Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com
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on August 26, 2013
I definitely enjoyed the book Predictable Revenue and really like the author's style. Ross did an amazing job helping Salesforce.com generate its opportunities, and this book tells his story of building the lead generation function from scratch and gives some great examples of his leadership style.

I would have liked it to have been more specific, but it still fully deserves a 5 star rating for being the course on "Bay Area Lead Gen Scaling 101." Having built and managed a 5+ member lead generation team from scratch exactly like the author, here are my thoughts on the book:

Ross' Vision:
1) Don't let the so-called "reality" stop you. (Love this comment)
2) Subteams and miniCEOs, cool idea for teams within companies. (Great vision, his best)
3) Design CEOs and VPs of Sales out of the sales process. (Hmm, interesting. Agreed)
4) The future of sales is on new user acquisition and important titles like VP of Lead or Demand Gen. (Agreed)
5) Design self-managing teams. (Good)

The 4 things Ross nails especially well:
1) "Prospects should earn proposals." (This is the best line ever, I always say this)
2) Always get prospects to talk about their business, not selling the product. Ask "why" 3x or more. (Great!!)
3) In 6 months, follow-up on all past opportunities. (Important)
4) Ask yourself in order, "what can I:"
A. eliminate
B. automate
C. outsource
D. delegate

Some facts:
1) "Short and sweet" emails get over 9% open rate vs. sales-y at 0%.
2) Responsibilities of VP Sales includes: goal setting, involvement in big deals, culture, etc. (See full list)
3) Most inbound leads come from small businesses, not enterprises.

Things I found interesting:
1) "Send messages before 9am or after 5pm and avoid Monday and Fridays." (It would be interesting to see these stats in much more specificity)
2) "Did I catch you at a bad time" is best intro line. (Hmm, maybe, need to think about)
3) "Return on Salesperson's time." (Very interesting concept and would be interesting to track both to company and as an individual)
4) Ross says: don't assume sales people will find deals by Rolodexes and cold calling. (Great!! Yes)

Parts of Ross' Process:
1) Define what companies are most similar to the top 5-10% of your clients. (Good)
2) Voicemail and email combinations are effective. (Ok)
3) Create a "success plan" for after product is sold. (Good)
4) Always start high 1-2 levels above decision maker. (Maybe. Good rule of thumb, but I don't like the word "always." Finding influential people is key)
5) Free trials - help create "what defines success" and make sure there is follow-through. (I like paid trials better)
6) Track call conversations with DM's per day for sdr team. (Yes)
7) Always set up a next step with qualified dms. (Very important)
8) Need a market response rep for every 400 leads. (Ok, maybe)
9) Metrics to track at board level: new pipeline generated per month. (Good)

Some additional thoughts:
1) Scaling is "not about hiring more salespeople." (Agreed. Ideally this process would be systemized and automated)
2) Hubspot's suggestion on blogs: Participate with others' blogs, comment, and make it a 2 way conversation. (Very good!)
3) The trends in sales & marketing are: more accountability on marketing budgets and lead generation teams on ROI. (Yes)

Recommended products to check out:
1) Landslide - design your sales process for free.
2) InsideView
3) Connectandsell.com - ondemand conversations
4) How Marketo uses Marketo:
a. Lead scoring breakdown. Very cool!!
b. An email is sent 11 min after web form..

Suggestions for improvement:
1) Would have likes to have seen more specific examples of success at Responsys, HyperQuality or other clients rather than vaguely "tripled results."
2) How important is predictable revenue? Is there a trade-off between predictable revenue and more revenue? I wonder. Maybe, maybe not. I know that I've seen AEs (ClearSlide is one example) incentivized to sandbag to hit 120% of monthly quota rather than have wild swings of 300% ten 40%. That's terrible.
3) Didn't include: process for data management, recommended software for deduping, or how leads and accounts were structured.

Connect with me at LinkedIn.com/in/caseydkerr or on Twitter @drcaseykerr
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on April 5, 2015
This is an outstandingly valuable book despite its very poor editing (repeated or fractured content, abrupt transitions, random “filler” esp. at the end of the book, etc.).

