The “golden ratio” has been a mathematical standard since ancient Greece. This simple number (roughly 1.618) has been studied by artists, biologists, architects, musicians, and even financiers. Also referred to as the “Divine Proportion”, this ratio is considered to bring natural balance and visual harmony to design.
Many sales managers are in search of their own “golden rule” when it comes to load-balancing their sales teams. Is a 1:1 ratio of SDRs to closers best? Or 2:1? They want a shortcut to a guaranteed successful outcome: “I just need to hire x SDRs for y closers and everything will work.”
But in reality, there is no golden ratio for sales. Efficient load balancing of appointment setters to closers is different across businesses and industries. The only thing that truly works is to not make assumptions: test to find out what works for your organization.
A few years ago, a client I worked with (one that fanatically measures all aspects of its sales process) experimented with 5:1 and 7:1 ratios of SDRs to closers. A lot of skepticism permeated the sales team at the outset, but very quickly they realized that this ratio was far and away what worked best for their team. The closer essentially sat on demos all day long and didn’t have to prospect at all. The small group of SDRs supporting each closer could keep the pipeline full, and the closer could focus on managing objections and moving the deal forward.
Of course, your mileage may vary. Some organizations might find that their sales process is so complex and their ticket value so high that they can’t inundate their closers with back-to-back-to-back demos all day, and so having one SDR support a few closers is optimal.
The key is to experiment. Set up a control group, and then create a few “cells” of sales reps that test out different hypotheses for what the correct load balance might be. Run these groups concurrently for 2-4 weeks, measure everything (dials, connects, meetings booked, pipeline created, meeting retention rate, closing ratio) and let the numbers speak for themselves.
Load balancing is a critical component of the Sales Maturity Model I’ve developed — leading sales organizations actively test and load balance their organizations to drive growth. Contact us if you’d like a Sales Maturity Model assessment for your organization.