Scaling Sales in Fast-Growing B2B Tech Companies

Author:

Aurelien Mottier
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

38

Scaling Sales in Fast-Growing B2B Tech Companies

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Chris Doggett

Chief Sales Officer at Fuze

Your tech company is growing fast. Almost too fast.

“Maybe it’s time to scale our sales program?”

First of all, remember: This is a good problem to have. (On that note, congrats.)

Secondly, maybe you should checkout what Chris Doggett (Chief Sales Officer at Fuze) has to say about scaling your sales program.

His advice is built on 15+ years of corporate sales, operations, and channel.

His experience spans from COO to Director of Global Channel Sales, from VP to SVP, so he’s seen the entire sales picture.

He came on the B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast and gave us this message:

The 2 Approaches: Reactive & Proactive

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If you only manage by the financial metrics, you run a big risk of going wrong with people.

Chris Doggett

Essentially, there are 2 paths that lead a B2B tech company to scale its sales operations: reaction and proaction.

Smaller companies usually decide to scale (or consider scaling) their sales programs because they are reacting to their environment. Maybe they have tons of leads but not enough manpower to track them all down, or perhaps they have a partner model, and their partner is pushing for expansion to increase joint sales.

Usually, for these smaller companies, their growth is a surprise, and they weren’t prepared to scale so quickly (again, a good problem to have).

Larger companies tend to be more proactive, and there is a top-down approach to scaling sales operations. Leadership determines that growth is necessary, which leads the head of sales to hire more personnel, or re-energize the program in some way.

All the Ways You Could Scale Your Sales Program:

The most obvious way to scale any sales program is to dip into another geography. However, Chris says this is quite often not the easiest way to scale, even if it’s the most obvious. People often discount factors such as political differences, taxation, market or cultural nuances that have a large contribution or detraction from success in expansion.

On the other hand, you could also scale by adding new products (or services) to your portfolio, or even by acquisition.

Or, you could scale by partnering with another organization or a retailer to reimagine your sales program.

A Few Things to Consider When Acquiring a Channel Partner (Essentially, Be Picky)

If you expand your sales program via partnership, be choosey. Far too many organizations snag as many channel partners as they can, and hope a sale or two sticks. Instead, Chris says you should double-down on the best-fit channel partners.

Choose those channel partners whose business models are complementary to your own. Further, consider how each runs their business — the cultural fit, their goals, their attitude towards the market, etc.

Once you’ve narrowed down your channel partners to the best choices, strategize and structure your business model around your goals and the strengths of you and your partner’s organizations.

What About 1-Tier & 2-Tier Distribution?

Maybe you already have several channel partners, and you’re considering upgrading to a distributor. But … How do I know when it’s time to get a distributor?

Here’s Chris’s very simple rule of thumb: You know it’s time to have 2-tier distribution when your channel network begins to strain your operational capacity. (That strain could come from the quoting process, the billing process, inventory, etc.)

Typically, there are few inventory issues with software companies, but quite often, the other operational pieces often start to fog up the rest of the business.

Pro tip: Don’t wait too long to go the tier-2 route. Here’s why: When you first jump to a tier-2 distribution model, you will necessarily give up some short-term revenue to the distributor. If you’ve put off obtaining a distributor for too long, that short-term revenue loss could easily be in the millions, which will be quite a jolt to your bottom line.

The KPIs to Watch When Scaling a Sales Team:

An obvious KPI that comes to mind is growth rate. Most people know to watch their growth rate when they scale their sales team.

But you can’t look at growth rate in a vacuum.

Something as simple as growing customer acquisition costs could put your business in the wrong place in the long run. So, the other 2 areas you must consider are efficiency and productivity.

Efficiency, would be the cost of sales as a percentage of revenue, or customer acquisition cost, or any metric that determines the cost of new customers.

Productivity is a KPI that describes how much business each salesperson is bringing in.

Your Costs Should Go Down As You Scale

Yes, you may have an initial loss in revenue if you are taking on a distributor, but an overall goal should always include some sort of economy of scale.

As you grow, your costs should come down. When you were in the infancy stages of your business, most likely, you weren’t very efficient. But hey, that’s how we all start.

However, as you grow, you realize efficiency in your niche, your streamline processes, and your sunk costs stabilize.

Employee Retention & Development at Scale:

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It’s often easier to promote from the outside, but it’s often better to promote from the inside.

Chris Doggett

Don’t forget your people as you scale. Those who started out with you as SDRs or BDRs, are often where your greatest human assets still lie.

Sure, it may be easier and faster to hire someone from the outside who’s already done a leadership role. But look at their CV: If they are making yet another horizontal move in their career to join your company, you’ll end up being the next 6-month entry on their resume.

Often, promoting internally is better for your organization, creates a stronger culture, and has a lower risk.

This post is based on an interview with Chris Doggett from Fuze.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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