10X Growth Playbook for B2B Companies – Scott D. Clary
Scott Douglas Clary is the SVP Marketing & Sales at ExciteM and Strategy and Growth at Grass Valley. He hosts the Success Story Podcast. Scott is Professor at AmityBS. He is also part of the Forbes Council & Revenue Collective. Scott has contributed significantly to Forbes, WSJ, Hackernoon, DJ, The Startup as an author and other published work
10X, by definition, is to increase your business by a factor of 10, increase your revenue by a factor of 10, whatever that KPI is. And obviously, not many companies can do that easily. And the playbook for that depends on the company’s context, industry, the environment, what you’re selling to your customers, and various other factors.
Irrespective of any industry, the concept stems from how you sell to customers. So when you want to 10X growth in your business, you want to increase your business by a factor of 10. Every company has its sales and marketing strategy. Then there are all these different types of branded sales strategies.
You have challenger, spin, and the list is of endless sales strategies. And that’s really like your sales playbook. You understand your customers, their pain points, you solve your customer’s pain points at whatever solution you are selling. That’s sort of how sales work.
That’s not going to have 10x business. What do we have to do more than just a regular sales strategy? If you think about how we solve customer’s pain points when we deliver our sales campaign to a customer, we focus on our marketing, our branding, our narrative, our messaging, our inbound or outbound, our operations, our tech stack, or our sales enablement to help our sales reps, and spend more time selling and whatnot.
When you realize how many things are involved in selling to a customer, it’s much more than just one conversation. You have to understand the behaviors, all these different parts of commercial business units. You have to focus on and what you have to align your messaging across. What I mean by that is a great sales leader, a great marketing leader, a great revenue leader.
They’re going to build out an end to end process that leaves no point of interaction with the customer up to the imagination. Traditionally, when you look at a sales organization, and a marketing organization in many circumstances, those business units are usually siloed.
So let’s walk through the traditional sales process. A customer hears about your product. Perhaps they go to a landing page, submit their email address on a form that becomes a marketing qualified lead that gets passed over to sales. An SDR/BDR calls out to that customer. And, and then, they book a demo, and he follows up, and account executive follows up. And that’s sort of like the traditional linear sales process.
If you realize and take that mindset as to how you sell to a customer, after they become a marketing qualified lead (MQL), they get passed over to sales. And it’s almost like you’re after marketing, selling with them now.
It’s the onus on sales to close that deal, and that’s how many businesses work.
To have 10X growth of your business, you have to understand that customers don’t buy that way. So why are you selling to them like that? According to research, between 50-70% of the customer journey is completed while finding the product information.
They need to buy a product before they even speak to somebody from your organization. Because they’re going to your website, your social, and any sort of peer review website, they’re getting all of these stats, speaking to their peers, and they’re looking at references before they engage with you. Then they go to your website, they put in a request for a sales demo, and now your sales rep speaks to them.
Even as your sales rep is speaking to them, they’re still looking at different parts of your website, at your social media for more information on the product. So you have to understand that the customer journey is no longer linear. If the messaging on your social media, the website copy does not align with your SDRs words on the phone.
Now you have an issue of trust because the customer has already done a ton of research. There’s a disjointed communication process between your marketing and your sales. From the customer’s point of view, all they feel is as if your organization is not aligned.
So if we speak about why people buy, people always buy with emotion, and then they justify it with logic. So you have to have that trust component. To build that trust component, you have to align your commercial organization, your marketing, and your sales. To be in line with how customers buy, which means that you have to understand as an organization that all the content you put out, all the scripts that your SDRs are using, every conversation that you have on social media platform through your sales reps, all that has to
be aligned. Because your customer is hitting all of your revenue channels repeatedly with or without your sales reps guidance at multiple points throughout the actual buying process.
The buying process is extremely complex. It’s no longer linear, and that’s the real takeaway that I wanted to give over. If there’s one thing to 10X business, it’s to make sure that your marketing and your sales business units are wholly aligned and understand. If you can align the messaging with the way you interact with customers so that their experience across your entire organization is unified. That is how you will build trust. And that is how you will eventually close your deal, close your customer, whatnot.
So just understand how complex the buying process is because the customer has access to all this information. Then align your organization. So when I say organization, it means your sales and your marketing as well. To sell to a smart, knowledgeable customer, who knows more than they’ve ever known in history. So this is the 10 X playbook. It’s just to sell the way your customer wants to buy.
