A recent survey from DiscoverOrg.com shows exactly what the differences are between high growth companies and all the rest. Katie Bullard, chief growth officer for DiscoverOrg, showed on the XANT podcast what these growth strategies entail. She also explained where managers are making mistakes and are missing out on opportunities, in the sales and marketing process.
According to Katie, companies with aggressive growth take the high road when it comes to sales and marketing. From cold calling to account-based sales and to the way they hire and coach their sales reps, companies that are growing quickly will always choose the harder path to success.
The DiscoverOrg study included 200 sales and marketing leaders across all industries, in the B2B space. The companies in the study were growing at least 40% over a 3-year period.
The first thing that stood out in the prospecting strategy for high growth companies is that they chose to use cold calling as a prospecting strategy.
“The high-growth companies do the hard things. And the first one of these things was cold calling. high-growth companies were 2x more likely to have a successful cold calling program. When the high-growth companies said they didn’t do cold calling, they grew less than the other high-growth companies,” added Katie Bullard, on the podcast
Companies that were growing were likely to see success out of their cold calling program, she added.
“There’s constant debate around whether cold calling is dead or not. I think for us this really proved that it’s not dead, but it is hard. The companies that figure it out and that really effectively engage with prospects on the phone, who personalize that engagement, see the results. So there is a piece of this combination of cold calling, social selling and emailing. Great cold calling reinforces your brand and keeps you top of mind for customers,” said Katie.
Account Based Marketing
The second strategy for high growth companies is to use account-based marketing, added Katie. While it is everyone’s favorite buzzword, she adds that companies who do it right have a chance of succeeding.
“I will say what ABM actually means is not what most people actually do. So first of all, what we did find was that high-growth companies were two and a half times more likely to implement Account-Based Marketing strategies. What does account-based marketing mean? It does not mean I have list of target accounts and I send them emails. That is not account-based marketing,” explained Katie.
“What it means is that sales and marketing have sat together, they’ve aligned around their ideal customer profile. Who are the companies that are most likely to buy from them that fit that target profile and have some propensity to buy from me in the next period of time? Then, they have developed a multi-channel cross-functional outreach approach to reach those target accounts, and all of the potential buyers and influencers,” she added.
Getting ABM right at scale is an extremely difficult thing to do, said Katie Ballard. Most of the times, companies make two very common mistakes, and these are:
- Not thinking through their strategy enough (sending just one email)
- Taking too much time to cook up the strategy and not acting (spent six months coming up with the perfect marketing campaign)
“We always encourage people, when they decide to embark on an ABM strategy, is to view it as like a data program or as an experiment. Focus in on one segment and build a short list of target accounts. Have one dedicated sales guy, a couple of folks on the marketing team, maybe one SDR that are focused on doing this cross-functional, multi-channel experiment. Figure out what works and what doesn’t work, and then try to replicate it down the road,” said Katie.
Hiring Less Experienced Sales Reps
Another common characteristic of high growth companies is that they stake their bets on inexperienced sales reps, as opposed to hiring veterans, shows Katie.
“High-growth companies are more likely to hire less experienced sales reps. Low-growth companies are more likely to hire really experienced sales reps,” added Katie. Some sales managers will prefer hiring experienced reps thinking that they don’t need as much coaching as veterans. However, the data shows they are missing out on opportunities.
Proper Sales Training and Coaching
Hiring less experienced sales reps means that companies need to have a proper training program in place to make sure they ramp fast, added Katie.
“High-growth companies are also likely to spend more than three hours coaching their sales team and low-growth companies don’t spend as much time coaching,” concluded Katie.