Create Predictable, Scalable Sales Revenue – Sales Enablement Soirée, Spring 2020

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Welcome to today’s session on Creating Predictable, Scalable Revenue. I’m excited to talk about this topic, as revenue is top of mind for many organizations today. It’s also imperative that to drive revenue your digital transformation initiatives must work. 

I’m excited to have Aaron Ross, the CEO and author of Predictable Revenue and From Impossible to Inevitable join us today to deliver this presentation. He also happens to be a father of nine, so I’m excited to have you, Aaron, here to talk to us a little bit about this particular topic. With this, I’m going to hand it off to you. 

Aaron Ross: Hey, welcome everyone. It’s Aaron Ross from Predictable Revenue. And today we’re going to talk about the playbook to reigniting growth.

Now, if you haven’t heard of my work with Predictable Revenue, it all starts back @ It’s early days when they were a little under 25 million in revenue, about 150 people, and I created an outbound sales system and team that helped them grow much faster. Almost doubling their growth in a lot of markets.

And I wrote about that in a book called Predictable Revenue. And then there’s a sequel called From Impossible to Inevitable. Really Predictable Revenue has been called the Sales Bible of Silicon Valley. And the Impossible book, the Growth Bible. I am going to share some of the highlights from those books today, which are more relevant than ever, in this time that the world is going through.

Just some fun facts: I have a big family. We actually don’t have a picture with everyone in it. We have nine kids. Six of them are actually here in Edinburgh with us. We just moved to the UK from Los Angeles a couple of months ago, and there are three older kids, a couple in uni, and one in high school in Los Angeles still. So this is actually a key reason that has been motivating to me over the years, is really from my family. 

But having said that, let’s talk about going from an impossible situation to inevitable success. So some of the things I’ll touch on today include: The Anxiety Economy and Entrepreneurial Depression, How Sagemount (which is a $3 billion private equity investor) triples companies they invest in and the trends around, how Twilio nailed the billion dollar niche, and Creating Predictable Pipeline. 

Now there’s these two uber trends I think are incredibly important. I’ll bet you can guess the first, right? It’s this space of the year of unpredictability because of COVID. No shocker. Having said that, just as a reminder, despite all the problems that are going on, those problems actually equal opportunity. That’s what entrepreneurs do. They turn problems into opportunities and there’s really this restructuring the world is going through. We don’t know how long it’ll go on or what it looks like, but I fundamentally believe that the best way to come through this is not only to help each other get through it without expectation. Also, to continue to invest in yourself and in your business. Just keep taking the steps, because I know a lot of companies and people are going through incredibly trying and stressful times.

There will be a light at the end of the rainbow. And as you’re going through this turmoil and of course, it’s expensive as a person or as a company to reduce your expenses and look at what kind of funds or credit or resources or loans you can get to deal with churn management as a business, how to deal with your customers, which ones are likely to stay or go to, look for ways to grow and then to trust. And build trust in yourself, your team, your family, your community in your, in your customers. 

So today we’re going to focus on number three, that growth step. Now, before we get into that, remember that there is so much stress and anxiety and fear, uncertainty, doubt, that it is important to, for yourself and others, to stop and slow down and offer emotional empathy and support.

Whether it’s a customer who wants to leave you and break a contract, whether it’s for a spouse who is just having a very challenging time and there’s so many reasons that can be happening. So the world is not ending, right? The business, a business businessman end for a job man, but the world will go on, life will go on.

This is a recreation. This is a chance to reinvent. Yourself and your business. And so how can you share ideas with yourself or your, again, your customers that help them bring a sense of clarity or a feeling of safety? How can you help others without expectation, right? Whether it’s yourself, your family, your customers, your team.

I think that’s the best, the most inspiring thing I’ve seen so far is everyone coming together and like I’ve never seen before to help other people and all the extra depression going on. Because things are hard enough. Last year when the economies were good, but of course the entrepreneurial journey is full of ups and downs and depression.

So now whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re just entrepreneurial, depression and bipolar and all these other differences. The way our brains are wired are different from others, and that’s okay. But I think it’s important to realize and remember that these ups and downs, we’ve gone longer than we want.

