Book Digest: Economical Growth

In Economical Growth, Chris Pham outlines his strategy for creating a top performing sales development team that creates qualified sales leads to pass to account executives to work and close. This digest focuses on Pham’s methods for outbound outreach.

He outlines how to to create provocative email campaigns at scale, describing the seven different value points that an email can contain, how to generate these value points through targeted research, and how to deploy them as part of an email sequence.

Pham advocates matching the level of effort to the expected return on an account. Low-value accounts should receive emails targeted at a general level, such as to their industry. High-value accounts should receive emails targeted to specific individuals and to their company’s exact situation.

Chapter 9: Executing ABSD in Practice

  • Account Based Sales Development (“ABSD”) requires sales development representatives (“SDRs”) to understand the prospect’s company, the business outcomes they desire, and prescribe a solution with credible examples

Part 1: Account Penetration Process

  • Target accounts should have an identified transformation, meaning an urgent need for change that your product can address
    • Goal of research is to find the transformation or trait that fits your strategy
    • SDRs should identify up to 100 accounts to penetrate per quarter
    • Three levels to build a Provocative Point of View (“PPOV”)
      • Contact – Personal goals found on a LinkedIn profile
      • Account – Company’s strategy based on 10Ks and letters to investors
      • Industry – Trends like consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) companies wanting to access emerging markets


Part 2: Cadence Types & Strategy

  • A cadence is a micro-marketing campaign using a series of touches
  • Types of Cadences
    • High effort for top accounts/contacts
      • Account-specific cadences applicable only to that company, e.g, based on the new CEO’s top priorities
    • Medium effort for medium accounts/contacts
      • Use-case cadences that apply to a function, e.g., how sales operations teams will benefit from the product
      • Industry cadences that apply to anyone in that industry, e.g., how all CPG companies want to expand to emerging markets and therefore need the solution
    • Low effort for low value accounts/contacts
      • Catch-all cadences that apply to any account/contact
    • Marketing and leadership should build use-case, industry, and catch-all cadences
    • SDRs should spend most of their time building account specific cadences
  • Cadences are matched to the account penetration strategy
    • Bottom-up
      • Targets lower-level employees and seeks a referral to the real decision-maker
      • Many contacts, medium number of touches by email, catch-all and use-case cadences
    • Top-down
      • Targets senior execs and seeks to have them tell the decision-maker to investigate the solution
      • Few contacts, high number of touches by email and social
    • Direct
      • Targeting known decision-makers and seeks to create an opportunity
      • Few contacts, email, social, and phone, account-specific cadences
  • Multiple cadences will be running at the same time in each account
    • The type of cadence is matched to the value of the account and the value of each contact
    • E.g., The executives at the company get an industry cadence, mobilizers get account-specific cadences, and users get a use-case cadence.

Part 3: Social Media

  • LinkedIn profiles should be designed to showcase the SDRs ability to help prospects, not their sales results

Part 4: Writing and Delivering Effective Emails at Scale

  • There are three types of emails
  • PPOV Emails
    • Up to seven core value points + an ask:
      • Reason to reach out: Just this Friday, the WSJ posted about [company’s] need to develop cloud applications
      • Tie to a value proposition: Your CEO said he wants a single source of data on his company
      • Customer story + tie to functionality: [Another company] uses us to unify data silos
      • Customer result story: We saved [another company] X amount of money
      • Potential impact for the prospect: We could save you X amount of money
      • Why you, why now: Given your background as a [position], you will be interested in this
      • Ask: What time works best next week
    • Use different numbers of core value points in an email depending on the strategy and the point in the cadence.
      • A direct cadence might start with seven core value points per email and then taper off to two
      • A top down cadence might start with seven, lower to two, then go back up to seven, and then go back to two
      • A bottom-up cadence might have fewer emails with the first few at two, one at five, then back to two
  • Follow Up Emails
    • Short notes to remind the target of the email, like “wanted to make sure you got this”
  • Breakup emails
    • Build a sense of urgency, use humor. Subject lines like “Did I do something wrong?”
  • Emails: Performance and Team Messaging
    • Good campaigns can get 40%+ open rates and 10%+ response rates

Part 5: Warm Calling

  • Calls and voicemails let the prospect know that there’s a human reaching out who can provide value
    • Inbound leads need to be called within 5 minutes, odds of contact drop 100x if it takes 30 minutes
    • Best times for calling are 8-9 in the morning and 4-6 in the evening; best days for calling are Wednesday and Thursday
  • Calling strategy
    • Call after someone has engaged with your emails or received your emails
    • Goals: Schedule a meeting, remind someone to read your email, demonstrate that you’re a real person, show how important they are to you, find out who is in charge of a decision
    • Qualified warm prospects should get 6 calls
    • Quality calls:
      • Ask for time and demonstrate value early on
      • Use case studies and success stories
      • Use open questions to understand customer need
      • Close to the next step in the conversation “Let’s schedule a time for my product expert to go into more detail.”

Part 6: Bi-Modal Qualification

  • Qualification criteria depend on whether you’re responding to demand or creating demand
  • Responding to Demand
    • Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing (BANT) works
    • You are at a disadvantage when responding to demand because
      • They have already completed much of their research
      • They have probably identified competing vendors
      • There is a limited number of accounts that already have demand
  • Creating Demand
    • Target Profile, Provocative Point of View, Mobilizer, Commitment to Next Step (TPMC)
    • Target Profile: You have identified a transformation that you can help resolve
    • Provocative Point of View: You have identified how you can help the prospect
      • The case studies that are relevant
      • The metric you will help them drive
      • Key facts about their current situation that impact how they’ll use the product
    • Mobilizer: The contact has influence or is the decision maker
    • Commit: The contact has agreed to a next step, like a demo

Part 7: Cross Functional Engagement

  • Marketing Operations & Demand Gen
    • Needs to get leads to the right people in the least amount of time
  • Product Marketing
    • Needs to provide the Ideal Target Profile (ITP) for accounts and the buyer profiles for contacts. Limit the number of ITPs and buyer profiles so SDRs can focus.
    • Needs to provide customer case snippets, which are two to three sentence descriptions of how a customer uses the product and the value they derive from it, not a full case study. These should cover all of the use cases and ITPs.
  • Marketing in the Long Run
    • The number of quality leads can’t keep doubling every year
    • Over time, marketing needs to focus on account penetration
  • Field Sales
    • SDRs need to listen to feedback from field sales and provide quality information on each opportunity
    • Field sales needs to quickly follow up on opportunities from the SDR team
  • Sales and SDR Management
    • SDR management needs to hire additional SDRs months before new AEs arrive so they have pipeline
  • SDRs and Account Management
    • AM often wants to focus on renewal rather than expansion if expansion may risk renewal
    • SDRs should be aware of sensitivities inside the account and then work to find avenues for expansion