July 25, 2019
July 25, 2019 01:01:44 PM
Hey everyone - I'm Darren Carter, CRO / co-founder at RevenueZen. We help companies build pipeline through outbound, inbound, and social demand gen strategies. Most of our customers are SaaS and tech companies, we're a team of 17, and based in California, Portland, and New York. We've worked with 70 companies over the last couple years, helping design or run lead gen campaigns for them. The big push this year is helping companies use LinkedIn to amplify all their outbound efforts. Feel free to ask me anything on sales development, outbound, or social selling with your SDR/BDR team!
July 25, 2019 01:02:46 PM
Hi Darren, pleasure to have you, what is a good effective way to setup an outbound team? How should one organize it
July 25, 2019 01:07:45 PM
Good question. The first thing you want to do is get an idea of what your outbound needs actually are and hire to that. Don't just blindly hire a few SDRs and expect they'll just automatically start bringing in pipeline. I always start with an analysis of the total contactable lead pool or account pool. If I have 10k accounts that match my ICP, and I estimate that a single SDR can reasonably target 300 accounts per month, that is very different from a situation where I have 1000 accounts in my total market. If you're just starting outbound, I'd start with 1-2 SDRs while you build out the strategy, then scale from there based on your AEs closing capacity.
July 25, 2019 01:09:02 PM
It's always a balancing act where you don't want to over-hire for SDRs or AEs. Too many SDRs and you can end up with too much pipeline that you don't have enough ability to close (burning through your market). Too many AEs with no pipe and you're paying people to sit aroudn (although they should be doing their own prospecting ideally too).
July 25, 2019 01:27:11 PM
Have you done any outbound so far?
July 25, 2019 01:37:34 PM
No, I am setting up for CallHippo
July 25, 2019 01:03:28 PM
^ to add to this! Do you use territories ? Verticals? How do you segment your bdr/sdr team?
July 25, 2019 01:11:42 PM
Sometimes. Early on when we're just launching an outbound program, we usually keep it pretty open, only adding in territories when you start scaling, after you know more about what the market response is going to look like and you can set quotas effectively. Sometimes it's geographical territories, other times you might simply have a a target account list that you divide between your SDRs/AEs. This usually comes down to what your market looks like when you quantify it.
July 25, 2019 01:13:13 PM
And depending on inbound leadflow, you can either have a dedicated inbound team (if it's warranted), or just give inbound leads to the team.
July 25, 2019 01:22:10 PM
For context too, most of our customers are very early in their outbound strategy so territory strategy is usually not a problem they need to deal with yet.
July 25, 2019 01:26:57 PM
How big is your current XDR team?
July 25, 2019 01:04:08 PM
I’m afraid of emailing lists of cold emails and destroying my email and personal reputation. Justified? What’s the right process?
July 25, 2019 01:20:04 PM
Very justified. First, you want to have a decent data cleansing process in place so you can filter out bad data (reducing bounces). Then you want to test your messages to make sure they aren't too spammy (and setup SPF and DKIM on your domain). https://www.mail-tester.com/ <-- this link helps. For sales emails, they key is to be as relevant to the target audience as possible. Get rid of HTML. If your email looks like a marketing newsletter, it's a bad sales email. You want the email to be as close to a personal email you might send to a friend or business partner as possible. And then, don't just spam out the same thing to thousands of people everyday. If you're targeting 1000 people in a month from one person, you don't just send out 1000 emails on day 1, you want to schedule those out so that every day you're contacting 50 new people a day. Keep your eye on bounce rates and open rates. If things start getting out of whack, take a step back to solve the problem before dumping more leads into the process. You also need to warm up new email addresses, making volume on any new campaign lower than when you're fully ramped.
July 25, 2019 01:20:47 PM
If you're personalizing every email (meaning you have an SDR write personalization, NOT just inserting automated tags), then volume is rarely a problem.
July 25, 2019 01:21:12 PM
The problems only start to happen when you have a rep who is basically just a button pusher.
July 25, 2019 01:06:28 PM
What are effective techniques to close sales on call/video ?
July 25, 2019 01:26:42 PM
Ask questions. Give value. Bring up potential objections early, don't put them off until later). Be honest and transparent about what you do and don't do. Your discovery process is absolutely crucial. A couple books I'd recommend - The New Strategic Selling and New Sales. Simplified. What kind of challenges do you have around closing?
July 25, 2019 01:33:48 PM
People take demos but are not closing after that
July 25, 2019 01:34:06 PM
What is the discovery process that you are referring to?
