Building Outbound Sales in an IT Service Company

In this interview, we will talk about lead generation in IT using not quite standard methods.
My current guest, Max Makarenko, is the founder and CEO of Docsify, sales & marketing growth hacker. Max has been in B2B sales for over ten years.

After four years of outsourcing, he moved into the grocery business. Now he is also engaged in sharing his experience with outsourcing companies.

Max, please tell me, why did you leave the outsourcing of the product? What was the reason? Is outsourcing a good business too?

Well, it’s not bad from the point of view of, probably, getting some kind of stable income, but, from the point of view of what is more “for the soul”, nevertheless, the soul lies to where the last chain is - providing value. That is, when we work and make products for someone, and then we look and see how they do not always take off, and most often do not take off, it’s very disappointing, because you put your whole soul into it.

And, accordingly, we simply came to the conclusion that at the level of even internal sensations I really wanted to make my product and that it would not influence anyone, how it would develop, so that we ourselves could influence it.

I follow you on the net and I see that the topic of outsourcing does not let you go, after all, the outsourcing is sitting somewhere deep down, and it’s very tight. Why?

The fact is that at the moment when I was outsourcing, I already understand that I did not see the whole picture. When I switched, so to speak, to the other side, when we started to make a product, on the one hand, we began to be perceived as an object “to whom to sell”, and we always get some offers and it just turned into some kind of craziness, those. we all offer outsourcing services.

I saw it a little from the other side. And on the third hand, we have many clients - outsourcing companies, including not only, by the way, in the Russian-speaking space, a lot of foreign clients who provide similar services.

And when we introduce ourselves and try to understand their sales processes, we see a lot of interesting things that could be applicable, and I, therefore, want to share with outsourcing companies how it could be better than what most now cases.

That is, often the problems of the outsourcing business are not visible from the inside, but when you get out of it and look from the product point of view.

One hundred percent, they become directly visible. When he was engaged in it, there was no awareness of a large number of things, which I understand very well now.

For some reason, many are obsessed with the fact that outbound is what you need to do right now, because it works faster, and the inbound channel needs to be developed for a very long time and this is an ungrateful thing. Actually, this is a big mistake, because, firstly, it needs to be developed in parallel, and secondly, here is a simple example, when a lead comes to us inbound, it already has some kind of need formed, since it I saw our site, I understood what we are doing, I left a request.

On outbound, most often we have to write to such leads, for whom the need is often not formed and this process of forming the demand takes just a lot of time.

Therefore, in fact, I do not recommend considering working with any one channel, we always say that this should be some kind of combination, where we simultaneously develop both channels. But today we will talk more about outbound and what practices are and how it generally works.


Now there is a lot of debate on the topic of outbound or inbound. In fact, when it comes to sales, we can’t just talk about the lead generation channel. And outbound and inbound are just a channel from which we receive new leads, and, accordingly, we can not argue that, well, we are doing outbound or only inbound.

This is always a kind of relationship between outbound and inbound, because when you write even cold letters to your clients, in any case, you give a link to the site, people go in, look and there either see some elements of trust or they don’t see, depending from this, they already decide whether to respond to the letter or not.

For some reason, many of whom I communicate with are fixated on the fact that outbound is something that needs to be done right now, because it works faster, and the inbound channel needs to be developed for a very long time and this is an ungrateful thing. Actually, this is a big mistake, because, firstly, it needs to be developed in parallel, and secondly, here is a simple example, when a lead comes to us inbound, it already has some kind of need formed, since it I saw our site, I understood what we are doing, I left a request.

On outbound, most often we have to write to such leads, for whom the need is often not formed, and this process of forming the demand takes just a lot of time.

Therefore, in fact, I do not recommend considering working with any one channel, we always say that this should be some kind of combination, where we simultaneously develop both channels. But today we will talk more about outbound and what practices are and how it generally works.


