People want predictable revenue. Inbound sales and marketing’s great – driving leads from online marketing, word-of-mouth amazing. But can you easily forecast on this business model?

For those that are interested in a truly scalable model, year-on-year growth is critical. Delivering this by inbound sales is less predictable and is a reactive way to manage growth. A process built on data and numbers is fundamental.

The are three cornerstones to achieving this stable growth.

  1. Repeatable lead generation activities
  2. Stable sales processes
  3. Customer successes

We’re a big fan of Aaron Ross’s Predictable Revenue book which breaks down lead generation into three distinct channels:

  1. Seeds (word-of-mouth referrals)
  2. Nets (marketing leads such as online marketing or a one-to-many process
  3. Spears (a sales development team (link)) using SDR’s as the prospecting team.

The big picture in building the Sales Factory

Many companies believe that growing their outbound sales team and working them harder will proportionally deliver a return. Working harder and making more calls does not scale – in the majority of sales teams, it’s not the sales team that are the acquisitions team – they’re generally the coffee drinkers (closers) to deliver revenue.

Sales are fast evolving into closing and account management (for retention) with actual sales deriving from more marketing led activities.

Companies can emphasize the problem by further driving their sales team into a lead generation team with less structure around supporting the close and retained business.  

What’s the solution?

  1. Specialize your inside sales team.
  2. Build your Ideal Customer Profile to maximize your prospecting.
  3. Don’t let your salespeople do the prospecting.
  4. Only sell to companies who need your product – otherwise, you’re simply inflating your forecast, sustainable growth and warping its performance.
  5. Be a good sales coach. Don’t do things for people but coach them into it. Sell the idea of your product and not the product.
  6. Manage your sales team with weekly and monthly activity metrics
    1. Number of calls connects per week (25+)
    2. Conversion rates of appointments/book demos (70/80%)
    3. The dollar value of a pipeline
    4. Inbound (Market Response Reps) should deal with no more than 400 leads per month
    5. Sales Development Reps (Prospectors) # qualified opportunities per month and percentage of revenue from Prospecting.