Companies want money and need revenue more than they need consulting, coaching, training, or the ability to buy outbound lead generation services. On occasion, they might also argue that their company can’t sell what they do on Zoom and need to be in person — and a lot of those people end up calling us back in a year and saying, “Please help us sell on Zoom.” We wanted to fill these gaps and create some solutions. Here they are.
Document the Process
A lot of times those companies have leads but don’t know what to do with them or how to scale. Eventually, you might get to that point as a founder where you hit a fork in the road: You can either keep selling and you need an operator to run your business, or you can become an operator but get bottlenecked because nobody knows how to sell your service.
What do you do at that point? The typical answers end up being:
- Hiring an outbound Sales Development Rep or Account Executive
- Hiring a “young and hungry” commission-only sales rep
- Hire a VP of Sales — somebody who has done this before
All of those are rife with issues at that particular stage of company development and services, as you simply don’t have enough money to hire that person. A lot of people will go out and blow an incredible amount of money on this, only to find out at that point that your VP of Sales actually wants to manage and grow a sales team. They don’t want to be a closer anymore because they perceive that they’ve earned themselves up in the world.
You’ll have a great head start hiring and training a Sales Development Rep or Account Executive while you’re doing sales as the founder, writing down your playbook, doing the work that you’re training for, coming up with a methodology, and thinking about the future. You don’t want to stay in this position, so preparing a landing strip with all the proper documentation, objection handling, training, shadowing and mentoring will ensure you have a proper exit. A lot of founders don’t have that predisposition and get caught running around with their pants on fire because they really didn’t want to do sales anyway, yet don’t know how to hire an Account Executive. How do you find someone who cares as much as you and explains things like you do?
Reshifting the Founder’s Focus
While we build you a playbook and a scalable revenue operation, we need to be on calls and we need to get you some business. That’s the critical connection between $500,000 and $5,000,000. The areas where the founder and the operator need to be paying attention, building and scaling are customer success and quality assurance. They can’t also be selling.
We came up with a sort of passion statement: Any founder that we work with will never have to worry about cash flow again. We started playbooking with a big focus on revenue as a result.
You would have difficulty getting to the point where we enter if you didn’t have at least five inbound prospects a week, at which point, we might not be affordable if you didn’t have some kind of flow to sink your teeth into with a product that has at least $3,000 in monthly recurring revenue. With anything below that amount, it becomes more difficult to maintain stability.
Ideally, we want to enter a company and optimize the funnel activity in such a way that it’s designed to drive meetings:
- No qualifying questions on the form. Don’t expose stuff that will scare people away. Get the highest possible sample size of what actually will get through the door, knowing that a fair number of those calls will be junk or a no-show.
- Record every call that you have and document every question that gets asked by a prospect. Rank those questions in quantity order and decipher which questions are related to objections and which questions are related to features. With enough data, it becomes clear what few things are most important to people when they enter the funnel.
Because marketing is looked at as a many-to-one type of broadcasting, the information that people have deemed the most important can then be moved to the top of the funnel. What you don’t want is the people at the bottom doing sales calls answering all the questions that could have been addressed at the top of the funnel. Qualification gets better having gathered the appropriate data beforehand. Now you can say, “If I know people have been exposed to this message somewhere, some will opt out because they know they’re not a fit.”
After pre-qualifying, you’re able to have more of a sales enablement discussion and ask more pointed questions. After they book a call, they can be put through a pre-call sequence of a few emails that are specifically written to reinforce the main things that you would have said on the call that you want them to be exposed to beforehand.
Exposing the information this way feels more organic and takes care of somebody better than when you have the contact form that just says, “What’s your annual budget?” You can now develop the mindset that comes across as every lead being valuable in some way, even if they aren’t a fit in that exact moment. As a result, the best people make it to the call, they’re preemptively educated the way you wanted them to be, and now the rep at the bottom of the funnel can sell instead of being a one-to-one marketing mouthpiece.
Podcasts Are More Than Just Podcasts
Let’s imagine that the most important thing for a sale is really a relationship. Simply put, people buy from people they like. How do you get a relationship? Who is the most interesting person in the room according to all the networking gurus? It’s not the person who talks about themselves all the time, it’s the person who asks the most questions. How do you put yourself in a position in which you are the person asking questions on a regular basis? The answer here is podcasts.
To get to that point, we hired an outbound lead company for Linkedin, sending drip messages to people on Linkedin. It was an outbound mechanism, but instead of pitching, we invited people to be on the podcast and shockingly, people said yes. More and more of them were important people, and we just slammed out episodes where we got to talk to CTOs who were our target clients. Now, we could sound smart and provide them with a vehicle that made them look and sound like a hero — because the purpose of the show was to make guests feel good about what they were talking about, not about us.
They got to talk about themselves and we would take that content and post it on Linkedin, or give them videos or social content. Brag about them. Then, we were effectively the theater owner that made them look awesome. We put them in the value seat. If you provide someone value first and in a compelling way, they may likely have the inclination to provide value in return when you ask for something in the future.
We work with a company called Content Allies that does this now as a service. If you’re ever interested in B2B podcasting, their playbook is fantastic. Just eight months into making the Leaders of B2B from nothing, we’ve had substantial PR agents (even from unicorn companies) reaching out to us to interview the CEO of their companies, instead of us reaching out and asking people to come onto the show. The conversations you get to have are awesome — it’s almost a masterclass because we get to have them on the show and pick their brain for half an hour and they’re happy about it. It’s not only magnificent, but it’s authentic. Then you can take it and repurpose it into additional content while also building rapport and talking about real stuff. It’s all the stuff that you would hope to get out of a discovery call but sometimes can’t because of people having their guard up, exhibiting the mindset of “I know you’re going to pitch me something, so I don’t really want to be nice to you.”
This is a place where you can get conversations that you might not otherwise be able to get and do a service to your potential client. Some of them will turn into revenue relationships, and the rest will accrue to your content marketing and your thought leadership credibility. Because these conversations are done in a podcast setting, those relationships become more memorable as a result, even if you only speak once or twice. Can you remember any 30-minute conversations you had three years ago at a networking meeting? Podcast guests remember you.
The operations side is where all the work is done, where it’s taken and posted across social media via custom posts, blog posts, videos, and so on. On your own, you have a terabyte of video on your hard drive and content being made in twice the time, if ever. Operations is everything. If you take on the task of doing all of the work yourself, it’s a lot more difficult and time-consuming than you think (trust me, we already tried). Imagine the amount of time you get back when your only job is showing up and doing the calls instead of not only doing the calls, but doing the editing, hosting, and distribution. After all, the vast majority of podcasts never survive beyond a handful of episodes.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re paying $6,000 a month for a done-for-you service like this. Some people might say, “Well, that’s 72k a year, I could hire my own person to do that.” The fallacy of that statement is that those hours are divided and that cost is divided across a pipeline of eight very distinct skills. So if you can find the superhero who has enough and ALL the skills to do that for 72k, by all means, hire them — and buy them a house, because it’s almost impossible to find.
We have a producer, video editor, and writer. That’s a myriad of different functions that you will very rarely ever find in one person. But if you get that lucky, do you really want your audio and video editor to be your graphic designer as well as your writer? Are they also going to be your project manager?
With tweaks like these, could a company still argue that they can’t sell what they do on Zoom?