We talk a lot about sales engines in our line of work – after all, it's what we build.
However, there seems to be a little confusion around what "Scalable, Predictable and sustainable sales engines" are.
It's easy to question how achievable those three things are and assume they're buzzwords used to glorify and amplify our message. Still, the reality is that they're the bedrock of a successful sales engine - that most engines don't deliver against.
Where it all begins
Ultimately, the value in your business is your sales engine. You are nothing without your people – we're fully behind that mantra. However, to pay those people, you need a fully functioning sales engine inside your business – not outsourced.
But enough of the talk of where it belongs. We've covered that in enough detail before.
We really want to get to the heart of what it means for your sales engine to be scalable, sustainable, and predictable. It's easy for us to sit here and say that's the goal, but without explaining it, it means nothing.
So let's explain it.
The fundamentals of your sales engine
Put it this way. Most founders and business owners are searching for growth, scale, and forward momentum. So, naturally, your sales engine should be scalable to help you achieve this.
However, many of the tactics and channels aren't scalable. That's not to say that they don't have a place in your sales strategy; it's just that they aren't going to increase in value as time goes on.
For example, a referral strategy is a brilliant way to bring in new business. However, is it scalable to deliver more business as you grow and require bigger deals? Probably not.
The same goes for partner channel strategies – you may have the best partners in the world, but again, you're not fully in control. You can't scale it infinitely as you would with a sales engine inside your business, and how can you predict it, as you're not in control of the demand or funnel?
We're not saying that these components shouldn't be in your strategy; it's just that most businesses are far too reliant on these elements.
We are saying that you need to break this model and lean into infinitely scalable and repeatable tactics.
That means getting comfortable with channels like LinkedIn and Emal. These are, without a doubt, the two primary channels for reaching your ideal clients in the B2B sphere. Their beauty is that they hit all three critical criteria - they're scalable, predictable and sustainable.
You can use many tools to build your outreach around, whether that's through AI or not. They can all help you prospect on LinkedIn and email, respectively, without damaging your reputation. Because the thing that makes a good or bad email is not the tool - it's the strategy and messaging behind it.
With scale, the key is in the detail. If you take the time to personalise, target, and come prepared with the right sales tactics (i.e. Don't Sell), then there's no reason your outreach can't be successful.
Outreach seems to be a dirty word, but can you genuinely hope to scale your business without it?
As demand generation campaigns progress, your understanding of your target audience, ideal customer profile, and market challenges is gained. Refining your sales and demand generation strategies over time increases predictability and sustainability simply because more data can be analysed.
The more you employ a test-and-learn approach to the campaigns you're running, the more data and insights you have, and the more you can optimise and improve the way you're building predictability into the results you can deliver.
From knowledge, learning and time comes predictability. And through that comes confidence in your pipeline.
Once you have scalability and predictability and your channels work, the process naturally becomes more sustainable. This is because you organically gain more control over your sales engine through owned channels such as email and controlled channels such as LinkedIn.
The ability to scale your sales engine leads to long-term sustainable business growth. As mentioned, the over-reliance on inbound strategies leaves you dangerously overexposed to a drop-off in customers actively looking to solve their problems.
If the market changes, a recession hits, or an election happens - queue next year - you could be in trouble. We all know that businesses stop actively looking for external solutions when budgets are cut.
Stability also comes from the fact that the talent, tools and sales operations sit inside your business. Not an outsourced partner that has everything wrapped up and a black box you can't see into.
Every piece of knowledge is yours, and every effort and energy is available. That is incredibly empowering for any business.
Bringing it all together
So, the above shows precisely why outbound sales are so critical and why everyone's agenda should focus on creating a scalable, sustainable and predictable engine you're in control of.
Without a sustainable flow through the pipeline, you can't even begin to hope for a sustainable sales engine because there are no deals to be closed – you're over-reliant on people coming to you.
And that's just it: control is everything. By having control over the scalability of your engine, you'll create a more sustainable pipeline and engine for you to operate.
Ultimately, it becomes a virtuous and positive cycle as a combination of optimisation, predictability, and sustainability at scale reinforces each other. Achieving harmony across your demand generation channels contributes to your sales strategy and your business's overall success.
The final word
So, the ball is in your court. Will you take charge of your sales engine and hit the ground running?
The businesses that have finished strongly off the back of a rocky year are the ones that took control, and the ones that thrived are the ones that went the extra mile.
No one knows what 2024 is going to look like. If this year is anything to go by, it'll be as unpredictable as ever. So, take control of what you can, which is your sales engine.
Go to market. Bang the drum. Make your business scalable, sustainable, and predictable. The only way is up from 2023, so make it count.