The Predictable Revenue Blog

The latest from Aaron Ross & the team

loss / when someone gives you bad news

it is UPSETTING to lose things that you want or are important to you, whether it’s: a promotion, to someone else. a bunch of money. an investor who pulls out at the last minute. a big deal, to a competitor. a business partner, to their own thing. a key employee, to a better oppty. a marriage, to divorce. a dream, to reality. i’ve lost most or all of the above.  (a big one i’ve thankfully missed so far is losing any close family members.) some were easier to handle, some were rending. all were very upsetting. whenever i’ve lost something important, it’s also always opened up the door to more growth for myself, too.  at some point, and if i didn’t stir and stew but moved on. i may have recovered fast (losing a business partner) or slowly (getting over a divorce or when a business failed), but there was always a silver lining. the two most painful for me, were: 1) a divorce in 2004, which cleared the way for my wife Jessica and all my kids, and 2) losing my LeaseExchange business in 2001. which became the original catalyst for the entire Predictable Revenue book, brand and business. it sucks that we need failures and loss to teach us faster who we are, what’s important and how to grow. because it’s painful.  yet it’s an unavoidable part of success and life…unless you avoid living altogether. likewise, if you’re in business, the only way you can avoid losing customers is to not have a business in the first place. it’s painful to lose customer – both in pride and... read more

3 Reasons To Launch Outbound During The Summer

[by Kay Meester] Summertime evokes images of relaxing by the water, slowing down to soak up the long days, and taking time off to get outside. I recently spent a week on the Appalachian Trail with my brother, from Georgia to North Carolina. (That first day from Amicalola Falls is tough: 8 miles uphill over a rocky trail that starts at 1700 ft elevation and ends the day at 4000 ft. I think my legs are still shaking!) Back in the working world, there’s no denying some companies see a slow in new sales during the summer months. As people flee from their desks for extended periods, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that summer is a bad time to start an outbound email campaign. Questions arise about the efficacy of reaching out to people at a time when they may not be checking their emails regularly. “How will I reach enough people to collect data and know if its working?” “If I don’t see the results I wanted, how will I know if its because of the campaign itself or bad timing because prospects are away?” “If I really want to get the most out of my campaign, isn’t it better to wait until autumn, when prospects are back and ready to do business?” Keep in mind that the goal of the first 90 days of a campaign is to test and develop messaging; this is to prepare to scale the campaign in months 4 and beyond. That’s the way outbound campaigns begin: 12 weeks of constant testing and iterating. You’ll start by emailing to small sample sizes of contacts... read more

3 Reasons You Need Salespeople to Scale

what works at the bottom may not work as you tilt upmarket A lot of people have a desire to avoid hiring salespeople. For some, it’s a question of: “Do I even need salespeople at all? Slack and Atlassian don’t have any (yet). Can’t I just do a Basecamp model? Can’t I just have Customer Happiness Officers who make customers so happy that they keep referring new customers? And people just buy my stuff without me doing anything or having to sell it?” Well maybe you can. And more power to you if you’re one of them. As long as there’s enough momentum in your business to keep hitting your revenue goals without a true sales team, then by definition you don’t need one… but you will probably want one. Maybe your goals are too low. A lot of founders who haven’t managed the revenue side of a business before are sort of anti-Sales. They see Sales as a bit slimy if they’ve never done it themselves or worked with a great sales team and often have the point of view, “Isn’t Sales just a bunch of guys in a virtual boiler room trying to get people to buy stuff they don’t really need? If my product is so great, shouldn’t it sell itself, so long as I have Happiness Officers answering questions and moving things along?” Again, it’s been done. But is it smart for you? The “problem” with just going with Happiness Officers is three-fold: 3 Reasons You Need Salespeople to Scale 1.) What works at the bottom of the market may not work as you tilt upmarket. Self-service (and almost-self-service) models can... read more

