The Predictable Revenue Blog

The latest from Aaron Ross & the team

Learn to Love Services

In this next “From Impossible” excerpt, you’ll see that you can add 15-20% to your enterprise SaaS by not making this one mistake… Every Tech Company Should Offer Services Many companies, especially early tech companies, are afraid to build a professional services team (or do anything manually) because “it’s not scalable.” Especially if you’re doing SaaS for the first time (or even the second), the whole idea of charging for “services” may seem anathema. If your product is so easy to use that you hardly even need sales people, why would you need to charge for implementation? For support? For training and engagement? And isn’t it a bit unseemly to charge for services? Doesn’t it label your product as old-school, clunky, inelegant, or complex? And isn’t the revenue from services a waste? For example, it’s not recurring and it’s not true ARR. Does it even count? After all, you’re a SaaS company. Turns out, in the majority of six-figure contracts, virtually every seven-figure contract, and quite a few five-figure contracts there’s always a services component. And it almost always seems to average out to 15–20% of the annual contract value. Save Customers Time Jason [Lemkin] remembers the first time he experienced this confusion himself, on one of our first high-five-figure contracts at EchoSign. We had a brutal negotiation over price. And then, at the end, they sent us a Schedule for Services. After getting beaten down on the annual contract price, the Schedule for Services they sent us (without me even asking) guaranteed us another $20,000 a year in services, with $250 an hour as the assumed price for the... read more

The Goal of the “Are We A Fit Call” (aka “AWAF”)

One of the hardest things to tell a salesperson is to not sell, but that’s exactly what you need to do when conducting an “Are We A Fit Call”.   The primary goal of any AWAF is to establish if there is a fit, not to sell (yet).  It’s easy to get carried away with your usual sales pitch, as you would with an inbound lead, but outbound prospects should follow a different process. prospects take more time and may not have the advantage of knowing who you are or what their pain is. Here are three tips for your AWAF calls: 1) Have a plan. It’s essential to have a plan for your call, even if it’s just a rough outline of some basic questions. It will give your conversation a direction and help you determine if there is a need for what you offer. Having some questions prepared in advance will also help you structure your call to find out some key factors: Are you speaking with a relevant decision maker or influencer, or is it someone with no authority or relevance?  “Can you please tell how you’re involved with  ____?” What is their current process?  “How are you currently handling ____?” Is there pain?  Is there a need or urgency for what you offer?  “If you could fix ____, where would that fall on your list of priorities?” Is there a decision-making process or project yet – or not?  If there IS one, what’s the timing of it?  If there is NOT one, how would it get started?  “Have you and your team discussed this, if and when it’ll be a priority?  Who’d be involved in figuring... read more

the best business book?

looking to break a sales growth or money plateau?  we guarantee there’s at least one life-changing idea in this book for you… jason and i’ve been happily shocked at what readers are saying about From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue… Best book I’ve ever read. What I like most about this book is that it is so much different than any other business book I’ve read and the reason for that is the advice is from two people who have “been there done that”. There’s no advice in this book that Aaron or Jason haven’t gone through themselves and seen success with. To really put it plainly, this book can help save your company millions of dollars. I started reading your book and I can’t put it down. The best business book I have ever read!  It really resonates with me as I am a SaaS CEO in about 8 years on the journey. I had my Year from Hell already, and yes I am a bit crazy too. I’m able to put knowledge from the book directly into my current business to see immediate impact. Certainly worth the investment.  Pleasant and easy read – and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t enjoy reading. As a reader of Aaron’s first book Predictable Revenue, I have to say I was blown away by this book. Aaron and Jason stepped up their game with this book and delivered a must read for any B2B company who wants to create inevitable growth. This book is absolutely essential for any B2B company that is wanting to create predictable growth. It... read more


