Episode 20: Repeatable Systems And Consistency In Your Processes, With Scott Sambucci
Scott Sambucci has spent the last 20 years building and selling technology products, leading three Silicon Valley startups each to their first millions in revenue.
Now with SalesQualia, Scott works with startups across the world, helping them grow their sales faster. His clients include enterprise SaaS, analytics, consulting, and food product companies across the higher education, FinTech, retail, and food services industries.
He is a top writer on Quora and the author of three books – Startup Selling: How to sell if you really, really have to and don’t know how, 52 Sales Questions Answered, and recently published, Stop Hustling, Start Scaling: Ramp Up Your B2B Startup’s Repeatable Revenue with The Q Framework.
Outside of work, Scott is an accomplished endurance athlete as a three-time Ironman, ultra-marathon runner, and marathon swimmer. He lives in Davis, California with his wife and son.
What the podcast will teach you:
- Why the first $1 million in revenue is the most difficult milestone to achieve, and how Scott’s Q framework’s seven questions help business owners reach that point
- Why repeatable systems are the key to reaching $1 million, and why hustling and hard work can only take you so far
- How to get a PDF version of Scott’s book Stop Hustling, Start Scaling: Ramp Up Your B2B Startup’s Repeatable Revenue with The Q Framework from his website
- How repeatability can be built into all aspects of a sales funnel, and why many business owners struggle at the top of the funnel with lead generation
- Why drilling down to the 2-4 lead generation activities that are most effective for your business is better than trying everything or relying on a single method
- Why consistency in your systems and processes is vital, and why it is important to explain to your employees why a process is structured the way it is
- How to create an implementation plan for your sales to ensure that the process is smooth and consistent for your customers
- Why you should systemize the first minute, hour, day, week, month, quarter, and year after you close a deal to guarantee the value of the sale to your customers
- Website: https://salesqualia.com/
- Stop Hustling, Start Scaling by Scott Sambucci
- Startup Selling by Scott Sambucci
- 52 Sales Questions Answered by Scott Sambucci
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/scottsambucci/
- Twitter: @scottsambucci
I’m here with a special guest. I’m super excited to introduce Scott Sambucci. Scott and I met in 2019 and have enjoyed getting to know each other. Scott is the Chief Sales Geek at SalesQualia so he’s a sales coach. He’s also an author. He authored Stop Hustling, Start Scaling: Ramp Up Your B2B Startup’s Repeatable Revenue with The Q Framework. I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit about that in our interview. Most interestingly, I love the fact that Scott is an endurance athlete. Welcome to our show, Scott.
Thanks, Brett. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Let’s start with the cool stuff. Start with the endurance athlete thing because I want to talk about it. The last time we talked, you told me that you run these ultramarathons. We’re talking about 200 miles.
I’ve done a 200-mile race twice.
That’s what it means to be an endurance athlete, doing these insane amounts of miles and huge runs. You’re training for one.
I’m doing a race called Tarawera, which is down in New Zealand. It’s a 100-mile race. My friends joke with me because when I tell them it’s a 100-mile race, they go, “This was only 100?” They know I’ve done the 200-mile race. I’m like, “The 100s are harder than the 200s for a variety of different reasons.” It’s a different race and training. It’s a lot of different things about it. It’s a long way to go in a day.
For all of our readers who think about what that means to put your body through a race like this at 100 miles, you’re a business owner as well. Why don’t you quickly compare and contrast the toll that it takes on you physically as an endurance runner versus the toll that it takes on somebody may be mentally, emotionally and even physically as a business owner for a couple of minutes? I’m fascinated.
I’ll start from an ultra-running standpoint or endurance event standpoint. When I think about my schedule or the year in 2020, usually what I do is pick 1 or 2 big races. We call A Races. There’s A Race, B Race and C Race. An A Race is your top race. It’s the race you want to do well in. The B Race is secondary. Maybe you have a third and the counter and then everything else is training for the big race.
