Oct 17, 2017 | Sales Best Practices
Customer Post: Fewer Reps, Killer Results
How I cut my team and still doubled activity, demos, and pipeline
Since joining talentReef as Vice President of Sales & Business Development in early July, my executive charter has been to double or triple our sales activities, double demos completed, and measure the impact on pipeline & bookings to create a repeatable and scalable model. In just over 3 months, I have completed my first goal and am well on my way to completing the second (demos completed has increased by 33%), all while taking the team from 28 reps down to 21 reps, in order to re-deploy 7 reps to up-market named or major Accounts.
In the book SalesHack, I outlined how we implemented a similar playbook at ConnectAndSell, but instead reduced the sales team by 2/3rds, and then doubled revenue! (As a side note, there are a few good blog posts on this topic: "You don't get paid for close in sales,” and "SalesHack #1: fire 2/3rds of your sales force, then double sales with the remaining third.”)
So where's the gap? How can a team of 21 Reps (instead of 28) deliver 2X the sales activity, 2X the demos, and 2X the pipeline and bookings? It takes a lot of focus, and proven strategy.
- The data matters. Before adding new leads and data to our database, marketing asked us to ensure that the existing ~250,000 leads were being touched properly. So we created an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), and sorted out which leads had already been touched and which ones did not that meet our ICP. After inspecting the state of these leads, we found that we had a 32:1 dial to connect rate, with 20% of the lead data missing phone numbers, and another 20% missing emails. This was likely having a 30-40% drag on our conversion rates. So, as Trish Bertuzzi said in a recent interview - solve the data problem and you'll see a lift in conversion rates. This week we're adding 21,000 new contacts for the BDM team to load into Outreach + ConnectAndSell, and I’m excited to see a 33% or more lift from that investment.
- Perfect your talk track. My good friend Lauren Bailey, President of Factor 8, trains sales professionals on the "SWIIFT intro", which can lead to a 2-5X lift if they are trained the "right way" to have a conversation. It’s important to coach salespeople how to have a great conversation over time as well, by using tools like Chorus.ai and ExecVision, and on calls captured through ConnectAndSell, Outreach.io and GoToMeeting.
- The Sequence Matters - Giving your sellers 100% flexibility to create their own sequences is probably not a wonderful idea. According to our CSM team at Outreach, we should aim for a 30% open rate and 2.5% or higher reply rate to our custom sequences through Outreach. We have achieved these open and reply rates since August 15th, making both marketing and sales happy with these results so far. But why stop at "above average"? I'm engaged with two individuals who help us understand what world class sales metrics should look like: Bob Perkins, Co-Founder of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, and Michael Farrell, COO of By Appointment Only and the Chief Researcher at the AA-ISP. Our results now are: 37% open rate, 1% click rate, and 3.5% reply rate.
- Build the right tech stack. For the past 3-4 years, I have approached all of the market leaders in dialer technology, AI, and sales engagement technology. Two companies had the opportunity to partner with ConnectAndSell in the past, but only one really jumped on the opportunity: OUTREACH. And perhaps the single person with the most vision in this area, Mr. Account Based Everything himself, was the instigator: Craig Rosenberg. Craig introduced me to Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach when I was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for ConnectAndSell, and has always said that once the two solutions are coupled, watch to see what happens. Well... waiting may not been needed for very much longer. When I asked one of my Reps (using ConnectAndSell and Outreach standalone today), what will it mean when he gets the integrated option, his answer was: "It currently takes me about 3-4 hours to dial 30 - 40 people. With ConnectAndSell, it takes me 10 minutes. What I'm excited about is being able to load more leads into Outreach without creating a huge backlog of people that I need to call.”
- Sales Training has never been more important. Sales is more than just the talk track -- you need to focus on the full sales process. Your tech stack is key here as well. Tech like SalesHood, and Barry Rhein Selling Through Curiosity become super important to maintain and improve upon your close rates. When a Rep can load 125 - 250 leads/day into a sequence and still keep up with their dials (using a fully integrated conversation automation technology), see bullet #2. And it's much more than just the talk track - it's the full sales process. Tech like SalesHood, and Barry Rhein Selling Through Curiosity become super important to maintain and improve upon your close rates.
- It's the culture! At talentReef, our team is extremely TALENTED. They are open and eager to learn about sales best practices and ask for coaching. But traditionally most sales leaders don't find the time in the day to coach. In my organization, we make it a practice to have weekly lunch-n-learns, and each sales leader has a weekly 1:1 with reps (not to beat up the sales rep on their forecast, but to add value for their sales reps and help them with all 5 of the items above). The bottom of the pyramid is built on trust, success, and a vision.