Sales process: Part 4 of
Predictable Revenue’s outbound
sales learnings from 2018
Collin Stewart, CEO
10 June 2019
Behind every high-functioning sales team is an efficient and dependable sales process – it’s the oil that keeps the machine moving, the foundation upon which the house is built.
It’s also an ever-evolving piece of the sales puzzle. For years, the sales process has been looked at as the system by which reps prospect, qualify, handoff, and, ultimately, close deals. But this relatively straightforward lens – while correct – doesn’t accurately reflect the myriad aspects that make up a modern sales process.
For instance, a robust sales process also considers the mindset by which reps attack their day (and their quotas), a nuanced understanding of the buyer mindset, and tactical schemes on how to juggle a significant volume of daily touchpoints.
That’s why we chose to feature this important concept in our fourth e-book. Sales, as we all know, is a holistic practice – and our processes need to reflect that multifaceted nature.
The featured podcast guests in this e-book include:
- Steli Efti, CEO of CRM company Close
- Christopher Fago, Cloud Security Specialist at RedLock
- Ryan Reisert, Lead Instructor and Head of Partnership Development at Sales Bootcamp
- Max Altschuler, CEO, and Founder of Sales Hacker and Vice President of Marketing at Outreach
- Sean Higgins, Entrepreneur In Residence at TechStars
- Ali Tajsekandar, Founder and CEO at Wishpond
Below is just a sample of what you can expect to get from a few these killer interviews:
Steli Efti, CEO of Close
Hands up if you’ve ever struggled following up with prospect – I know I have.
Crafting the perfect follow up message (or, more accurately, messages) is often considered one of the most challenging aspects of a career sales.
There’s the functional challenge: actually writing interesting, informative, and effective emails. But if that weren’t enough of a hurdle, there’s also the emotional challenge presented by the follow up.
The emotional side of follow ups is a significant issue, says Steli Efti, CEO of Silicon Valley-based CRM company Close.io. In fact, says Efti, the emotional effects of follow ups are so strong it’s why most sales professionals don’t execute on them well, if at all.
“The number one reason people don’t like to follow up is the silence they are confronted with they take as personal rejection,” says Efti.
“The other side of the coin is that we don’t like to think of ourselves as needy or annoying. So, I’m emailing you and I’m making up this story that you are so important that you don’t care about me, and no one wants to be interrupted with annoying emails.”
This negative mindset can prove detrimental to one’s stress levels, happiness, and, of course, pipeline. To combat this problem, Efti suggests a radical remedy: simply think positively about your follow ups, and expect positive results. It’s that simple.
“You just decide to think differently about something, and that will change the outcomes. Your attitude has to change,” says Efti.
“One of my rules for follow ups is to never apologize about it. Never refer to all of the follow ups you’ve done. Never make someone feel guilty. I emailed an investor 48 times. I had no strategy. I just sent a one sentence email, every other day. Zero creativity. Then, 48 times later, he responded. He had a crisis overseas, and then we met the next day in his SF office.”
Ryan Reisert, Lead Instructor and Head of Partnership Development at Sales Bootcamp
The question of volume and touchpoints is a unique issue in the sales development world, because it’s something the industry faces during both good and tough times.
For example, regardless of how successful a month you may be having – any good sales manager is always going to wonder how they could increase the volume of touchpoints their already busy SDRs juggle.
For such a routine question, why, then, is it so difficult for a team to increase its volume? Why can it be such a challenge to have reps reach out to more prospects each day?
Ryan Reisert, Lead Instructor and Head of Partnership Development at San Francisco-based coaching firm Sales Bootcamp, says that challenge is surprising because high volume prospecting has historically been a cornerstone of sales development.
“It’s a little surprising because it used to be the norm, but now that’s changed. Hitting 100 activities today feels unattainable,” says Reisert, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
Bucking that trend, however, is the sales development process that Reisert has designed and implements with his clients.
At an expected average of 100+ touchpoints per day (that’s right, 100+), per SDR, it is a high-volume prospecting approach, to be sure. But looking at this process as merely an exercise in sending a lot of emails and calling a lot of people is to sell its focus short.
Yes, SDRs are reaching out a ton, but the ethics of Reisert’s prospecting method is actually to ensure that reps are always doing the right activity at the right time.
What are the components of Reisert’s method? It begins with a simple, tiered bucket system.
- Bucket 1
This is the group of accounts (companies) that fall into your company’s Ideal Customer Profile.
- Bucket 2
These are the personas from Bucket 1. Your reps have made documented attempts to connect, although no connection has been made. Those attempts could be a verified dial, or a first email. Think of this as the in-cadence stage.
- Bucket 3
This is the “working” category. Your reps have caught a contact on the phone, they’ve responded to an email, or referred your rep to someone else in their organization. These are hot leads.
- Bucket 4
This the “booked meeting” bucket. Happy days!
Max Altschuler, CEO, and Founder of Sales Hacker and Vice President of Marketing at Outreach
Regardless of the position you currently hold in your sales org – prospector, Account Executive, or management – you are certainly juggling numerous responsibilities during your day-to-day routine.
Such is the life of a sales professional: there’s always one more email to send, proposal to draft, meeting to attend, and demo to run. Like most professions, though, the daily tap dance needed to navigate each responsibility and, ultimately, meet quota all stem from one basic requirement – to connect with a prospect in the way they prefer to talk, and offer a solution to their pain.
Understanding the mind of a prospect, however, takes time and should be done long before a sales team runs out and spends money on sales productivity tools or hires too many reps. It’s understandable, of course, that some would bristle at the idea of slowing down and going through the fundamentals first.
But once you do that important legwork, you can start adding other critical components of your sales process in tandem. For example, you can start layering in your tech stack once you’re process is ironed out, as well as iterating on your messaging, and compiling the marketing collateral you’ll need to support your product.
And, finally, you can get out of the office to talk to current customers and other contacts that fit within your ICP to gather in-depth information on the pain points.
“Talk with people – figure out what the pain points really are. Have some customer conversations while you’re testing your messaging,” says Altschuler.
Learn what particular pain points they are having, so you can clearly understand what you can help with. Then, get back in the office and get creative to get your point across.”
There’s plenty more where that came from. To get all the in-depth details from each of these expert interviews, click here to download our e-book now!