This race, Tarawera, is an A minus, B Race for me because I have another 100-miler called The Western States 100, which is the oldest and most prestigious 100-mile race in the world from a lot of people’s perspectives. In between that, I’ll be doing some 50K races. I’ve done 50K. I’m going to do a training run to help me gear up for this 100-mile race and then I’ll do a couple of 50-miler, 50K races before the 100.
I love that you call it a warm-up. It is a 50K.Once you learn how to do the half marathon, you can learn how to do a marathon and then do the next thing. Click To Tweet
It’s all relative. This is important. This leads to some of the lessons here in terms of comparing culture running or endurance events to running a business because it’s all relative, first and foremost. The thing that I’ve learned is I didn’t always do 100-mile races or 200-mile races. I started off doing some local triathlons. Sometimes people might be familiar with a Sprint Triathlon or an Olympic Distance Triathlon. These are races that take 2 or 3 hours. You get up on a Saturday and do a 1/2 mile swim, a 20-mile bike, a 10K run and you’re like, “I did a triathlon and it’s awesome.” That’s where I started.
I did my first Ironman Triathlon in 2010. If you’d have told me even before I did my first Ironman that I was going to be able to do that Ironman, I would have said, “There’s no way. I’m doing these little sprint triathlons on the weekends. I want to do some exercise, get more fit and have a better life.” Slowly you start pushing the envelope in terms of what you think is possible. When I did the Ironman, I was like, “If you were to ever tell me that I’d do a 100-mile ultramarathon or a 200-mile race that’s going to take three days I was like, ‘You’re crazy.’”
From a business standpoint, one of the lessons right there and I know you do a nice job with this with your community, is thinking about what’s the next thing for your business. I did some pacing at a half-marathon turkey trot. It was a half marathon and a 5K at the same starting line. There was an older guy in all sweats and all this stuff. He was doing the 5K. He looked at me and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m pacing for that marathon.” He said, “The real runners.”
I looked at him and had this feeling of sadness in a way. I said, “You’re out here running. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a 5K or half marathon, you’re a real runner.” For that person, a half marathon is a huge distance because in his mind it’s like, “I’m just doing a 5K.” It’s not just a 5K to him. He had probably had to train for that, work for that and had a schedule for that. I’m like, “You had to get your butt out of bed. It’s cold. It’s the week before Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of other things you could be doing but you’re out here doing this.”
The idea of it’s all relative is when you’re running a business if you’re at the 5K stage, then the next step is to do a 10K. You should focus on getting the systems, the skills and the strategies in place that are going to get you to do the 10K. When you do the 10K, you do the half marathon. Once you learn how to do the half marathon, then you can do the marathon. Once you learn how to do the marathon, then you can do the next thing. From a relativity standpoint to me, 50K is still a lot of work.
I’m going to be out there for 5 or 6 hours and it’s going to take its toll on my body but that’s only because I put 10 years of work into getting to the point where I can sign up for 50K and knock it out in 6 hours before lunch. As a business owner, it’s so critical if you’re starting or doing $500,000 a year in revenue to worry about getting to $1 million. If you’re doing $1 million, worry about getting to $3 million. If you’re doing $3 million, worry about $10 million.
If you’re doing $500,000 and you’re like, “How do I get to $10 million in revenue,” you don’t. Get to $1 million. That’s your next step. In my ultra-running, I can go do a 100-miler. I know how to train for it. I know what the strategy is and I have a system in place. I know what my nutrition plan is and how to sleep.
I knew how to do all that stuff because I’ve been doing it for many years and I’ve built up this foundation that allowed me to do those things. Too often as an entrepreneur, we get so focused on, “What’s that guy doing? What’s that business over there?” They’re a $10 million or $50 million business. You’re like, “I’m going to be that $100 million business.” I’m like, “Get $1 million first and then you can build up to the next step.”
That is a very wise and insightful answer. I appreciate how you brought that right into the stages of business growth. People are where they are. Everybody reading is where they are. I love you told the older guy in sweats or at least you did in your mind.
I did tell him. I was like, “You’re a real runner. You’re out here doing it.” If you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first day doing the business. It’s not, “I’m starting a business,” but, “I’ve started a business.” You are an entrepreneur, whether you’re doing $50,000 a year and have 1 customer, 1 client, $500,000 a year or $5 million. I know people who run a $10 million business that still doesn’t consider themselves successful or business owners.
