Make your business scalable- "Predictable Revenue sales methodology"

The majority of sales reps still don't have time to sit and read the best practices developed by Aaron Ross in his award-winning book, Predictable Revenue.

That's why we decided to summarize core thoughts that evoke from Aaron and Marylou Tyler's best-selling book for sales reps with limited time to spare, but still want to sound like they've kept up with the latest sales reading list.

Essentially, Predictable Revenue is a structure that creates consistency from year to year and delivers business growth based on a formal process - not hustling and guessing at the last minute. This way, you 'predict' how much 'revenue' your business consistently generates.

If you aim to make sure that your company will have predictable revenue Aaron and Marylou say you must:

  • Understand your funnel

  • Determine the acceptable average deal size

  • Define time frames

  • They also explain that everything must become a system. Without it, there is no predictability.

The authors use several key terms repeatedly throughout their book. Understand them and you will have a basic overview of the thinking behind Predictable Revenue. Feel free to share them on LinkedIn to show off your latest read. So, let's learn how to create a "machine" that generates predictable revenue for your business.

To implement the "Cold Calling 2.0" process, you must have:

  • One person who is 100% dedicated to pursuing sales opportunities.

  • Sales/CRM system

  • Sales opportunities (prospects) who use email

  • A proven service that generates revenue.

  • The customer lifetime value of at least $10,000.

Specialise in the four core sales roles:

Fundamental roles in a sales team

Sales representatives: seek customers in cold or inactive companies. Organised according to territories that correspond to field and telesales, as it is important for them to build relationships with their sales colleagues.

One sales representative can handle up to 25 customers (account executives). Very large transactions can take place 1-on-1 or 2-on-1.

Market Response Reps: qualifies incoming sales opportunities that arrive via phone or website. For every 400 sales opportunities per month, a company needs one sales opportunity qualifier, who takes care of removing unqualified opportunities, identifies companies that have sales potential and helps increase the closing ratio.

Account Executives: they should not be in the business of making cold calls: because they don't like doing it; they are usually not good at it, and it is a bad use of company resources. Their job should be to create a clearly defined list of sales opportunities on a '5/10' model, keep in touch with their current client base and develop a referral partner base.

Concentrate valuable people on low-volume, high-value activities and select other roles to perform low-volume, high-value activities.

Example of a "sales (no previous interaction)" funnel

Time: Increasing the Number of New Sales Reps

Measure and pay attention to reality. Time will vary from company to company, depending on the influx of sales opportunities, people hired, training, and whether they're covering established territory or starting completely new ones.

Implement a process for training new sales reps that have worked for other departments in the company, such as customer service. This will make them more effective at their tasks and their development process will go faster.

Time: Search for New Sales Opportunities and Length of Sales Cycle

Sales Opportunity Generation Cycle Length: Measure the time from when a prospect first responds to a campaign to when a quality opportunity is created or qualified. Qualifying for a new opportunity typically takes 24 weeks.

Sales cycle length: Measure the time from when a sales opportunity is created/qualified to when it closes.

Cold Sale Process 2.0

Step 1: Ideal customer profile

Who is your ideal customer (based on experience with current customers and prospects)? Find ideal sales opportunities quickly and just as quickly disqualify those that do not meet the criteria. The ideal customer profile description should fit on one page and be easily accessible to the whole team so they can quickly familiarise themselves with which ones they should try to work with and which ones to avoid. Create a total of 1-5 ideal customer profiles.

Ideal Customer Profile Funnel

Smart Targeting: Choose 3­5 criteria for smart targeting.

Red flags and deal breakers: What signals or signs can you look for as early as possible in the sales process to know that working together would be a waste of time? An example might be abandoning a project when it is EU funded (too much bureaucracy and lack of flexibility)? Specific budget? History? Recent investments?

Main challenges: Simply ask what are the main challenges of the company and people in the buying process. What are your biggest challenges? What keeps you up at night? What are your main frustrations? What are your main fears? What is most important to you? What do you spend your money on? What do you really want?

Step 2: Build the list.

Does the list include decision-makers (or their bosses) and lower-level people? How targeted is the list? Consider the Opportunity Cost of marketing to poorly matched prospects.

Step 3: Run an outbound campaign through the email channel.

