The Sales Executive’s 9 WEEK Roadmap To Building The

The Sales
Executive’s 9
WEEK Roadmap
To Building The
Ultimate Inside
Sales Process
Does your sales team have answers to these sales issues?
• What are best practises for inside sales teams?
• How does my inside sales team preform compared to market leaders?
• What is the exact flow process from nurturing suspects, to Marketing Qualified
Leads (MQL), to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)?
• Are we touching everyone? Do we have multi-touch campaigns that work with
our prospects buying process?
• Is our CRM providing us 3 levels of sales analytics – volume, probability &
• Do we have a world-class Marketing Automation & Sales Automation system creating a lead generation machine?
This single most important skill your inside sales team can master is – TIME MANAGEMENT. Time is what
makes or breaks the ROI of inside sales success. Multiply one minute of lost productively between each
touch-point, by every touch-point you strive to make per day, against your inside sales reps. You are left with
100’s of hours of lost productivity. Now here is the scary part; multiply that time lost against your average costper-employee. You’ll quickly realize you have huge amounts of capital stagnated and not productive.
Do you want that time working for you?
Start right now – start thinking about your inside sales process in three components - People, Process &
Technology. Are any of these three components maximizing the 40+ hours a week we all have in our business
A Sales 2.0 company has maximized their People, Process & Technology, with a sales week of 168 hours.
They develop an engine to generate MQL’s and/or SQL’s at a ferocious rate – 7 days a week.
How will this guide help me?
This guide is for sales leaders that will be/are managing a sales team, and are striving to become a Sales 2.0
company. This guide outlines the start-up process that leading technology companies use to drive net new
business at a rapid pace.
• Think like your buyer and build a model around their buying process;
• Build a strategy to identify, attract and retain top inside sales talent;
• Integrate the leading Sales 2.0 tools to drive prospect opportunities;
• Formulate a workflow process that works!
Week #1 – Setting Goals & Milestones
Of all the steps to success, “setting goals & milestones” seems redundant and juvenile for many readers. If
you caught yourself attempting to skip this section, you can bet you’ll try to take shortcuts within your inside
sales process and FAIL. Setting goals & milestones is more about setting REALISTIC achievements. Your
goal as a sales leader is using empirical evidence (whenever possible) to design a sales model that’s both
effective and lucrative for your inside sales team. If you’re over-zealous with even one assumed metric, this
can throw your entire revenue model out the window. Now you’re left with a demotivated sales force. As an
example, this is the mind of a Sales 2.0 company.
Reverse Engineering Exercise
Median days to close Opportunity = 31 days
Median Revenue-per-Client = $23,500
Opportunities-to-Close Ratio = 27%
Contact with DM-to-Opportunity Ratio = 14%
John’s Annual Quota = $800,000
Required Deals = 34
Pipeline of Opportunities (Annualized) = 126 (27% Ops-to-Close Ratio)
Necessary Opportunities-per-Month = 10.5
Necessary Contacts with DM’s-per-Month =75 (14% Contacts-to-Ops Ratio)
Contacts-per-Week =19
A Sales 2.0 company understands how to set daily micro tasks as part of their sales reps KPI’s. They can ask
the sales reps for realistic leading indicators. Asking your sales rep for 100 dials a day has no reference point
to success. Do you know what 100 dials per day can get you? Do you know the cause-and-effect of 99 dials
(1 short of goal), compounded over 1 year? If you can’t present this level of transparency to your sales team,
you have already begun to lose credibility.
This also applies to the velocity at which you ask sales reps to become “productive”.
Having a definitive definition of productive by X, Y, Z date is imperative. If you are asking
for break-even in 90 days, you’d be setting a land speed record. The average inside
sales rep begins to hit a level of consistency (not paying for themselves yet) in 90 days.
Inside sales is a marathon, not a race. Sales 2.0 companies invest years into perfecting
their lead generation engine.
Week #2 – Build a Marketing Matrix
A Marketing Matrix is your prospecting lifeblood. This is a working document for your team to determine:
• Who: are the decision-makers (buyer persona) in an organization we’re going to prospect to?
• When: is the campaign, what is my follow-up priority level for vertical A versus vertical B?
• How: are we executing? Blog driving to a webinar? How are we executing post-webinar?
• Where: is the geographic focus? vertical, size of company? Where is priority and balance?
• Why: do we have client success stories in that vertical we’re going to speak to?
• What: products/services /solutions match their needs?
This document can be very simple for one sales rep, but truly becomes a matrix with multiple sales reps in
various verticals and/or have multiple products to sell. A Marketing Matrix is an exercise that your team needs
to complete as frequently as you’re executing marketing campaigns. Assuming you are executing a marketing
campaign to each buyer persona 1x a month, you may have multiple Marketing Matrix reviews each month.
