Aaron Ross created $100 million in repeatable sales at Salesforce within a few years, and is currently helping companies build their sales force in a systematic way through his company Predictable Revenue. Ross had founded his own 50-person company but once it failed he decided to get the best training possible in setting up a professional sales organization and moved to working the 1-800 sales line at Salesforce.
Marylou Tyler, ex-CEO of Predictable Revenue, is currently the co-founder of a sales consultancy that uses a similar but perhaps more hands-on approach to help mid-size companies build their sales infrastructure.
The holy grail: repeatable revenue!
The holy grail for many businesses is: predictable, repeatable, and scalable revenue. First, you want to develop a system that helps you predict the sales you can produce each month with it. So if activity A generates X leads that convert into Y sales, then if I double my investment in A I will come out with twice as many leads and sales.
Once a relationship like this holds, you have predictable revenue. But is it repeatable? You have to prove it month in – month out that the formula still holds. And finally, is it scalable? Meaning, if you double your investment again and again, are you doubling your sales, or are there diminishing returns, or perhaps the market can easily get saturated?
Once you go from predictable to repeatable and then to scalable, then you can forecast your cashflows and invest with more confident behind your business to grow.
On the flip-side…
If you do NOT have such a robust process, every month you reset the clock to zero and have to grind in order to generate sales. The frustration and the sleepless nights can take a toll on you. But what’s worse for your business is that you have no idea what sales you will have next month, and how many salaries you will be able to afford to pay.
Also, you have no idea how much new business a salesperson can bring in, or how long it will take to close. So how much can you afford to pay them? How many salespeople can you add? How can you grow?
The keys to Repeatable Revenue
There are three keys to repeatable revenue:
- Predictable lead generation. Identify the companies that you want to target, build your lists, and track the conversions of your outreach campaigns from one step of your sales funnel to the next.
- A dedicated sales development team. As soon as you hire a second person on your sales team, you need to specialize: one person for lead generation and qualification, and another for demos and closing.
- Consistent sales systems. You want to document your entire process in a system so that every salesperson is following the exact same process and you get reliable numbers back.
Repeatable Revenue 101
The authors’ prescribed approach to achieve predictable revenue is “Cold Calling 2.0”. It actually has nothing to do with cold calling, but it picks up where cold calling falls apart. This 5-step approach is about prospecting into cold accounts to generate new business, and it’s supposed to replace cold calling completely from your organization – because salespeople hate it, and your prospects hate it even more.
- Ideal Customer Profile: The first step is to clearly define your ideal customer profile.
- Build List: Then, you build a list of contacts that match your profile.
- Email Campaigns: And you start your outreach via email. The first email out is the “lost puppy” type of email. Here, you’re asking someone to direct you to the right person about your offering. You’re not selling anything, so you take the pressure off the interaction. You’re just asking for ‘directions’ and most are happy to oblige. Armed with that information, you then send a new email saying that so-and-so referred you. Now, it’s not a cold-email anymore but rather a referral.
- Sell the Dream: The next step is to have a live call where you “sell the dream”. Get information about the prospect’s goals, and help them connect their needs to your solutions. Once they see and believe the dream, they will do the selling FOR you.
- Pass the Baton: Finally, once you’ve qualified the lead into an opportunity, you pass the baton to an Account Executive for the close.
Predictable Revenue is full of actionable advice and examples. It provides enough direction to start developing your own unique sales system through an iterative process. You will test different approaches – different emails and call scripts – refine them, and figure out what works for YOUR business. The dream is that, in a few months, you should be enjoying your very own ‘predictable revenue’.
Have you tried to develop Repeatable Revenue in your organization? What’s been your experience: what worked/didn’t? Comment below with results or questions for the group.