Scaling sales is the dream, isn’t it?
To build a company that grows under the weight of its own success.
Where the systems in place are so effective that they guarantee a profit. And also propel the company toward further growth, too.
Sounds great! Who doesn’t want exponential growth?
But is scaling sales realistically possible?
Yes. Though if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
In this article we’ll look at 11 ways successful companies create efficiencies. Which in turn enables them to scale.
What Does It Mean To Scale Sales?
Scaling sales is confused with growth.
Of course they’re kinda the same thing. But there’s a key difference.
Growth is linear. Scaling sales is a non-linear process.
When you achieve growth it’s because you added new inputs. Where additional spend on people, advertising, or production creates an increase in revenue.
Scaling sales happens when you increase revenue at a greater rate than cost.
Need More Qualified B2B Leads?
Meet decision makers that need your solutions
Use Non-Linear Marketing To Scale Sales
There are lots of ways to generate b2b leads. But most of these methods (ie display ads) are linear in nature.
If it costs $100 to get one customer via Facebook ads, then it will probably cost around $500 to get 5 customers.
In this example, the size of the ad budget determines the size of revenue. More ad spend creates proportionate revenue growth.
But some kinds of marketing are non-linear in nature. More spending generates a disproportionate increase in new sales.
In a perfect world, your cost to get new leads will decrease as your marketing spend increases.
When this happens your marketing will drive scaled revenue.
Marketing automation refers to using software to handle repetitive marketing tasks.
This frees up humans to take care of tasks that are client facing, or need human judgement.
Marketing automation is a non-linear form of marketing. A solid program can handle near infinite tasks without human input.
Consider a human-monitored chat box on your website. How many live chats can one person handle? If there is a spike in traffic, then you’ll need more human operators. And you may need to cover off time-zones all over the world.
That’s a lot of work!
Conversely, there’s no limit to how many conversations an AI bot can maintain. For a cost that’s much lower than one human operator, an AI can manage queries 24/7. It never gets tired. And it can handle most common questions.
Try introducing marketing automation into your sales process. You’ll be able to handle more opportunity volume. Without a commensurate increase in investment.
The best example of non-linear marketing is content marketing. If Google likes a page on your website, a #1 ranking can drive 1000’s of qualified visitors a month.
Best of all, once the page is created, you don’t have to do any more work. You can sit back and let Google send you clients.
For new companies, content marketing tends to have a low or negative ROI.
But that will change as your website gains authority in your niche
Google will rank you higher for related search queries. Which in turn will drive increasing levels of traffic to your website.
For the first several months there aren’t any leads coming in. Which makes it hard to justify a continued investment into more content.
But what happens if you move from page 3 to page one for your target keywords?
As qualified traffic increases, your cost per lead will dramatically decrease.
Content marketing is unique. Articles and other content are created once. But they continue to provide value over time. An article written 3 years ago can still generate leads today. And no additional work is required.
For this reason, content is considered a non-linear form of marketing.
When it works, it can work very, very well. And most companies should consider adding inbound as a marketing channel.
And part of what makes cold email so attractive is that it’s a form of non-linear marketing.
Setting up a well constructed outreach campaign requires a bit of work. But once your systems and cadences are set up, it’s easy to scale.
The key to a successful cold email campaign is finding an effective message-target fit. You need to know exactly why your ideal customer needs your solution. And why they’re going to want to speak with you.
Achieving a target-message fit is harder than it sounds. And often requires a bit of trial and error.
Which is why cold email uses A/B testing. You can trial different copy ideas to see what gets the most positive responses.
Once you’ve figured out what your best prospects want to hear, you can speed up your contact volume. Want more clients? Great, increase your send outs from 20 to 50 emails per day.
Many of the costs for cold email are incurred during the trial and error stage.
Once you know what works, your cost per lead drops and it’s easy to scale.
One of the fastest ways to achieve exponential growth is with marketing partnerships.
These arrangements can be incredibly lucrative. This is because you are capitalizing on investments already made by other companies.
Consider a complex technology like an ERP software or Salesforce. These solutions have massive functionality. But they need expertise to install properly.
A small IT company can help the software company install their solution. They could get 100’s of clients just by being in a geographic area.
There are tons of ways to set up a marketing partnership.
For example, you can partner with companies that can organically refer to your own.
For example, a website designer can refer business to a hosting company.
After the site is built they can refer their client to a marketing specialist. And so on.
Find partners who own a strategic place in your ecosystem and pay them to send business your way.
Setting up partnerships can take a lot of work to set up. But once they are working well it takes very little effort to maintain the relationship.
And you’ll continue to receive strong opportunities for years to come. With little or no upfront cost to yourself.
Use Non-Linear Production To Scale Sales
It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but your production systems can help you scale sales.