AMA with Scott D. Clary
The following is excerpts from the AMA session with Scott.
How do I align sales and marketing?
It comes down to the messaging. So literally, when you write the copy, and you speak about the pain points that you’re solving for your customer, make sure that when an SDR, a sales development rep is on the phone with the customer. Make sure that they’re speaking and reinforcing the things that the customers already read on your website. It seems so simple, but many organizations don’t do that.
How many times a sales development rep goes off about a particular feature or function that your company has least focus on, just because they feel that’s the best possible solution for the customer. But the right alignment is to get feedback from the customer as to why they bought. Get the feedback from the sales development rep as so marketing is speaking to sales. You know, VP marketing, talking to the VP sales, is using the verbiage as part of their marketing material. Sometimes the customers give you a list of reasons why they bought the product. Use those reasons as part of your marketing material.
How to set KPIs for 10x growth?
Some extremely high growth startups have like a mindset of growth. Remove the 10 X from it, and just focus on the core components that enable growth. Now, if one of your KPIs and you’re trying to sell to your shareholders that you’re going to grow by 10 X and you’ve modeled it out, and that’s a real growth goal, that’s fine, but like two X three X five X is still better than like 95% of companies right.
So I think just focus on the core principles. Make sure that your goals are realistic so you can hit them. And that’s a lesson for KPIs, like never set KPIs. You can set KPIs that you want to aspire to, but don’t fix things for your business that are going to demotivate you, your shareholders, your employees if you don’t hit it. Just have the fundamentals in place so that you can reach that target, whatever is it one to five, ten-year plan.
If we send the emails to customers, what resource should you add apart from the regular pitch deck?
The resources, traditional resources in the cold email would be like a customer reference, white papers, and case studies. These are the traditional resources that you would generally use to reach out to a customer and get them excited.
I don’t like including any collateral in a cold email because if I just think about, again, it’s changing your mindset to what the consumer wants. Think about getting an email from someone you’ve never heard about, and they’re also asking for your time.
First of all, you have to get them to open the email. Then you have to get your leads to read the email, and then if you’re lucky, you know they’ll reply to the email. So I think that sending them a PDF that’s three pages long in an email is just ludicrous.
Just focus on your copy, and on getting a response. I say you use much video. I like using video and cold email because it humanizes you. Video outreach is a great tool, but I would not use too much collateral.
Are you aware of any tools that allow you to take lead lists from sales and plug them into paid marketing channels, i.e., starting with SQL, then retargeting on Facebook?
If you have a list of emails, you can use it for retargeting on Facebook or Google ads or whatnot. You can import that and create a lookalike audience. Then your paid ads are hyper-targeted towards customer profiles that fit your existing customers. So it’s usually just like uploading a CSV file into Facebook or Google. You don’t need a unique tool for that. Most paid ad platforms allow it.
Can you take a talk about your first ten sales before 10X?
My first sales job was door to door lawn aeration. It was walking down the street for about 12 hours a day, hauling this big machine and going door to door, asking people they want their lawn aerated. Then I moved into, into telco, and I was doing small business in retail. I moved to a call center and then to larger, mid, and enterprise.
The experience has always been the same. I think that’s probably the best lesson, right? It’s about being authentic with the customer. Building trust with the customer, being you, with the customer. If you feel like you can’t stand behind the product, you’re selling, quit it in all seriousness. Because that job is going to be such a drain on you to trade something you don’t believe.
In the food and beverage industry, how can we increase sales, and what are the channels?
I would say in any industry, first of all, build your brand. So if you’re going to be in food and beverage you, you’re going to build your brand. Build up across all your social channels. Make sure that. The problem that you’re solving for customers permeates and infiltrates across all your sales and marketing collaterals. So whenever you know you have a conversation with your customer, you know what problem you’re solving for them. Um, and then I would say, uh, start exploring new social channels.
There are sales and marketing activities are enormous. But I think that the edge lies in things that many of your competitors aren’t exploring yet. So selling with video is essential. If you have a disruptive product in food and beverage, that’s amazing. So I would say that you probably a little bit of an edge and you want to hyper-target the audience that you’re going after. But if you, if your product is very, very generic, then I’d say just using channels that your competitors aren’t using or have less focus.