The fundamental premise is that the conventional wisdom of growing sales by solely growing the number of salespeople no longer works without having a highly structured and highly specialized sales process consisting of the following:

1. Begin with inbound lead generation via referrals
2. Employ dedicated Market Response Reps whose sole job is to qualify and pass inbound leads to Account Executives they are aligned to. Market reps should adhere to the following process:
a. Pre-qualify / score leads to remove junk
b. Respond immediately to “Contact Me” or “Request a Trial” leads. Respond in 24 hours to most other leads.

3. Employ dedicated outbound Sales Development Reps whose sole job is to qualify dormant accounts or targeted accounts meeting you Ideal Customer Profile (see 3a). They should use the following process:
a. Define an Ideal Customer Profile
b. Assemble lists consisting of 6-month or longer dormant accounts and/or those fitting the Ideal Customer Profile
c. Each day before 9am and then after 5pm, send 50-100 short and sweet plain text emails to high level executives
d. Follow up each email with a call.
e. Repeat the email + call cycle 3 to 5 times over 21 days until you set up a scheduled discovery/qualification call. After 21 days, recycle the lead.
f. Once you reach the prospect, start with “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
g. During the discovery/qualification call, your goal is to ask great questions and listen.
h. Hot hand-off leads to one of the 2-5 Account Executives they are aligned to.
i. Pay monthly commission as follows: 50% based on the number of Account Executive qualified opportunities generated and 50% based on closed business.

4. Employ dedicated Account Executives whose primary job is to close qualified leads handed off by Market Response Reps and Sales Development Reps via the following process:
a. After speaking to and re-qualifying the prospect, upgrade the lead to a qualified opportunity
b. If you are speaking to an influencer/champion, figure out how you can help them sell to the senior decision maker.
c. Only give out proposals when the prospect is very well qualified and ready to buy.
d. During inevitable lulls (ex: no-show appointments), they should prospect: (i) A top 10 list of strategic accounts to penetrate; (ii) Their current customer base; (iii) Channel partners (though this is very high effort)

5. Employ dedicated Customer Success/Account Management professionals whose who job it is to make customers satisfied, successful, and happy.

6. Track and optimize (though experimentation), the following key result-based (not activity-based) metrics:
a. Closed business per time period by type: new business, add-on business, renewals
b. Conversion rates of qualified opportunities to closed deals
c. Qualified pipeline generated per time period
d. Conversion rate of leads to opportunities
e. Qualification calls per time period
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on August 4, 2015
We all want predictable revenue right? We want to know that if we get 5 qualified leads we can turn 2 of those in to paying customers that are worth $XX over time.

We want to have a process to take leads and qualify them for our business to move them down that sales funnel.

If that’s what you’re looking for then this is a decent book to read. I say decent because it regularly feels like a ‘sales’ book for Salesforce.com (which was where this sales process was developed though the author is no longer employed there).

My favourite points were around how to nurture and qualify leads. It’s important not to just ABC (always be selling) and to ruthlessly qualify the leads that come in. You don’t have 50 ‘best’ leads you have 5 maybe 10 that you should be working on the rest are a waste of your time.

I feel that this book is better for larger organizations that have a dedicated sales team. Smaller business like mine (which is just me) can benefit from the talk of process and cutting leads so you only focus on the ‘best’ ones, but are going to struggle with parts of it since a 1 person business by definition struggles with having many duties divided up on one person.
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on November 23, 2011
I'm extremely impressed- I really enjoyed the concise writing style of this book. It reads more like an exact how-to manual than theory and principal which I totally enjoy. I've underlined and noted more stuff in this book than I have in any other business books I've read. I may be a little biased as my company leverages Salesforce.com internally as well as for our clients so I was able to really connect with the thought process in the book (and saw salesforce.com grow and innovate from the outside during the years Aaron was inside). Initially I was thinking, 'okay- this book is going to be a little too basic', however as I read on, it gathered momentum and outlined with the least number of words concise practices I'm now in the midst of implementing. There are very few books I've read which make me want to take immediate action like this one did.

