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January 31, 2022
5 min read
Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch! We start with a text from a reader to her manager. She works in consulting, where business development is part of her job.
She shared she had more confidence saying no to a client after last week's article on handling discounts. She rejected the discount, and it worked!
Today, we break down the current state of sales and how teams are evolving in our Feature Story. We end with The Closer to highlight one Chief Revenue Officer thinking outside the box with her team.
Let's start with our Weekly Chart.
The 2022 State of Email report caught our attention this week. Email marketers from companies like Stripe weighed in to offer several relevant insights for sales pros:
Here are two more suggestions.
Over half personalize subject lines over half the time. Include customer or prospect names, or tailor it to the segment or recent news.
Over half entice prospects to take additional action with a relevant (not clickbaity) CTA in signature lines.
If we use a generic "Meet with me" calendar link, try "Meet with me to learn how our customers get 200% ROI."
If 2021 was the year of Product-Led Growth, 2022 makes a transition to a new acronym – PLS – Product-Led Sales. Why the transition? Too many high-growth "PLG" companies like Asana, DataDog, HashiCorp, MongoDB, and Zoom have discovered a layered-on sales team is necessary to keep meteoric growth rates going.
We scoured this hot-off-the-press sales benchmark report for other vital insights. In summary, fresh thinking will marry the conventional, making the sales profession a go-to career for the ambitious and driven. Let's go!
Over 85% of SaaS sales teams have a product-led growth motion or are moving to one, and 97% say sales are a central part of their GTM strategy. The myth that "products sell themselves" or that PLG companies don't need sales has been debunked.
Almost three in four organizations have an inbound sales team. And the outbound sales motion is alive and well, with 44% of companies having a dedicated team to capture market whitespace.
A new lead-gen type appears to be gaining in popularity – product-qualified leads. Hot on the heels of the more traditional marketing-qualified lead, look for product teams to become as essential as marketing over the next few years. Responsibilities for marketers may shift from top-of-the-funnel vanity metrics to building brand power.
Long synonymous with field sales, selling face-to-face, and closing six and seven-figure deals, the enterprise sale enters a new era. Today, enterprise sales teams help potential customers implement products and services company-wide regardless of their size or the deal value. Over 80% funnel inquiring customers to "contact sales."
Not surprisingly, Salesforce is still the category leader, but HubSpot appears to be gaining market share. Surprisingly, almost 5% say they sell without a database of some kind. Our customer data seems to infinitely grow, so look for sales teams to hire more support roles like CRM administrators, deal desk analysts, and contract operations.
Almost eight in ten CEOs and founders make their first sales hire before revenue reaches $1 million. If any of us have taken this role, we know the title goes out the window on Day 1. The job is typically a grind that involves a prospecting-first mindset but makes for an exhilarating ride when equity is involved! The emerging "Sales-Assist" role sells and closes deals by getting users to adopt the product.
As revenue grows, so does the team. Here are the five most dominant hires:
The most progressive sales teams will prioritize career pathing, learning and development, and role tiering for more frequent promotions. And those promotions might appear more like a spider web of lateral moves rather than the traditional step into management.
"We set goals that we believe people can achieve based on data. Every sales organization has an equation. It might look like this: N opportunities X win rate X average sale price = closed/won revenue."
"At Hootsuite, we have transformed our organization to delineate specific customer-facing roles. We now have sales reps focused on inbound leads, reps focused on outbound acquisition, and others focused on nurturing and growing our existing customers."
Many companies have this organizational structure, and there are several reasons why:
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