As a sales leader your gut may know that your expensive outside sales team is going after relatively small deals. This is frustrating because it means you are paying too much for too little revenue. In other words, your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is too high and your customer lifetime value (CLTV) is too low.


You want to require outside sales to call on larger accounts. But too many companies guess where the line between field sales and inside sales should be drawn, leaving the sales channels up to their own devices. As a result, both channels call on the same accounts or each channel gravitates to the easiest wins. To determine where the line should be, begin by answering these questions:


  • How do your customers and prospects want to buy?
  • What should the line be based on?
  • How will you enforce the line?
  • Do you have the right salespeople?


Understanding how customers prefer to buy from you is an often overlooked but critical consideration. Just because you want certain businesses to go through inside sales does not mean they want to.


The number of employees or end- customer revenue is often used to determine where the line should be drawn. But will this suffice? The ideal solution is to create a propensity to buy formula or determine potential revenue. One or both of these approaches in combination can then be used to set the line of demarcation.


Once the line is determined, you need to decide how it will be enforced. For example, will reps be compensated if they sell to the wrong account? More importantly, think about what will happen if revenue is coming in low. Will you keep enforcing the line or will you break down and let salespeople go after any revenue they can? Will your sales reps be successful in the new environment? Most likely 10 to 20 percent will not succeed, so think carefully about ways to handle the turnover.


Finally, make sure you roll out the changes clearly and effectively. Consider multiple ways of communicating expectations. And make sure sales operations are prepared to support the change by loading assignments into your CRM or through other methods. Then enjoy watching revenue increase while costs decrease.