It’s like, “It’s only a $10 million business.” I was like, “You’re the fractional of 1% of businesses ever. How many businesses ever even get to $1 million?” Less than 5% ever get to $1 million in revenue. I’m like, “You’re doing it. The journey is the joy. You’ve got to enjoy this and accept it. It’s real because you’re doing it.”
Those are great ways to think about it. Thank you again for sharing some of your insights as a runner who has built up over time. I love that you made that point. It wasn’t overnight. You started at a certain place, worked on it and here you are the proverbial years of overnight success. We always talk about it in business. We look at somebody who’s finally got there and we go, “They’re the overnight success.” No, it took 7 or 10 plus years to get there. Everybody’s on the journey. Good stuff.
Talk to me about your role as a sales coach. You’re the Chief Sales Geek. You have the Q Framework. For readers, I’m not expecting you to outline in detail all of your stuff here on our show but you know these people, especially the ones that have hit that $1 million mark or they’re fast approaching it, trying to figure out this sales monster. You figure it out at $500,000 and $1 million. It keeps shifting and the requirements change. You’ve got to do more and scale that capability. What are some of the things that you see in the path of growing a business that these business owners need to pay attention to from a sales standpoint?
Let’s use the $1 million threshold as a benchmark because you’d say, “You’re under $1 million or over $1 million.” There’s an age-old saying, “The first $1 million is the toughest,” unless you’re T. Boone Pickens. I saw a Twitter post from somebody like, “It’s true. The first million is the toughest.” T. Boone Pickens replied on Twitter, “The $1 billion is even tougher.” That always stuck in my mind.
That $1 million threshold is a number that we can all relate to as business owners because getting to that first $1 million is hard to get. Few businesses get to $1 million in revenue. If you’re a bootstrap company or whether you’re a plumbing supply company, dry cleaners down the road or consultancy, that first $1 million is the toughest. If you’re a tech company, the companies that we tend to work with or startups that are going after venture capital and investment capital, typically $1 million are important.
That’s the point where venture capitalists will say, “You’ve gotten to $1 million in revenue so we can seriously look at providing a Series A round of venture capital, which is anywhere from $5 million to $15 million investment so that you can scale the business.” The $1 million comes up in a lot of different ways regardless of whether you’re running a plumbing supply company or you’re a tech startup in Silicon Valley.
I see that as a backdrop because that’s a lot of what we focus on in our work with our clients because they’re all trying to get to that $1 million. Once they get to $1 million, how do we get to $10 million? The hallmarks are the idea of the Q Framework and the Q stands for Questions. There are seven questions in the Q Framework and those questions are designed to help companies get to a level of repeatability in their sales process. It’s about systems and repeatability to get to $1 million.
Think about how you’re starting your company and you get your first couple of clients. Maybe it’s your network, your hustle or you met some people at an event. You can brute force hustle and work hard. You can get those first couple of customers and a couple of hundred thousand dollars in revenue. To get to that next phase, to get from $300,000 in revenue to $1 million, you can’t just hustle and hard work your way there. You’re going to have to have some repeatable systems on how you generate leads and pull deals through your pipeline. Also, repeatable systems on how you’re pricing and providing support to your customers so that you can retain them, renew them and upsell them down the road.
The idea of the Q Framework is the middle ground between that early-stage true startup phase, “We are in the garage trying to give the first couple of $100,000 in revenue,” to the point where you get to $1 million. The only way you’re going to get to $1 million is to get some repeatability and systems in place because that’s what allows companies to get to $1 million. You can’t just hustle and hard work your way there.
I love that you’re pointing out a critical thing in the $1 million journey for businesses, which is repeatable systems. You’re not the first person to bring that phrase or concept up but you’re reiterating for people. I want them to pay attention that you cannot grow something to a meaningful scale without repeatability. Your Q Framework is awesome because it provides some structure to the questions that the repeatable system must answer or at least guide your thinking about how to put this thing together in a way that will be repeatable.The first million is really the toughest. Click To Tweet
I don’t know how much you want to get into how that works. I didn’t have any expectation beforehand that you would take us through your whole system. Whatever you want to share in this episode, I want to make available to our readers that there are ways to get a repeatable system in place and you have a great system for doing that.