You as the commander of the ship, and are using this roadmap to help your sales reps prioritize their marketing
campaigns to optimize ROI. This mitigates a sales rep from wondering off calling a vertical that he/she enjoys,
but provides low ROI for the business. When developing your first Marketing Matrix, also develop these three
pillars for communicating your sales message:
Buyer Persona – who are your buyers? This doesn’t mean “CFO” or “Finance Department”. Your Buyer
Personas are the influencers and stakeholders involved in the buying process. You will need to build
marketing assets that speak to all your buyer personas – from the business owner, to the VP managing your
solutions project, to the Line Manager using your product day-to-day. Each have a very different trigger or pain
point. You need to identify with their particular issues and speak directly to them, AND direct your marketing
assets to each appropriate buyer persona correctly.
Buying Process – you will need to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Think beyond “they see a product
demo, then review multiple vendors, ask for an RFP, finally close with contract reviewed by legal”. Think
through the phycology behind their buying process:
• How will my prospect identify they have a problem?
• What is going to trigger that prospect to shake from their status quo?
• What information will my prospect require during due diligence?
• How will my prospect evaluate solutions? What will be most important to them?
• How do they purchase? Do they need success stories, references, empirical evidence?
Value Proposition – if you are not saving TIME, saving/making MONEY, or reducing
RISK/EXPOSURE, then you’re spouting features. All your calls, emails, voicemails,
whitepapers, webinars – must solve problems with VALUE – your prospect is asking
themselves “SO WHAT, WHAT’S IN THIS FOR ME!”
Week #3 – Identify & Attract Sales Talent
You will want to begin hunting for inside sales talent at least one month before your anticipated onboarding
date. Having the Sales 2.0 tools and process integrated in advance will make your new employees experience
dramatically better. There is nothing worse that still trying to develop an inside sales process as a new
employee is trying to digest your business AND your ever changing process. Picture moving to a foreign
country and completely renovating the new house you moved into, all in the first week! The second reason
you need to begin attracting sales talent far in advance, is the same reason you prospect three months before
a sale – you need a talent pipeline. There are far more mediocre candidates than superstars. You can bank
on finding 1 hot prospect for every 10 resumes you receive (unless you’re more interested in warm bums in
seats – then you’re not building a Sales 2.0 model). Here are some helpful tips when building a pragmatic
hiring process:
1. Hire a professional – you are too close to the evaluation process. Your passion and sales skills could
persuade more than identify. Hire a 3rd party to be objective, at least for the 1st screening.
2. Be organized in advance – there is nothing more demotivating for top sales talent to leave an
environment they know well, to a new company that’s trying to organize on the fly. Have your onboarding
schedule down to the hour for the 1st week, and general training work for week two.
3. Investigate competitive compensation plans – you are not only competing against your direct
competitors for talent, but also likeminded businesses. If you are a SaaS software company, a top sales
rep is less concerned with the new verticals you’ll have them selling to, and more concerned with the OTE
(On Target Earning). Just because your competitor is paying $12.50/hour, doesn’t mean you’ll attract
world-class talent as you’re against every SaaS software company within your city.
4. Design a structured interview process – don’t hire with your gut, you’ll only be disappointed with the
long-term results. Sales reps have the ability to appear very polished in an interview, so you need to be
objective with your decision. You need empirical evidence – results against plan, stack ranked against their
peers, anything that will allow you to hire with your brain, not your heart.
5. Integrate an analytical exam into your hiring process – even though your team really
liked candidate ABC, adding a layer of objectivity can be very telling. The best exams are
physiographic and designed by 3rd party companies that use the results from your topperforming sales rep, and stack rank candidate ABC against their results.
6. Shorten your hiring process – old school management will argue it’s a game
of attrition, if they can last 8 weeks of courting, they really want to job. Trust me,
Gen Y will not tolerate your lengthy process and view this as a sign of bureaucracy
within your organization.
Week #4 – Prepare your CRM: Map your desired KPI’s/Metrics
Your CRM is the most valuable tool for your sales team, and 2nd most valuable asset for your company (other
than your product). If you’re reading this section and can answer my CRM is: Excel or “we have a custom
one” (most likely storing information in your SharePoint), you have greater issues. Regardless if you use, Sugar CRM, Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, or a host of other SaaS-based tools, it’s all about
the KPI’s the system provides you. Your CRM must be designed to give you real-time sales analytics that
allow you to make informed decisions. When designing your CRM to capture vital information, don’t think of
the buttons, drop-down tabs and text tabs first. You need to work from 30,000 feet – downward; think of the
reports you need to make informed decisions, THEN think of the buttons that would be needed to capture that
information. Here are tips you can use when developing your CRM. You want to create a three report folders
– titled Database Composition, Prospecting and Opportunities.