It probably could be another couple of years in this case, to fully get out and exit a company could be another five to 10 years. And if you get through this year or two of hell, you can get out in a strong position. So I’m going to want, this is the, the tools and ideas. The rest of the talk is how can you reposition yourself to grow through this and to come out better than before and even before Kobe, there’s another, there’s one more important Uber trend, which is overwhelmed, right?

There’s more channels, there’s more content, more messages, more everything than ever before. More app buyers. I’m not more educated than before. A few are, but most of them were confused. People are generally more overwhelmed, confused. So focus is really a word we’re going to come back to again and again.

And Sagemount, which is a $3 billion investor in the States, is a great example of a company that takes these ideas and terms and into a repeatable playbook to triple the valuation of companies. That’s what their goal is to invest in when a triple valuation. So let’s talk about four ideas here. So the first slowdown to systematize the second specialize in sales, nailing a niche in the last predictable pipeline.

So slow down to systematize. What does this mean? Well, David Skok, who’s a very well known VC in the Boston area at matrix partners, has said that for startups, and this is true too, even companies in the, during dealing with the Cobra issue, first they get to product market fit and they’re so excited and so impatient to grow.

They try to skip step two and go straight to scale, straight to growth. And the step that everyone misses is this searching for that repeatable, scalable, profitable growth model, like predictable revenue. And honestly, a lot of times it’s because you don’t understand. It can take a lot longer than you want and be a lot more boring and tedious than you realize.

It’s a lot of like iteration and detail work and try, try again. And it’s just, it’s not exciting until you get through that. So trying to force progress by jumping head too fast, right? It’s only taken two steps forward and then two steps backward, but then you’ve wasted your time, money, energy is the mistake.

And really slowing down to, uh, what’s the repeatable sales model, the repeatable lead generation model. And to find ways to enable growth is the easiest way, the fastest way. To get to scalable growth. So it’s that topic is specializing sales. Now, this is the most important idea often because it’s the, if you have salespeople, the most, like the simplest one to understand and implement.

And as a reminder, right? Salespeople, closers really shouldn’t prospect much. They don’t like to do it. They aren’t very good at it. And even if they can do it well, they can’t sustain it. And it’s very rare. Not if it’s one out of 10 when at a 20 to find a sales person who can be great to prospecting and great at closing and do that consistently.

You cannot build a team of people doing that. It’s just impossible. So what’s the solution? Well, the best run sports teams in the world offer a great model. I don’t know any team that says, all right, everybody. I want everyone to attack everyone to defend. No, that’d be crazy. You have attackers, midfield, Volvo, GoLean defenders, and even on the management side, you get two rather than one coach who can supposed to do everything.

They specialize management, right? You have offensive coaches and defensive coaches and fitness coaches. Right? You almost get a coach for everything these days, right? That’s the way the companies that the teams win in sports, and it’s the way the companies went. It’s sales specializing, right? And here are these four core roles that are really fundamental.

So the first one, our inbound lead response reps often called LDRs, lead development reps, sometimes called inbound SDRs, sales development reps. But their job is to respond to the leads coming in from marketing, typically through a website. The next role are outbound prospectors and are dedicated to outbound prospecting and both of these junior roles, some, again, often call it SDRs, BDRs.

We’ll just use some terms, inbound SDR and outbound SDR. For now. Are filtering through opportunities to relieves in contacts and setting up appointments and really trying to pass over a few fewer better appointments to the new business salespeople, right? The closers who are signing new customers, and then once they’re signed in the post sale, there is a team, typically customer success.

But this could include things like onboarding, renewables, customer success, account management. There could be a variety of teams there to support customers once they’re signed, but when salespeople are trying to do everything, a salesperson is prospecting and closing and they’re actually managing customers, that’s too much.

They can’t do it all. Well, again, it’s like telling soccer players or football players to attack and defend off the same time. Do fewer things better. And that’s what specialization allows people to do to do fewer things better. And when you do specialize and you take this far enough, you create this Lego block effect where it makes it a lot easier to hire, train your ramp salespeople because there’s less, they need to learn.

