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Who handles inbound leads?

A young businesswoman holds an envelope and a watch in her hands

This is one of the longest-running discussions I see in saas sales today. The options typically are the following although there may be some slight variances.

  1. Inbound leads go straight to AE’s
  2. Inbound leads go to the newest and most inexperienced SDRs
  3. Inbound leads go to senior and more tenured SDRs

Here is what I recommend to everyone, and then adjust accordingly based on data.

  1. Inbound leads always go to senior and tenured SDRs.
    • Inbound leads are your most precious gemstones
      • A lot of time and money (marketing and product) has been spent driving these precious gems to you. Don’t waste that money
    • Conversion is all that matters.
      • Putting inexperienced reps hurts your chances for conversion because they don’t have enough knowledge yet.
      • Let’s say you make it to the Superbowl. Why aren’t you putting in your 2nd string quarterback to start if your 1st string is healthy?
    • It’s bad customer experience.
      • I am sending you the best buying signal possible and you want me to deal with someone who doesn’t know enough?
    • Missing career path opportunity
      • You can/should have a different level of qualification for inbound
      • Getting your most senior SDRs on these calls lets them actually learn how to do qualification which should come in handy if they make the next step
      • Getting your newbie reps to cut their teeth on outbound allows them to exercise their muscles differently and start their career path.
  2. Inbound leads should not be used to “train” newbie SDRs.
    • For reasons mentioned above, these folks are deeper into the buying cycle and you want to have the best-qualified people handling them. A misfire on these leads costs a lot of money and can hurt the reputation of your organization. That doesn’t mean newbies aren’t capable of handling these leads. We just believe from a desire for higher conversions to revenue it makes more sense to put a different group of folks on them.
  3. Inbound leads should NEVER go straight to AEs.
    • They simply won’t put in the effort to stay on top of them after the first 2-3 attempts to contact someone yields no response.
    • AE’s are a very expensive proposition for qualifying. Their salaries are too large to spend on this tactic.
    • Exception 1: It’s an actively working opportunity with substantive conversations happening in the last 14 days. This means clearly defined next steps, demos, POC conversations, introductions, meetings set, etc.
    • Exception 2: It’s from their targeted list or a Fortune company, etc.

Who do you think should be handling your inbound leads?
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