Database Composition – this is extremely value when reviewing your data at a high level. If you were
asked, “do you know everyone in the market you’re selling into”, this is the folder that presents that data. You
want to know the data you’ve captured by vertical/industry, cleanliness/accuracy, type (% suspect, prospect,
open opportunity, lost opportunity), competitive information, etc. This helps you understand your “Market
Capitalization” – what portion of your market have you captured, spoken to, demo to, and/or won. I particularly
like competitive information such as (currently using, term of contract, reason for selection), allowing you to
make specific marketing campaigns (to prospects using competitor XYZ) targeting their products shortcomings.
Prospects – this folder helps determine the activity level and success of your lead generation efforts. You
will inject the goals & expectations you’ve outlined in week #1, and plot against activity levels during the
prospecting phase. You will need to measure the VOLUME, PROBABILITY & VELOCITY of moving a
company from a suspect, to a prospect, to an opportunity. How many touches are needed, percentage
chance of success if you follow a specific touch-point frequency, how long does it typically take to develop
into an opportunity? TIP – create an easy-to-find system for stack ranking HOT Prospects, I use a system
of Last & Next Sales Actions with Prospecting Score, so my team can quickly search
for companies that are HOTTEST. This scoring system will also be discussed in Lead
Scoring within Marketing Automation.
Opportunities – these are companies that have expressed interest in your company
during their buying process. You will want to understand VOLUME, PROBABILITY &
VELOCITY – but also HOW these Opportunities are created. Where will you continue
to invest your marketing spend? TIP – create an Opportunity Momentum report that
outlines which/when Opportunities are moving in a positive direction. This will help you
plan for future cash flow. I also use a BANT scoring system as I find indicating “50%
Probability” far too generic. I want sales reps to explain WHY its 50% - by outlining the
Budget, Authority, Need & Timing for each opportunity. Not all 50% Opportunities are
created equal.
Week #5 - Integrate Marketing Automation Process
All Sales 2.0 companies invest in Marketing Automation in some capacity. This is the ability to educate and
influence prospects during THEIR BUYING PROCESS, in an automated fashion. If done correctly, your
prospects are guided through their buying process with your information being top-of-mind. You are able to
speak to these prospects 24-7 without worrying “you need to call them every 90 days or we’ll miss our window
of opportunity”. Here are tactical steps you’ll need to complete in planning and executing your first marketing
1. Ensure your marketing automation system integrates with your CRM – a system that stands alone
without direct integration into your CRM is only 50% effective. You will want to see prospective activity
(in real-time) directed into each account & contact record.
2. Use your Marketing Matrix to build a timeline & checklist – who’s going to write the content, how often,
design the landing pages/webinars/guides?
3. Use your Buyer Persona for planning Marketing Assets – this will help you plan the frequency of your
touch-points and the specific topics you’ll need to direct to each buyer. Here is a basic example of the
model each buyer will need to walk through:
• Trigger Event/Problem Document – use Linkedin, Twitter, Blogs, PR Wires, Email Campaigns to
distribute a news release on a topic that is very relevant to that particular buyer persona. The
purpose is to outline a problem this buyer can relate too. Drive them to the next call-to-action.
You will need a multitude of these documents (distributed every month per buyer persona) to
drive brand awareness.
• The next call-to-action is an outline on how the problem can be solved. This is not necessarily
saying “BUY ME, BUY ME, WE HAVE THE ANSWER” – you are providing tactical advice on
how to solve the problem from a marco level. This can be accomplished with a webinar series,
eBook, and guide. The end of this event has a further call-to-action,
driving to specific examples on how YOU solve this problem.
• Now the prospect is on your website and/or landing page that outlines
YOUR solutions to their very problem. This prospect is going through
their due diligence and wants specific answers to their dilemma – you now
have a warm call on your hands.
• Use Lead Scoring to indicate where in the buying cycle each prospect is
currently. As the prospect moves from your blog, to your webinar, to your
website – you need a scoring system to alert your team.
• What will be your lead nurturing strategy? Marketing Automation is
perfect for long sales cycles to ensure you don’t “miss the invite to the
Week #6 - Onboarding “Boot Camp”
Now your sales rep(s) are starting week #1, and you want to maximize their first week. You want to ensure
they have a clear understanding of your goals & objectives, why your buyers buy, value proposition, systems,
and sales techniques. Here is an example of a day-by-day process that will help your sales reps digest your
business quickly.