There’s less they need to do. They can focus again on fewer and fewer things better. The bottom line is when you do specialize, it creates a lot more useful insights because you can break the team apart and understand, Oh, the Legion teams, what’s working there or not the closers, what are working there or not, or account management, customer success, what’s working there or not.

So you can, you can dive in and understand how all the parts are working together or not. It creates that more scalability and that Lego block system and you can create, in the States, we would say a talented farm team system. But it’s really, you can hire junior people. We don’t have a lot of experience and grow them up through the ranks and the very low risk way.

The bottom line, bottom line is if you don’t specialize in going far enough, you’re going to struggle. I’ve never seen a team that had too many jobs, too many roles, but I see them all the time where they don’t have enough. So I think a couple of important rules of thumb are that it can take six months to define a new role and get it to the point where you have some confidence.

You don’t need to tune it every day. And when you do something new, ideally start with two, if you have the budget, just because if you’re creating a new role, like an outbound prospecting team, when one person’s doing it and to get some traction, you really do need at least one full time person. But when you can have two, they have a buddy system, they can bounce ideas off each other and you can see if things are working or not.

Is it because of the person or the system. Couple of common ratio samples, right? One inbound lead responder, one junior rep for every 400 leads that need to be reviewed by a human is a pretty fair ratio. And if you have one dedicated prospector, they really should only support, say one to three, maybe four salespeople, right?

Cause if they support more than that, they get too scattered, right? They lose their focus to two common questions and objections. Really, Hey, we’re too small. I’m one person. How can I specialize, or I’m only two people? Well, if you’re one person, you can start by specializing your time. I block out time on your calendar for that thing you’re not getting to.

Which could be calling current customers for could be outbound. Two common ones. When you have two people, you typically have a senior person and a junior, right? So closer sales person and a junior person who might be doing inbound lead response or outbound prospecting. And the last step is our last, the last common question would be, well, relationships and service suffer because I don’t want prospects being passed around and the answer is service actually should be better now if you have an effective handoff process, because a lot of people don’t.

What that means is. No matter where that prospect or customer is, they’ve got someone who’s dedicated to their success at that time, whether they’re a lead, a cost us about to sign or a current customer. Because again, when a sales person is doing everything, they’ll give great service to a few people and they’ll tend to ignore a lot of others.

And again, it’s not even their fault. They just, you can’t do it all well. So that moves on to the next topic, which is so fundamental kneeling and niche. Now, this actually is the most common challenge for companies who are struggling. We’re struggling to grow, right? The painful truth is you’re struggling to grow because you’re not ready to grow.

And I think this only comes after the sales role. Specialization, because it’s not quite as concrete as sales role specialization, even though this is more common. In fact. With the coven, drama and challenges. This actually is often the first place to start, that you need to do is re-examine who your ideal customers are and the messaging, what they care about.

So, for a lot of companies, if you’ve grown through word of mouth or significant word of mouth or organic growth, you have to have this question around, “that’s great, but are we dependent on word of mouth? Are we dependent on our brand or relationships to either get meetings or to assign customers?”

That’s the blessing and the curse. They’re the best kinds of leads, but you can become dependent. You hit a plateau. So how would you, how? How can paid growth work, whether it’s through marketing or sales? Now, I mentioned this world of overwhelmed, right? And Oracle and a lot of big companies, you might be in the space of, we have so many products to sell.

This isn’t even all of them, but where do we start? Like what do we market? Or from a sales person, like which product do I, I go to? And it’s overwhelming effects. Customers who were confused and salespeople who are confused. But even if you’re a startup, you might have a similar problem, which is we have all these things we can, we can help people with all of these markets.

We can go after. So where do we focus? And the whole trick here with nailing a niche is you want to focus in on the few things like what customers need you the most, and what do they want to make it very clear, very obvious to them what your value is. Gotta have to make it simple to them or else they’re not going to engage with you.

Right. And a lot of your, the content you have on your website or other ones just confuses people because you’re putting too much, too many options with them in their hands. And you’re using big words. And the studies show, for example, that someone who doesn’t know you, whether it’s an ad or an email or cough, they’re only going to use the equivalent of a third grade mentality or IQ to figure.