The very first, probably, error that I encounter when communicating with people is that outbound should always be mega-cold and always look like spam, that is, if we write a cold letter, it is always spam.

In fact, this is, in fact, the approach that is outdated, about which I spoke when we just take some leads from obscure resources or even LinkedIn, we just take some thousand leads, US geography, such we send the role, such and such a position, and of course it will look like spam to the recipient and I can assure that your recipients receive these letters several times a day and very often they simply delete them without reading them, at least I’ve been doing it just recently, because it’s frank spam

A reasonable approach is that we should not write spam to anyone, and even if we need to write a cold letter, then as much as possible, we need to warm the person before contact. About how you can warm up before a cold letter, I will tell you, including during this master class.


Where to start?

It doesn’t matter which channel you develop, it is inbound or outbound, it does not matter, you always need to start by understanding, in principle, what kind of company you are and what services you sell.

I will not go in cycles, I think that this is a fairly obvious fact for everyone, but when communicating with many companies, very few can really articulate how they actually differ from the services of companies that are located one floor above or one floor below.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that: "Well, we are doing quality projects." Others also say that they are doing well. “And we do projects on time.” Others also say that they do on time, therefore, it is very important when you start to work out any channel, to understand what your company is a professional in, how you can detach yourself from competitors.

Naturally, rebuilding by price is not an option, because this chip, let’s say, is already taken by Asian countries, i.e. they are already well rebuilt for the price and very often they offer me $ 8-10 to develop something, so the strategy should be comprehensive, it should be based either on some kind of business domain, or on some kind of deep technical specialization, for example , some specific projects with a blockchain or machine learning.

When you formulate these criteria, it will be much easier for you to communicate with customers, because, again, if, for example, I need a developer, an outsourcing company, I always communicate with one, two or three and always choose among them, therefore what are they telling me.

That is, it already affects when you got in touch with the client, and what you tell him. After analyzing about a hundred of such phone calls, the first contacts with customers, I can say with confidence that no one can answer the question of how you are better, how you differ really in business and in detail.

And this is a very big problem, and first of all, where to start, what to do, is to articulate their advantages so that customers understand why they should choose you. Later I will be able to give examples in the course of our class.

The second point also swings outbound and inbound, but in this case we are talking in the context of outbound. Before you write to someone, you must very clearly understand who your target audience is. Accordingly, if you write a thousand letters to companies, people who are not included in the portraits of your target audience, then you simply spam and do not receive any answers.


Very often, I see situations in which the head of the company comes and says: “We are starting outbound, let's try.” Some first mailings are being made, the second campaign, the third campaign, as a result, after some time we get zero answers or one, where it says: "I'm not interested, write me off."

And after a few months, a decision is made that this channel simply does not work and "let's not deal with it, this is not for us." In fact, almost any channel works if you are properly prepared for working with this channel and directly implementing it.

Therefore, point number one, which is incredibly important, is the creation of detailed so-called buyer persona, when you clearly understand what problems these people have, why you can help them solve it, you can justify it. The most important rule I would formulate when working with outbound is to be relevant.

If you are relevant to the people you write, then, firstly, you will always have higher respontrade, and secondly, no one will call you spammers, because very often, as I said, I repeat that simply there is no need for the people you write to at all, and this is clear even from their LinkedIn profile.

Here, for example, they very often write to me: “Can you give us subcontracting projects?” Despite the fact that on LinkedIn it is clear that I have not been outsourcing for several years.

Therefore, a detailed study of who you write to, the next step is the segmentation of these target portraits, that is, who these people are, and the segmentation should end up with the number of people in the list of up to 50 people. You took some kind of niche, say, travel, you took some kind of geography, say, Germany.

You collect your portraits and you can collect them not only from LinkedIn, there are many other resources that allow you to target, some of which are listed below.


Plus, there are also many very targeted groups where your target audience can live. Therefore, just on the basis of these factors, you make micro-segmented lists of your target audience, and when you have one campaign for 30-40 people, it is much easier to personalize the letter and show that you are really writing, understanding what is being discussed, who you write and why.

