Intro

Every Go To Market (GTM) model consist of a series of processes. In table 2 you find an overview of a variety of processes for three different parts of the business.

Table 2. Variety of Sales Processes

3.1 PROSPECTING

There are different prospecting processes. Different GTM models will benefit from different prospecting processes. Each of these processes aims to initiate a conversation. A prospect who matches the profile of a client (is a fit) and expresses interest to be assisted (has a pain) through the sales process is called a Sales Qualified Lead or SQL.

This interaction can be by phone, email, text message etc. Each interaction is referred to as a TAP. The frequency and application of such TAPs can be across a number of DAYs and the number of people your prospecting team reaches out to or ICPs–  and – people on your team that you leverage to reach out to them.

We can use this to create three different kind of prospecting processes.

Figure 17 Prospecting Formula Explains

3.1.1 Prospecting Processes

Inbound

In response to an inbound (demo) request you reach out to a customer with a call/email/voicemail sequence and offer your assistance. Below an example of such as sequence.

Figure 18 Example of a sequence of taps

 

Outbound

Following preparation a group of 10 – 100 clients was identified who all experience a similar problem. To address them more effectively you are using volume outbound using X amount of taps across Y amount days. For example a VP of Marketing sequence of 5 taps over 12 days equals 5 x 12 sequence/touchplan/cadence. Each of the taps can be an email/phone/social tap etc. Extreme caution is needed as an untrained salesforce can cause severe damage.

 Targeting or Account Based Prospecting

In targeting we are tapping specific people (ICPs) within the same account across multiple days. For example tapping 3 ICPs (a VP, a Manager, and a User) 5 times across 12 days in a very specific order = 5 x 12 x 3 outbound sequence/touchplan/cadence. In this case it is key that you have to line-up the right kind of insights to match to the value proposition of each individual ICP. It is discouraged to address three different ICPs with the same value proposition/insights.

Figure 19 Example of 7 x 18, a sequence of 7 touches across 3 weeks

Over the past years we have two new processes developing, in Account Based Prospecting and Content Based Prospecting. Each of these two create a variety of either targeting or inbound.

Account Based Marketing / Target Account Selling

In the ABM approach we are no longer using just a “SDR” to perform the prospecting but we are involving multiple people on the sales team to engage with multiple people inside a client. This requires skills such as ghost writing for VPs and CxO officers by the SDR and/or AE.

If you are using 3 people from your team to address 3 people at your client, using 7 touches, across 18 days, you are running a ( 5 x 12 x 3 ) / 3 campaign.

 

Figure 20 Account Based Marketing involves many more people beyond a Sales Development Rep

Content Based Prospecting

Another approach is to use Content as your “outbound” in this approach a client receives access to extremely valuable insights such as market research that are published in the public domain. Clients who may have a pain engage with the content. We can use this content in an outbound sequence allowing us to create more relevance in our outbound.

However instead of making the outbound more relevant we can also create a call to action in the content that lead to hyper relevant inbound. This inbound can be personalized with use-cases, examples, and products that relate to the content written. In this case the role of the sales development no longer is to set up a meeting through emails and calls but rather to take developed content, and create hyper personalized inbound paths, then distribute content in places where a client can find them. This creates a hyper personalized inbound. In effect content is used as the “outbound” call.

3.1.2 Efficiency and Effectiveness

In the figure below you see prospecting processes mapped to effectiveness and efficiency. This is an artistic impression.

Figure 21 Visualization of effectiveness and efficiency of different prospecting processes

Only now are we obtain data to start drawing the above picture, and determine where best to invest our resources. The picture above is not static, it can differ based on what a company is selling, which market it is selling and even what time of development, early on with a new innovation or as the product is in maturation.

Identifying effectiveness and efficiency of prospecting must be part of Product Market Fit!

To scale growth, a company must determine which prospecting approach it is going to use. It cannot copy its hacking techniques used to get to 1M in ARR. Similar to its product, its GTM must be design based on data obtained during testing in the approach to get to $1 – 2 million in ARR.

Below an example of how to obtain data and make this a data driven decision.

Table 3 Mapping effectiveness and efficiency of different prospecting programs

3.1.3 General trends on prospecting processes

In general we know that low cost products benefit from inbound, and high dollar solution benefit from targeted outbound. If we use general trends and apply it to the the following picture starts to apply. It must be mentioned that although one process may dominate per GTM multiple processes are likely to apply.

Figure 22 Mapping prospecting processes to GTM approaches

3.2 WINNING

Similar to prospecting there are a variety of known approaches often referred to as sales methodologies. Each of these approaches has a very specific activities. The right sequence of these activities creates different sales processes.

Winning By Design Sales Methodology

 

Figure 23 The Winning By Design sales methodology (4 of the 6 stages of SaaS sales)  

Looking at the above picture we notice a few special points such as the description of stages in customer experiences, and the lack of “close” or “won” but rather “Commit” and “Live”. These point to a customer centric sales methodology. But also the key role of the onboarding stage. This is critical in SaaS where profits are generated far into the future.

 Sales Approaches inside a SaaS Sales Methodology 

We can now map various sales approaches against a SaaS centered customer centric methodology

Figure 24 Sales Approaches Mapped to a Customer Centric methodology

3.2.1 Transactional Selling

The transactional sales process is a responsive process. Customers know exactly what they want and they are price shopping for the best price and lead times. They may be willing to forfeit a specific feature if it can save them a lot of money. Clients don’t value the role salespeople perform and prefer that salespeople be excluded from the process altogether, or replaced by web-based and text/chat in which they get straight and short answers.

Figure 25. Transactional Selling in which clients do most of the education on their own

Transactional selling is best used in high volume/low cost. Think of $5-$240 ACV, <5 day sales cycle.

3.2.2 Solution Selling

The solution sales process is a responsive process. Customers already understand the problem in depth and they have a good idea of what they are looking for. They are not quite price shopping (making it transactional) as they are looking for very specific features, for which they are willing to pay a bit more. They often have already narrowed it down to 2 or 3 providers they like to work with. 

Figure 26. Solution Selling often following an Inbound Lead

Solution selling is best used in high volume, high velocity based inbound. Think of selling $5,000 ACV, <30 day sales cycles, and cutting 20+ deals per month/POD

 

3.2.3 Consultative Selling

In consultative selling you are investing early – on in the client to educate them what is important based on what you have seen in the market. You are educating the customer on the real problem and how to look at the right solution. Your experience is represented in their requirements in the form of features and functionality. This makes a consultative sale generally longer. During the consultative sales process you gradually ramp up the quality of resources as you navigate through an organization.

Figure 27. Consultative Selling often following Outbound Lead Generation/Development

Consultative selling is best used selling a platform like solution, involving a number of decision makers. Think of a CRM selling for $10 – 50k, 6 – 9 month sales cycle, and 3 – 5 deals per month/POD.

 

3.2.4 Provocative Selling

While presenting an innovative solution that challenges the status quo, it is not doable to rely on the consultative process, since most clients do not realize there is a lurking problem. In this case you have to rely on another approach called Provocative Selling which gained popularity through the Challenger sales methodology.

Figure 28. Provocative Selling Only recommended to deploy on specific accounts.

Provocative selling is best used to secure strategic and sizable deals such as your top 5 opportunities, or a partnership. Think of deals $100 – 500k, sales cycle 3 – 9 months, and winning 1 – 2 every quarter.