Use This Strategy To Build Pipeline From Scratch

Viktor Hatfaludi
February 6, 2023
6 minutes

Introduction

THIS video is for Senior Sales Reps - and you’ll want to adapt your Outbound strategy after this one.

Wanna know the difference between Reps who underperform and the Top Dogs? Top performers only care about 3 things: Pipeline, Win rates, and Time to close. But that in itself is NOT gonna cut it when you’re starting from scratch - which is why we’re here.

Anyone can build pipeline over the long run. But if you wanna start making commission sooner? Which accounts are you going after then? Who are you gonna prioritise? How are you gonna approach them? We’ll get into ALL of these and more and by the END of this post you’ll have a clear picture of how to build pipeline strategically to CRUSH your quota this year!

Generate the right leads

You know it. Prospecting and outbound is the surest way to build pipeline because unlike inbound, it’s within your control. But so are other things that you’ve likely been disregarding like sales velocity, approach, and timing among others when building your strategy. And guess what? Ramp will take longer and so you’ll underperform.

But that’s ALL gonna change and you’ll learn HOW to make smarter moves - moves which I’ve used OVER and over again to hit my targets. And it works.

Essentially you want to treat your outbound efforts like you would build a portfolio where your currency is time.

So with that in mind we’ll cover what you should do, how, and when!

First of all you DON’T just want to generate leads but generate the RIGHT leads which starts by building a list of target accounts.

You’ll need to make sure you have a healthy mix of small, large, existing and new companies and throw different industries into the mix because ALL OF THESE factors affect sales velocity.

What's Sales Velocity?

Sales velocity means how fast you’re making money and you calculate it by multiplying the number of opps, deal size, and win rates, then dividing it by the time it takes to close the deal.

Ultimately you want to balance your efforts in a way that maximizes sales velocity so you need to understand what that looks like across different segments and industries. Here's one way to visualise it:

Sales Velocity by deal size and industry

You’re seeing a chart of your customer segments by size and industry where win rates are on the Y axis and time to close is on the X axis.

To GET here, start by creating 3 opp cohorts for your small, mid, and large deals and fill out the metrics for each of them:

1. What is the average deal size for the cohort?

2. How long does it usually take to generate AND close these opps?

3. And what’s your average win rate?

You can go FURTHER and do this same analysis by deal type, meaning net new or expansion, by Industry and even by product line as well because ALL OF THESE impacts time to close.

For example companies in the Banking industry will have a longer decision making process than companies in e-commerce, AND IF your product is business critical, companies will run a more thorough risk analysis than if your product is a nice to have. Prioritise faster ones!

Use these factors to define your activity volume in each cohort to start closing deals sooner. HINT: It should look something like an hourglass⏳:

Start filling your pipeline with more smalldeals that close faster to get revenue flowing, and as you get closer to pipeline coverage shift your attention towards generating a smaller number of bigger and medium-sized deals. Then as you approach the end of year do the reverse to close more small deals in the last minute because lots of small wins add up.Hold on, we’re not done yet because execution is key.

Work smarter, not harder

How are you going to stack the odds in your favour? The long story short is by focusing on what you can control - and that’s your productivity and approach. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, points out that instead of relying on motivation alone, BUILD HABITS so you don’t have to think about what needs to get done. And if there’s ONE THING you want to get into the habit of is spending enough time on outbound.

I suggest blocking off at least 30% of your time for outbound over the course of the week.

I was at my most productive when we were forced to batch all our cold calls into 2 days and set meetings for the other 3. This way you avoid task switching and are able to get more done without feeling overwhelmed.

Once you've batched your tasks think about what tools are at your disposal to plow through them faster. Tools constantly evolve and so should your approach. One cool example I’ve seen is a rep using ChatGPT to skim through a company’s 10k report as a way to speed up research, or if you want a more controlled take, just use cmd+f to search for keywords in the report when looking for a way in.

Talking about approach you’ll want to define 3 things:

1. Think about how you can break into the accounts. Do you have existing connections at the target company for a DIRECT approach, any second degree contacts who can refer you, or do you have to go in cold?

2. What’s your STRATEGY going to be? Looking to go for a mega deal or land and expand. IF YOUR GOAL is to generate revenue SOONER you’ll want to go for more land and expand deals in the beginning and balance out the approach later on.

3. LASTLY the thing that often gets overlooked is HOW you spread out activity throughout the year. You’ll want to FRONT-LOAD volume for the FIRST half of the year so your efforts still pay off within the period.

Reach out to the right prospects at the right time

When's the best time to reach out?

Before we wrap things up there’s one last piece to the puzzle and that’s timing.

Wouldn't it be amazing to reach out to the right prospects at the right time? You know, instead of having to do guess work.

With tools like 6Sense and Demandbase you have access to ICP & prospects’ stage of awareness so you can take the right approach while there’s still time.

If you’re NOT USING buyer intent data in your outreach you can still factor in industry trends like Black Friday and Holidays if you’re targeting e-commerce companies AND ramping up activity when prospects are working and slowing down when they’re likely on vacation.

Consider what you can take on

Capacity is another one of those things I’ve overlooked once. When working at a Value Added Reseller we had a SMALL engineering team taking care of installation and I booked enough deals to keep them busy for 3 months straight.

Now obviously I wasn’t going to starve for 3 months so I started selling standalone products that we made a profit off and didn’t require any hands-on work. If you also work with solutions where capacity bottlenecks can occur, plan for these in advance and balance out your campaigns across product lines and avoid dry seasons.

And when do you call it quits? (you know, for the time being at least) BASED ON YOUR QUOTA you should have an idea of what’s your minimum velocity to still hit target and use that to define how much time you want to spend breaking into each account before postponing it to a later period.

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Viktor Hatfaludi
February 6, 2023
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Meet Your Trainer

Viktor has 10+ years of full-cycle experience in tech sales.

His latest contribution was helping Bitrise (YC W17) scale from 3M to 20M+ USD in recurring revenue.

Today he’s a Sales Consultant and Trainer at Revenue Ramp helping B2B Startups go from $0 to $10M ARR.

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