Active Prospecting has always been seen as an area that depends exclusively on talent. The processes were impossible to replicate as they depended on the salespeople’s ability to generate rapport, overcome obstacles, and master the greatest number of closing techniques that existed.
Particularly in Brazil, this is very bad. With this barrier to the evolution of the commercial area, very few companies were able to scale their sales and became dependent on 5 or 6 salespeople above the average. The results varied a lot, not following any predictability and, unless the product/service was really a must-have or it was selling to State-owned companies, the chances of growing robustly were practically nil.
Every growing season has come with accommodation, the natural tendency when you are dependent on a few sales executives who may not be as motivated after earning spectacular commissions for a good month.
Not to mention large companies that had more than 1000 salespeople on their teams and still couldn’t achieve predictability and constancy. Of this entire team, if 200 or 300 were above average, it would be something surprising. Now imagine yourself in the role of CEO of one of these companies. You would have 700 to 800 salespeople who couldn’t meet your goals, and looking for new ones in the market would require more training time and even worse short-term results. The setting was not the best.
Not to mention that every result was generated from natural talent or sales methodologies, so anyone attached to the process would naturally end up outside the team. Basically, it wasn’t the ideal area for a data-driven.
Every business owner or commercial manager ended up with a flea behind their ear. How to achieve consistent results that make it possible to plan my future if my entire process is based on feeling, talent and some use of methodology?
The answer was just to our north. When Aaron Ross conceived the modern Outbound Marketing process, the whole idea of how to set up a commercial area was demolished. It became possible to assemble cheaper and more efficient teams, with the advantage of generating predictable results that facilitated the long-term planning of the company that would implement it.
Now a team of 4 people could consistently generate more revenue than a team of 10 salespeople. It goes without saying that Outbound Marketing has caught the attention of many sales managers.
On average, these 4 people cost at most 1.5x more than a senior salesperson with a salary of R$5,000. And in a country like ours, which in addition to not having a good time, still has draconian labor legislation, that makes all the difference.
Let’s talk a little bit about how the traditional model worked and then highlight how Outbound Marketing has changed the reality of managers.
Traditional Active Prospecting
In the traditional model of active prospecting, the sales area structure consisted only of salespeople. They could be juniors, full or seniors, but in the end, everyone was responsible for Prospecting, Qualifying and Closing new deals. The only difference in theory was the salary received, as everyone performed the same function.
The entire commissioning structuring was based on new revenues, regardless of the customer’s qualification level and whether they really had the profile to enter the company. Now imagine, if all the commission was tied to just revenue generation, what would be the only indicator that would worry salespeople?
With this, they usually lived the following cycle: prospecting several contacts and then when they were qualifying, they stopped focusing on prospecting. After they were qualified, it was time to negotiate, taking into account that everyone played the role correctly, without trying to skip steps. It was at this time that he really left all his other duties aside, after all, that was where his variable remuneration would come from. Could you see why the results were fickle?
Lahore smart city team pointed out above the reason for the inconsistency in revenue generation of companies that follow the traditional model, now we will talk about a point more linked to the nuances of the process. The insistence on closing the deal.
The problem that happens when the seller has all the assignments is that he spends a lot of time on prospecting and qualifying. When the time comes to trade, he is already desperate for the close, even more so because he will have to restart the entire cycle and wait even longer to reach the end of it.
With that, the sale starts to have more insistence than the ideal. The seller tends to put a lot of pressure on the buyer to get to the end of the negotiation right away and may even offer values ranging from extremely high, as he does not know when another opportunity will arise, to very low, in the eagerness to monetize quickly.
So we see that the process always had everything to go wrong. The mix of poor alignment between goal x process made all salespeople dependent on talent or feeling, which is why the turnover in the commercial area is above average.
Now it’s about the seller’s profile that we will talk about.