SPIN Selling: Why Questions Matter In Sales

one book that’s been a big topic in both in our predictable revenue hub as well as with students from my sales certification class, Predictable University is SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham; a book that argues the importance of asking the right questions in the sales conversation. if you haven’t had a chance to read it, check out the synopsis below in this guest post by Richard Young, Director of CRM Sales, EMEA for Bullhorn. A Summary of SPIN Selling Customers will only be motivated to buy something if they identify there’s a need. And because there are times when prospects are not even aware there’s a problem, the questions you ask are key. SPIN Selling describes a powerful sales process that reveals four types of questions that when asked in sequence, will significantly increase the likelihood of a lead translating into a sale. Lots of businesses struggle to close enough deals because their selling strategy and sales techniques are not customer-centric. Instead of understanding the buyer, and presenting a solution from a buyer’s perspective, too much emphasis is placed on the features and detail of the product/service that’s being sold and the credentials of the business itself. SPIN Selling empowers sales teams to instantly become more customer-centric by revealing the questions that need to be asked to build rapport, credibility and pave the way for a sale. Rapid Fire Overview of SPIN Selling Sales Lessons SPIN Selling is an acronym of four different types of sales questions that can take a disinterested prospect to someone who’s motivated to buy. These questions are: SITUATION questions PROBLEM questions IMPLICATION questions NEED-PAYOFF questions The SPIN Selling process was developed following the... read more

Jason’s 12 Top Mistakes Building Sales Teams

one of the reasons jason lemkin and i teamed up to write “From Impossible To Inevitable” was so that founders at growing companies won’t make the same blunders we did. in this excerpt from the book, jason outlines the top 12 mistakes he made when building sales teams. Top 12 Mistakes When Building Sales Teams #1. You hire a sales rep to sell before you can prove you can do it yourself. You have to prove it’s sellable first. And the CEO/founders need to do the initial sales themselves, so that they understand how to make sales work.  You can’t outsource this. #2. You hire a VP of Sales to sell before you prove you can do it yourself. You gotta prove the process is at least just barely repeatable before you hire someone to turn up the volume and spin the wheel faster. You gotta build two reps that can hit quota before you hire a real VP of Sales. #3. Any of your first 2-3 sales reps are folks you personally wouldn’t buy from. Because then you’ll never trust them with your precious handful of leads, and they will fail. No matter how well they did in the last start-up. #4. You insist reps #4-400 are folks you personally would buy from. It takes a village. #5. You underpay. The best salespeople want to make money. If you pay under-market, you get bottom of the barrel. #6. (Intentionally) not going upmarket faster to Double Your Deal Size. Nothing is an anomaly: If you can get 1 enterprise customer –– you can get 10. If you have 1 customer... read more

it’s hard to build a big business out of small deals

Small Deals To Get Started – Big Deals To Grow in this next “From Impossible” excerpt, you’ll see that you can make millions without millions of users… Many entrepreneurs, especially first-time founders, have expectations of what people will pay that are far too low. It’s also easy for experienced executives to fall into a rut with a division or team, either through inertia or habits. Push yourself past those limits, to come up with ways to double or triple your revenue per customer by also asking: What would it take to grow our revenue by 10x? What would it take to grow our biggest sales size by 10x? How can we find and work with customers to whom our solution would be worth 10x the price we’re currently charging? What We Love and Hate About Small Deals When most people start a business, we all want to get whatever customers we can. This usually means smaller deals, often from “free” to a few thousand dollars.  “Small” is a great place to start because it’s easier to get things going and adjust on the fly. Plus you can get valuable feedback, case studies and community effects from small customers. Also, smaller businesses can be more disorganized or less sure about their planning; just trying to survive rather than grow, can’t afford to pay much, can’t pay cash up front, may buy impulsively, or lack the time, people or money to follow through 100%. Smaller businesses are wonderful and the backbone of our economy, but don’t count on making a big business out of small deals. What We Love About Big Deals One of... read more


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.