Jacquie Sandberg (DeepCrawl)
July 25, 2019 01:07:28 PM
Hi Darren, can you speak to sourcing channel or technical/ strategic partners?
July 25, 2019 01:29:03 PM
It's all about the relationship here. I don't have a ton of experience with this area to be honest but in general, the early conversations are much more exploratory, compared to sourcing sales leads where there's a clear goal. On the strategic partner side, quite often you don't know exactly what the best win-win outcome would be.
July 25, 2019 01:31:58 PM
For sales reps, I'm big on advising that they avoid spending too much time with prospects who aren't qualified and can't/won't buy (figuring out who that is is a whole other topic). For strategic partners, you generally have to have much less of an outcome oriented focus. The best people at sourcing new strategic partners that I've known have all been highly creative people who are great at building a new partnership out of thin air. Less process-oriented than sales people usually.
July 25, 2019 01:12:01 PM
Great questions! Keep 'em coming, I'll respond inline to everything.
July 25, 2019 01:12:04 PM
What are the good metrics to track for outbound lead/sales generation?
July 25, 2019 01:37:37 PM
Metrics you need to track: - Lead-to-meeting % - Account-to-meeting % - Meeting-to-sales accepted opportunity % - Opp to close % - Avg deal size At a more granular level, we track open, reply, positive reply and bounce rates. Activity levels: emails, personalized emails, templated emails, replies, calls, LinkedIn (hard to track this accurately) The common mistake is putting too much emphasis on certain metrics. You have to be strategic and have someone who understands the full funnel top-to-bottom. A high open rate can be great, but what if they aren't converting to meetings, pipeline, or deals? This isn't always on the SDR either. You could have a fantastic SDR, blowing through a meeting quota, but none of their deals end up closing due to the AE or even just the product/market fit.
July 25, 2019 01:38:50 PM
And higher activity levels aren't always a positive. Markets aren't unlimited so need to be efficient. Going back to Sunir's questions too - you can't just spam your entire market. Sure, it's high activity, and you might get a sales bump short term, but you're really burning through your market, making it so you can't go back for at least a few months.
July 25, 2019 01:39:38 PM
Not every rep needs to know every metric either. Sometimes, oversharing certain details with reps can actually make it harder for them to focus on their main priorities.
July 25, 2019 01:16:11 PM
Is LinkedIn automation a good & safe idea? If so, what tools and methods?
July 25, 2019 01:40:35 PM
We've experimented with automation, and still do with different tools but in general, I'm a fan of being highly conservative in this area.
July 25, 2019 01:41:07 PM
It is almost just as easy for a rep to send out semi-personalized connect requests for 50 people a day as it is to get a tool to do it.
July 25, 2019 01:42:23 PM
I can't actually recommend any tools because that landscape changes pretty quick but some rules of thumb: Don't send more than 80-100 connect requests per day. Don't spam out a sales pitch to everyone. Genuinely focus on building a network with like-minded people.
July 25, 2019 01:44:34 PM
When you send out invites, add a message that gives some relevancy. "Hey Sunir, ran across your profile. I'm connecting with other founders in the cloud space so thought I'd reach out. Let's stay connected." <- If I am targeting correctly, I could send that message out to hundreds of people, taking just a few seconds at a time to change the name, and it would be relevant to everyone I send it too.
July 25, 2019 01:45:01 PM
Then when someone accepts the request, I can go back to their profile, see if they are a decent fit, and start a conversation.
July 25, 2019 01:45:57 PM
But network growth is also beneficial to putting out content on your feed so I'm an advocate of building a large network of people that are broadly in your space so that you have more people to see that thought leadership content (which drives more leads through your LinkedIn profile).
July 25, 2019 01:46:11 PM
Don't treat LinkedIn like email though <-- That's important.
July 25, 2019 02:03:06 PM
Thanks; this really helped me visualize what I am supposed to be doing. I was busy writing an action plan and forgot I was running an AMA.
July 25, 2019 02:33:57 PM
Agree with you @Darren Carter in the content/value-first strategy. That said, we use automation in this way by only sharing invites to events we know they'd be interested in, group invites, white papers etc...
July 25, 2019 01:21:37 PM
Hey Darren, thanks for lending some time today! My questions is what is the proper cadence when building a relationship with new partners. I guess during the 'ramp up phase'?
July 25, 2019 01:51:01 PM
@Jake Wallace What kind of partners do you mean here? I have different communication cadences that all really depend on the nature of the relationship. Unofficail referral partners, maybe once every couple months or more often if they are active in sending us referrals. For more strategic partners, cadence is usually dicated by the partnership and project we're working on.