There are resource sites that are not very popular, these are some narrow target communities, this is what works very well now. Suppose you are engaged in insurance or you have some kind of cases that you can show in some business niche, you can search for such target groups, they usually contain from 100 to 1000 people maximum, but at the same time they are people of very high qualities that will best suit your portrait.

MQL (marketing qualified lead) is the lead that corresponds to the portrait of the target audience described by you. How to get them? First, determine the criteria by which you are looking for them, from geography to where you found the person.

If you found it in a group, then we can make a variable as a variable during personalization that we found it in this group on Facebook, and accordingly, this will affect, let's say, more personalization, the best reply rate.

How are many now collecting data to write cool letters?


Usually it looks like this: there is LinkedIn, most often some sales navigator on LinkedIn and there is some kind of application like that allows you to receive e-mail from a LinkedIn profile, or from a list of profiles to get a list of emails.

We save all this in a csv file, then we will send emails with the help of some platforms, which we will talk about later. This is the approach that everyone is doing now, and I can say with great confidence that personalization that works at the name - company - position level is no longer personalization, it already works very poorly, everyone personalizes this way, so these letters are already in bulk in people’s inbox, and nobody reads them anymore.

The second approach, which is more unique, which, I think, is far from being used by everyone, but at the same time it is not very complicated.


For example, if your target audience is startups in some area, it doesn’t matter if there is such a platform as where there is a list of all startups and besides that there is still a lot of data about these startups, including which round investments they are, who their investors are and a lot of everything that can be used as variables for personalization.

We take this platform, connect Data Miner, which allows us to collect unstructured data on a web page in a structured form and, accordingly, we enrich with this tool not just a profile, as in LinkedIn - a company, position, name and everything, we add a lot more variables that allows you to add the same or, and we will use these variables in the future for personalization.

In the same way, we add e-mail using the same and similar tools, we get an already more enriched file with lead data that you can use and write more personalized letters to narrower groups. This is exactly what allows you to be as relevant as possible.

And the third approach, where there is even a case, according to which we managed to get a reply rate of about 90%. How it works? There are a lot of groups or events on facebook, where every event on facebook, every group on facebook has a list of participants.

Using the specific tools listed below, one of them is called Phantombuster, where you can gather all the participants in a group or event automatically.

And then automatically find their profiles on LinkedIn and using Dux-Soup - this is a program that helps to automatically send invites and messages, send people a very personalized message.


How many variables do you have in one letter?

Very much depends on what letter, at what stage it is, but in general for the first letter I would take 4-5 good quality variables.

Is it possible to build on feedback received from certain segments of the market based on the results of a test marketing company, and not on the originally planned portrait of a client?

If the feedback is appropriate, then you just need to adjust the portrait from this feedback and then work on the portrait anyway, that is, feedback is what allows you to refine the portrait of the target audience in more detail.

That is, in any case, at first the portrait comes as a hypothesis, then the portrait polished by practice.

And I can say that work with portraits never stops, that is, if we started with a small number of portraits, now we have segmented them a lot, there are already a large number of them, and every day every portrait is refined and refined. Therefore, of course, this is a permanent job that will allow over time to more and more clearly collect your target audience.

Another question: LinkedIn sales-navigator adds the issuance of those who are not nearly interested, maybe there was a bug, or maybe the algorithm is too complicated and crooked? Have not encountered such things?

Yes, we came across, of course, and this is not only a sales navigator, it is, in principle, also in the usual LinkedIn. The problem is this: very often this is due to the fact that when, for example, in the sales navigator we enter keywords in the search, LinkedIn very much cuts the search results. Its algorithms are far from perfect, and I recommend in this case not to use any keywords at all, but to make selections for specific fields and then the output will be better.

I’ll tell you an example that, I hope, will show how to use this tool correctly. Take our product. One of the portraits that we identified is the users of the Pipedrive CRM system, that is, those who can actually be our customers.

