Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler: Summary & Notes

Rated: 6/10

Available at: Amazon

ISBN: 0984380213

Related: To Sell is Human, SNAP Selling


Good introduction to sales techniques.  Downside is it may be a little outdated, or specific to certain situations.

Still definitely worth reading for any entrepreneur or sales executive.

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Sales Machine

  1. Predictable lead generation: most important thing
  2. Sales dev. team that bridges gap between marketing and sales
  3. Consistent sales systems

Chapter 6: Lead generation and "Seeds, Nets, Spears"

  • Spears: targeted sales, outbound
  • Seeds: word of mouth, PR
  • Nets: marketing programs
  • Prospect: names or list you’re marketing to where people haven’t responded positively
  • Lead: prospect that has responded positively
  • Opportunity: after someone has qualified the lead
  • Client: has given you some money
  • Champion: client or non-client who has referred, supported or testified
  • Give up trying to control how long it takes someone to move forward
  • Design “layers” that they move through
  • *free trial is key*
  • Send email min 1/mo, max 2/week
  • Do fewer things, better
  • Check Marketo example for exact follow-up times, etc.
  • Mistake: thinking “product-out” and not “customer-in”

Five metrics to track:

  • New leads created/mo (and from where)
  • Conversion rate of leads to opportunities
  • # of, and pipeline $ value of, qualified opportunities/mo
  • Conversion rates of opportunities to closed deals
  • Booked revenues in 3 categories: new, add-on, renewal

Hold the hands of your first customers: give them lots of love

  • Cold Calling 2.0: mass email high-level execs to ask who you should talk to
  • Spend serious time developing ideal customer profile (ICP)
  • Research rather than call
  • Short and to-the-point emails
  • Go beyond basic SFA
  • Once ramped up, single full-time outbound rep can generate 10-20 excellent leads/mo

Cold Calling 2.0 steps:

  • Specialize: dedicate one person to only outbound prospecting activities
  • One sales development rep can usually support 2-5 quota-carrying Account Execs (but can be 1:1 or 1:2 if you have big deals)
  • Market response rep qualifies incoming leads (1 per 400 leads)
  • Prospecting cycle length: time between when prospect first responds to campaign to when quality opportunity is created or qualified (~2-4 weeks
  • Sales cycle length: time from when opportunity was created or qualified to when it was closed

Cold Calling 2.0 Process:

  • Get clear on ideal customer profile
  • Build your list: don’t sell too low
  • Run outbound email campaigns (8-12% response rate)
  • Use phone to follow up
  • 50-100 emails per salesperson, per day, 2-3 days every week
  • Sell the dream: make contact with the correct person, then pain vision of solution with their key business issue
  • Use Smart Targeting criteria (p. 128) to build customer profile
  • Send 150-250 outbound emails per week over 3-4 days
  • Before/after 9-5 or on Sundays
  • If someone has opened email more than once, call them
  • p. 155 - qualifying/discovery questions
  • Schedule next call while on the phone

Improve call effectiveness: AAA call planning:

  • What Answers do you want to learn?
  • What Attitudes do you want the prospect to feel?
  • What Actions should occur after the call?

Qualification call flow:

  • Opening: (“did I catch you at a bad time?”) and intro
  • Discuss prospect’s current business situation
  • Probe for prospect’s needs (& confirm understanding)
  • Position solution to meet those specific needs
  • Handle objections
  • Next steps

Voicemail (see example p. 171): 

  • Name and # at beginning and end
  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Can be effective in combination with email
  • Account status: p. 175
  • Compensation: p. 180
  • As an SDR, your customer is your account execs
  • P. 188 - ideal “Day in the life”


  • “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
  • “May I ask you how your ____ is structured?”
  • “I’m doing some research on your company to see if we’re a good fit or not”
  • P. 201: good daily sales goals
  • “Pick a niche, get rich”
  • Have a process
  • Understand/learn their buying process

Creating free trials that maximize conversion rates:

  • Design your trial with prospect and help them run it
  • Do your best to understand prospect’s true business issues before starting
  • Agree on where trial fits in the buying process (ie. what’s after)
  • Better to nail fewer (or a single) key problem than try to solve every problem for everyone
  • Define with client what “successful trial” means
  • Create milestones for the trial
  • Enroll the prospect (and their team); schedule follow-up meetings
  • Simplify the trial process: do you have a step-by-step system?
  • Set expectations: under-promise and over-deliver

3:15 sales process:

  • First contact: is this a waste of time? (15 mins)
  • Qualification/discovery call: is there a fit? (1 hr)
  • Group working session: “should we work together?” (2 hrs)
  • Find the root problem below “desired solutions”
  • You should be winning at least 50% of the proposals you’re giving out
  • Tell them you need a scoping call with them and key people
  • Best question: “did I catch you at a bad time?”

Chapter 9: Cultivating Your Talent

  • 1 part vet, 3 parts young
  • Inbound (Mkt. Response Rep) -> Outbound (SDR) -> Closing (AE) (6-8mo to 1-3yrs to move up)
  • p. 352, larger orgs.
  • Do role-playing to train your salespeople (p. 365)

Chapter 10: Leadership & Management

  • 6 Responsibilities of a Manager:
  • Choose people carefully
  • Set expectations and vision
  • Remove obstacles
  • Inspire your people
  • Work for your people
  • Improve it next time
  • Retaining key employees and managing well: p. 281
  • Managers focus on 1-6
  • V2MOM planning:
  • Vision: what’s the big picture? Vision for next 12 months
  • Values: top general priorities?  Top 3 business values?
  • Methods: how will it happen?  Be specific and clear.
  • Obstacles: what is or could be in the way?  Identify to plan ahead.
  • Metrics: how will you measure success?
  • Results-based metrics like: conversions per day, qualified opportunities/mo, new pipeline/mo, total closed bookings
  • 3 ways to improve/inspire sales organization:
  • Include salespeople in beginning of new programs
  • Beta test new sales programs
  • Survey satisfaction
  • Designing self-managing teams and processes: p. 403
  • Setting up sales force automation: p. 428