July 25, 2019 01:51:54 PM
And in this case, I'm talking about personal communications, not including touchpoints with our general brand, which can happen much more often.
July 25, 2019 01:54:42 PM
Strategic partners, where there is some sort of rev share/reseller agreement...
July 25, 2019 02:02:19 PM
I haven't been a part of too many reseller strategies to be honest but the ones that I have been involved in, it is usually dictated by how much revenue the partner is bringing in. If they are sending you business, then they get a much higher priority than someone who isn't. But staying top-of-mind is key here because you want resellers to think of you. Prioritization is key, and it's usually dictated by the relationship and how much revenue they are sending (or have the potential to send).
July 25, 2019 01:46:44 PM
Hi Darren. What innovative ways have you seen direct sales (Outbound/Inbound) and channel teams work together to solve for direct/channel conflict when the channel and direct are both working the same opp in early stages (Outside of lead-reg which is key)?
July 25, 2019 01:56:05 PM
This is a great question! Having a well-thought out SLA, that the whole team buys in to is key here. Your reps at the ground-level are usually the ones who are most in tune with where these conflicts are going to happen so you need to have henst conversations with them before and after you build the SLA. Nobody wants to lose out on commissions for an opp they worked on so communication within your team is key. Not sure that I've seen anything particularly innovative here but I've seen some teams that, instead of blaming the reps for this conflict, the management team works with them to make sure everyone gets a somewhat fair outcome, even if it wasn't the most ideal outcome for anyone.
July 25, 2019 01:56:28 PM
Part of this also comes down to sales managers having a really good grasp of what their reps pipeline looks like.
July 25, 2019 01:56:50 PM
And then having a culture where nobody is afraid to surface issues as early as possible.
July 25, 2019 01:58:59 PM
I've seen some companies where everyone knew that if they brought up the issue early, it reflected poorly on them (this is cultural), but they knew if they waited, they could get a commission on it because they could show how much work they did on it, even though they should have stopped working the opp ages ago.
July 25, 2019 04:15:37 PM
Great feedback @Darren Carter. Thank you!
July 25, 2019 01:59:56 PM
@Darren Carter Thank you so much for such amazing detailed replies. I just realized I’ve been lost in thought, reading them carefully. You’re totally a superstar.
July 25, 2019 02:01:01 PM
Thanks @Darren Carter
July 25, 2019 02:03:13 PM
Thanks! This was fun. Hopefully everyone got a bit of value out of it!
July 25, 2019 02:09:36 PM
If anyone has more questions or you want to chat sales dev, outbound, and pipeline growth - my email is <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com> or you can just grab a time on my calendar: https://calendly.com/darren-revenuezen/ - @Sunir Shah's great so I'm happy to help out anyone here. Even if you're not a good fit for our services, I'll still try to point you in the right direction.
July 25, 2019 02:10:27 PM
Did I miss it! I just got off my calls for the day - I'll read the thread
July 25, 2019 02:15:45 PM
@Alex Glenn Feel encouraged to add your own experience.
July 25, 2019 02:16:59 PM
Doing that now
July 25, 2019 03:12:40 PM
@here Headed to INBOUND this year? We’re doing our annual INBOUND party; we’re targeting 600 this year. We had 430 RSVPs the last time we did it. I have the venue and I negotiated to be on the official INBOUND agenda. Cost would be $3,000 per sponsor. We have Chargebee, Typeform, Partnerstack and UpContent confirmed already. Interested?
July 25, 2019 05:23:02 PM
Question: for those running channel programs, who here has a variable compensation component as part of their total comp?
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 05:55:37 PM
I have all my channel managers on variable plans, typically 70/30 or 80/20 in developing territories.
July 25, 2019 05:57:13 PM
Thanks for sharing @Kevin Van Gundy - is the variable comp unlocked based on revenue ($) numbers?
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 05:57:58 PM
I'm not sure I follow, what do you mean by unlocked? I.e., no cap to earnings?
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 05:59:10 PM
Ah, that's what I was saying below. I tried a lot of different variable plans. Sometimes it was a straight dollar amount (works great for mature channels) other times it's been new logos, opportunities created, etc.
July 25, 2019 06:00:05 PM
just saw that after i hit enter and i assume that applies to you too?
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 06:13:33 PM
Yeah, I have all targets for my team roll up to me.
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 06:14:33 PM
The teams that manage integrations are goaled on public references of use with a customer (case studies, etc.)...so I carry a quota for those too
Kevin Van Gundy
July 25, 2019 05:56:13 PM
The variable driver has varied depending on the phase of company, e.g., logos, dollars, ops, etc.