I appreciate that. I’m happy to share as much as I can. For people reading, the book Stop Hustling, Start Scaling, you can download an entire PDF version of that book from my website. If you go to SalesQualia.com, right on the homepage there’s a link that says Start Reading Now. If you click that link, you can download the entire PDF of the book. I didn’t write the book so that I could earn a bunch of royalties and buy an island in Fiji. I wrote the book because I wanted people to understand what reputable systems are and how to build them. I’m happy to share it with the people.
Let’s get clear about how people can get access to it and then maybe we’ll stay a little higher level and glean real-life insights from you while we have you because they can get the system. How do they find that PDF? What’s the best way to contact you and learn more about the Q Framework, what you do and your sales coaching?
The easiest thing is to go to SalesQualia.com. It’s right on the homepage. There’s a big black banner that says Check Out My New Book, Stop Hustling, Start Scaling. Start Reading Now. Click that button, enter your email address and then we’ll email you a copy of that PDF. It’s super simple.
Go to SalesQualia.com and then you can check out his new book, Stop Hustling, Start Scaling. Let’s say that these people go in there, they see the Q Framework and learn about the questions that they need to answer to set up these repeatable systems. What are some of the hiccups and hurdles they’re going to encounter along the way that you’ve seen time and time again? Maybe we can help prevent some unnecessary head banging on that wall.
When I think about the sales funnel and the way we define the most rudimentary basic form of a sales funnel is it’s leads, deals and customers. You’re getting leads at the top of your funnel, that’s your prospecting work. You have deals, that’s your sales pipeline and then your prospecting, pipeline and paying customers. Those are the three main areas of every sales funnel for every company.
Those are the places where I would say, “We need to build repeatability in each of those three areas.” The first place that I see hiccups or almost paralysis is on the lead gen side of things. What becomes challenging as an entrepreneur and business owner is as a consumer, you’re constantly getting bombarded with lead gen stuff. Go to Facebook and you see an ad. Go on LinkedIn and download this white paper. Go to conferences, “Can I beep your badge?”
You’re getting emails constantly coming around. You see invitations to webinars. You see people writing guest posts and articles. There are people doing videos. There are 20, 30 or 40 different ways that you could generate leads for your business. As an entrepreneur, we’re all naturally thinking about, “What’s the next new thing?” That’s our mindset.
When it comes to lead generation and doing your prospecting work, the biggest challenge that I see is that, typically, most startups try to do too many lead gen activities at one time instead of dialing into 2 or 3 specific strategies and getting those working well. We call it a Revenue Acquisition Portfolio. If you think about an investment portfolio, if you have a 401(k) or an account with fidelity and you’ve got your portfolio and what do you do, you divide the portfolio up. You’ve got some stocks and your S&P 500 index fund.
You might have some international stuff and then you’ve got some stuff that’s maybe in bonds or cash. Your investment advisors say, “You need to diversify your portfolio,” but you also don’t diversify your portfolio into 30 different types of investments because that’s as useless as not diversifying at all. When we talk about the revenue acquisition portfolio, when we work with clients, what we do is say, “What are the 2, 3 or 4 ways that you’re going to acquire revenue?”
“What are the 2 or 3 activities prospecting lead gen activities that are going to get you the most leverage so you can find the right leads in your target market that are ready to take action?” Instead of trying to do, “I’m going to do a webinar, LinkedIn ads and Facebook ads, go to conferences, cold calling and emailing.” You can’t do all those things effectively.
Through experimentation and experience, you say, “These 2 or 3 things seem to work the best. Let’s get dialed in on those 2 or 3 systems so we have repeatability around them. Once we have repeatability around them, we can hand it over to somebody else to run those systems for me and then I could focus on another part of the business.”