Your content now. So when you use fancy jargon, you’re actually shooting yourself in the foot both by confusing your prospects and confusing your own people. And confusion equals no. Now, they may not say things like, “Oh, we’ll evaluate later, maybe, I don’t know. It’s too expensive. Send me information.”

And currently right, there actually has been a month or two for now, and it might go along where people really are just not in a place to buy. They’re saying no, not because they’re confused, but they might be confused, but they’re not ready to make decisions. They’re still reassessing where they are.

And as that starts to change, if there’s clarity to them, which is your value, they will look at buying. If they’re still confused, they’ll continue to say, we’re not ready. So the whole, the goal here is to cross this arc of attention. So when the green space, when you’re dealing with a referral, people who know you in some way, right?

There’s some personal connection to your brand as a person or as a company or a customer for them, they’re willing to invest a lot of time to figure you out, right? They’ll give you a half an hour, they’ll give you an hour. Oh, sure, let’s have a call. We’ll figure things out. But when you start reaching out to new audiences, people who don’t know you, then there’s no trust.

They’re not going to give you a half hour. They might give you three seconds. They might give you half a second or 10 seconds, right? But it’s a very small slice of attention that they’re willing to invest to say, Hmm, am I going to read this, engage with this or not? And this is an entirely new skill, right?

To go and cross this trust gap. So when I talk about a niche or niche is the niche in Europe prior to Canada, niche in the States, tomato, tomato. But the goal is you want, you need to be a big fish in a small pond. So when I say niche or niche, I’m not talking about thinking small. I’m talking about being focused, like what are you the best at need you and why?

Right? It’s a lot easier to make the pond smaller than the fish bigger, which means it’s a lot easier to readjust your targeting and messaging than it is to recreate a whole new product. So this is a great place to start. And I mentioned this need, right? This is the best place to start, which is, think about for all the customers, to whom, why don’t you a nice to have two customers right in versus when did you have you been a need to have, and what are the differences between those two groups and the nice to have customer?

Maybe they bought, maybe they didn’t, maybe they stayed, maybe they didn’t. But you can tell the need to have. So the ones where they, they saw it, they decided relatively quickly, they paid full price and you’ve been able to deliver great value to them. Now. I went through this personally about 10 or 12 years ago when I, after I left Salesforce and I was kinda thinking about, Hmm, well, like what do I want to do with my life?

I was really tired of sales consulting. I didn’t want to do that. And sales, I want to do something new. So I created something called mini genius, right? How to help people make money through enjoyment. It’s like a personal coaching thing. And I tried something called a CEO flow. Turn your employees into mini CEOs.

Actually, that was my first book, but when I got married in Britain. Back to the family, I got married in 2011. And, my wife had two kids from a prior marriage, so I had two kids, right? Two kids, plus she got pregnant quickly. Um, you know, with help for me, and I remember this moment I’m like, “Oh, I need to make more money to support a family.”

 I totally changed my mindset and I had to go back and nail my niche. Go back and focus on who are my ideal customers, who I generate the most value for us, they pay me the most money. I created the best tangible results, and they were the easiest to work with in terms of they wanted to work with me and I had like my greatest strengths, and that was still sales and outbound prospecting.

As much as I’d resisted doing that before, that was kinda my greatest value at that point. And that led to writing predictable revenue and then the impossible book. And growing up predicted our business from under a hundred thousand dollars a year to now more than $5 million. Right? By just like focusing in on my greatest strength and the greatest fulfilling the greatest need that my customers had.

So what do your customers want right now? Remember, people don’t care what you do. They only care about what you can do for them. Right. This is the whole nother part of this practice. So first, who needs you the most? But then how do you get into their heads to read their minds and speak in their language?

Now this is a roar. One of my daughters, we’ve got seven daughters, two sons, Mike. And by the way, if that’s not enough, then we of course have four dogs. Cause Aurora would say, “Hey dad, can we go to donuts? I want donuts.” And like not now and eventually. Being a smart cookie she picked up on the techniques here and she said, dad, “when we’ve gone for donuts, I want to treasure those memories for my whole life.”

