Don’t Leave Your 2021 Goals to Your Future Self
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This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue
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If you are struggling to achieve predictable growth in your company, don’t despair – there are ways in which you can create sustainable hypergrowth. And this just doesn’t guarantee you a 2% or 20% increase in sales, but a 200% to 1000% increase in growth! How? By taking impossible goals and turning them into inevitable success. Get ready to learn how your company can grow in ways you could not have imagined in your wildest dreams!
Before even starting to focus on growing your sales, you need to make sure you have nailed your niche. If it feels like a real struggle to acquire new customers every day, you probably have not yet found your niche.
Once you are at a point where you are getting unaffiliated, paying customers, you will know you have found your niche. Even if you only had 10 new customers to start – that’s great! Because having gained 10 means you could potentially gain 1,000.
It is important to gather feedback from those 10 – this will help you to grow and will provide you with a roadmap on how to gain more customers like them.
What is a niche? It is a specific focus to solve a specific pain. To define your niche you need to find the path of least resistance to more money. The authors say creating your niche, “also means focusing your unique strengths where they can create the most value.”
So, how do you nail the perfect niche? You must aim to be the big fish in a small pond. That way, your product will stand out, and you will project a simple and clear message. The best niches are defined by five common traits:
So, focus on one single problem and solve it really well, and then adapt as the market evolves to allow for unparalleled growth.
You need a niche because, to gain mainstream customers, you must first build trust. The early adopters of your product already trust you completely. But for new, mainstream customers, you need to work for this trust. This is where the Arc of Attention comes in. The less you trust a person, the less attention you will pay to them.
That is why, to successfully market your product, you need to craft a simple and short message – assume you are marketing your product to fourth graders. It also helps to address people’s “dinosaur brains.” People react, most of the time, and you can incite that reaction by making your message intriguing and attractive, without being overpromising.
To make hypergrowth possible, you must create predictable ways to fill your revenues or sales pipeline. To create leads, you cannot simply hope for an overnight success of a video going viral. You must work hard to gain leads initially, and work hard to keep them. The authors say, “The best way to triple new sales isn't by tripling your salespeople (the traditional method for sales-driven companies) but by growing your qualified leads.”
There are three types of leads: Seeds, Nets, and Spears. Do not bet on just one of them, but take a varied approach to your marketing, since each of the three types complement one another. Seeds are many-to-many leads, often created by word-of-mouth. These are generated by making sure your existing customers are happy and satisfied with the product, and will recommend it to others.
To predictably grow seeds, you need Customer Success Management - people who are not in charge of increasing customer satisfaction, but rather of creating revenue growth.
Nets are one-to-many marketing campaigns, also known as inbound marketing. They put quantity over quality and are a great way to create leads since they work for every kind of company.
Creating content in a marketing campaign also helps build trust more quickly, since it allows people to learn more about you and your product. You can use social media for this purpose, but only if you feel comfortable using it. Don’t feel like you have to use social media simply because everyone else is using it.
To have a successful marketing campaign, you should create a Lead Commit for your marketing leader, similar to a sales quota for your sales leader. That way you can rest assured that your marketing department is focusing on sustainable marketing practices. If you are only starting out and have no idea how much lead growth can realistically be expected in a month, make a guess. A guess is better than nothing. Once you have got the ball rolling, you can adapt your targets.
Finally, Spears are to target outbound, one-to-one campaigns. These allow you to systematically target bigger companies and are a great way of supplementing your inbound marketing strategy. They allow you to fill gaps in the market by strategically targeting companies that have not been reached by your inbound marketing. With Spears, you can double your lead growth. Once you have established the practicalities, you can double your leads by simply doubling your team.
Growth creation does not solve all of your problems. In fact, it actually creates new ones. But most of the operational pain - at least in SaaS companies - goes away once you have reached $10 to $15 million in annual revenue.
You may now have leads and have started to sell more. But you are never going to be a big company with small deals alone. Small deals and even giving away free products can form the basis of your success, but you should use these only as a launching pad to keep growing.