I'd recommend this book to small/mid-sized business owners who have grown naturally from referrals and word of mouth who are looking towards being able to further automate themselves out of the company and free up more of their time for bigger thinking. A naturally grown business tends to have a smaller sales engine- and in some cases barely one, but a heavy dependency on the owner/operator for the referral modality to function. This book outlines a proven practice to transform and automate that.
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on April 14, 2015
Predictable Revenue is supposedly to be the Silicon Valley "sales bible". As such, it has a few revolutionary ideas and great educational points that it has contributed to the genre.

However, you can get several of the chapters for free on the book's website, and the points he makes are now commonly known. He doesn't really teach you how to get good at software sales; it's just some of the basics for clueless entrepreneurs who don't have any sales background. Here's the book in a nutshell:

1) Don't cold call. Instead, cold email.
2) Specialize your sales team up into different niches. He suggests 4 different ones: lead gen/cold emailers (get appointments), closers (actually do the selling), account managers (customer service) and inbound lead qualifiers.
3) B2B Sales 101: Have a marketing program that brings in leads, identify your niche/your most profitable customers, and develop a winning pitch.

Save yourself the money and just go on his website and the dozens of others that have this information for free.
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on November 3, 2011
I dug in where we had a need for improvement right away, the sales process, and read, "The Top 6 Prospecting Mistakes Sales Reps Make." Awesome targeted info there! Took only some of their suggestions, put them to work right then and voila, landed a couple sales right off the bat the same day - the same hour ; So I can only imagine what the rest of the book's tips have to offer. LOVE books like this, yes!
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on February 17, 2015
If I had a dollar for every time it mentioned salesforce.com I would have $100 Million... Too basic of a book. Did not give any good strategies. Did not make me think. Talks about the same thing over and over. I like the concept but I am doing the things mentioned in the book already.
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on January 22, 2016
90% of businesses fail because they can't get anyone to buy, yet for all the books available to entrepreneurs on pitching, product development, and persistence – there are few great resources that a show you how to acquire customers systematically.

*Predictable Revenue* is that book, as far as outbound sales is concerned. *Predictable Revenue* is not a book about cold-call opening lines or sales psychology. Rather, it is a book that teaches you how to create a systematic sales process that's disciplined and rigorous.

I read this book after feeling lost trying to design an optimal outbound sales for my B2B software business, and the book addressed most of my questions. There are certain implementation details that aren't covered such as what your cold email content should be, or what follow-ups to send, or how to get fully up and running with sales automation software. Luckily there are a lot of up-to-date resources online to fill these gaps.

The book is repetitive at times, repeating topics in different chapters, but months after reading this book, I'm happy about it because it helped engrain key points.

Here were some of my key takeaways:

* Outreach to start conversations with the appropriate people and identify opportunities should be its own dedicated work stream, separate from the process of nurturing and closing deals
* A key part of having an efficient sales process is knowing and being systematic about which people/accounts to NOT spend time on (lead qualification)
* As a corollary, being targeted by defining and working off of a Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is critical
* Generating predictable revenue takes time and a lot of trial-and-error
* Use voicemails to increase response rates from emails rather than to attempt to get people to call you back
* Obsess about the decision making process, not the decision maker
* Prospects should earn proposals (get something in return)
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on October 22, 2011
I have read a lot of sales process books ... and this one was the best. It gives a very good overview of the best ways to prospect and also how to move prospects and leads through a sales process. This book is for you if you in a B2B company that sells reasonably high-priced products. This works for software/SAAS companies, but also works very well for services organizations.
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on April 13, 2015
Very dissappointing book really. No real meat on how they do it just a book full of self praise about what he did. Not taking anything away from his achievements but just when you get to the piece about the emails it tells you in the book i am not putting that he but instead come to one of my seminars! Could have been a flyer really.
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