It’s like, Oh, okay. As a parent speak in my language, so let’s go. That’s what you want to do with your customers. You’ve pretty funny. If you had any doughnut customers here on the call. Here’s another example of a regular business, right? Who’s in charge of receivables was an ask that one of our clients in the States was using to go find the appropriate person at a hospital, which has complex financial issues in the States.

Now they changed that to talk to some customers, did some interviews and they changed that to, Hey, who handles patient cash? Now the language internally, it was very clear to them versus like, there’s vendors, all kinds of complexity. I know who that is. Patient cash is obvious. I will refer you immediately.

Increased response rates. Now with Twilio, who’s about a billion dollars, maybe not quite revenue, but they are getting there. Amazing growth story company. They get their people out of their ivory tower, right. Their cubes into their lives and minds with customers. With a couple of examples.

There’s actually, this is from the impossible book and there’s five, but I picked the best couple. They walk literally in people’s shoes, which means they will offer new shoes, Twilio branded to a customer. If the customer gives them their old shoes and they take these shoes and hang them in the offices as a reminder to their employees to never think like the customer.

Cause we constantly forget this, right? We all do this. And even cooler, they make every employee when they joined build the Twilio app, whether they’re a lawyer or in human resources, they all go through their bootcamp to build an app to get a taste of what it’s like to be the customer. Okay. Just two simple examples and those practices will help you be smarter about who to talk, what your customers are, the best, and how to speak to them.

So the whole point of that idea of nailing a niche, moving on to predictable pipeline. The last section here, right? Creating predictable revenue. You will not be able to create predictable revenue unless you can create predictable pipeline or leads. They are your level of lever for growth. Predictable leads will drive growth.

The number of salespeople is not the main lever. Sometimes it’s related products can be, but even when you have great salespeople who can go make things happen or a great product, that still means lead generation regeneration will drive your growth, or it’s the main lever. So how can you systematize lead generation?

I think it’s important to understand there are three types of leads. They all have their pros and cons. For example, going back to the house here, there are three kinds of princesses at our house. We’ve got the classic little girl princess. She has her pros and cons. The grandpa princess definitely has some cons and the big brother princess against the pros and cons, and likewise, they’re all great.

They’re all valuable, they’re just different. And for you, seeds, nets and Spears are three types of leads. They’re just all different with their pros and cons. With seeds. Seeds are really lead generated through word of mouth, maybe, or organic growth. Referrals from customers, friends, family, investors, relationships.

Great. The very hard to grow. Nets are marketing generated, so one to many, right? It could be online marketing or events, right? You’re doing, you’re casting a wide net and you typically get a lot of leads, but few are a good fit and it’s really sorting through all these leads to find the great ones. Spears is outbound prospecting or outbound business development.

You have a targeted list and a human typically is the person who’s reaching out through. Usually calling, emailing, or LinkedIn could be other means, but reaching out to this list to set up meetings to see if there’s a good fit. Again, uh, pros include. You can go talk to everyone who is not calling you.

And the cons include, for example, it’s not for everybody. Right? So let’s talk about outbound. Cause this is really my area of area of expertise and what I’ve done since I can’t tell you, I really couldn’t say how many companies or teams I’ve worked with advisor or talk to, but it’s a lot.

I don’t know. If you realize that all these companies on this slide have done outbound or have outbound teams. I was even surprised at survey monkey had one, but Facebook, Google, all these companies often known for inbound lead generation or word of mouth, HubSpot, Marketo, all have outbound teams. Like outbound is not.

It’s more common now for people to appreciate the value of outbound, but I think there’s still lots of people who feel like outbound prospecting is interrupting people inappropriate, rude, or really just inefficient. So it’s not true. Now, outbound prospecting, everyone’s so obsessed with email template, which, okay, it’s, it’s important.

But it’s not about that or AI or cold call scripts or all these apps and there’s so many of them, again, overwhelming or list building, but ultimately outbound is about the dashboard and without bound, there’s something different about outbound than pretty much any other function because there’s so much subjectivity in outbound.

