By Chad Burmeister, Vice President of Sales and Business Development, talentReef
Adding sales velocity to a sales organization can be the critical factor to success – especially when your market consists of more than a few thousand prospective clients. As an author, sales practitioner, and “sales hack,” I’ve witnessed first-hand the transformation of the field sales professional to the high-velocity sales professional. In fact, I’m leading the next transformation to bring 10 – 20 times more velocity to sales funnels around the world!
The purpose for making this transformation is important to understand. It’s not only about high growth from the small and medium-sized business (SMB) mass market team, it’s about what’s most important –building the team with reps who are 5-10 times as productive, and then freeing up investment capital to focus on larger transactions for the business.
For example, at ConnectAndSell, we reduced the size of the sales team by two thirds, and then doubled revenues with the remaining one-third. And, we’re doing the same thing at talentReef – up until June 30th of this year, the team I’m leading had 28 Business Development Managers (BDMs), and on July 1st, it had 21. The team of 21 BDMs delivered 40% more sales activities than the team of 28, driving the same amount of bookings. In quarter four, the team will deliver 5 times the number of sales activities (from 20,000 per month to 100,000 per month), and is expected to double revenues. By February, in Tahoe, I’ll share the results of this sales velocity strategy.
The key components to executing a sound sales velocity strategy:
1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile (or ICP) – There are several tools that do a great job of plugging into your CRM within minutes, mapping the demographics against your closed/won deals, and showing you the top industries that drive most of your pipeline and bookings. They can show you who the buyers are within these accounts. This empowers you to make the right decision on what accounts and contacts your sales team should target using the appropriate tech stack, and what accounts and contacts your marketing department should go after.
2. 80/20 Rule – Identify the 20% of companies and contacts at those companies that make up the top 20% of 80% of your bookings. Once you’ve identified these top industries and contacts, determine the number of deals that make up 70 – 80% of your bookings.
3. Choose your tech stack and understand the number of “sales touches” you can deliver – For example, there are new solutions that regularly claim that a company will see 2-3 times more sales activities, and therefore pipeline activities, as a result of using their technology. By coupling these solutions with cloud platforms, true high-velocity selling can take place, and a team can see 10 times more sales activities in a month. The best part is that, this means both more sales conversations, and less administrative time wasted. For example, manually, a typical rep may deliver 1,000 sales activities in a month. With state-of-the-art sales solutions and platforms, you can expect to see 10,000 or more sales activities delivered by a single sales person.
4. Determine your sales team capacity to reach out to those accounts and contacts – If you have a team of 20 reps, and each can drive 10,000 sales activities per month, that’s 200,000 sales touches. 200,000 touches a month divided by 12 touches per contact, means that you need to deliver roughly 15,000 to 20,000 contacts to the sales team to insure they have enough people to reach out to. Compare that to a team of more reps making manual dials and sending manual emails, that might only need 1,500 – 2,000 contacts in a month.
5. Click the “go” button! Before you click the “go” button, make sure that you hire an expert to help you set up steps 1 – 4 above. Without getting these steps right, your strategy will implode on itself, and your reps, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer will say “the tools don’t work for us.” It’s not the “tools,” it’s the “tool” you put in place called the SDR Manager who didn’t know data, didn’t know the technology, and didn’t know how to lead from the front! Once you have executed steps 1-4 (this can happen in less than 2-4 weeks), you hire a leader or a company to manage this. Now you are ready to execute.
6. “Follow-up inventory” matters – Using the process above, you might see a team drive 8 – 12 meetings a month per Rep (or 150 – 200 for a team 20 BDMs). Much of the time, reps throw the “busy call back later” replies or “send more information” replies into a marketing nurture bucket. The best high velocity selling teams bi-furcate their follow-up approach based on prospective deal size. For example: less than $5k; marketing nurture, $5k – $15k – thought leadership nurture sequence; $15k+ voice nurture approach plus thought leadership nurture sequence where you speak to the prospect once per month or once per quarter. By creating true “follow-up inventory” the team of 28 was reduced to 21 while increasing pipeline by 2 to 3 times and bookings by two to three times too.
Whether the above velocity sales approach yields a 20% increase in sales, or a 200% increase, one thing is certain, by driving the same or more sales with 33% fewer sales professionals, cost of sale is much lower, and your company can redeploy those resources to even bigger deals for the company. For instance, in the example above, the team of seven reps who transitioned to named/major accounts drove $2.5M in less than 2 months.
In summary, Sales Velocity as a Service is a real thing these days, but only a handful of experts around the world can truly design, deploy, and optimize such a process. These people include the likes of Trish Bertuzzi, Author of The Sales Development Playbook, Ralph Barsi, Senior Director, Global Sales Development at ServiceNow, and Richard Moustirats, Senior Director, Worldwide Inside Sales at Nutanix. Do not try this approach without someone in the know responsible for getting both the strategy and execution right. Without an expert, as my good friend and Chief Executive Officer of ConnectAndSell says, you will just “accelerate suck.”
Chad Burmeister is Vice President of Sales and Business Development at talentReef. The thing Chad is most passionate about is empowering sales professionals to help their customers solve complex business challenges! Prior to joining talentReef, Chad has led high-velocity sales teams at companies including RingCentral, ON24, Riverbed, and Cisco-WebEx.
Chad was the Founding Chapter President of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, Silicon Valley Chapter, Director of Frontline Friday, and Colorado Chapter President. Chad was voted Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional by the AA-ISP 7 years in a row (2010 – 2016). Chad also launched the Denver Enterprise Sales Forum with Mark Birch in early 2016. Others describe Chad as high energy, high integrity and possessing an extremely high ability to execute.
Chad Burmeister will be a keynote speaker at Sales Team Alpine Retreat (STAR): A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange in February.