What is Round-Robin in B2B Sales?

Pros and Cons of Round-Robin in Sales

As the Vice President of Sales at LiquidPlanner, my mission is to create a repeatable and scalable sales model to consistently deliver predictable revenue growth. A key piece of creating predictable revenue growth is ensuring that each account executive receives the same quality and quantity of leads every month to achieve/exceed their quota. While I have long been a proponent of specific, well-defined sales territories to create both focus and accountability, I recently changed my thinking in favor of a round-robin approach in the context of inbound leads.

A round-robin approach to b2b sales is a rotation of lead assignments. For example, if you have seven sellers, lead one goes to seller one; lead two goes to seller two, etc. LiquidPlanner has a demand generation team divided into inbound and outbound. To time-zone optimize, our inbound team is divided by the Mississippi River (24 states in the west and 26 states in the east). Leads are qualified by the west or east inbound team and then passed round-robin to account executives assigned to a specific region. Since we are currently 100% inside sales, travel is not an issue.

Round-Robin Advantages:

  • Adaptability – Go where the market is versus being constrained to “line in the sand” territories.
  • Attitude – Remove in-fighting between sellers about who gets/has the best accounts and territories.
  • Discipline – You do not own a “patch” or set of accounts, you own a revenue quota.
  • Diversification – Benefit from geographic and industry differences within a region versus one area.
  • Fairness – Each account executive receives an even distribution of qualified inbound leads.
  • Simplicity – Ease of administration versus creating complexity to compensate for unfairness.
  • Speed – Prospects are responded to more quickly versus building up in a queue.
  • Visibility – Create a level playing field to better identify and reward top performance.

Round-Robin Disadvantages:

  • Lack of individual focus on local competitors, customers and partners.
  • Large, complex deals can go to new, inexperienced salespeople.
  • More difficult to align with field (communication, handoffs, etc.) – one-to-many versus one-to-one relationships.
  • More difficult to take advantage of local density and reference-ability.
  • No industry or vertical concentration or specialization.
  • Sellers can end up will all big deals or all small deals versus having a balanced mix of opportunities.
  • Well-defined sales territories create focus and accountability.

I have traditionally been opposed to round-robin, believing specific territories drive greater focus and accountability. That said, in the context of inbound leads, I have had to challenge the status quo. As much as I want each territory to consistently receive the same quality and quantity of leads every month to deliver predictable revenue growth, the reality is, inbound is often a “net” approach and you have to take what you get. Accordingly, if round-robin means giving each seller a better shot at achieving their quota versus having nice, clean territories on a map, I am all for it.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


4 Responses to What is Round-Robin in B2B Sales?

  1. Salvador Fishman says:

    RR concept is interesting. I can see how it makes lead distribution easier and faster versus having to keep things equal between territories, which is hard to do.


  2. Leanne Herz says:

    Quality post.


  3. Joycely Bayer says:

    I really loved the information on this post. Thanks!


  4. Cornelius Salanson says:

    This post is really excellent. Good job. Cheers.


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