Most often companies’ dashboards are off, but think about the importance of having a dashboard. That’s correct. Now, this is our old family car in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring it over to the UK sprinter, but if my gas meter is off, if my directions are off, my speedometer and I don’t really know what I’m going, how fast I can get there when I’ll run out.

The gas makes it really hard to drive effectively. So when your outbound dashboard is incorrect. You can create a lot of problems with your competency your executives have, or even knowing what’s the best way to grow. Like where should you invest your money? So here is an outbound funnel, actually straight out of a predictable revenue book.

The classic, there’s usually right, the category of activities that, Hey, there’s some number of emails, phone calls, or social media touches that are happening, but those lead to results of some kind. Conversations, demos, discovery calls, are we fit calls. And then the missing step is the number. This is something you have to gauge what’s the number of qualified and audited opportunities being generated per month.

Now, if you have one person, half a person, but unless this is the thing that people miss. All these opportunities need to be audited and checked for consistency in terms of where they qualified or not, where the outbound or not, where the notes in the system or not, because it’s so easy and so common to create inconsistent results that way.

That’s the big leaky step in the outbound funnel and inconsistent quality of data means you have inconsistent metrics, which means you cannot have predictable revenue. Hopefully the goal for most companies, including primarily product companies to have a win rate of qualified opportunity to win about 20% that can be a lot lower if you do specialized services or like unique niches, but 20% is a pretty good baseline to start with.

Everybody’s up on funnels a bit different. This is Zuora against is out of the impossible book, but Zuora for example, has their, and they, a lot of their, they call them CBR since or a business reps, target big companies, not all, but a lot of them do. And then targeting big companies, they actually have a list building goal, like adding 10 new account plans a month, adding contacts, and they have their activity goals like dials and cold emails and LinkedIn, which is not here.

LinkedIn is on the rise still, phone and email still work that LinkedIn has been growing and their goal is to get 16 fit calls a month, which really means the prospector is talking to a prospect and just saying, is there a fit here or not? If there’s not a fit, great. Let’s not waste our time.

If there is something here, let’s set up a call with a senior person on my team who can go into more detail in some area of interest, right? Or do a demo or discovery call. And for all these to lead to four sales accepted opportunities a month where they call them sales SQLs. There’s so many different terms and of those you want to see a 20% 20% win rate, which ends up ultimately is one, hopefully one customer at a hundred thousand plus ARR annual recurring revenue a year.

Just not everybody’s funnel’s a bit different, and that’s part of this journey is to find out what’s your funnel, what’s your personal metrics, and what works for you. Kind of like a diet, diet books, right? There’s a million diet books, right? The one, the diet that works for you, you gotta try a bunch of things.

They’ll find a system that works for you, that fits your metabolism. So you have to find this outbound funnel that fits your outbound metabolism, not emails or online messages. Principles always apply, right? You gotta keep them short and simple to understand, easy to act on. And I’ve noticed there’s I call it the end of copycat success, which is, as the world gets more connected, things at work get spread faster, ideas are spread faster, which means then everyone’s doing the same thing, which means they stop working.

And this is from a note, Jeremy Donovan’s a SVP at SalesLoft. It’s a sales engagement automation tool. We’ve done some webinars together and I liked this note he put up, basically, he, during a lot of the most immediate . Timing, panicking when everyone was going virtual, he started getting all these emails.

It sounded the same. Right, and this was his note to say, I’m getting all these emails sound the same. They’re all saying, hope you’re making safe in this current weird crisis, and then put in a regular pitch. So when everyone’s done the same, it stops working, right? So everyone’s zigging, zag, and with this end of copycat success, it really is the time where your personal voice, your company’s voice is more important than ever to develop because nothing people can copy your techniques, but they can’t copy your personality.

And that’s something that always comes out in small or large ways, whether it’s in doing video and email writing or any communication. But the point is, once you get a lead generation system, that works, and I’ve dived here into outbound, but it could be the same in marketing customer success, but an app on when you get it working, that’s when you can multiply it, right?

