Sales and marketing can and should work together to ensure the company they work for is successful.
Of course, this doesn’t always happen. How many companies have you been at where there’s a fundamental conflict because sales doesn’t communicate with marketing, and the marketing people hate those in sales?
It’s as if there’s a fence between them. At the top of the funnel is marketing activity and at the bottom is sales activity. And right in the middle is a barrier where a marketing-qualified lead gets tossed over and someone says: “Good luck!”
The sales team on the other side of the fence are frustrated because it’s not a sales-qualified lead, and the marketing team are angry because the salespeople don’t use the material they have worked on.
All of them are right. I looked at that situation and thought, if we’re going to worship at the “Church of Lean Startup”, we’re supposed to do customer discovery. And most people don’t actually do that.
Taking information from sales calls creates useful content prompts
The best way to carry out customer discovery is through a sales call. It’s a one-to-one conversation with a person who may or may not be interested in some version of the product or service you are selling.
This is an opportunity to ask a lot of questions and to find out their stories, hopes, and dreams, and what they wish a service like this would do for them.
Usually, all that information gets lost. Nobody does anything with it. I looked at that and thought, this is all the data you would ever need—except it’s a huge pain to extract it. Which is probably why nobody does this.
What we at Add1Zero do is record every call and write down literally every sentence from a prospect that ends with a question mark. If you do that for 50 calls, you have virtually every question that could ever possibly be asked.
We condense that information into a data set, which I call content prompts. We then hand them to the marketing team and say: “These are the things people want to know, please create content and messaging that addresses them.”
By the time somebody gets to the bottom of the funnel, they should have the answer to almost every possible objection through one interaction or another.
Once they get to a call with us, we don’t have to spend half an hour trying to convince them they’re in the right place. They’ve already had their need to feel secure in their buying decision met; now we’re just working out details.
If you do that on a repeated basis, we will drive up your close ratio, because people will feel understood when they pass through the funnel.
That’s the theory. It’s a tremendous amount of effort. But it works.
The rule of 80-10-10 when it comes to selling packages
Everybody who’s bought from a sales or services business has been told that “every engagement is different and we customize every proposal.”
That approach is great—but it will only get you to a certain point as a service provider. You need to analyze the things you have been doing on a regular basis—and that’s when you’ll see that in 80 percent of cases you do pretty much the same thing.
Those sales should be divided into some kind of package scenario. I love the three-package vibe, the good-better-best model; everybody has seen a pricing page that looks like that.
Then you have another ten percent of cases where people want what your package offers but want a little bit extra. It doesn’t exactly fit into your package, but it’s a bit more money and you can deliver it as an add-on.
The final ten percent comes from people who walk in the door and want everything you offer, plus a weird thing you have never done before. That’s great because it gives you optionality, and because you can develop something that might advance your business. Also, you can charge that customer a lot of money for building it.
By doing the same thing over and over again for the 80 percent, there are myriad benefits to the business. Not least that the operations delivery team, the finance team, and the sales team are on the same page when someone says: “I just sold package B with add-on 2.” Everybody across the business knows exactly how much to charge for that and what to deliver.
Ideal solution when you want to add that extra zero
So who do we want to work with? We look for founders who have tech-enabled B2B services companies. These people can bootstrap and take their companies to the $500,000 mark, at which point they ask themselves if they want to run sales for the company, or run the company itself.
The available options are, typically, to hire a “young and hungry” SDR straight out of college, or a lead-generation service, or a VP of Sales. I found that none of these was really a perfect answer. Adding that extra zero is a totally different proposition from what they have done before.
That’s where we come in—to be their white-label closers as a service, their whole sales and revenue division. From the point at which they get a lead into the business, we will take those calls.
We will be part of the company and we will run everything through the deal pipeline, including the follow-ups and the paperwork. We do all the things you need to do to turn a lead into a customer and hand them to the customer success teams and operations. That’s what we build, and we’re really good at scaling businesses that way.
How founders benefit from our passion
One recent guest on my podcast said you have to have a mission, a vision for your company and a set of values that help you to decide if a particular project is or is not driving you and your clients towards that vision.
At Add1Zero, we don’t have a vision statement—but we do have a passion. And our passion, that we get behind and measure everything we do against, is that no founder who works with us will ever have to worry about cash flow again.
I’ve been that founder, the person who had to call friends, family, and fools for a loan for next Friday’s payroll. That was painful.
We try to direct everything we do to that passion. It means that when someone walks in the door, we ask whether by doing what we do, we can make sure the founder never has to worry about cash flow again.
That process should tell you who not to do business with. We’ve released some clients who either weren’t listening to us, or weren’t providing the volume necessary for us to succeed. In those cases, it was unethical to take their money any more.
In my previous businesses, I didn’t have that focus and I just chased revenue. I try to advise people not to simply chase the next shiny revenue thing. Let’s just try to really grow and scale what you already have.