To answer your question, the biggest challenge is at the top of the funnel, we’re so hungry for business that we end up running around trying to do all these different lead gen activities. It’s like, “Squirrel. Shiny red ball.” None of it ends up being effective and when the next new thing isn’t effective, we go like, “That didn’t work. Let me go try the next thing.” We never get any progress done. We don’t get the repeatability that we need in those lead gen systems.
I might ineffectively do this but let’s drive back to where we started with running. If somebody who’s dressed up to run the 5K doesn’t stay on a proven path to get to 5K but they’re running around in circles, they’re not going to get there. Prospecting proven lead gen avenues for your business, 2 or 3 of them are going to give you the stability that will allow you to test other ones in the future. If you’re running around trying all these things, chaotically, you’re not going to get very far.
The reason I say 2 or 3 is you want to have some diversification from a risk standpoint. I’ve got some friends that run coaching companies and they’re 100% reliant on Facebook ads for all of their lead gen. I’m part of a mastermind group, a coaching group with these other coaches. Every once in a while, you see these Facebook posts in our group that people are freaking out because all of a sudden Facebook shut off its ads. They can’t figure out why and the spigot is dry. They got nothing. They have no other way of generating leads.
Whether it’s Facebook ads that you’re relying on or any other source of lead gen, a Navy Seal is saying, “2 is 1 and 1 is none.” If you’re relying on 1, then you have 0. If you have 2 and 1 of them falters or maybe 1 thing is not working as well as it used to, you at least get something else. I’ll use my business as an example. Years ago, we started ramping up lead gen work on LinkedIn.
We were getting good at getting targeted on who we wanted to connect with and posting content. We’re regenerating a lot of good activity and getting people out of LinkedIn and onto our marketing. It was doing well. It was like, “This is awesome.” Secondly, we also run workshops. We do some webinars as a way to get in front of people and teach them stuff. Those are our two main lead gen activities. A third was referrals so they always do pretty well with referrals. I always treat referrals as a bonus and I don’t ever want to rely on that.
We got to the point that with LinkedIn, it was going so well that I got a little bit lazy with workshops. I was like, “I’m going to skip doing a workshop in Q4.” This was a couple of years ago. We usually do a workshop in December because that’s a good time to get people in a room to learn and think about how they might get help for next year. We usually didn’t want it in January and February because then people would be off to a start not going as quickly as they want to do. These workshops are good for attracting people into our sales funnel.
The LinkedIn stuff was going so well that we were like, “I’m not going to do the workshops.” I don’t know what happened but something happened on LinkedIn that all of a sudden, posts that were getting 1,000 views, 20 likes and a bunch of comments were getting 20 views and no comments. We were like, “What happened?” It’s the Facebook Ad thing that I told you about.
That taught me the lesson of eating my own dog food in that sense to make sure that we’re diversifying out but mostly getting good at that one channel and being able to adapt to those changes. Also, knowing what the changes are going to be in those channels so that you can make sure that stays consistent for you. Once you get good at that, you can systemize it, hand it over to somebody else and then add the next thing like cold calling, conferences or something else.The more clarity we can give to the customers, the more control we're going to have over the entire process. Click To Tweet
I liked how you simplified the whole sales process for all our businesses. There’s a lead gen phase, a deal phase or nurturing or sales pipeline phase and then the sale. Those are the three big buckets. We’ve talked about some of the headaches or common pitfalls for some of us on the lead gen side. Can we do the same quickly around the deal? Where are we getting hung up on deals?
Places or a couple of hotspots or dangerous spots in deals is if you’re a product-based company where you’re doing a product demo of some kind. One of the biggest areas where I see a mistake is that every product demo is out of the box. It’s like I’m showing the same demo over and over. You might be doing it as an entrepreneur but then you bring on some salespeople and then the salespeople start doing the demo their way. At their old company, they did product demos a certain way so they’re doing it their way.
You bring on another salesperson and then they’re like, “In our company, we did demos that way.” There are 3 of you doing selling and 3 of you doing demos. The three of you are doing demos in different ways. What worked for you, all of a sudden, you’re like, “When I was doing demos, my conversion rate was 50% or 75%. These other 2 people that I hired, their conversion is at 10%. I can’t figure out why.”
