By Parasvil Patel, Principal at Radical Ventures

This is the first in a series of features focused on key strategies for growing early-stage technology companies.

Over the past several months the Radical Impact Team has hosted expert roundtables on go-to-market and talent strategies and best practices with our portfolio companies. And we’re now sharing the key strategic and tactical insights from those sessions.

Given the extraordinary challenges facing many startup balance sheets in the wake of the pandemic, Radical Scale kicks off with sales leaders Lars Nilsson and Travis Henry on best practices for managing the sales pipeline during Covid-19.

Managing your sales pipeline with Lars Nilsson and Travis Henry

Key strategic takeaway

Multi-touch account-based target development is key for managing a sales pipeline, especially during tough times.

  • The best outbound account-based campaigns, tell a story across multiple touchpoints.
  • To orchestrate these moments, there have to be many touches over multiple channels (emails, calls, voicemails, and social media) over a long period of time and all of them have to be relevant.

Tactical advice

Process:

  • Know your target buyer persona for each of your verticals. Identify these people and create an outbound sequence to target these individuals.
  • Use links to customer testimonials and case studies in your outbound emails to monitor engagement. Always keep the content relevant and engaging.

Metric:

  • When you are doing a one-to-many cold outbound touch sequence, you have to make sure the subject line and the opening lines are compelling, contextualized, and personalized. 20% personalization is usually the sweet spot as it balances the effort required for customizing the content and the increase in the open and reply rates.

People:

  • Leverage senior executives for a C-level peer-peer outreach campaign.
  • For example, initiate targeted outbound campaigns from your CEO to the client CEO. It takes a little more time and requires more personalization. You may need to apply a different tone.
  • This approach requires significantly more personalization than the metric mentioned above and relies on personal buy-in on the approach from your senior executive/s.

Technology:

  • Empowering the Sales Development Representative with the appropriate tools can help her quarterback of the entire sales pipeline process.
  • Two effective tools for tracking sales engagement are Outreach and Salesloft. If your company is at an earlier stage and cannot afford either, there are other lower-cost options such as Mixmax, Groove, and PersistIQ.

Experts

Lars Nilsson is currently the VP Global Sales Development at Snowflake. He is a 25+ year veteran of Inside Sales & Sales Operations. He has taken 4 companies to IPO and beyond (Cloudera, Arcsight, Portal Software, Riverbed Technology). He is credited with coining the term Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD).

Travis Henry is the Sr. Manager of SDR Operations and Enablement at Snowflake. He is a 5+ year veteran of Inside Sales & Sales Operations. He has taken 1 company through a successful acquisition by IBM (Bluewolf) and has expertise in Lead-to-Cash process, Sales Technology, Sales & Marketing Alignment, and Funnel Design.

About the Radical Ventures Impact Team

The Radical Ventures Impact Team is dedicated to helping its portfolio companies achieve global scale by providing deep technology expertise, go-to-market guidance, talent acquisition, strategic communications, and policy support.

If you want to learn more about Radical or its impact efforts, please reach out to parasvil@radical.vc.