Many companies make the mistake of underestimating how much their product is worth. But the truth is, you do not need millions of customers to make millions of dollars. Take Avanoo as an example, a corporate employee training company. They started by selling courses at an average price of $5 each, but have now grown and close $50,000-plus deals regularly. Their secret? “They're selling to companies that have the ability to pay (Fortune 2000), have a clear need, and have reference-able customers.”
To successfully grow your company, double your deal sizes while doubling your leads. There are ways in which you can start thinking bigger. When selling books for example, you could start looking for partners who can sell bulk-orders for you. Or if your business is in SaaS products, you can ask yourself, “What kinds of management features would I need to sell packages of 50, 500, or 5,000 seats?”
Bigger deals have a lot of advantages: they make you more money while requiring less effort and help customers become more successful. “Don't be afraid of raising your prices when selling to bigger companies with bigger needs,” advise the authors. It might take longer to close a big deal, but they are definitely worth the wait.
If you want to go upmarket, you should consider hiring salespeople. Even though this might mean you have to overcome your natural aversion to salespeople in general, they are incredibly useful in the upmarket regions. Once you start scaling up your prices, prospective customers will often want to talk to an actual salesperson to close the deal. A true sales team will make you a lot more money.
You need a lot of patience to hypergrow your company and it will take a lot longer than you expect. It can take up to a decade in SaaS to be ready for your IPO – and it will take you at least 24 months before you hit initial traction.
So, ask yourself, do you have what it takes? Are you willing to spend every minute of every hour of every day thinking about your work – that’s 8,760 hours a year – 24 hours times 365 days? And finally, are you willing to make the leap? You need to commit 100% to your work, and you cannot adopt a mindset of “just trying things out.” Be patient and dedicated, and you will eventually succeed.
Let’s face it: employees rent - not own - their jobs. You can motivate your employees to go above and beyond their job descriptions by giving them functional ownership. If you want your employees to feel like they own their jobs, financial ownership alone will not motivate them to show initiative.
Functional Ownership, on the other hand, allows people to always know what to do next, without being supervised all the time. It means that a certain business task is owned 100% by the employee in charge of it. They are responsible for the results, the related decisions, and the improvements.
Functional Ownership is great for employees who want to “take their contributions to the next level, but haven't been sure how.” Functional Ownership is also the sure way for executives to “predictably motivate and energize people.”
If, as an executive, you want to implement functional ownership, start by conducting an anonymous survey asking questions such as what people like or dislike at the company. You should then acknowledge the answers. As an executive, it is your job to encourage people to try new ideas and not punish them for them if they are wrong.
You should also aim for faster decision-making. If it is a perceived lack of resources or time that holds you back from moving forward, just keep in mind: “There is always a way to move forward with the time and resources that you already have,” say Ross and Lemkin.
If you are an employee struggling at your work, use your frustrations to define your destiny. Don’t let yourself be held back, but instead realize that you have more opportunities than you think. There will always be challenges – so try using them as a way to push yourself to be more creative and to find a way forward. Start now, not tomorrow.
One way in which you can take ownership of your career is by “nailing a personal niche.” Make a list of what you find most frustrating at work. List all the worst parts, then try and flip them into positives. Ask, “What baby step can I take today to take advantage of it?” If you do this regularly, you will transform your frustrations into excitement by embracing opportunities rather than resisting challenges.
To create hypergrowth in your company, you must first make sure you are ready for growth. Then, you should aim to create more leads. Once you have achieved that, double your deal size whenever you double your leads. And finally, to ensure a healthy company culture, make sure your employees feel valued.
Reg Nordman, founder of Rocket Builder, joins the ranks of businessmen who are amazed by “From Impossible to Inevitable.” He says, “Aaron and Jason have created the go-to book for building your company. This is a book that comes from people that have done this and they pull no punches in telling it as it is. This is a must buy book if you are serious about building your company (and yourself).”
If you are struggling to create a niche for your company, download a workbook at FromImpossible.com/niche.
Aaron Ross is one of the world's top b2b / SaaS sales specialists. He worked for the Salesforce.com team when he discovered a lead generation process that generated more than $ 100 million in sales for the company. In 2002 he joined Salesforce (CRM), the largest SaaS company in the world, and created a small group of people to create a new approach to prospecting. He not only did his job well, but he also managed to add $ 100 million to the company's revenue in only a fe... (Read more)
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