Start with email and then use the phone to follow up with people who respond. Send 50-100 outbound mass emails a few days a week as a mass campaign. Target = 5-10 new responses per day. A higher number is difficult to manage.

Filter your lists based on: Area of operation in the organisation, Revenue, Geography, Employees, B2B/B2C, Last contact activity, Last account activity, Contact title, etc.

Email writing: Personalise the message, don't use HTML to format it (this gives the impression of an impersonal message), be precise and specific, don't forget to outline what the recipient will receive from you, make the message easy to read and digest, offer credibility ( access to customer examples), ask one simple question (e.g. about a referral) and be honest.

Send 150-250 outgoing emails a week for 34 days before 9 am or after 5 pm, skipping Monday and Friday. Always state the purpose for which you are reaching out to the person (who is the best contact.... when is the best day/time for a quick discussion.... around...

If someone opens your email more than once, try to reach them through another channel e.g. call. Talk for less than 30% and listen for the remaining 70% when making calls.

"Old Sales Opportunities" campaign: by your sales rep if the opportunity has been inactive for 6+ months:

The "old sales opportunities" campaign

Step 4: Sell the dream.

Help your potential customer "draw out in their head" a vision of what solutions your organization offers that will solve their problems, and then connect your solution to their key business issues and dreams. Sales reps don't just set appointments; they create dreams and start building trust, credibility and relationships by delivering on their promises.

Determine fit by checking to see if customers are ready to take action, connecting with the decision-maker(s) and looking for genuine interest in the next step.

Initial questions during an exploratory interview (choose 3-4):

  • How is your marketing team organised?

  • How does your marketing process currently work?

  • What systems and tools do your teams use for marketing and lead generation?

  • How long has the system been in place?

  • Why did you buy the old system? Who made the decision to buy it?

  • What are your challenges now? (After each answer, keep asking "what else")

  • Have you already looked for alternatives?

  • Have you tried and been disappointed with other solutions? Why?

  • Where does online marketing rank on your list of priorities? What is higher?

  • What would the ideal solution look like for you?

  • How would your decision-making process work?

  • How likely is it that an online marketing project will come up in the next six months?

  • Why are you going to do it now? (Or, why wait?)

First call objectives:

  • Get them talking about their business and listening for a good understanding of their challenges and proposed solutions

  • Call people at a lower level before talking to the decision-maker to find out how their business works and what their current challenges are.

  • Show respect and be blunt: ask directly if there is a problem if it is not obvious after your conversation

  • Ask for references: Who else should you talk to in other departments/teams or maybe other friendly companies in the industry?

  • Plan your next step during the phone call, don't schedule it over email.

  • If the prospect needs to convince others in the team, call her a "champion": focus on what will make this person successful and ask how you can support her, give them information, give time, and check-in periodically.

Step 5: Pass the baton.

When to handoff the contact to other colleagues?

Sales opportunity handover process in the sales team

For a sales rep to be compensated, they must:

  • Have at least the potential for 20+ sales opportunities (provides a high enough chance of closing the sale)

  • Have no underlying "red flags" or deal-breaker factors

  • The sales opportunity should be generated by the sales rep (cannot come from other sources)

  • The sales opportunity be qualified by the person overseeing the process (e.g. sales manager)

When to handoff?

  • Does the company fit our ideal customer profile?

  • Are we talking to someone influential or with decision-making power (do we qualify the sales opportunity)?

  • Is there a clear interest in the next step? (E.g. scoping/discovery conversation with an account executive)

How to handoff?

  • Best: promptly to the sales manager

  • Good: schedule a time in your calendar to talk about the sales opportunity.

  • Last option: email introduction between client and sales manager.

Audit process - confirm after re-qualification by sales manager

  • Contact was outbound rather than inbound?

  • Account Executive made a telephone qualification?

  • Sales rep and account executive entered notes into CRM (e.g. Sales Force Automation)?

  • This confirms the team's solid ROI, data integrity, quality of work and reduces the temptation to overreach.

Methods of calculating sales representatives' salaries

(*rates are based on recommendations given by the authors of the book)

Quality Person’s Salary: 35,000 - 60,000USD plus bonus: 20,000 - 60,000 USD

New team members who are university graduates selling services 1,000 - 15,000USD at a lower level, 5-year veterans at a higher level.