Monday: Understanding your buyer
Before you start talking aboutyour products, they will have no context if you are not addressing your buyers
first. I recommend you are not talking product at all the first day. Allow your sales reps to be a buyer for the
day – who are the buyers, what evaluation do they typically go through, how are they measured in their dayto-day job? The more your sales reps understand the buyer, the more your solutions will make sense as a
facilitator to solving problems.
Tuesday: Value Proposition from past client successes (add product/service review)
Now your team understands what triggers a prospect to buy, you may now introduce them to your solutions.
The most effective way to learn your value proposition is reviewing existing client stories - why did they buy?
Why did they choose you? What value did your solution have for this client? I highly recommend having a
conference call with an existing client to review these questions live – so your team feels they are not just
drinking the kool-aid.
Wednesday: Sales & Marketing Systems
Map your clients buying process to how this translates to your CRM & Marketing Automation process. You can
review the first months Marketing Matrix – outlining the verticals that will be a priority, and how, who, where,
when you’ll be attacking that market. If you’re using world-class CRM & Marketing Automation tools, there will
be a multitude of webinars for your team to review for best practices.
Thursday: Business Development Tips, Trick & Tactics
Use this day to give tactical advice on best sales practices. Think about best calling hours, the benefits of a
multi-touch approach and time management. Have a plan that will help your more junior sales
reps understand the importance of call planning versus call execution. Use this day to review
call, email, voicemail scripts & objection handling that have been effective for your business.
If you don’t have any, ensure you have examples and a framework complete prior to their
onboarding date. Make these sessions interactive and walk through the calling scripts as an
example of real calls. Would your trigger event statement stimulate a conversation?
Is your value proposition valuable? What is your call-to-action?
Friday: Real Life Business Development
People learn best visually and in real-life situations. Have real online demo’s booked
for today and/or a prospect meeting for your sales rep to attend. They will learn 10x
faster interacting with a prospect than in a boardroom.
Week # 7 – Call Blitzing
Time to start driving net new business via multiple touch-points. A Sales 2.0 company does not “smile &
dial”, but they definitely use the telephone in their marketing mix. It’s important for your sales rep(s) to “get
the marbles out of their mouth” by talking to prospects and learning to think on their feet. The most effective
inside sales talent use a call script as a guideline for conversations, rather than reading verbatim like a bank
call centre. Use this week to work through the objections. Here are valuable tips to ramping your inside sales
rep(s) through their first week of business development:
Call Planning versus Call Execution – it’s absolutely vital, and I mean VITAL, that your sales reps
understand how to optimize their selling time. Most employees will only work 40-50 hours a week, so
maximizing that time direct correlates to pipeline growth. Teach your team:
• Having a “Suspect 50” lists ready EVERY morning, no exception. These are 50 net new suspects
(company and contacts) to inject into your calling pool as suspects turn to prospects, and prospects
turn to opportunities. Minimize call research during optimum calling times.
• Calling the last 15 minutes of every hour, calling at lunch, calling before 9 am. (of the prospects time
zone) has exponential results.
• Call HOT LIST first thing in the morning when their fresh, leave the non-urgent emails until later that
Multi-Touchpoint Approach – calling multiple contacts within a company, multiple times in 2 weeks, is
how you build brand awareness. Your prospect will not register or remember your call #1, but call, email,
Twitter Connection #6 in a 2 week period – gets there attention. A minimum of 5-6 touch points in 2 weeks is
imperative before determining a diminishing ROI.
Train your reps to collect direct extensions & mobile numbers – did you know there is empirical evidence
showing the probability of a contact-to-opportunity generated, grows exponentially for every 1% of your
contacts data has direct extensions/mobile phones. If one sales rep captured 1 extra opportunity per week
from this strategy, that’s 52 more ops annually... translating in huge ROI (all from a simple phone number).
Blitz heavily on Wednesday & Thursday – Monday morning in my opinion is a bust, and
Friday afternoon in the summer can be very difficult as well. Evidence shows Wednesday @
3:00 p.m. is one of the most opportune times – take full advantage.
Call MQL’s from Campaign Responses within 5 minutes – amazing statistics
are available on this subject, 100x decrease in contact rate and 21x decrease in
qualification rate from waiting more than 5 minutes to call. Think about it, your
prospect is filling out your information form, and your competitors. 70% chance of
success is awarded to the first company to respond, they get to influence the buying
Week #8 – Execute Marketing Campaign #1
Follow-up. Follow-up is what makes Marketing Automation effective as a primary tool in your sales arsenal.
