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Building Outbound Sales Through Predictable Revenue

Aaron Ross

April 24th, 2014

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This session is titled Building Outbound Sales Through Predictable Revenue by author Aaron Ross of Predictable Revenue.

The idea of predictable revenue came from the fact that I wanted to have peace of mind, or what I call Peace of Mind Revenue. As a sales manager, I didn’t want to scramble every month and stress.

To go from organic growth to predictable growth takes a lot of work. In order to do this, you need to have a predictable way to grow as a company.

There are 5 fatal mistakes that companies make with sales:

Sales churn of 10%+

You blame the fact that people are leaving on the people, and not on the systems. If you have more than 10% as a sales team, then the problem is with you.

  • How much is it the people vs. your systems? – It may be both, but I don’t think companies take enough ownership of the fact that the systems could be a big part of the problem.

You’re afraid to pick a niche

You’re afraid to specialize because organic growth is working.

  • Why are you afraid to focus on a niche? People are afraid because they think it’s boring, too small, not sexy, or limiting.
  • If you’re speaking to everyone, no one can hear.
  • To find a niche, figure out the following:
    • What are you the King or Queen at?
    • Who’s been your ideal customer?
    • Where can you win easily?
    • Get Specific and search for clues!
  • Also, think about where you have made the most amount of money easily.

Thinking Sales Team Size Means Growth

Sales team size isn’t the driver of growth, your leadgen is your “big lever.”
Even with a perfect sales process or big sales team, if your LeadGen is crummy, then your sales will be crummy.

3 Lead Types

  1. Seeds (Word of Mouth)
    • Seeds – turn your funnel into an hourglass
  2. Nets (Marketing)
    • Nets – inbound marketing tips
  3. Spears (Outbound Sales)
    • Spears – build a repeatable and predictable funnel of activities to qualify prospects and leads

Use all three to do LeadGen.

3 SaaS Success Metrics

  1. Make accounts that leave you less than 15%
  2. Pursue negative revenue churn so that even if people leave, the customers who stay buy more of your product.
  3. Focus on customer success first before building out the sales team.

It isn’t free

  • Become an expert at one primary method. You’ll hurt your efforts if you try to do too many things.
  • Partner marketing is effective and simple.
  • Realistic expectations on lead size, quality.
  • Don’t pass leads straight to salespeople.

A great case-study – Predictable Revenue – Acquia

You don’t speak to your customer’s needs and desires

What do your customers want? – they don’t care what you do, they care about what you can do for them. Improve your messaging today by asking the following:

  • How do you help customers?
  • So what?
  • What’s so great about that? (WSGAT)

Bigger picture, you want to sell ideas and not stuff.

  • Feature → Benefit → Idea

The idea is the most important thing to focus on because it is useful. Features are something that you sell.

Not specializing your sales team enough

  • Why salespeople shouldn’t prospect
  • They are not good at it
  • They don’t like it
  • It’s not repeatable
  • Google – “Why Salespeople Shouldn’t Prospect” and send it to prospects who doubt this.
  • Speciailization creates focus
  • Groups 1 and 2 are focused on outbound and inbound sales
  • Group 3 are Account Executives, or closers
  • Group 4 are your Customer Success or Account Management team. They’re farmers and can cross-sell or up-sell.
  • Specialization = Predictability
  • Insights
  • Scalability
  • Talent/farm team system

In conclusion – is the problem with your people or with your systems? If your systems are broken, then your people cannot be successful.

Key takeaways:

  1. Focus on your sales system, not sales people
  2. What can you win at easily?
  3. Seeds, nets, spears – focus on one at a time.
  4. If you have any customers worth more that $10,000, build an outbound prospecting team
  5. Specialize your sales team

Questions? Comments? Send a tweet our way at @SalesHackerConf!

About the author

Aaron Ross

Aaron is the author of From Impossible to Inevitable. Aaron is married with 12 children (mostly through adoption), loves motorcycles, and keeps a 25-hour workweek. He’s a keynote speaker and best-selling author of Predictable Revenue, called “The Sales Bible of Silicon Valley,” based on an outbound prospecting system that’s created more than $1 billion across Salesforce.com and other companies. He’s cofounder and CRO of Carb.io, a Pipeline Automation software company, and is also the cofounder of PredictableUniversity.com.

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