Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler’s Predictable Revenue is a must-read book for any team or individual that leads outbound prospecting.
In this summary, we’ve distilled the most important lessons from the book.
Lesson 1: You need a steady rate of constant leads
The book claims that the first step in producing predictable revenue – as demonstrated by consistent year-after-year growth – is to produce high-quality leads at a steady rate. Only when you have a continuous supply of qualified leads entering your pipeline – which will lead to a recurring flow of new consumers – will you be able to generate constant revenue.
A “Lead” is a prospect who has expressed interest in your product, such as signing up for a free trial or filling out an online form, etc. The book classifies leads into three categories: Seeds, Nets, and Spears.
Seeds are leads found through organic internet search/SEO, local user groups, social media, and professional content publication. Although it takes some time to grow and nurture these prospects, they have the highest conversion and close rates of any method.
Nets are the most common form of lead generated through conventional marketing efforts targeted at a large audience.
Spears are the outbound generated through targeted outbound initiatives such as business development. These leads need to be developed by some personal human efforts.
Lesson 2: Split up your sales team
Salespeople typically handle three activities: prospecting, qualifying, and closing. These are three distinct responsibilities and require different skill sets to be successful. Due to the difference in mindset and skills, your sales team should be split according to these categories.
Prospecting is where the sales development people should focus their efforts. The goal of this team is to turn cold or inactive accounts into new, qualified options and then pass them on to a quota-carrying salesperson to close.
Qualifying is where the market response team should focus their efforts. The primary aim of this team is to filter out marketing leads coming through the website or via word-of-mouth initiatives and distribute qualified opportunities to the appropriate salesperson.
Closing is where account executives should focus their efforts. They should concentrate on higher-potential sources of business, such as a small targeted list of critical accounts, developing referrals, and existing client base.
Dedicated sales teams for various activities are beneficial because they allow your salespeople to operate on what they do best. This will boost their output considerably and have a significant revenue-generating impact.
Lesson 3: Cold Calling 2.0
Cold calling 2.0 means prospecting into cold accounts without ever making any cold calls. You can control pipeline generation on and off. The three key principles that it runs off are:
No cold calling – It is recommended that you send cold emails instead to reach decision makers first.
Focus on results, not activities – Qualifying these prospects will allow you to have a better indication of future pipeline
Everything is process driven – There is an emphasis on repeatability and consistency, so your pipeline remains predictable and stable
The process is straightforward. Outbound sales prospecting helps you to produce dependable leads. And consistent revenue generation implies a steady stream of income.
The Cold Calling 2.0 process consists of 5 steps:
Step 1: Ideal Customer Profile – Understand your ideal customer with a set of criteria and get to know them, the challenges they face and what their goals are. Knowing your ideal customers will help you qualify prospects quickly.
Step 2: Build List – Build your own list of targeted prospects. Consolidate this list to ensure accuracy and use sales intelligence tools to make it easier.
Step 3: Run Email Campaigns – Cold email campaigns can get you in front of new prospects. You can initially start small with generic outreach campaigns. However, these should be increasingly targeted by segmentation. Having a relevant email title or subject will incentivise more replies. In these emails, they should look personal and be to the point. Then, upon getting a response, you need to confirm that the person is the right point of contact and attempt to set up a call to properly qualify them as a prospect.
Step 4: Sell the Dream – When reaching out to prospects, talk to them to understand their direct pain points and challenges to get the complete picture. Then, help your prospects realise the solution they need to solve their problems. Connect your product to this solution.
Step 5: Pass the Baton – This opportunity should be passed to an Account Executive.
Lesson 4: Best practices for sales
The author proposes a “3-Hour-and-15-Minute” sales process to assist salespeople in fast qualifying a prospect early in the sales cycle. It suggests that you should not take more than 15 minutes to figure out the relative fit. Then, you want to spend one hour to properly qualify the prospect through a working session call. Given the first two milestones are passed, the final two hours should be spent creating a joint vision and plan.
Lesson 5: Improve your sales organisation in 3 ways
To improve your sales organisation, the book recommends the following three ways:
No 1. Include salespeople in the development of new programs: It’s critical to include your sales staff in all phases of the decision-making process. Make your sales staff feel a part of the decision-making process by voicing their thoughts on your company’s culture. Inquire about their thoughts on how you could improve the sales department, any changes they would want to make, and so forth on a regular basis.
No 2. Get input on new sales initiatives: Make sure to gather feedback from your sales team when developing a new program or rule. This will assist you in detecting any bugs or problems early, before they are made public.
No 3. Survey your team: Get to know how happy your team is with the company and the support they get. The aspects that make them angry, frustrated, or disappointed are examples. This shows that you care about their wellbeing and will boost their morale and engagement – resulting in better outcomes.