Resizing sales resources without wrong-sizing.

At some point just about any business needs to consider resizing. If you are fortunate enough to experience growth, you are up-sizing and if you need to contain costs during some market upheaval you may need to downsize.

Getting the sizing of your sales team spot-on is a complex process, considering the intricate ratio relationship between sales reps (direct and indirect), marketing, lead generation (BDRs), sales support/engineering, sales operations and management.

Here are two checklist items often ignored or not addressed adequately:

1. Check that the ratio of sales reps to Business Development Reps (BDRs) is accurate. When up-sizing you should decrease the BDR to sales rep ratio, and when you are downsizing you should increase the BDR to sales rep ratio. The rule of thumb is you up-size when the market presents more opportunities than when downsizing is required. That means BDRs can find leads easier in a growth environment and you can reduce the ratio. Conversely BDRs find less leads in a struggling market. Ideally, sales reps should have a consistent lead flow to ensure productivity.

(In some other blogs I address the need to get that number accurate.)

2. Update your Sales Strategy and measured KPIs.

At a minimum, you should change the goals for BDRs, Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads. Your Lead Scores should also be adjusted. Making headcount changes without re-tuning your Strategy and KPIs means you are guessing at the result of resizing.

(You are measuring KPIs quarterly, right? And adjusting Strategy quarterly based on KPI results? Read some of the other blogs at to learn more about Strategy requirements.)

Getting your sizing project wrong has long-term effects on success. You get both false-positives and false-negatives often resulting in knee-jerk reactions and improper interpretations.

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