This happens when your cost per unit produced decreases as sales volume increases.
Decreasing unit costs means that more money is available for marketing and sales activities. Which drives higher sales revenue.
Here are a couple of ways businesses make their production as efficient as possible.
If you provide a solution that’s heavy on consultation (ie a consulting company) then it’s very hard to reduce costs.
Every new client creates its own set of challenges. And every situation is unique. So it’s hard to standardize processes.
Service productization refers to a middle-ground between a product and a service. With service productization you provide a fixed outcome for a fixed price.
For example, a website designer could break their work into small saleable tasks. This works well since different clients have different needs. A new company needs a logo and hosting. But a company with an existing website may not.
Service productization enables you to build systems, and lower costs.
And it eliminates many of the negotiation steps usually required to sell services. Buyers are purchasing a single deliverable that doesn’t have a lot of scope for change.
Breaking large solutions into bite-sized outcomes also enables clients to ‘trial’ your services. Which in turn reduces sales friction and drives higher revenues.
Create Once, Sell Twice
When you can create something once, and resell it unlimited times then there’s a high potential to scale sales.
The initial costs tend to be high. But each unit cost is nearly zero. So excess revenues can go into marketing to create additional sales.
There’s a reason Bill Gates is among the richest people in the world. He used this business model to make Microsoft an unstoppable juggernaut.
Microsoft spends millions of dollars creating Windows. They can afford it because they know they’ll get Windows installed on billions of machines world-wide. With each one paying them a hefty fee to reinforce their monopoly.
There are lots of other examples where this model is used.
At education firms, video lessons are created and then resold as many times as possible. In Udemy’s case they don’t even make the videos!
Other media like books are written once and then marketed to sell a lot of copies.
Saas solutions create their product and then offer subscription access.
And so on.
In many companies, higher production volumes create lower unit costs. This is especially common in manufacturing.
Consider how much it costs Coca-Cola to set up a new production plant. The first drink to come off the line might cost $100m to produce. But since the ingredients in Coke are cheap, the cost per unit will eventually drop to a few pennies per can.
Coke then sells their product at a massive markup. And the high profit margins are used to expand Coke’s brand. Which drives further sales.
Invest In Processes To Scale Revenue
But there are other ways to achieve rapid growth.
These are found by developing rock solid sales and operational processes. Smooth operations reduces frictions and increases profitability.
One of the biggest reasons companies fail is because they grow too quickly. When leads start flooding in they don’t have sales processes in place to handle the demand.
With that in mind, here are some process areas that help businesses become more efficient.
It’s tempting to try and help everyone. But in the long run that approach will reduce profitability.
To create strong processes you need to know exactly who you help. And what problem you solve for that market segment.
The more you focus on your niche, the better you’ll be able to create replicable systems for your target market.
Sales staff are expensive.
Depending on your business, they could even be one of your biggest expenses. So make sure they’re worth it.
Before expanding your sales team, confirm your sales processes deliver a high ROI. There’s NO point growing something that will snap under pressure.
Hire slowly until you are sure your sales systems can be replicated by new sales reps.
Establish a cost multiple your sales reps have to produce in new revenue. And give them a solid plan to achieve that goal. For example, if the cost of a new sales rep is $100,000 per year, then they should generate $500,000 per year in revenue.
Maximize Existing Revenues
It’s more profitable to grow revenues from an existing client than it is to find a new client.
Yeah, you’ve already heard that a million times.
But maybe you aren’t aware of how much more profit is associated with higher levels of customer retention.
The cost to serve existing clients decreases as clients purchase more over time. In the financial services industry, a 5% increase in customer retention produces a 25% increase in profit.
So take a look at your customer churn numbers and explore ways to keep them as clients, longer. Any incremental costs incurred will be more than made up by higher revenues.
Inbound marketers often refer to the idea of repurposing content. For example, the ideas from a blog post can be modified to become a video, or an infographic.
Those ‘new’ pieces of content can then be shared across platforms like YouTube. This expands the potential reach of content, with a fraction of the effort required to think of new ideas.
The idea of repurposing applies equally well to other areas of your business.
Everything you do creates an output. The question is, how do you get more value from it?
Take a hard look at what you create. Obviously it has value in it’s primary form. But what other ways can it be used?
Here’s an example. SaaS companies have client users. During the course of using their product, data is automatically created. That data has value! Maybe it can be repackaged for sale? Or perhaps it can be used to create marketing content.
Look for ways to effectively use the byproduct of your company’s operations.
Other Ways To Scale Sales?
I’d love to hear about your experiences. Have you scaled sales in your organization?
What worked for you?
Let me know and I’ll be sure to add your ideas or examples to this article.
Need More Qualified B2B Leads?
Get The EXACT Steps We Used To Book Over 3600 Meetings