It can be something as simple as you haven’t codified and created a system around how you are doing your product demos. Let’s imagine you had a product demo scheduled for that day but a UFO came down and some aliens abducted you from this earth. You need somebody else. It’s like, “Brett, I need you to do this product demo.” I should be able to hand you a script or playbook that you say, “This is how we’re going to do a product demo. You should be able to sit down, run that demo and get the same relative effectiveness that I would have gotten on my own.”
In the repeatability of that script or demo, do you have to be able to pass on to people why you’re doing certain things or is it sufficient to have the, “Here’s how we do it,” every time?
It’s the why behind it. The reason why the process exists is important. That’s almost more important than the script itself. I use the word script but that can be the process in general. As an example, before you do a demo, you should be doing some needs analysis and qualification calls with people getting clear on the problem that they have so that in the demo, you’re able to show how your product solves that problem.
Also, being able to communicate why that’s so important to your other salespeople. This is our process for running a demo. We only run a demo when there are at least two people at the target company involved because number one, we don’t want to have a single point of contact. We know 2 is 1 and 1 is none like with lead gen.
Number two, we always want to have a clear and specific problem that they’re grappling with. Just because somebody requested a demo from the website doesn’t mean they get a demo in the first call. It means that we need to get clear on why they want a demo. Is this an urgent problem or are they poking around? Is this person a decision maker? We need to know all these things before we show the demo.
What are the open loops after the demo? What are some things that we need to make sure that we research about the company to know, coming out of the demo, that these are the next three steps that we have? The important reason is that we don’t want to do a demo and then somebody goes, “That was great. We’ll get back to you.” Those are three simple examples as to the why behind we do demo a certain way. Once you teach that, it gives people the context for why your system is the way that it is, not like, “This is a script that I’m following.”
I wanted to draw that out. Thank you for spending a little more time on it because I didn’t want our readers to say, “As the owner, I can always get these great close rates,” and they go to hand off the same process to somebody else and it doesn’t go as well. Is that a personality thing? You did a great job of saying, “We need to codify the steps. There needs to be a way we do it.” The drill down behind that is for a person to do that well, they need to understand the why all along the way. We’re not just doing a mechanical robotic thing. We’re dealing with people that have unique situations, circumstances and means. We have to be able to address those.
As you’re working with deals, if in a demo or the equivalent in another business where you’re trying to help somebody get a taste for what you can do for them and you have a consistent way of moving people through that process, that’s going to be way better than a personalized version of that based on who’s in front of them on a given day. That’s a great tip. Is there anything else on deals before we move to the actual sales piece?
The second place is the mid-funnel, the pipeline in the deals. Where I see a lot of mistakes is this idea of proposals. If you think about the natural progression of a sales conversation, you have an initial call. You start trying to qualify them, make sure that they’re potentially a good fit, then you do a demo. After the demo, if they like it, a pretty frequent outcome of that demo at the end of the demo is like, “This sounds great. Can you send me a proposal?” With the demo, as a Founder, the way I’m creating that proposal or a work plan for a customer is different than the way that my other two salespeople are doing it.
All of a sudden, we might have some attenuation or exhaust in the pipeline. You’re not going to get the same conversion rates. When the customer says to you, “Send me a proposal,” what is it exactly that happens next? Do you just send the proposal? Do you sit down and say, “Before we send the proposal, let’s build out an implementation plan together so I know what to put into the proposal. Let’s get clear about what the pricing parameters are.”
I’ve seen this as well with founders. They’ll hire salespeople and go in the pipeline. One salesperson is quoting a deal at $35,000. Somebody else is quoting the same product for $15,000. You’re like, “Why are you pricing this differently?” One is like, “I thought this was a good price.” You’re like, “Wait a minute. We need to get some systems in place as to how we’re pricing.”
Maybe it’s based on company size, the number of licenses or something else but whatever that is, you need extra consistency and subsistence around that. Otherwise, you’re going to have all kinds of variance when it comes to the customers that you’re serving and the pricing that you’re quoting. It’s another example of why you need to have repeatability and some systems in place.
You get into the final phase or stage of selling and closing the deals. Where are people tripping up there in your experience?
