How To Maintain Outbound Predictability In 2017

Zach Barney, Director, Sales Development @ TEEM

December 14, 2016

The following is a guest post from Zach Barney – he oversees the inbound and outbound sales development teams at TEEM in SLC, UT .  Zach was one of our first guests on the Predictable Revenue podcast – coming in January – stay tuned for details on how to get a sneak preview of the episodes before we launch. 

There is a saying that goes something like:

If you have to ask if a particular practice is outdated, you know your answer.

While often true, I fear that many outbound sales reps are using this mindset as an excuse to abandon tried and true outbound methodologies, rather than simply adapting the methodologies to the ever-expanding universe of data and automation.

Take the “Account-Based Sales/Marketing/Sales Development/Everything”  revolution that we are in the middle of. I’ve heard countless people define “Account-Based” as “100% custom targeting. No templates. No cadences.” What a bunch of crap! Do people even pay attention to the words?

“Account-Based” simply means that your efforts are focused on winning a company, not an individual. A good friend raised the slap-in-the-face question last year. “Isn’t that what B2B SALES is all about, anyways?”

I am a firm believer that an organization can still maintain a high level of predictability while taking an Account-Based approach to the way they outbound. Here are 3 best practices that will help accelerate your efforts.

1. Back Into Your Wins

Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin call this “Nailing Your Niche” in their book, From Impossible to Inevitable. I’m assuming that if you are reading this post, your company has at least a few customers already, and you are now trying to scale your outbound efforts. Look at those customers of yours. Who are your biggest wins? What industry, company size, location are they? What problems did you help them solve? Do you notice any patterns?

When I first joined Teem this past summer, we noticed a few really strong clusters of customers. One was professional sports leagues and teams. We are very lucky to call former NBA commissioner David Stern one of our investors. The NBA recently became a customer. Many NBA, NFL, MLB and even Australian Football League teams have our tech in their offices. Why not capitalize on that and go after all of them? We did. And our SDRs set more than a dozen new opportunities up because of it. We’ve done the same thing with social media companies, tech startups, Fortune 500 etc. If your messaging resonates with 1, it will resonate with more.

2. Add Value

There is a whole lot of noise out there in the sales world. I personally get over a dozen cold emails a day from companies trying to sell me something, and nearly every single one of them has zero idea who I am or what my company does. Lots of them work at current vendors of ours and haven’t even done the research to know we already pay them money, or at companies that we are already in the sales cycle with.

The people that prospect into my company that stand out do their research (listening) ahead of time. They read my articles, gain an understanding of what Teem actually does, follow me on Twitter and watch what I tweet about etc….Then they share things with me that are genuinely useful, or entertaining at the bare minimum. True value adders will share case studies from companies that I know and trust, compliment the sports franchises that I follow, and congratulate me when my wife has a baby.

Here’s an example a of GREAT value add. LinkedIn is a customer of Teem’s, and we are considering adding an org-wide Sales Navigator license on top of the handful we use already. Right before Thanksgiving, our rep sent us a wonderful box of hand-delivered cupcakes and a hand written note.

Source: Twitter

That’s rare and appreciated!

I loved seeing people take the time to acknowledge when my wife had a baby a few months ago. I got a few wonderful emails, tweets, phone calls and care packages. They all put a smile on my face and I am inclined to engage with people that put forth effort to make my day.

3. Don’t Abandon What Is Proven

Phone calls work when done the right way. Predictable Revenue tells us that. We see new SQLs set all the time from the phone. Certain cold email subject lines work really well. Tues-Thurs are still statistically the best days to outbound. The list goes on and on. Just because you want to take an Account-Based approach does not mean that you should be throwing your proven methodologies in the trash. Sure, you might have a little more personalization in your emails, but regardless of the organization, people are still people. The same things that resonate with one will generally resonate with another.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. CEOs, CFOs and board members HATE it when you aren’t predictable. And changing your approach all the time is NOT predictable. Develop a system (or use Aaron’s) and do some very careful A/B testing. We’ve been doing it for months and continue to tweak when the data tells us we need to.

I’m happy to chat with anyone that wants to talk shop. And since I know you are dying to see a picture, here is Anders, our little guy born 9/30.

Zach Barney is the Director of Sales Development at Teem in SLC, UT. He studied Russian at BYU and has a passion for startups, sales and sports. In his free time, he spends time with his Wife and 4 children, runs lots of races, and helps pro triathletes get sponsorships.

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