So in the States, mobi went from getting three meetings a month to 30 a month once I got the system working. Kimberton was a company that had zero results from outbound and was struggling and they went, got their system together and generated a few extra million dollars in the first year I’m doing outbound. And Acquia went from, it’s about a $40 million company doing all from inbound revenue around.

Then we help them layer on an outbound prospecting team and within a few years at an extra 30 million in revenue, at that time, we’re able to break a hundred million revenue, and just last year was sold to Vista for a billion dollars. All right, so the whole point is you get it working and then you can multiply it.

Now, if you’re a little more advanced, if you’ve got an outbound team already and you’re seeing these problems, right? You’re missing your goals when or when Rachel low or deal sizes are too small, or like all the prospectors are doing different things. Ashley of SDRs or BDRs or salespeople are frustrated.

Right. PR is very common so there’s a lot of solutions that people don’t realize. So I’m just going to share a few tips. So I guess some go in and do assessments and growth plans and any innumerable companies, but the biggest mistake is you have to separate the inbound SDRs and the outbound SDRs if you have your STRs, right?

These junior salespeople doing both lead response and prospecting. The prospecting will suffer. Those have to be separate. Prospectors have to be 85, 90, 95%, 100% dedicated to outbound to be effective. And outbound SDRs really can’t be matched to more than four-ish salespeople or else they get too diluted. Right? Too scattered. 

Do not pay SDRs, outbound SDRs, on activities, there’s going to be exceptions, I’ll get to you, but you want to pay them on accepted opportunities. Might those SQLs SALs or on revenue with the exception that during times of incredible uncertainty and unpredictably, like now you might go off.

Because the advice I’m getting these days is throw out your old quotas, right? You gotta go week-to-week. What’s happening? What’d we do last week? What can we do this week? And going week-by-week. And in this case, you might want to go towards the short term, even week long comp goals, quarter goals, just because we don’t, nothing.

No one knows what’s happening. So that’s one exception. Another exception, when you’re creating a new team, you might commit on short term goals like activities or meetings. As you build confidence and you get towards a point where you can pay only on sales accepted leads or revenue; managers make sure you don’t have more than 6-10 reps per manager, because those reps do need coaching time.

And you have to have some territories or segments for salespeople, right? A named list, which could be geographic, it could be by industry, some way to divide and conquer your markets. So just to review here, we talked about slowing down to systematize. Going back to the beginning, even nowadays, who’s your ideal customer? How can you generate leads in a predictable way? How can you sell in a predictable way, in a repeatable way? And then once you have that, you can start to grow faster. Specializing in sales means adding more roles. And I’ve never run into a company where they had too many roles yet. It’s always to add more.

Nailing a niche. Who needs you most these days? Going to have to go back to throwing out all your assumptions on who your ideal customer is and what they want. A lot of that has changed in the last few weeks, or month. They might change next week, so don’t assume things will go back to the way they were.

For some people, they might, for a lot of people, they won’t and predictable pipeline in this case. Outbound, if you don’t have an outbound team and you want to get into that, I would say assign one person to figure out the strategy, your plan, right? To go deep into it. What should we, should we do it or not?

Once we do it in how, if you have an SDR team, outbound STR team, you’ve got to go back and fix your metrics first. Cause you’re going to be wrong. It’s just inevitable. And if you don’t have clear, man, if you can’t trust your metrics, then you really don’t know what’s working and what’s not in that team.

So I want to thank you very much. A lot of this is from the second edition of From Impossible to Inevitable. I’ve heard a lot of people say the best business books they’ve read. It was ranked one of the top 10 startup books ever. There’s a free chapter at And for more about myself or a business or predictable our specialty is building outbound sales teams, and this is my email, if you have any questions.

Thank you very much. Really appreciate the chance to share some ideas and to help everyone take at least one step towards getting through this crisis because we don’t know how long it’s going to last. We don’t know how bad it’s going to get, but we are going to be okay. Just got to keep taking the steps every day, step-by-step.

Thank you. 

Shawnna Sumaoang: Thank you so much for that presentation. With that to our audience, we’d like to open it up for Q and A. Please type any questions you have in the chat panel below and we’ll be sure to adjust those. Again, thank you for joining us today.


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