Seller Profile Dependency
This is perhaps the most glaring point in commercial areas that follow the traditional method. The extreme dependence of the salesperson on a sly. In this context, the person who finds it easier to generate empathy with the buyer is usually the one who closes the sale. We don’t think that’s bad, it’s every manager’s dream to hire a born salesperson. The problem is: replicating his talent to the rest of the team is impossible and if there is no process behind the team, he will probably be the only top performer.
In the long run, another problem arises. This sales executive has a spectacular income, always hits his goals and has a huge customer base. Many directors end up turning you into a manager and this can be a bad idea, for two reasons: the company is losing the best salesperson it has and he will not be able to replicate his characteristics for the rest of the team.
So, if he doesn’t study the whole process and assemble something functional, the tendency is that both he and his team will end up getting unmotivated, with the team without a leader to solve problems and he doesn’t do the work he does best.
Did you realize how bad it is to rely solely on the profile of your contractors to achieve success?
Lack of Indicators
Commonly in the sales area, there was only one global indicator: new revenues. From it, the goals of the teams were defined, which should turn to achieve it.
As a result, several problems arose: as the various stages of the process were not measured, the manager would not know the ideal number of salespeople to achieve their results. All of his work was based on feeling, and as we mentioned in the point of dependence on the seller’s profile, he had no idea of the result that each of the new hires would generate.
I personally appreciate taking a large part of decisions based on numbers, even for that reason I didn’t feel that I could fit into the traditional sales model. Fortunately for me and the process, that reality has changed with the rise of modern Outbound Marketing, and you’ll see why.
Outbound Marketing: Modern Active Prospecting
As the earthquake caused by Aaron Ross in the sales process was very strong, even outside the US, many companies began to adopt for themselves the process that emerged in Silicon Valley.
Something that paired revenue forecasting with a replicable process sounded extremely seductive in the eyes of any CEO and CRO. And that was exactly what the process promised and fulfilled. All companies that tried it quickly reaped the fruits of their efforts and began to be able to better plan their future, having a sense of the new revenues that would enter their monthly base and basing their growth on various indicators, which did not happen before.
However, there was still a gap that, mainly in the Brazilian scenario, needed to be filled. In Brazil, Prospects required, I say this from my own experience, more personalization in the contact made, and with that came the need to add one more person to the process, someone responsible for qualifying the generated contact lists and transforming those leads into Smart Leads.
Thus came the Commercial Intelligence, which differentiated our Outbound practiced from abroad. This person is responsible for generating strategic market and prospect information, so that Prospector can create a tailored speech and increase the average conversion rate, even when contacts are sent in bulk, as it is possible to add some degree of personalization to all the emails sent.
Now let’s talk a little more deeply about how this process has changed the corporate sales scenario in Brazil.
Replicable and Predictable
When the team of Capital Smart City talks about the salesperson profile, we realize that the biggest headache is trying to replicate the success of a top performer to the rest of the team. This guy is impossible to be copied, this, unfortunately, is a reality and Outbound Marketing does not propose to change that.
What it actually promises and fulfills are two points: to be a repeatable process for any new employee who enters the commercial area and to provide the manager with the predictability of new revenues.
All this was possible thanks to the segmentation of roles in the active prospecting teams. If before the salesperson was responsible for all the activities of the process, today the connection is in charge of only one person, who has a clear indicator for his task. Qualifying is up to another and only the closing remains in your hands.
With this, it became possible to identify the generation of new revenues. By crossing the conversion rates with the number of successful connections, it was already possible to know the increase that would occur in the customer base.
Thus, the entire process is guided by indicators and, as all the work is measured in real-time, the possibility of an employee coming up with an excuse drops drastically.
In addition to making the process measurable and predictable, the advantage of Outbound Marketing over the Traditional Model is that it reduces costs with the sales team. As it does not require senior professionals to generate results, fixed salaries can be lower, with everything else tied to results.
We can mention other points such as a drop in the turnover, as there is no need to hire thousands of salespeople until you find the ideal, with all those who do not reach the target becoming discouraged, and with that, asking to leave or being fired due to poor results.