We recently had the opportunity to speak with Charles Becker, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at SalesFlow to learn about their sales as a service model, and how they generate a consistent stream of sales qualified leads for clients.
Have a good idea of an ideal customer profile, but be flexible to adapt if the data points in a new direction of prospects
When partnering with an outsourced sales development team it’s not about quick profits but rather strategic alignment on business goals and mutual agreement on process
Maximize sales prospecting time by realizing when it’s time to throw in the towel on a prospect and just move on to the next one
[0:35-1:50] Question: Tell me about what SalesFlow does and who your customers are?
Answer: We work with companies that want to accelerate sales growth. Common business challenges of our clients include high churn rates or operational costs. Most clients also need a consistent stream of warm sales leads. Client typically have employee count of 11-200 with sales teams as large as 50.
We work with many different industries and it really comes down to if they have a market with a large enough number of prospects to substantiate an outsourced sales team. We’ve been lucky to work with some really cool companies, like Bounce Exchange and Single Platform.
[3:34-4:28] Question: Is most of your team physically here in the New York City office?
Answer: Yes, Most of our team is here in our New York office. We have a strategy team that works on getting leads, a Business Development team that works on sales calls and follow-ups, email strategy and overcoming objections and an editorial team coming up with messaging. A few folks are distributed overseas that help us build lead lists. We also have a call center that helps our clients who have very large SMB market and need to have an aggressive phone partner.
[4:45- 5:05] Our founders were from AdTech and when we first started out we began with sales email outreach first, working with companies that wanted to find buyers in market. Later on as we evolved and our ideal customer profile expanded, we wanted to cover all our basis. So we began offering other services like inbound lead qualification, and telemarketing.
[5:10- 5:50] Question: Can you walk me through how you develop an ideal customer profile?
Answer: It sounds simple but we start by looking at who their existing clients are and ask questions like:
“What are the factors that make them a good client?” “Why do you stay away from certain types of companies?”
We ask questions that help us find out unique value proposition, and we use those insights to score and find new potential customers.
[7:08- 7:21] We cast a wide sales prospecting net every month and then take a look to see where we are getting the most meetings, and on the client team where are they closing the most deals, and getting the most momentum. We reinvest resources in those areas.
[8:30- 8:39] We figure out what areas to focus and pick software tools and databases that we can use to build an ideal customer profile for our clients. There’s lots of cool software out there. We get a membership to some expensive solutions like Datanyze and are able to spread it across our client base. This also helps to offset costs for our clients since many don’t need the full capacity of some of these tools.
[8:55- 9:45] Since we work with so many different clients it becomes important to find effective sales tools that show technology stack insights, such as what companies are using Salesforce, or what companies have Infusionsoft.
[10:13- 11:13] Question: What is your process to establish a relationship with prospects? How do you figure out what is going to work for them? What is the method you use to determine the best cadence?
Answer: I am a big fan of email outreach but there are a lot of loopholes. Meaning, you can miss a lot of low hanging fruit from people waiting for that phone call and the human element. Not to mention, in certain industries email isn’t as effective like financial services or food services. They aren’t always at their desks.
[11:15- 11:28] I don’t think cold calling is dead either. We are all in the mindsight of how can we make money with as much profits as possible, cold calling fundamentally is expensive. It’s a lot of activity but you’re not reaching a lot of people. Let’s say you make 100 dials a day and only reach 10 people. That’s why many corporations have adopted sales email outreach.
[12:18- 12:23] The engagement is highest for us with sales emails first and then we do phone follow ups where we see the most people are responding positively.
[12:35- 13:00] We make phone calls for retargeting once we have a large database of contacts who have received emails from campaigns. Some things we like to track are who has opened the most emails in the past 90 days, who has gotten so far in the sales funnel to request a meeting but didn’t attend. These are the people we want to focus cold calls on.
[14:04- 16:03] Question: You guys are really a full suite of sales development services. A company would come to you wanting to outsource their entire sales development. Do you ever do alacarte services or do you really focus on just a complete solution that gets high quality leads and hand it over when they are ready to have that end of funnel/buy conversation?
Answer: We alacarte one thing and that’s inbound. We can qualify new leads and typically convert about 20% of cold inactive clients. To answer the second half of your question, for the most part we don’t alacarte our services. What everyone really wants is sales qualified meetings that converts into new revenue streams. If we were to just take some portions of this, we wouldn’t be able to control the quality of it.
[17:30- 17: 39] Our clients know we aren’t in it just for quick profits but we’re in it to work for the right companies to get them into the place in the market they want to be. We aren’t afraid to do all the hard work at the top of the sales funnel.
[17:51- 18:40] Question: When a new client comes on board, how do you convey KPI’s?
Answer: Everyone wants to know how many meetings they can get and that’s divided by how much they pay and that’s their cost per lead. For us though we like to tie this to business problems. If you don’t have a revenue generating business problem then we probably aren’t the best fit. We look for long term relationships not those who want a short term bump in meetings. We customize what success looks like for each client.
[20:25] The right type of partners for us have real and clearly defined business targets.
[20:35- 21:27] Question: Who do you think is a good fit for Sales as a Service?
Answer: You have a market with a large prospect pool, you have a good product market fit and you sell with 1 or multiple niches. If you feel like sales could be run more lean and are all about creating new profitable revenue streams then you are also a good fit.
We consistently beat out our competition in scheduling new appointments, or getting new meetings, but at the end of the month where we really excel is making sure that our sales process can be built incrementally off an ideal customer profile.
[21:36- 22:45] Question: Any tips on how teams can maximize their time sales prospecting? What have you learned being in the trenches?
Answer: Cast a wide net and look for people with the highest intent first.
I remember this analogy, “I can give you a steak dinner for a dollar but if you just had lunch, I couldn’t pay you to have that dinner”.
A lot of sales teams spend too much time personalizing and learning about decision makers. They invest a lot of time in prospects that will never convert to sales. The best sales teams find the perfect harmony between balancing sales leads and prospecting to the right customers.
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