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May 31, 2021
7 min read
Happy Memorial Day! Nothing better than a day off from the sales grind, time with family and friends, and a fresh issue of The Weekly Pitch 🙌
This week's feature story, a reader-submitted request, delves into the oft-overlooked driver of growth – expansion revenue (growing your current customer accounts). We uncovered too many tactics to pack into one issue, so we'll focus on today's pre-sale side. Next week will look at post-sale tactics.
Then, you'll meet Kevin Malone on our Leaderboard. We had a lot of fun profiling Kevin and were impressed by the two sales traits he values most – hustle and storytelling. Make sure you check out his go-to leadership inspirations and favorite metrics to track after revenue.
Before we dive in, here are two things that grabbed our attention last week:
Those feeling "optimistic" about hitting their Q2 goal jumps 9% week-over-week. The percentage of those feeling "concerned" drops to its lowest point this quarter at 41%.
Almost one in five are still unsure about hitting their goal this quarter heading into June. Have a quota and interested in being part of our Weekly Forecast week-over-week trends? Hit the link below to one-click share your Q2 outlook anonymously.
While you're there, please tell us what sales-related stories and trends you would like The Weekly Pitch to investigate and share in future newsletters.
Sell to those who already like you. No surprise that landing a new customer is much more challenging than winning extra business from a current one. Win rates sky to 60% with existing customers compared to 20% to acquire a new logo. Only closing one in five opportunities makes sales efforts at least three times more expensive on the new business side, yet, most revenue leaders say that’s their primary focus. Driving expansion revenue with current customers is often secondary, if not ultimately dismissed.
Companies downgrading account growth as the primary revenue driver isn’t the only issue. Research from Gartner shows expectations for account growth are falling short. Only 28% of sales leaders report account management regularly meets cross-sell and upsell targets.
Selling to current customers is more straightforward, but we’re falling short of account growth goals. Over the following two issues, we’ll address this juxtaposition with twenty-four proven tactics from pre-sale to post-sale that will deliver the revenue boost we’re always seeking.
First, let's dive deeper into the tactics we can try before an account is "closed-won."
The best and brightest revenue leaders see ample opportunity to grow an account well before the deal is even closed. At the top are several tactics related to the market's increasing appetite to pick a long-term partner. It’s exhaustive and time-consuming for a customer to select a vendor – requirements gathering, hours of meetings, multiple stakeholders weighing in, and budget, compliance, and security approvals.
Remind them of this internal investment. Build a business case to show the ROI and benefits rising exponentially over time with your solution. Provide customer testimonials, or point them to your online reviews like G2 or Capterra to assuage any concerns.
If the customer can’t get authorization to sign a long-term agreement, it could be time to walk away or at least evaluate alignment, fit, and their likelihood to renew. Market trends show annual and multi-year terms are replacing monthly subscriptions.
Here are eight pre-sale tactics that work:
We'll have twice as much fun next week as we turn up the volume and introduce sixteen more account growth tactics on the post-sale side of the fence. Don't miss it!
Kevin Malone has managed multi-million dollar books of business his entire career across account management, business development, and sales roles. Now he's charged with building one faster than ever before. Kevin is the first sales hire for Azurite Consulting, a research firm founded by two ex-McKinsey consultants serving the C-Suite, investment managers, and deal teams.
Malone's job is to build out the sales and marketing infrastructure and, in addition to generating revenue, form a sales operations function. Once he gets those ingredients in place, he's ready to scale for growth over the next twelve months.
"Joining Azurite was the most exciting move of my career. It was a no-brainer for me to join a company that solves the most complex problems facing businesses. We are building something special. Every day brings a new challenge, and I love that."
Here are a few places Kevin goes for leadership inspiration:
This sales or leadership book is a must-read for aspiring leaders: The 5AM Club.
This podcast is a must-listen: How I Built This.
This song is currently in my heavy rotation: SORRY NOT SORRY – DJ Khaled, Nas, JAY-Z.
When it comes to leading, Kevin is all about goals – the ambitious kind – and hustle.
"In terms of hiring, I LOVE candidates that have goals and the hustle to achieve them. Hustle is the most important part of sales, and when you combine it with an ambitious goal, you truly get a rock star sales rep. The hustle has to be there. I can sniff out hustle and determination within five minutes. Everyone has a dream, but very few are willing to work hard and walk the treacherous path required to get there."
“I start by discussing with each team member about their long-term goals. Where do you want to be professionally in five years? What’s the most ambitious goal you have for yourself?" Malone then maps out a plan with specific steps of what the team member has to do to achieve that goal. As their manager, he clarifies that part of his job is to help them hit those professional milestones. His next move is setting sales targets with purpose.
"There has to be a purpose behind all they do. Purpose sustains the team through the ups and downs of sales and gives them a reason to stay the course and be successful in sales. I've always found success in setting specific milestones."
Kevin chooses weekly pipeline meetings with his account executives. He also holds a unique huddle at the end of the month, recapping the team's activity and reviewing wins, losses, and KPIs. During rep one-on-ones, Kevin constantly evaluates strengths and weaknesses and steps to address both, with the rep's ambitious long-term goal in the backdrop. Are they on track? If not, how can Malone step in and help?
My favorite metrics to track after revenue are: meeting activity and close ratios.
A new sales tactic that's working for my team is: asking for the opportunity to demonstrate value before asking for a meeting.
Malone aptly describes sales as a game of storytelling. Account executives reach out to people who are getting the same call from other reps. So you find differentiation in telling the best story.
"We share examples of what we do before asking for the most precious asset the prospect has – their time. We stay tuned in to their respective industries, understanding our prospect's challenges, and using our work and product to tell a relevant story. We're also not afraid to give answers away for free. By leading with an answer, we demonstrate to the prospect that their valuable time will be well spent by speaking with us. It goes from a cold call to a warm conversation."
Feel free to reach out to Kevin if you're interested in joining his team or learning more about Azurite Consulting. Just make sure to have big goals, bring the hustle, and tell a great story to get his attention.
Are you a sales leader interested in being profiled in our newsletter? If so, fill out this short form. We'll polish it up and get your approval to share with The Weekly Pitch community. The Leaderboard is a fun twist on the Q&A and an opportunity to elevate your personal and company brand!
Gold star ⭐️ for you. You've made it to the end. Now enjoy that barbeque later today with family and friends. We appreciate your support.
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