When it comes to selling, you need more than just a great sales team. You need to create an entire revenue machine. One of the biggest problems I encounter is companies who do not support their sales operations function effectively. They fail to realise that 80% of the sales effort is in sales ops – and only 20% is people like me working on sales calls.
That is where I belong, on calls with customers, building relationships and making deals. The other tasks involved in a revenue machine should be carried out by people who are administratively awesome. They are organized, they structure and complete their tasks, and they are excellent at producing and delivering marketing materials and operational systems behind the scenes. If you perform those tasks successfully, it leaves people like me, closers, able to focus on being on calls as much as possible.
When that system sets up 20 really excellent video calls with warm leads, people like me are going to crush it on the amount of money we can make for our clients. Someone else is doing all the ops and administrative work, which makes for a more effective use of everybody’s time.
How a shared knowledge base will make you more efficient
One way in which your business can really step up its systems and knowledge management is by using one or more of the many technologies out there for the purpose. For instance, we record every sales call we make for a client and we create a database of the objections and questions that prospects raise. That knowledge can then drive marketing, the pre-call sequence, and it becomes an evolving process of continual learning across all areas of the company.
We use an application such as Atlassian Confluence to store all our shared knowledge, and to make sure everybody on the team has access to it. I’m not getting paid to say this – but Confluence really is an excellent tool. It gives you a tree of all your documents and all kinds of ways to cross-reference.
We walk into so many companies that are still documenting their whole world in GoogleDocs. So they have no sense of taxonomy, no standardization. It means if someone asks: “Where’s that place where we documented X, Y or Z?” you have to search for it.
This also means that if I see anyone – a client or a team member – answer a question in detail on Slack, I’ll step in and tell them to put it in Confluence instead. It makes no sense if your processes are getting lost at the bottom of a whole range of different inboxes. That is a recipe to lose money and knowledge.
I should add that every single thing we develop for a client, we publish on our knowledge base – that means the public can have access to anything we ever thought of through our expert online community.
Remote selling is nothing new to us – and it works
We now live in a world where it has become unusual to conduct face-to-face meetings as a matter of course. This is nothing new to us at Add1Zero. We launched our remote selling business at the end of 2019 – which in retrospect looks like a pretty good decision.
But I can remember people telling us at that time you could never do what we do on Zoom. There was a sense that you would always require a handshake, some personal interaction.
We, however, have always focused on maximum documentation, maximum automation. I sincerely believe that businesses have to put the right technology in place because it is possible you will never be in the same space as your customer and your workers ever again.
Everyone is learning to deal with a more virtual medium now. Yes, you miss that personal connection but you can get 80% of the way there on a video call. People used to tell you to practice your pitch in the mirror. Well, now you should pitch into the webcam and then watch the recorded video back.
Look at your podcast strategy – it’s a great way to sell
One tool I use now for selling is podcasts. People think podcasts are all about content; we believe they are all about sales. We have closed more than half a million dollars in sales to guests on our podcast. No pipeline, no fuss, and I can put you in touch with the person straight after the call. That is a single-call close and you cannot beat that.
If you are not executing on podcast strategy, if you do not understand it or feel it is just content marketing, at least check out the content we have out there—I will change your mind.
Podcasts add a level of credibility and social proof that goes well beyond an article. If you read The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, you will find there are six major ways of influencing an audience – and this strategy targets all of them. Elements like authority, social proof and liking, they are all here, which is why podcasts work. Put it this way. Who is the person you remember most at a networking event? I bet it was someone who asked you questions all night. That is why I love appearing as a guest on podcasts.
Also, in this context people tell you the truth. When you are asked about your business or your future plans, you are more likely to be truthful than on a sales call. You can have a real conversation that is literally the best sales call you ever made – and it doesn’t even feel like it.
Creating packages boosts your income instantly
Once we do get a client on board, there is so much to learn. Apart from anything else, the founder is wondering how anyone else can sell something into which they’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears. One of the first steps we always take is to hold a packaging workshop. A B2B service business tends to benefit from three named packages that have very standard offerings wrapped into them.
Many such businesses have been lulled into the idea that, to get from zero to $500,000 in revenue, they should customize every piece of work. They feel that shows how much they care. You’ll then find it hard to scale because every piece of work you do is different. Let’s standardize your product into packages and put names on them because – and we have the data to prove this – the average contract value increases by about 30%.
Enjoy your success so far – then let more revenue give you options
The other message we want to get across to clients in our niche is that they have done really well. They have built a business that attracts up to $500,000 in revenue – that puts them ahead of 98% of businesses that ever existed, and it’s worth stopping for a moment to celebrate that.
I have blown up so many projects and businesses to get to anything even remotely resembling success. I want people to appreciate it when they have been a founder and actually made money. They’ve gotten over the go-to-market hurdle. They’re gotten over the product-market fit and demonstrated they can deliver to some clients. They have a thing that works! The problem is not that people have done things wrong – they have done them right, up to a point, but have plateaued in that mid-six figures range.
Revenue is king. Revenue cures everything and it gives you options. You can pay yourself, and you can pay other people. You can donate it all to charity if you want. Our vision is that any founder we work with in our little niche will never have to worry about cash flow again.