When they started with the new strategy, they had a great $20 million business with about 100 employees. This had been working for 10+ years, but it also limited their growth.
They CEO wanted the company to be able to scale, and to do that, needed to design him out of the sales system – starting with lead generation.
The CEO came in one day, and announced that they were going to follow the Predictable Revenue system.
Within months, on a consistent plan, growth sped up:
- “Sales Qualified Leads” have been increasing by 30-70% quarter-over-quarter – every single quarter.
- Outbound is now sourcing 43% of the revenue from new customer sales.
- Total New Business Pipeline generated grew from $878,066 to $3,819,870 …a 435% increase.
- They went from generating 37 “Sales Qualified Leads” to 109 …a 294% increase.
- Outbound sales added an extra 651k in revenue, or an extra 26% to their new business growth rate, which should grow even more next year now that they have a larger pipeline backlog.
More importantly, they finally have control over their growth. “We can mathematically predict what a new sales hire will do at a basic level, and map out their next 6 months.”
Sales Team Setup: Salespeople & Roles
- 7 closers, called “Business Development Managers”
- 1 Sales Development Manager
- 5 outbound prospectors (called BDAs = Business Development Analysts)
- 2 “inbound BDAs” that only respond to inbound leads coming in through the website or phone.
Note: this works for even one man sales teams and you don't require large teams to implement the system.
What’s Expected of a Prospecting Rep
- Implement The Predictable Sales Revenue Machine
- 1000 outbound emails per month
- 52 Initial appointments per month
- 24 Discovery Calls with AEs with interested prospects
- 6 Sales Qualified Leads passed per month (A Sales Qualified Lead is more than an appointment; it means a prospector passed a new lead to their salesperson/Account Executive, who qualified it through a demo or discovery call, and then ‘accepted’ it into their pipeline.)
- Average outbound deal size of $27,000
- If the deal size is under $4500 per year, they pass it to their Small Business sales team.
Every company, market and team is different – ultimately you have to try things yourself to see what works best for your particular situation.
7 Touches In 7 Days
One big change they made when adopting Predictable Revenue was beginning their prospecting approach with short and sweet emails, not long and windy “value proposition” ones.
They also created their own approach of “7 Touches In 7 Days” which they were kind enough to share with me, and you, here:
The company introduced the 7 touches over 7 days:
- Day 1 – AM: Short and sweet email looking for a referral. PM: afternoon – voicemail
- Day 2 – Anytime: Call, don’t leave a voicemail
- Day 3 – AM: Call, no voicemail
- Day 3 – PM: Leave a voicemail
- Day 4 – Anytime: Send a funny email (theirs includes a bit about farm animals in Latvia)
- Day 5 – Nothing
- Day 6 – Nothing
- Day 7 – Send a “break up email”
Results: Beforehand, in using long ‘value proposition’ emails and not having a persistent way to make contact, the team just couldn’t get prospects to say “yes” or “no” – and so they were left hanging in the muddy middle of “I’m not sure”.
Now they’re at least engaging so the company can overcome objections and know one way or the other, to move them into a sales cycle or move on to a new prospect.
The team saw a big increase in engagement rates from prospects, which meant that instead of dropping 30-50 prospects into a “Nurture” bucket every week (usually when they didn’t really know one way or the other if there was interest or not), they dropped less than 10 a week into it.
Businesses are constantly hammered with sales messages. Getting straight to the point with shorter emails made their targets more apt to engage in response, whether it be positive, negative, or with a referral. That allows reps to spend more time working appointments and not wasting time with prospects who are not in the buying cycle. The long value proposition emails were too wordy and were deleted instantly. Statistics show that you have eight seconds to get your message across in an email and the value proposition emails were much longer than that before a call to action was requested. They also have many more prospects telling their buying cycle timing, like “We evaluate every October, or our contract doesn’t end until 2017.’”
90 Day Timeline To Onboard a New Prospecting Rep
- The first 14 days are intensive learning on the space of Predictable Sales, and general Sales Principles, and sitting with each individual department to learn how they work
- Days 21-30 are Learning and practicing with the tools, working to set calls to execute with other lead gen reps
- Days 31-60 are Executing, going from learning to doing
- Days 60-90-Breakout period where reps make significant individual impacts
Keys To Outbound Success:
- The CEO was not only bought into the concept, he introduced the concept and required it as a new growth ideology.
- They hired inexperienced, hungry, competitive, and coachable reps that wanted to prove themselves and beat their own results quarter after quarter.
- Had a team-wide, consistent plan & approach among everyone in sales.
- Identified and focused on their Ideal Customer Profile, rather than blindly trying to prospect any company willing to talk.
- They found some great apps and figured out how best to get value from them – which greatly helped the quality of our prospecting, combined with the Predictable Revenue process.
- They have a well-defined path for prospectors to grow as Small & Medium Business Closers, then Mid-Market Closers and finally Major Accounts Closers.
A Painful Lesson Learned From A Six-Month Delay
The company lost six months with their first two prospecting hires, who didn’t work out. Before, they’d hired two people with a lot of prospecting experience, gave them a bit of training and then set them loose. But – it turned out they were set in their ways from prior jobs (which wasn’t working) and they couldn’t adapt.
In hindsight, they would have hired different people, who had less prospecting experience and were more ready to learn and prove themselves.
Be careful about hiring people with a lot of prospecting experience and who haven’t moved up in sales. Once in awhile there are people who love prospecting, but BY FAR for most people it’s an interim job to do for a year or two while learning and growing, before moving on and up.
If someone’s been doing the same kind of prospecting for more than 3-5 years, they may lack a passion for sales (red flag), lack skills (red flag), not care about learning/growing themselves at work (red flag), or they keep switching around with a “grass is greener” syndrome, never being satisfied anywhere (red flag). Don’t judge people too fast out of hand, but be aware here.
It Takes Time
Plan for several months, not several weeks. Now I can hear many saying "we don't have months to wait for new sales"! What are the options here? Ask yourself this: How are things currently working out for you and your team, and do you think by doing what you're currently doing, will improve sales??
If you’re starting from scratch, you have the hiring cycle, training, ramping, sales cycle times. It will take you 4-6 months to have consistent, quality leads coming from your outbound team, and another six+ months to see regular new deals coming in, depending on your sales cycle lengths.
And this assumes everything goes smoothly, avoiding any major fails like bad hires.
You can speed things up by a month or three by beginning with an internal transfer(s) rather than a brand-new outside hire.
The fastest way to begin is to transfer someone already at the company into outbound, but even then it will take 3 months of ramping + however long your sales cycles are to see business begin to close regularly. When you run a one man band, you need to implement this for yourself and start with outbound leads.
This methodology is followed by a small number of companies, across three continents, and they have seen massive sales performance improvements. Download your copy of "The Predictable Sales Revenue Machine" and find out how they tripled sales in just a few months.
I trust you will find it insightful, and should you require more information on how to implement these strategies, let's talk.
The original methodology taken and adapted from Aaron Ross and Justin Roff-Marsh. case study Predictable Sales revenue (Aaron Ross)
Over the past 20 years, Riaan has been working with leading Sales Organisations, Sales Managers and select Individuals who want to improve sales performance, design and implement winning strategies and sales cultures that leads to more deals.
Since 1985, Riaan has been in Corporate | B2B | High-level Sales and led teams to maximise performance. He provides strategic oversight and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations.
His experience has allowed him to work with organisations and executives within entities such as Old Mutual, Sanlam, the Telecoms Industry, Siemens, Capgemini, Accenture, BWI in Hong Kong and many others, to help them improve sales performance.