The Best Way To Track Relationship Based Sales?

Bob Graham Engineering and Software

July 20th, 2014

I have recently hired a sales representative who's job is to reach out to people via email in our niche and get to know them. We estimate it will take between 5-7 different contacts with each client over 3-5 months, and a trial of our product for each client. The sales rep we've hired will have to put in a lot of hours and reach out to roughly 400 contacts.
I obviously want to make sure he is fairly compensated. The problem is that very soon, I'd like to get more than 1 sales rep like him in the same territory. I also will be running aggressive online marketing campaigns to naturally draw these customers to us as well in the territory.

What I need is a clear way of knowing which leads came from relationships he built and which came from another rep. Or, which just came in organically through search, advertising etc. Does anyone know a relatively easy and surefire way of doing this? I would hate to not pay him for a client he brought in, but it will also get tough if reps are arguing over a sale, and could be potentially fatal if I am paying reps for clients they did not bring in.

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

July 20th, 2014

Not necessarily easy, but salesforce is the standard in tracking this type of information.

You can try to do it with a cheaper/ lighterweight CRM, but we outgrew two over the years (with a small catering company) to end up at salesforce this year.

You can use leads assigned to the rep against conversions to give the rep credit for their targets and track marketing campaigns using utm codes.

There are a ton of more limited/ specialized products (salesloft comes to mind) that tie to lead gen, but if this is a new pathway and you want flexibility/ customizability you'll probably end up at salesforce or save money with a knock-off like Zoho or SugarCRM

IF you can keep it all online, then hubspot may also be a reasonable alternative.

Rob G

July 21st, 2014

Remember that CRM/lead tracking tools are only part of the solution.  Do we assume your target prospects are B2B enterprise or SMB or other?  Regardless of the technology solution you go with you will need to have a well-defined comp plan that also includes a statement that the company has final say over who gets how much credit for what (a lead, a sale, etc.).  There will be grey areas and lots of them so don't rely solely on what the CRM/lead tracking app says.  For example, one rep will call on some manager at the local branch of Acme widget co.   The 2nd rep will leverage her sister-in-law's relationship with the CFO at Acme corp headquarters.  The local branch does the first pilot and buys your product.  who gets credit? When Acme buys an enterprise license (i'm guessing at your model here) 2 years later for all 20 of their branch locations who gets credit?  Does a rep in Chicago who has no relationship with his/her local Acme branch get credit?  If there is an entry in the CRM app that says the Chicago rep has had a few phone conversations with some local Acme mgr. (who had no part in the decision) does s/he then get credit? how much? 

Eric Landeen Director at doxo

July 21st, 2014

I think this is a difficult problem. I had the same issue with a team I managed. The sales team was 6 to 8 in size and I did not go with defined geographic sales territories. We had many sources of leads including inbound, trade shows, personal relationships, and so on. The problems I had were ensuring prompt follow up on fresh leads, ensuring equitable distribution of leads across the team, preventing conflicts among salespeople, ensuring proper salesperson facilitated drip campaigns through periods of months and years. I used as the master of records. If a salesperson had cultivated a lead, they had to have their name on it in the database AND they had to log some sort of regular activity against the account in order to keep it in their name. The ones that came in generally (web forms or trade show leads) we put in the system and those got doled out round robin style. We figured out how to have assign the next sales rep in line so it was equitable. The key was to establish an activity threshold- if the salesperson didn't log a real activity against a fresh inbound lead within X hours or days, then it got reassigned. Same deal with ongoing prospect development. If not X number of activities logged within Y months, then reassign. You would think salespeople would fall all over themselves to work a lead or opportunity, and some do, but they also get caught up in other phases of developing customers (I.e. Closing a deal) and the early parts of the funnel suffer. For the company overall, leads are gold and they are also perishable, so if a guy doesn't work it you have to hand it to somebody that will else that will. Didn't work perfectly, but it did work fairly well for us. The team in question was closing 10 to 20 deals per month collectively, the universe of leads and prospects in the database was around 5000.

Brett Fox Respected, Results-Oriented CEO, Entrepreneur, Author, and Coach

July 24th, 2014

I would look at Marketo especially if you are doing email marketing.  Beyond the compensation issues, Marketo gives you the ability to understand customer behavior  - when to reach out and what to reach out with.

We used this tool with great results.

Will Dukes Business Development Strategist and Professional Speaker

July 21st, 2014

If you're doing a lot of online marketing and want to have the crm built in, you should also check out Infusionsoft.

I would say it's more of a marketing automation platform with a CRM functionality vs Salesforce which is a CRM with some marketing functionality.

You're looking for Lead assignment and tracking, which is pretty standard with CRMs.  You do want one that can grow with you, but keep in mind expense as well as time and energy to implement, especially now when you're still starting up.

Gil Silberman - Co-founder of ByTech Communications, the owner of Israel's leading travel sites

July 27th, 2014

Your rep could keep a shared list of all his personal prospects that he intendeds on approaching, this way he has to predisclose them and you will know if he closes the deal with any of them. I'm sure his list won't be that long compared to your marketing efforts