The first place is what we call implementation, especially if you’re selling an enterprise like B2B selling. The same holds true for consumers if you have a consumer product. There’s a place in the conversation that transitions from selling to buying. The person you’re selling to has made the decision, whether it’s explicitly or implicitly to buy your product. This idea of implementation and having a clear system of an implementation plan that gets rolled out to every customer to make sure that that transition is very smooth happens in a way that makes that customer feel like they’re getting results quickly.
To get more specific, the way we think about the implementation plan in an enterprise sale, we talk about what we call the Seven Ones. This is an exercise I have all my clients do. I sit down and say, “Let’s imagine you’ve got a deal. At the end of the pipeline, you’ve done the demo and proposal. You’re all clear. The contracts awaiting and you finally get the electronic signature notification in your inbox. You’re like, ‘We got to deal.’”
The moment you get that email, what happens? It’s shocking to me how often the CEOs go, “We set up the logins and get them going.” I go, “What does that mean to you? Who’s involved on your side? Who gets the logins?” “We get the logins over to the customer.” “Who’s the we? Is it me? Is it you? The engineer? The customer success person? Who is the we on the other side that’s responsible for making sure everybody logs in?” They’re like, “We did the logins and figured that they know what to do.” I’m like, “Let’s put the brakes on this.”
The Seven Ones that I talked about are the first seven-time units. Imagine the first minute you get the contract and notification email. What’s the first thing you do? For me, if it was an enterprise, I would pick up the phone, call the person that’s on and say, “I wanted to let you know that we received the signed agreement. We’re so excited to work with you. The team is already working on setting up your account. Who on your side should be our main point of contact for the implementation?” That’s step number one.What we're delivering to entrepreneurs is the ability to make the impact they want to make. Click To Tweet
The next first is the first hour. What are all the things that are going to happen in the first hour that you get that time contract? What are all the things that are going to happen on the first day? What happens in the 1st week, 1st month, 1st quarter and 1st year? One of the things we do is we have our clients sit down and I force them to write this stuff out. “Include both your side, as a supplier and the customer side. What do you need from them to be successful?”
If you have that as a system to show to your customer, as part of the sale, even before they get the contract, you say, “We’re getting pretty late in the sales process. You might have some questions and not be sure if we can come through for you. If you were to say, yes, let me show you what we call our 7-by-1 implementation system. It’s all the things you can expect from us and what we need from you over the first seven-time units so you’re 100% clear on how we’re going to make sure we deliver for you everything that we’re promising to you.”
That’s an example of a system that most companies don’t have. They’re spitting bubblegum like, “We got a contract.” Everybody brute force. Sure, everybody in the team is happy to do the work, serve the customer and fulfill the mission of the company but what ends up happening is something gets missed. One engineer leaves or is out sick that day. A thing doesn’t happen.
Frankly, at the end of the day, it’s confusing to the customer on the other side. Who do they call for what? Do they get the logins on the first day? When do we do the training? Is the training in the first 3 days or the first 3 weeks? The clearer and more clarity we can give to the customers, the more control we’re going to have over the entire process. That’s going to give them the confidence that they need to take the action that we want them to take, which is to buy our stuff.
I’m so glad you decided to talk about that because I’ve seen this as well. My take on this, very simply, is people are buying perceived value. If you don’t have your system in place to deliver what they think they’re buying, that’s a problem for the current sale. It’s also a problem for any potential future sales or referrals. Value purchased and value received is not always the same. You’re advocating to set up a predictable, repeatable process for ensuring that the likelihood is high that they’re going get what they paid for.
When you think about the sale and you’re selling to a customer, what are they buying? Are they buying the product or the outcome that the product is going to get them? They’re buying the outcome that the product that’s going to get them. In the course of the sale, you’re going to establish why are they going to buy from you? What’s the cost-benefit analysis? If you invest $100,000 to buy a product, you’re going to get $10 million in return. Do we both agree on that? The thing they’re buying is the $10 million in return. They’re spending money to get the product they want and they’re getting that $10 million in return for whatever problem it is that you’re solving.
