Have you ever asked – Why is everyone else crushing their goals in business and I can’t seem to figure it out?
Then you should definitely read the new book by Aaron ‘Air’ Ross and Jason Lemkin: “From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hypergrowth Companies Achieve Predictable Revenue”
This book asks and answers the question
“Why are you struggling to grow your business when everyone else seems to be crushing their goals?”
We’ve been blogging and podcasting about growth through marketing and sales automation, but I think what you need when you’re going to look at any sort of marketing automation or growing your business through in-bound or out-bound marketing sales, is to have a methodology behind it.
Aaron Ross’ first book Predictable Revenue from 2011 has been called the sales Bible of Silicon Valley. In it Aaron gave an excellent real life blueprint for how to build both your in-bound and out-bound lead generation machines.
This is an essential read for anyone that’s looking at implementing a digital business strategy or a digital marketing strategy. With the latest book, “From Impossible to Inevitable”, he takes the Predictable Revenue methodology and updates it to include current day examples of both startups and companies with over $1M in revenue who go from stalled to hypergrowth by following the 7 steps he and his co-author Jason Lemkin outline.
Who is the author, Aaron Ross?
Aaron Ross’s claim to fame is that he built the first inside sales team at Salesforce and he was there when the company had around 150 employees. He exited out Salesforce to build his own consulting and education business called Predictable Revenue. He’s also a partner in Carburetor, which you can find at www.Carb.io. It’s a pipeline automation platform and it’s where you can take the Predictable Revenue methodology and apply it using their software. carb.io of course works with Salesforce.
He’s also got a pretty unique and consistent email newsletter and produces interesting blog content that is 50% B2B lead generation insight and 50% about his personal life. I’ve always found his stuff useful and informative and it’s always very personable.
The personal tone apparently can rub people a little bit the wrong – sending pictures of his latest kid or describing something that may feel like TMI (too much information). Aaron is not shy emailing you stuff that’s unrelated to Predictable Revenue particularly about his family and his 12 kids. Yes, 12 kids.
He’s built quite the family in addition to building quite the business. Aaron is a big hearted guy for sure.
I personally first purchased the book, Predictable Revenue at a time when I was trying to diversify away from selling to entrepreneurs and selling more to businesses. There was and remains a ton of information out there about how to sell online and to generate leads from presumably the wantrapreneur or entrepreneur masses.
All of the material I found were really based around the growth of Google PPC and people searching for keywords and finding information they want, conducting their own research online. The trend seems to be that sales is dead, marketing automation has won and t really makes it kind of daunting if you’re not getting organic SEO traffic and you’re not able to buy enough Google AdWords traffic in your niche to get enough leads.
How do you grow your business without picking up the phone and calling someone?
In this age no one picks up their phone because when they do they know that the generally it’s someone on the other end that they don’t know. Most communication is through email, and the reality is that cold calling, it was tough when it was in vogue and today it’s less and less relevant or so I thought.
I think what Predictable Revenue did is it provided a blueprint for both modern day in-bound sales — which is kind of more pull marketing, generating leads, and finding potential buyers or clients later in their buying cycle. When they’re ready to do something, they find you through information you publish. That’s great, but what if they’re not finding you?
How do you proactively go out and make new relationships and try and build new customers? I think where Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin, with “From Impossible to Inevitable” really hit the nail on the head is in providing a modern framework for out-bound marketing and lead generation.
I had lingering questions in my own mind when I first saw that the new book was out. Maybe you do too.
- Should I sit there and churn out online content? — which I do …and hope potential clients find me?— which they don’t always.
- Is there any point to being proactive?
- Is there any point to cold emailing or calling a company as my client, or is it just going to diminish my position in my market? Is it going to be fruitless?
- What is the right approach in the much derided “interruption marketing?”
- If I go and hire a salesperson, the same question applies. What do I direct them to do? Are they prospecting, are they closing?
- Should I be implementing some sort of sales or marketing automation now and what’s the point if I’m not generating leads on a manual basis?
I think what this book provides is what works in 2016 and beyond to consistently add new clients and stand out amongst all the other chatter that’s out there, competitors and options in the marketplace.
From Impossible to Inevitable really outlines first and foremost that you are able to generate both in-bound and out-bound leads, and here’s how. Second is that if you have enough leads it’s really going to overcome all other problems in your business. So if you can figure out how to generate on-going leads then you’re going to get enough deals and opportunities and revenue to grow.
They also advocates that for your outbound team and your in-bound team that you segment what sales people you hire, what sales reps are doing, so he’s been a big advocate of generating leads and having business development representatives follow up on those, and then having out-bound prospectors and having those as two different roles, and then a third role being more of the closer, account executive type role.
Aaron’s Own Journey From Employee to Freelancer to Business Owner
What I really liked about From Impossible to Inevitable was how it detailed Aaron’s own journey from working a job at Salesforce to a Freelance consultant — and then going beyond being a freelancer to building a business with predictable revenue that he could grow.
