The Predictable Revenue Blog

The latest from Aaron Ross & the team

3 Things Every Enterprise Customer Wants To Know

why buy, why you, and why now although the enterprise sales process has many steps and stages, it ultimately has to answer three questions for the customer. check out this “From Impossible” excerpt to see: 3 Things Every Enterprise Customer Wants To Know #1: “Why should I do anything?” The easiest way to help a potential customer answer this question is to identify their important initiatives. Every large company has strategic business initiatives that are always going to be funded and that are driving IT investments. Once the sales and marketing teams have uncovered these, they can begin to define the unique value proposition. The key here is to seek first to understand and then second to be understood. Listen first, sell second. The problem with telling a potential customer what you think they need before you understand what they think they need is that: You’re basing your position on a known set of requirements from a broad base of companies instead of unknown specific opportunities. It positions you as more of a commodity play or just a vendor – as opposed to a partner who can help transform the way they conduct their business. #2: “Why your solution vs. your competitors’?” No one knows more about your solution than you do, so you should be consulting with your target customer to craft what success looks like. By doing this, you’re more likely to win the criteria-setting battle, because you’re essentially pre-positioning and differentiating your enterprise/SaaS product over that of your competitors. This helps block the competition, as you’re helping the prospect learn to see the world, and success,... read more

top 5 things a great sales vp does

your #1 mis-hire: the VP of sales in so many start-ups – especially Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) / tech, the majority of first VP Sales fail. they don’t even make it 12 months (we’ve heard that the average tenure for VP Sales of early companies in the valley averages 18 months – and that includes the winners – ouch!). most founder/CEOs are looking for the wrong things; especially first time founders, or founders who haven’t spent much time in or with sales. in this “from impossible” excerpt, i go into what Sales VPs should be focused on at a growing company. Top 5 Things a Great VP of Sales Does At An Early, Growing Company 1.) Recruiting You hire a VP Sales not to sell, but to recruit, train and coach other people to sell. So recruiting is 20% + of their time, because you’re going to need a team to sell. And recruiting great reps and making them successful is the #1 most important thing your VP Sales will do. And great VPs of Sales know this. 2.) Backfilling and Helping His/ Her Sales Team Helping coach reps to close deals (not doing it for them). Getting hands-on when needed, or in big deals. Spotting issues before they blow up. Seeing opportunities ahead of the horizon. 3.) Sales Tactics Training, on-boarding. Territories (you need them). Quotas, comp. How to compete. Pitch scripts. Coordinating FUD and anti-FUD. Segmenting customers. Reports. Ensuring they and the team can get what they need from the sales / CRM system. Etc. 4.) Sales Strategy What markets should we expand into? What’s our main bottleneck? Where should... read more

9 Ways To Build Lists

If you build lists, they will come… A sales topic that comes up both with clients and Predictable University students, is how to build a list of qualified leads. Datanyze, Data.com (used to be Jigsaw), InsideView, OneSource, Hoovers, ZoomInfo, and NetProspex are all proven data sources for general corporate lists.  If you have a really specific niche, you may need to look for a unique list source or broker.   Building it by hand generally produces a better targeted list since you get to be the determining factor on whether a company is a good fit. But to make the most of your time, you need to delegate sifting to someone else, usually by using either pre-built lists or a database service. Every data provider has both strengths and weaknesses, so pay very close attention to the quality of leads that come through the filters you set up. This will help you adjust your criteria so your searches yield companies that match your Ideal Customer Profile. Who has the best data? Our CARB.IO team has gotten both amazing and terrible reviews from different clients about nearly the exact same data set, so it depends who you ask. Ultimately, list quality drills down to filter quality, but even more importantly, whether you’ve Nailed Your Niche. PredRev Hub Tips We asked our online predictable revenue community how they build lists beyond buying them from databases – here’s what they suggest. (Shout out to our community members for these! David J. Bradley, Mark Benak, Alan Chavez, Will Johnson, Michael Fulenwider, Vincent Guibert) 1. Offer actionable content on your landing page. 2. Host free webinars and educational courses. 3. Compile your inbound inquiries. 4. Check out Industry associations and engage... read more

