September 10, 2020
Sales is a demanding, fast-paced industry - but have you ever stopped to ask yourself: what’s my goal?
For most B2B SaaS sales leaders, the answer to that question is simple: to achieve consistent revenue growth. Constant, predictable growth is the holy grail of SaaS - and here at Cognism, we believe we’ve unlocked the secret!
Our growth trajectory is rightly the stuff of SaaS legend - from 657% growth in 2018 to 180% last year. But what’s behind the numbers? What’s our system, our process? What helped us to build a sales strategy that delivers outstanding success year-on-year?
For this article, we interviewed our CEO and founder, James Isilay. He walked us through his scientific approach to B2B sales, an approach that has taken us from startup to scaleup in less than 3 years.
This is how we built a formidable sales engine at Cognism - in 5 key steps.
If revenue is your ultimate goal, then make it the number one benchmark that you measure everything else against. Everything you do in B2B SaaS sales must relate back to revenue. If there’s something you’re doing that isn’t helping you hit your revenue target, drop it.
This top-down sales approach shows you where you should be focusing your energies. When you’ve worked out your revenue target, you can then work out which activities will help you achieve that target.
Typically, these will be:
Every revenue-generating activity you engage in must be tracked by underlying metrics. These include:
These are the top-level sales metrics that you need to track. In the next step, it’s time to get more granular.
The old-school view of outbound sales is that it was an art - you had salespeople who engaged with leads and, through sheer force of personality, persuaded them to buy.
This approach just doesn’t cut it in the 21st century. Today’s SaaS companies have transformed outbound sales into a science. You can calculate exactly how many sales reps you’ll need to hit your revenue target - and this is the secret formula.
From this calculation, you can work out…
The next step is to put all this together in a practical, repeatable way.
The capacity model is how you take the ideas from Steps 1-3 and build them into a scalable, repeatable sales process. This is the system that Cognism follows. Here’s how it works:
This is the science of predictable B2B sales. Below, you’ll see a table showing the capacity model in action at Cognism, from H1 2019.
We recommend this model wholeheartedly if you’re a scaling B2B SaaS company. It allows you to accurately predict revenue and successfully manage resources month-on-month.
When your lead generation machine is up and running, your next task is to keep that machine well oiled. There are a number of things you can do as a sales leader to improve the efficiency of your team.
Here are our top tips:
Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for your business. This is a representation of the perfect buyer for your product/service. Once you’ve defined your ICP, use it to find decision-makers who exactly match that persona.
Your B2B sales rocketship will never get off the ground if your sales and marketing teams are at loggerheads. They must work together symbiotically, with marketing attracting and scoring leads for sales to action.
The number one thing you can do to drive alignment is to put both departments under the same umbrella. Instead of looking at them as 2 separate teams, view them as all 1 team - the revenue team!
Within that, it’s important that your B2B marketing operation is strong. Use every tool in the marketing toolkit to nurture your leads until they’re ready to buy.
Start a blog, publish quality content aimed at your ideal buyers, run paid ads and launch email marketing campaigns. Keep that pipeline full of warm and hot leads!
Select your metrics and track them on a weekly basis. Measure everything to the smallest detail - number of dials, conversion rates, demos attended...the list goes on!
By tracking everything weekly, you’ll be able to quickly spot errors in your sales process and fix them.
There are a plethora of tools that can aid your sales team in their B2B prospecting quest. A word of advice, though - don’t implement tech for the sake of it. When looking at providers, always ask yourself: what problem is this going to solve for my team? If it’s not resolving an issue, don’t buy it.
Looking to invest in some tools? We’ve curated a list of the very best B2B sales tech available right now.
All this talk of processes, tech and B2B data can lead us to forget the most important element of all: your people!
Sales is still a people process. Tech and data can help, but it’s people that drive the engine. Make sure you don’t lose sight of your team when setting your sales goals.
Hiring the right SDRs is one critical element; providing them with clear progression opportunities and world-class training are others. If you can get the right salespeople, give them everything they need to succeed, and incentivise them to achieve their very best, then you’ll find that your sales operation will run like clockwork.
That’s our rundown of setting goals and building a B2B sales engine that succeeds. These are the key points:
Cognism can be a perfect addition to any B2B SaaS sales team. Use our pioneering, AI-powered platform to:
Keen to see a live demo of our world-beating sales tech? Simply register your interest by clicking the button below!