How can you maximise sales growth while minimising the workload and stress on both you and your executive teams?
This is what Aaron Ross, dad of 10 kids, co-author of From Impossible To Inevitable and author of Predictable Revenue, is currently advising revenue executives about.
In this latest episode of The Melting Pot, Aaron shares what’s changed in the world of work since he wrote Predictable Revenue back in 2011. Because the world has moved on a lot since then – what implications are there now for both sales and executives as a result of the pandemic?
If you’re finding that your outbound sales are broadening out, and you’re wondering how to create predictable, scalable revenue, then don’t miss the world’s foremost expert on outbound sales development chat about what works for him.
Because juggling 10 kids, being on numerous SaaS boards and being an author is a serious skill to master.
Aaron Ross, father of 10, co-author of From Impossible To Inevitable and author of Predictable Revenue, is originally from Los Angeles but now resides in Edinburgh.
Predictable Revenue wasn’t Aaron’s first book, but it was the book that turned him into a household name for businesses looking to scale their SDR (Sales Development Representatives) teams. Developing outbound sales is hard. If you miss your sales goals it’s not just stressful, it puts your business at risk.
Aaron’s fourth book, From Impossible To Inevitable, is the book he recommends sales execs read first. It may be the sequel to Predictable Revenue, but it’s the best book, says Aaron, for founders and execs.
Aaron stresses that the world hasn’t changed a huge amount since he wrote the book back in 2011. The things that work don’t go away, it’s just we tend to layer on more things that do work.
“Everyone focuses on outbound prospecting from Predictable Revenue, but that actually wasn’t the main idea of the [book]. The two other main (more important ideas) were predictable lead generation, of which outbound is one form or the other, and the other is sales specialisation.”
The most fundamental thing that sales need to do to be successful, says Aaron, is to divide up all the different jobs that need to be done – sales roles have a crazy number of different requirements:
“Each salesperson doing their own prospecting and lead response and closing and managing accounts, which companies still do today. How can you divide up, divide and conquer?”
You’d think that sales leaders would have mastered the art of maximising sales with the plethora of books on the subject over the last 20 years. Not so, says Aaron. Change takes a lot of energy, but the future of work, the future of sales is shifting to a more a specialisation role. The world’s getting busier and a whole lot more complex.
One of the ways to simplify things, says Aaron, to make it more effective, is to simplify each person’s scope. Create specialist roles and have different people working in harmony to reach the same goal.
One thing that Aaron has noticed over the last few years, is the huge increase in the volume of outbound noise – in emails, channels, LinkedIn, it’s harder than ever before to be seen and heard.
There’s more automation available, meaning more people are sending more stuff. More companies are doing more outbound and inbound marketing. And as the ease of creating increases, making it less challenging, more companies are springing up, bringing more channels to market, making it even harder to get noticed.
Yet recipient numbers haven’t increased. What’s happening is prospects are simply getting more messages, their attention is getting sliced more thinly. And the consequence of this, says Aaron, is what he’s working on currently. Which is – how to rebalance the equation.
Just because everything can be automated, doesn’t mean it should be automated. When was the last time you reached out to someone just because you wanted to see how they were doing? Without wanting to get something from them.
Work has become so mercenary, says Aaron. There needs to be a rebalance of metrics with people actually caring about actual people, teams and customers. With so many of us working remotely, businesses need to work even harder to connect employees with one another and customers. While there are numerous upsides to remote or hybrid working, one huge downside is that there’s a lot less loyalty, engagement and trust than there used to be.
The missing piece, says Aaron, is how to bring a human element and an emotional connection and bond between people to work. Because connection makes work easier and way more enjoyable.
How does this fit into the world of sales?
“If you’re just sending emails, it’s harder than ever to stand out. But if you can start to put yourself out there as a person: that might be your voice in email, the way you write them, might be in video, in some way. This will help you stand out from the noise.”
If you want to break through the noise in your lead generation channels, rather than just pumping out more of the same stuff, figure out what your ideal customer feels, what they think, and then put out content that calls to them via a medium that works for them.
“I think the biggest missed opportunity for companies is they’re not putting their executives online in any way. But that’s going to have to change over the next few years. Because that’s going to be one of the next areas where companies, leaders or people can differentiate themselves in a sea of just sameness.”
Now that the pandemic is winding down, says Aaron, there might be a temptation to try and revert to how you worked pre-pandemic. But the nature of work is changing. Not just in that some people are opting to WFH or some businesses allow a hybrid model now. But there’s a real undercurrent of change.
People have realised over the last two years that they don’t have to stick at a job they don’t like, for a company they aren’t interested in. They can literally turn their hand to anything, from anywhere.
And if you want to recruit great salespeople, advises Aaron, you have to think about taking care of your people, so they feel like they have a chance to be successful, that they know they’re cared about.
As well as looking after employees, execs need to make sure they’re giving themselves at least some basic self-care.
“Sleep is number one. [It] makes the biggest difference. I’ll list my first as sleep and then exercise and then eating [these are] the three things that make the biggest obvious changes in my mental-emotional state and capacity to deal with stuff.”
Sleep is an essential form of self-care. You know yourself, when you’re tired you don’t have as much capacity to deal with uncertainty, doubt, even fear. Sleep helps you conquer all of these things.
But self-care has not historically been a strength of corporate workers, especially execs, says Aaron, because their priorities lay elsewhere. For too many people needing to support a family, they’ve swapped their most precious resource, time, for money.
“Having that stability of income or a job can sometimes be the most beneficial thing, even if it is at the expense of sleep or self-care. Everyone’s different, but it hasn’t been a strength of corporate workers. But that is something that has to change.”
Dominic has spent 14 years working in sales, marketing and business management within the IT sector. He has held executive positions at Peer 1 Hosting, IT Lab and Rackspace. At Peer 1 he built the UK business to £30m run rate in 5 years. He won many awards for creating a great place to work. At Rackspace Dominic built the UK company from four to 150 staff, and increased annual revenues from £595,000 to £25 million in just four years. Under his management, Rackspace was recognised as one of the most outstanding workplaces in Europe, and won several service awards for its Fanatical Support TM. Dominic has a BSc in Agricultural and Food Marketing from Newcastle and a MBA from Sheffield Business School. Dominic is also a regular public speaker on creating great places to work and achieving continuous client satisfaction and an assessor on the Sunday Times Customer Experience Awards.