how to win your prospects’ trust

  why is there a niche problem in the first place? it has to do with how people’s brains and attention spans work. in this “From Impossible” excerpt, i talk about the Arc of Attention and the Trust Gap: two vital aspects key to understanding the niche problem and what to do about it. The Arc of Attention When starting a business, most people begin with Early Adopters: networks, friends, friends-of-friends, and people who instinctively “get it”. Once you hit $1M-$10M in revenue, you usually hit the wall as word-of-mouth and referrals start to plateau (or, as a large company, when your new leadgen program, product launch, or market struggles). At some point you run out of Early Adopters and need to figure out how to click with Mainstream Buyers’ people who don’t already know you and don’t intuitively “get it” like Early Adopters. There’s a painful difference to evolve from selling to Early Adopters who trust you, to Mainstream Buyers who don’t.  Geoff Moore called this Crossing The Chasm.  We call it bridging a Trust Gap. Whatever it’s called, when you understand why this gap exists in the first place, you’ll better know how to cross it. The Right Side – High Trust On the right side of the spectrum are “Mom/Dad /Best Friends” – people who know and trust us (or your company/brand), and are willing to give you a big slice of attention just because you asked for it. If you call up a best friend and ask them to meet with you for two hours to review a demo, product, blog post or talk, they will – even... read more

debunking outbound MYTHS …ooh people are gonna get mad 😠

if you often feel confused about how to level up your outbound prospecting game and results, you’re not the only one. the amount of information, apps and options available today is overwhelming. and while much of it is well-intentioned, much is also misleading or misguided. let’s take a step to cut through the bullshit and noise out there. i’m gonna poke a stick into the hornet’s nest, to debunk some popular prospecting myths… join me for a new webinar on “Debunking 5 Popular Outbound Myths” tuesday, may 10th – 9:30a to 10:30a pst  some examples of what i’ll get into… – the amount and types of research you need to do before you reach out (SAP was shocked and awed at what we taught them… then incredibly happy with the results) – what i recommend re: setting up a sequence of emails, calls and touches – the “Response Rate Red Herring” trick to watch out for – a common way companies sabotage their Salesforce.com or CRM setup for outbound (ok, this isn’t a “myth,” but so many companies make this key, key mistake, i want to address it) register now for “Debunking 5 Popular Outbound Myths” thanks, – air ps:  ready for your team to master what matters? reserve your spot now in the next Predictable Revenue Certification class, beginning monday, may 16th –  registration deadline: Friday may 13! pps: many thanks to alejandra mesta of registria (a recent grad), for this testimonial: “I was charged to create a sales development team and decided to join PredictableU to learn the right techniques to teach my new hires. In 5 weeks we produced what an outsourced sales development team took 5... read more

How To Make Nurturing Calls Less Awkward

It can be uncomfortable to talk to anyone you don’t know very well over the phone; never-mind if you’re asking for money. But if you’re always thinking about making the sale, it could end your relationship with that prospect pretty quickly. The main thing to focus on during a nurturing call is a mindset of curiosity – like you’re calling a friend whom you haven’t spoken to in a few months. You call to check-in and to see how they are doing vs. calling in the hopes of having something new or good enough to present. Here are a few sales tips on how to make these calls a little less uncomfortable:   Ask For Permission To Speak Since you are calling out of the blue, it’s most respectful to ask – “Did I call you at a bad time?”, that way, you give them an easy out if it’s not a good time. . Call For No Particular Reason If you approach the call from a curiosity standpoint, you can keep it simple:  “I’m just calling to say hi.  It’s been a few months since we have spoken and I wanted to see how it was going.”  (or “how XYZ was going?”) . Call At A Targeted Time: “In the summer, many of our nonprofit clients are working on the end-of-year campaigns right now and I wanted to see how we might support you with your efforts.” . Report Relevant News (subscribe to Google news alerts for top prospects/clients):  “I read about XYZ and thought you might want to support those efforts…“ . Doesn’t Matter What You Say People are either going to want to talk with you or not.... read more

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About The Author


Aaron Ross, of the award-winning, bestselling book Predictable Revenue, has been teaching companies how to double or triple (or more) new sales since he helped Salesforce grow from $5m to $100m. Now he’s turned his attention to building the software platform that will power the next wave of Cold Calling 2.0 teams.