How can salespeople turn the impossible to inevitable?
Aaron Ross is the author of the book Predictable Revenue and a proud father to nine children. The book Predictable Revenue is called the sales bible of Silicon Valley. It changed how the fastest-growing sales teams are designed. The book talked about outbound prospecting which can be a very predictable way to drive appointments and if you have predictable appointments, you can create predictable revenue. It also talks about sales specialization instead of letting the sales reps do the prospecting. Managers must break the sales team into specialized groups to assess where they excel.
Impossible to inevitable
His new book called From the Impossible to Inevitable is the growth bible. It’s more for C-levels: the managers, executives, and the leaders who understand the few key reasons why a company gets stuck and won’t grow. The book answers three questions:
- Why aren’t you growing as fast as you can?
- How can you grow faster?
- How do you keep it up?
This book touches on sales models and expands to lead generation. From Impossible to Inevitable will teach you the ways of the fastest-growing companies in the world such as SalesForce and Twilio. The first section of the book is called Nail a Niche as it addresses the hard truth that most companies are not ready to grow and that’s the reason why they don’t grow as much as they want.
You can’t paddle downstream if you’re not even in the stream.
Nailing the niche
When beginning a business, there’s the tendency of selling everything to everyone. But that doesn’t work. What it does to you is that you either have no customer or you have a bunch of customers who are a little bit of this and a little bit of that. An entrepreneur may sit back and ask which of the customers are easiest to close, or who is the audience that really needs me? It is important to define who needs you.
Aaron was part of Salesforce, where he built an internal sales program. He left the team in 2006 and did what he wanted to do, like going into adventures and other things. Aaron also worked in a venture firm, then on a thing called Unique Genius, then on CEO Flow.
He needed to focus on a niche and figure out where his expertise lies so that he could deliver the most value for his customers. He then thought of outbound prospecting. I wasn’t the general sales consulting.
For us salespeople, this can take a lot of testing, talking, and experimentation with companies to get the right package and the right pricing programs before you nail your niche and start to grow faster. Sometimes it can take a long time because we have all these unrealistic expectations on how fast it should happen.
Do it as Twilio does it
Twilio is a platform company that provides a bunch of technologies. Twilio is used by many companies that build software or iPhone apps to power their message alerts and phone calls. For example, Uber uses Twilio to make an Uber phone call and text because it’s difficult and time-consuming to build it themselves.
Simply put, Twilio is a platform that companies can use to do many things. The challenge when you are marketing something like Twilio is that it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact help it can offer to a company or a client.
A salesperson must paint a specific picture for people to get it. Twilio researched to get into the minds of their customers, to understand and build empathy with their customers.
The common corporate value which is to walk in the shoes of your customer is something that Twilio really lives by. The company put much effort into walking in their customers’ shoes to know what they want and what they are looking for.
Salespeople need to remember this value at all times, whether you’re writing an email or making a call. You need to know what they need to get your message across. Another secret of Twilio’s success is to let all their employees have a taste of what it’s like being the customer.
Turning the impossible to inevitable is also a result of specific targeting. You need to be more specific in choosing your audience. It’s important to talk to fewer people that are relevant to your products or services.
Having fewer people to talk to doesn’t decrease your number of opportunities. Your goal is to become the big fish in the small pond and specific targeting is the perfect way to do that. It’s harder to change your products and services but you can do the easier part: you change your targeting instead.
Types of leads
Lead generation is the main driver for your growing business. There are three kinds of lead generation: seeds, nets, and spears. The seeds are relationship-driven leads, these include referrals, word of mouth, and friends/families. Since these are relationship-based leads, they are faster to close and with a higher rate. The downside is that it’s more difficult to generate. Word of mouth is hard to grow.
The second type is the nets. These are marketing. You are casting a wide net which means you’re broadcasting one too many. These leads include a podcast, billboards, or online marketing. You get more leads in terms of quantity than in quality.
The last type is spears which are prospecting. It’s when you have typically a targeted list. It’s smaller in number but you get better opportunities out of it.
Businesses almost always start with the word of mouth but as you start to grow, you will want to venture into content marketing and prospecting. As a company, you need to know the kind of leads that bring in clients. Figure where you excel and put more effort into that first before you move on into other types of leads.
Pick the one that’s right for you at first and do more of it. Do not do all the three leads at once unless you’re a huge company with millions of funding. It might take years for you to figure out what works best, it might take years for your sales design team to come up with a plan that works, but it’s all worth it in the end.
One section in the book Impossible to Inevitable is a lesson from Mark Roberge, the CRO of HubSpot. He has hired hundreds of people and the number one thing they look for when hiring is coachability. It’s an individual’s ability and desire to learn and their ability to connect, change, and adapt.
Companies who are expanding and hiring people should look at the coachability of a person. Aside from that, as a company, you also need to know the kind of roles you need.
If you are a startup business, start with the basics. The CEO starts selling, then he hires a junior person to do prospecting and appointment setting. After a few months, you can promote that person to closing or you hire a closer. You look at your company and you see that there are now two people selling, the CEO and the newly hired close. You also have the junior person to do the lead generation.
Think of smaller steps instead of going too quickly and hiring the wrong individuals in the process.
The social media is always surrounded by stories of fast success but the reality in sales and in business is that it takes years before you get to the top.
Everyone is struggling especially entrepreneurs because it’s your job to struggle and solve problems. So the next time you are discouraged, just remember that many others are in the same boat. #Entrepreneur
“Impossible to Inevitable” episode resources
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