If you are not following up on every webinar attendee, non-attendee with 24 hours, you’re wasting valuable
content. If you are not immediately calling leads when they hit “X lead score”, your competitor is. As important
as workflow for marketing automation is, a work flow for follow-up is equally important. Here is a tactical
review of the effectiveness of your marketing automation workflow:
1. Set-up for each campaign – how long did it take your team to create all the marketing documents?
Did you need to outsource content writing and/or design? This flow process needs to be very quick and
no take away from you/sales reps valuable time. Remember, you will be executing a campaign each
month for every buyer persona you have. That means you could be disseminating though-leadership
every 10 days! You want this process to have all documentation ready at least 48 hours before
execution, so you can have one last look at the campaign.
2. Quality of your data – is your marketing message reaching your desired targets? If you start receiving
less than a 70% accuracy rate, your data needs updating. Spending all this time on content is useless
if you have faulty data.
3. Call-to-Action drivers – track the number of recipients that are opening, clicking through and
downloading/signing up for your next step. Was your original trigger message effective at gaining
4. Lead Nurturing workflow – what is going to be your “if than” statement for companies that review
your information but not ready to buy? How will you keep them top-of-mind, yet presented different
messages than a company that is actively working your information through their buying process?
5. Lead Scoring making sense – marketing automation programs have default
lead scoring, but do they make sense for you? Do you want greater weight given
to specific marketing pieces or sections of your website? Perhaps exponential
scoring growth for frequency?
6. Follow-up on HOT MQL’s – how are you going to follow-up on HOT leads?
Pricing or Demo requests need to be of the utmost priority. Leave no stone
unturned, companies downloading your eBook and/or signing up for Webinars
need a connection with 24 hours.
7. Conversion from MQL to SQL – this will be the litmus test for your system (and
value of your content), call-to-action driving and MQL follow-up, how many MQL’s
are your moving to SQL’s?
Week #9 – Outline next 90 day Sales & Marketing Plan for execution
On average, your inside sales team will take 90 days before they begin to hit a level of consistency. This
doesn’t mean maximum capacity (this never ends as you continue to refine your process), but a level of
consistency that presents useful analytics. Your goal in the first 9 weeks is to build a group of people, process
and technology that will increase your opportunity to close business. Week #9 is used to reflect on the last few
weeks of business development, and outline recommendations on how to improve.
Transparency with all sales metrics – I find reviewing every KPI (with each sales rep) helps them understand
why specific targets have been outlined. I review all sales information with sales reps to see where there are
gaps – from activity volume, conversion into opportunities, to any prospects abnormally long timeline between
demo to next steps. This is why I create metrics around every “sales stage” to understand that particular stage
exclusively. When you review data from 30,000 feet, you won’t understand why “we’re not creating enough
revenue”. When you dive deep into your Prospecting reports, you may notice volumes are not high enough to
reach desired goals, based on assumed conversion rates. Perhaps volumes are high, but we can’t seem to
garner interest from prospects in review next steps. This is normal, at least we know where to concentrate our
Your goal over the next 90 days is breaking down every stage of your clients buying cycleand then identify
where in your sales cycle are bottle-necks. Trust me, they exist and can be improved upon.
Inside sales is the fastest growing department within most technology companies because it presents the
greatest ROI for net new business. Your competitors are all reviewing how they can optimize their inside sales
process with greater efficiency to increase profitability. Companies that invest in their business development
engine will gain control of their market, this only makes sense. Ironically, companies find a multitude of
excuses to take shortcuts with their sales process and hope for the “magic bullet”. Success will not be
achieved with a $250,000 senior sales executive with a contact list, those relationships get worked through
very fast. Success is your ability to dominate your buyers’ evaluation process by presenting valuable insight –
every day, on demand.
By following this simple guide, you will begin creating:
• A sales engine that generates opportunities 24-7
• Create scalability, you will recognize that X sales “horsepower” = Y sales return
• Present real-time analytics that all you to be dynamic with your sales tactics
Why choose us?
Sale for Life was founded in 2004 and built by
sales professionals who have personally sold millions
to North America’s top start-ups and Fortune 500 companies.
Our ability to bring best sales practices “People. Process.
Technology.” to clients makes as the “go-to-agency” for sales
success. Whether it’s sourcing great sales talent, building sales
processes, generating leads, training sales people, building
Sale 2.0/Web 2.0 initiatives - Sales for Life offers a completely
integrated solution for sales success. We are the complete sales
agency solution – “We Get Sales!”
For more information, please visit to see
how we have developed inside sales plans for various clients.