Sales Method: Predictable Revenue

The idea behind the predictable revenue sales method is that company growth is not based on hiring more salespeople or making the salespeople work harder. Rather, a more efficient sales process, through lead generation and a repeatable sales process, will boost the customer base and increase revenue.

Generating Outbound Leads

Increased lead generation allows for an increased “margin of error” whether or not a salesperson’s percentages increase. Generating new leads is not exactly an easy thing to do, but here are some methods that work:

  • The traditional trial and error method by sending mass emails, and making cold calls(which is the hardest and most time consuming way).
  • Cold Calling 2.0: (see below)

Cold Calling 2.0

A key part of the Predictable Revenue sales method, Cold Calling 2.0 changes the way we approach prospecting, and completely revolutionizes “cold calling” by warming it up a little bit. The big catch to Cold Calling 2.0 is that it’s cold calling without the cold calls. It also requires the creation a Sales Development Team, which focuses exclusively on generating outbound leads.

  • Rather than send out mass, “sales-y,” emails, send short, more personalized emails to VPs or executives, asking for a referral. (think blackberry sized emails)
  • With this referral, you will know that you’re talking to the right person, instead of just hoping it. Meanwhile,  they will be expecting your call, unlike with the characteristic coldness of the traditional cold call method.
  • It allows you to track much more constructive metrics, like opportunities generated instead of calls made.
  • Uses a specialized sales development team, devoted exclusively to generating new leads, rather than taking up the time of the salespeople (who buy the way, are not that good at cold calling anyway)
    • Cold calling is a low value, low percentage process, so you don’t want your highest value sales resource (sales people) doing it.
  • Only call/email high potential targets. The goal is to maximize the percentage of success, so don’t waste time on unlikely customers.

Building a Sales Machine That Uses Predictable Revenue

  • Don’t get involved in a one-off project. The idea behind the predictable revenue sales method is repetition. If a certain project is just a one-time thing, meant for quick cash, it does not help towards the ultimate goal and is not worth the effort.
  • Use a sales force automation system to track your sales. It will help with analyzing patterns and achieving the desired repetition.
  • Know how your sales process works. This sales method only works if it can be tracked.
  • Focus on results (prospects, leads, opportunities) and track fewer, more important metrics (new leads, qualified sales opportunities, percentage conversion rate, total bookings/revenue, win rates)
  • Pay close attention to transitions in the sales process. This, for example would apply to the hand-off of clients from the sales development team to the salespeople. This is often where most of the error occurs.

Division of labor has to be implemented when using the predictable revenue sales method. As the company becomes increasingly productive, specialization increases. “Lumping together” tasks only limits productivity. As a result there are four overlying sales functions that exist in a sales organization that can be subdivided as the organization grows if need be:

  • Marketing (Inbound Lead Qualification)
  • Sales Development (Outbound Prospecting; Cold Calling 2.0)
  • Sales (Account Executives)
  • Customer Relations (Account Management; Ongoing Customer Success)

These positions can almost serve as a “farm system” or career path. Employees can move through the positions and each step they become more specific in their duties and take on a more important role for the company. They begin in marketing, selling the name of the company, finding prospects and turning them into leads. Then they move on to Sales Development, where they take leads and try to turn them into opportunities. From there they become a sales rep, and they move on opportunities, trying to turn them into customers.

Generating Inbound Leads Using Inbound Marketing Tools

We previously discussed cold calling, which is a form of Outbound Leads, in which the salesperson or a member of the selling company goes and gets a lead. Inbound Leads, on the other hand, are when leads come to you. While inbound leads can be completely unpredictable, Predictable Revenue highlights nine Inbound Marketing Tools that can be very helpful to generate inbound leads:

  1. Referrals: Nothing is better than happy customers and they can be an incredible marketing source. They establish you as a legitimate, trustworthy business partner.
  2. Free Tools and Trials: What better way to show potential customers that your product/service works? Especially if you are a SaaS company, this can be a huge way to boost leads
  3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your pages, blog posts, or social media content with keywords, to generate links to your business and eventually create leads.
  4. Social Media: LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter are all great ways to help with search engine rankings as well as to connect with customers, engage personal networks, and share content.
  5. Blogging: By entering the conversation yourself, people will see you as an expert on the subject and will come to you when they have a problem.
  6. Email and Lead Nurturing: Email is an important tool for letting people know about you. It can be as simple as sharing your blog posts, but it gets prospects looking at your website or content and will generate leads. (Note: this is not the same as email prospecting)
  7. Webinars: They can be used for selling, but also for teaching, and are great when part of a series, in which viewers look forward to the next installment.
  8. Pay Per Click Marketing: It is especially useful for internet-based companies. It is less productive though if you are focused on more sophisticated buyers. (PPC is like GoogleAds)
  9. Affiliate/Joint Ventures: If you know where you market is, and who your potential buyers are, then work with companies or publications that have a similar customer base.

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