This parallels the journey I think of many people today who are opting for freelancing and then discovering that they basically recreated their own job, obviously on their own terms, but they want to escape not only the corporate zombie-ism, but they also want to escape the ‘just getting by’ syndrome as a freelancer.
We all get to the point where we want to actually build a scalable business, an I think there’s so much information out there about in-bound versus outbound sales and inbound snobs, as he refers to it — that alone kind of clued me in— which is, “hey, inbound pull marketing is not the only way.” There is a way to do outbound marketing and be proactive. I found that alone liberating.
I really enjoy Aaron’s own niche story about how when he left the Salesforce job he got kind of consulting and he was kind of going around through different options of how he positioned himself in the market.
He got some consulting and made kind of that five to seven grand a month and he was stuck at that okay level. Then what really blew up his own business was when he specifically identified what his niche was and then marketing himself that way. When he did that, that’s when he saw a big increase over four years in his income.
He tried different niches. What he had landed on was of course PredictableRevenue.com and then Predictable Revenue the book in 2011.
What he ended up specializing, his niche was companies selling business-to-business (B2B) Companies with $1 Million plus in sales. They need to grow but they are not using out-bound prospecting.
As the story goes by nailing his niche Aaron’s own income went from $67,000 to $720,000, so almost a tenfold increase in 4 years. In that time he also grew his family from zero to 12 kids as I mentioned before, so very big-hearted guy. He only wanted to work 20 to 30 hours a week, so he really needed to automate his business, so get his message out, implement his niche story, and then scale up the business while not scaling up the amount of time that he had to invest in it.
Nail Your Niche
Another important take away for me was the discussion of how to Nail Your Niche before you build your three types of lead generation practices.
I think that was really a pretty profound chapter in the book where you stand out from the crowd by going super narrow in your market positioning. Be very clear and that you are a big fish in a small pond.
They proceed to show how that can actually be way more successful than trying to be all things to all people.
Great Case Studies
The one story that I really enjoyed was the story of Matt Epstein the first VP of Marketing for Zenefits, which is basically an HR software platform.
Matt Epstein became somewhat famous as the Google “Please Hire Me” guy.
He created this funny video, and I’ve included a link to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRHFEDyHIsc, where he kind of talks about all the reasons that Google should’ve hired him or should hire him for a product marketing job. (Plus of course Matt is Canadian like yours truly, why wouldn’t he be?)
He showed guts where he spent his last $3,000 on that campaign and that’s really what ended up leading the campaign of “Google, Please Hire Me.” While Google didn’t hire him, it certainly got him noticed in the Valley and he ended up getting the Zenefits gig. Aaron and Jason talk about Matt’s journey in joining Zenefits under the promise of, “Hey, you might not get paid for a year, but you should join me anyway.”
What I found was interesting about that was how he grinded it out for 30 days to prove that he could generate leads, sending just 100 cold emails a day and doing A/B testing, so he basically didn’t implement any sort of complex technology, but using basically spreadsheets, he figured out what messages resonated with which audiences and what response rates he could expect.
After 30 days and sending about 3,000 emails, he had really a template that he could then scale up. It wasn’t about the tools in that case and I think that’s why this is an excellent book for it. It kind of gives you those first steps before you implement any sort of marketing automation. We advocate building obviously a digital marketing strategy, and I think this kind of asks some important questions, it gives you a bit of a framework that you can help build out that strategy a little bit more. Then it really shows that if you are in a business that’s even 1 million or 5 million or 10 million, you can also get stuck in growth ruts if you will and it shows how you can get out of those ruts and still hyper grow your business.
In a Nutshell
Really to kind of wrap it up, the conclusion is “From Impossible to Inevitable” outlines seven (7) steps to hyper growth for any company.
It’s supported well by current and recent stories and it provided me with clarity around the level of effort required for different lead generation methods, and set what I think is realistic expectations of success and benchmarks for those three types of lead generation that are outlined in the book.
It talks about how to segment your hires along specific roles – so not having a salesperson be all things – but have them focus on their being a prospector or someone that follows up with in-bound leads or someone that takes leads from prospectors and closes them.
It provides useful ideas about how to both measure and achieve realistic outcomes.
I like the personable tone, and it’s consistent with the theme of Impossible to Inevitable. It takes you through that journey mentally from where you might have questions in your mind to feeling more confident that you can implement the strategy and make it work for yourself for your own business.
I think it’s an ideal guide to get beyond the questions of if you can grow onto figuring out how you can grow your business. I think it’s a must read again before you implement or buy any form of marketing automation.
Check out From Impossible to Inevitable. You can get it on Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/From-Impossible-Inevitable-Hyper-Growth-Predictable/dp/1119166713
Or you can go to FromImpossible.com and I think that’ll allow you to access the Amazon link.
If you download From Impossible to Inevitable, let us know and let us know your comments.
Well worth the 12 bucks that you’re going to spend on it in my opinion.