the wisdom of dory + winston churchill so you might be one in a million who doesn’t have rockets of desire bouncing around your brain like “i want…”  “…more money”  “…for sales to grow faster”  …”to find my soulmate”  “…to get out of this relationship”  “…to find a job or career i love” “…for my kids to ___.”   i know you have your particular list. oh, you’re buddhist and have no wants or cravings? riiiight… how about “more peace of mind, more zen…for myself and others.”   we ALL want something. and if it’s on the way…great.  that’s fun! BUT – what about when you’re just STUCK.  or hit an (apparently) never-ending plateau?   i’ve met companies who hovered around “a few million” in sales for 5-10 YEARS, before breaking through. it’s hard in any area – money, career, health, fitness, love, romance, whatever – when you get stuck feeling like you’re going through the motions, but the leaps or even minor gainz aren’t happening.  or maybe you’re even backsliding. it’s doubly hard after a period of fast growth…because then the feeling of stagnation is sharper because of the contrast. it’s triply hard if you’re sitting there watching other people around you zoom past you in that area you’re struggling with.  which includes every entrepreneur & SaaS founder, ever…’cuz we always are staring at those people way ahead of us, and there is ALWAYS some biz/growth struggle we’re dealing with.  (did you read Part 5 of From Impossible yet, on “compair and despair”?) when i find myself spinning constantly around the question “WTF else do i need to do?!?”, and i... read more

How to use interactive website questions w/Qualaroo to improve lead qualification

Guest post from our friends at Qualaroo, who we met during the writing of From Impossible To Inevitable (we mentioned them on pg 69 in Part 2: Create Predictable Pipeline).  Enter Qualaroo… Sales revenue keeps your SaaS business afloat, but it can’t be the only metric you track. Sales data only looks backwards at deals you’ve already closed, giving little indication of what’s to come. But Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) is like a crystal ball that lets you see future sales performance. Mathematically, if you generate 10% more leads this month than you did last month, sales should also grow 10%. The one caveat? If those leads aren’t properly qualified—that is, if they aren’t prospects you have a real chance of closing—then LVR tells you nothing. And as of 2015, more than 80% of B2B marketers say their lead generation efforts aren’t effective enough. You could qualify your leads with a convoluted scoring system. But at Qualaroo, we’ve found that a great method is to directly ask your potential customers and help them qualify themselves.  We use our own app to ask specific site visitors targeted survey questions, and let them tell you in their own words how good of a lead they are – or aren’t. Here’s how it’s done in five simple steps, with interactive website questions. Step 1: Make “Need” Part of Your Ideal Customer Profile Your ideal customer profile (ICP) should act as a rubric that helps prospectors quickly identify the companies who will become great customers. But most ICPs don’t account for the most important question in any sale: Does this person have the problem your product solves? Instead, most ICPs define... read more

Objection Deflection: Prospecting Enemy #1

This is a guest post by Krista Caldwell, Account Strategist at Predictable Revenue and SalesHacker Vancouver Host. Objection Handling: the Pain Having battled in the trenches of SDR-dom, I know firsthand that responding to prospects’ dismissive or negative emails feels futile. It requires the most research, thinking, and time but seems to generate the least results! However, ignoring non-positive responses can flunk your campaign and stunt your learning. Why isn’t this campaign converting? Where are all my qualified prospects? Herein lie the answers. Objection Handling: the Gain Prospectors receive roughly twice as many Neutral or Negative responses as positive responses, so even a small lift in Neutral and Negative conversion can super-size your pipeline. #closecloseclose Handling objections is also imperative to learning. No doesn’t mean “NO NEVER EMAIL ME AGAIN.”  Some No’s really mean, “that doesn’t sound valuable”, which assumes the prospect understood the message in the way you meant it.  Responding can help you determine whether your message was understood as you intended. It will also help you learn from the confusion to create clearer, more compelling content that prospects can understand. Other No’s mean “No we’re not a fit.”  Understanding why prospects aren’t a fit will help you disqualify accounts that would otherwise take more of your time and improve targeting criteria for future campaigns. #learnlearnlearn Objection Handling: Slain Building a scalable system for handling objections will: Save your prospectors time and brainpower, freeing them up for higher value tasks Systematically increase conversion, letting you A/B test objection handling responses the same way you do initials and subject lines Step 1: Collect the Data If you use an... 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.