By going through this implementation planning process, both internally but also bringing the customer alongside to help them see what this plan looks like, the plan shows them how they’re going to get the $10 million in return that they want. Ultimately, what they’re buying isn’t the product. They’re buying the plan. That’s the thing they want. They want clear steps and the magic map that you are going to give them to get them from where they are with this problem to that $10 million result.
The plan is the thing that makes it tangible. They can’t see the software or the product but they can see the steps and the plan. That’s the thing they’re buying. If you can show them that as part of the sale, then you’ve removed all the friction, barriers and hindrances they get from, “We’re thinking about it. We’re not sure,” to, “Let’s get started.”
You delivered some extra gold to anybody who’s reading this who sells a software product. Everybody’s selling software but they’re not buying software. They’re buying some benefit, return and outcome. The software is supposed to enable that but only if that plan is in place and it’s followed. We use the phrase, “Usage is king,” all the time. People can buy the software but if they don’t extract the value by using it, it’s not going to deliver the value. You’re advocating a very designed intentional plan for helping people get value out of the product, service or whatever it is that our readers are selling.
Scott, thank you so much for taking us through some of your experiences and insights with lead gen, pipeline deal phase and sales where people typically get stuck. You’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of companies and business owners get through these hurdles. I thank you for taking some of your time to share that wisdom and insight.
I appreciate that. It’s funny because we’re a sales coaching company. People come to us to say, “We need to have a repeatable sales process and grow sales.” We coach them on sales. That’s our product but what we’re helping companies do is we call from idea to impact. All entrepreneurs start with an idea and where they want to go, it’s creating an impact in their marketplace.
When they buy coaching or work with us, what we’re delivering to them is the ability to make the impact that they want to make because that’s the thing that they want, like your customers want to get that $10 million outcome. The mission of our company is to help 100 startups get to $10 million in annual recurring revenue. We want to do that over the next years.
If you do the math on that, 100 startups doing $10 million a year in recurring revenue is a $1 billion impact for ourselves. How can this little coaching company started by some guy make a $1 billion impact? It’s not easy but it’s simple. The path is clear on how to do it. If we can help people through the books, podcasts or our coaching program to get that $2 million annual recurring revenue, then we feel like we’ve done our job out here.
My hat is off to you both for what you’re doing in business to help 100 startups hit that $10 million mark in annual recurring revenue and also in your endurance athlete activities. I am impressed all around with who you are as a person. I appreciate you coming on and sharing some insights with our group.
It’s a hoot. I can do this all day. Anytime you want to have me.
That’s because you’re an endurance athlete, you can endure me.
My son was like, “Do you want us to do something?” I’m like, “I’m tired.” He’s like, “Dad, you run 100 miles. You can’t be tired.” I’m like, “How dare you use my words against me.”
Let’s review one more time. The way people get a hold of you is to go to SalesQualia.com. That’s where they can find out more about Stop Hustling, Start Scaling. If they want to reach out to you or find you via social channels, is there a way to do that?
The best place is LinkedIn. I’m the only person there on LinkedIn under such a name. You’ll see me there. If you want to connect, send me a connection request. I’m happy to connect with you and then strike up a conversation there if you’d like. Go to the website and download the book. Once you download the book, we’ll send you a couple of other resources as well. They’re both related to the book. We do webinars and training. We do a bunch of stuff for free every month. Getting yourself on that list is always a good thing too. Once you download the book or connect with me on LinkedIn either way, we do our very best to help you out.
Look up Scott on LinkedIn and connect with him there. Go to his website SalesQualia.com. You want to be connected with this man. Scott is the golden touch. He’s going to help 100 of you get to $10 million plus. That’s awesome. Scott, thanks again. Thanks, everybody, for reading this episode. Please rate, review and share this show with others. We love helping seven-figure business owners along the path. We have great guests like Scott every episode. I appreciate you for reading. We’ll see you on a future episode.
- Stop Hustling, Start Scaling: Ramp Up Your B2B Startup’s Repeatable Revenue with The Q Framework
- The Western States 100
- LinkedIn – Scott Sambucci
- Startup Selling
- 52 Sales Questions Answered
- @ScottSambucci – Twitter
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