Do I hire a high-commission rockstar BDM or focus on lead-generation for inside sales guy?

My creative agency does about 1mm in sales (of a 15k product) through Inbound marketing. My inside sales guy closes all of it and has time for more, but haven’t had much luck increasing # of leads through mktg over past 9 months. I don’t have a ton of cash and need to bump up to 1.5mm total. Considering trying to find the unicorn that works on no/low base, high commission. Or should I put more money into something like - outbound efforts to bring in more for my inside sales guy?


Essentially what I see you asking here is: should I increase the lead generation to my inside salesperson, or should I hire an outsider to get those new leads and convert them?

As a business owner, can you see the problem with the second option? You are completely putting lead generation and a lot of your conversion into the hands of an unproven outsider. I wouldn't do that.

My advice is you talk to a competent Traffic person (not me--I'm a Conversion guy) and learn more about lead generation so you can keep that knowledge In House.

Then, if your current inside salesperson gets overloaded, you can hire another inside salesperson.

You HAVE to keep watch over these people. You cannot "leave it to the wizard" where things happen behind a curtain and you hope they're getting taken care of. If they don't, you are behind months and many dollars in return for nothing.

By learning more and keeping the institutional knowledge within your organization, at least you learn something in return for your money.

I AM one of those BDM types...and I say it's a huge mistake for you to entertain the idea of hiring one right now. Let's say, best case scenario, they generate their own leads and close a lot of them.

Good, right?


What happens when they get frustrated with you? Start thinking they're doing a lot of work for not enough money? And leave?

What then?

You've learned nothing, and you're back to square one.

Nope. I wouldn't do that nor would I advise anyone to go down that road. Keep it in-house. Keep it under your control.

Answered 7 years ago

As you're already utilizing inbound marketing (while having a dedicated Sales person), here's what I'd ask about your current inbound marketing strategy:

1) Are you split testing your current landing pages and other assets?
2) What is your current conversion rate for your landing pages, ads and lead magnets?
3) From where are your current leads coming from?
4) Are you running any paid campaigns currently?
5) Do you have a content marketing strategy in place?
6) Have you created an automated system so your Sales person can just focus on responding to leads and converting them to actual customers?

With those questions in mind, you can outline your current inbound marketing strategy and create new goals and KPIs based on the answers from questions above.

When it comes to your Sales person, I'd propose utilizing his time in 80:20 ratio which would be split between direct sales and improving your current inbound marketing procedures. He can work with an in-house Copywriter or Content Writer to improve your sales copy and CTAs for all your marketing assets, including email marketing assets as well.

On the other side, if you do decide to use GrowBots, I'd still propose to first improve your current inbound strategy and then keep focus on the 80:20 ratio which I've mentioned above.

I hope that helps. Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions.

Answered 7 years ago


I have consulted with a few companies that have had similar issues to this, I´m gonna make a few assumptions here in order to answer your question.

Based on your product cost and your annual revenue I would say you have at least 66 customers who have purchased your product.

A quick solution to grow revenue in the meantime that will help increase revenue and keep your inside sales guy busy (you mentioned he still has time on his hands after getting through all of your leads) would be to go back to these 66 or so clients and upsell/cross sell to them if you have other products or sell your current product into other areas of the businesses who have already bought from you.

Even if you don´t pick up more revenue from these customers because they don´t need anything else from you then you can maybe get professional referrals into other customers in different businesses. It´s an extra phone call for your inside sales guy to make but it´s definitely low hanging fruit and no additional investment.

To answer your main question, the way to figure it out is to look at your sales funnel and see what the conversion rates are from the leads you are getting through to close.

If you are getting a low conversion from inbound lead to qualified opportunity, you simply may need to tweak either the inbound lead source or the data that you capture online in order to improve the quality of the inbound leads.

Based on your quoted revenue and product cost I have calculated that your inside sales guy closes 6 deals a month. Estimating that you get 50-100 leads a month, that gives you a conversion of between 6-12% which is pretty nice. But that still means 88-94% of deals fall out of the funnel.

If you look at where most of your leads fall out of the sales funnel it will tell you what tweaks your online marketing requires for example if the data has incorrect contact info or the prospects are confused about why you're contacting them.

This way you can improve the quality of the leads meaning your inside sales guy will spend more time having sales conversations and less time qualifying leads out. When you go to increase the leads you give to the sales guy you will also be giving him quality. If you increase the lead volume too quickly or with new suppliers you run the risk of decreasing the quality of the leads and making the inside sales rep less likely to follow them up.

On the other hand with a BDM you know a smaller quantity of high quality leads will get passed to the sales guy (ensure to base their commission on closed or advanced sales stage deals to ensure they drive quality.)

Hiring a BDM with a low/no salary raises a few questions;

- What data are they going to call on?
- What level of experience will they have?
- Who follows up the leads that the BDM generates?
- How will their commission be split, will it depend on the IS guy to close it?

To sum up, the best option would be to increase the lead volume but keep a strict eye on quality. If your additional lead volume manages to help you increase revenue to hit your 1.5mm target it will always be the most cost effective.

Even if you hire the best BDM in the world and he agrees to work for commission only you are always going to spend more on his commission per lead than an inbound marketing lead.

I would be happy to review in more detail with you if you have questions.

Answered 7 years ago

Second one is better, because if you do the second one better than the best you will never have to be dependent on the first one. Form a sales team and work upon it.
The inside sales function is a critical part to lead generation and ensuring that all your effort as a marketer pays off in the end. Inside sales teams need to have sales acumen and be excellent communicators on the phone, which is an extremely specific and hard-to-find skill. Your sales reps need to be interesting, engaging, credible-sounding, and able to serve up a rebuttal for any form of rejection a lead gives them.
You can read more here:
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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