We found a group on Facebook, it was called “Pipedrive users” or something like that and using Phantom Buster we gathered all the members of this group, then using the same Phantom Buster they found their profiles on LinkedIn automatically and further using Dux -Soup sent messages on LinkedIn, in which we wrote: "Hi, I found you on Facebook in such and such a group, in connection with this I had a question, can you tell me something ..."

And we had a very high reply rate. Of those who connected, there were about 90% of the answers, and this is a case that no one would ever have thought in our life that we automated it, it looked like I found a person somewhere, I saw that he was in what to a group, found his LinkedIn profile and decided to write.

It looked very personalized, so there was a very high reply rate plus it was quite relevant, since there really were those CRM-system users in this group that we needed, and they could give us answers to questions.

And after we had already entered into a dialogue, we began to ask how they solve such and such a problem, they say nothing, and we further offered them our tools as options. Therefore, finding such approaches to outbound is something that will be actively developed in the next few years, I am sure.

And this is just one of the application cases of the same Phantom Buster, it is a very large API for marketers and sellers that you can use. Later I will tell you what other cases he can cover.

As for the channels, we all know that there is e-mail and LinkedIn, and we work with them. The question, probably, is that it is necessary to change approaches in working with them, this is the first.


And the second - you still need to pay attention to facebook as a source of communication, despite the fact that many say that FB is a personal space, it’s better not to write about work there. But it depends on who your target audience is.

I can say for sure that if your target audience is startups, whatever they are, wherever they are, then Facebook is a great place for communication.

And if you, for example, look for some narrow FB groups, almost every geography has its own FB group, for example, Berlin startups, London startups, etc., in any city, any country, you can find some narrow ones community, groups of people who communicate with each other.

The only thing that you need to behave there very carefully is that I often observe in such groups when some John or someone else appears and writes: “Guys, now I'm considering a contractor for myself who will do the front end for me and I'm looking for a developer. Tell me, 90 dollars per hour is a normal price or not? ”

And they begin to write answers, someone writes that if this is a company, then this is okay price, if a freelancer, then it can be a little cheaper.

And as a result, after some time, Vasya Ivanov appears, who breaks into this topic and writes: “But here we can, in principle, do 40, too, easily.”

In general, this is the wrong approach to sales, it is more of a decrease in the value of what all companies do in relation to customers, so if you are already a member of these groups, you should at least make your offers more correctly.

Accordingly, pay attention to Facebook too, there are also leads there, all people under the age of 40 are your target audience, it is much easier to get them on Facebook.

Now let's talk about each of the channels separately.


Firstly, everyone knows that emails do not need to be sent manually; companies do this through social tools for email outreach. I think that you have heard about some of them, but not about some, I want to focus on one tool now - it is

What is its competitive difference, in my opinion, is the competitive difference that you should have in front of your customers. At lemlist, it is that they can personalize, that is, insert variables not only as text, but also as an image.

How it works? Suppose I take a white cup in my hands, allegedly drink tea, photograph myself, and the client’s logo is substituted for this white cup as a variable. Or I take pictures against the background of an empty board, and some text is automatically inserted on this board, supposedly written by hand, where I write, for example, the name of a person, etc. This allows you to do a very high level of personalization.

When we switched to this tool, I can say that one hundred percent after the AB tests, our reply rate for various campaigns increased from 20 to 100%. Why it happens? Because people often do not imagine how this could be done automatically, respectively, they have a clear impression that I did it manually, and if manually, it’s not spam, and if not spam, that means, in principle , you might think, see, maybe answer something.

Many directly write to us: “Guys, I have never received such a cold letter,” but the main thing is that we started communication, therefore, as an option, I advise you to consider this tool as well.


Regarding the main points that you need to consider when you write cold letters and compose email campaigns.

First, of course, no one reads very long letters. Sometimes they send me a huge list of all the technologies that the company owns, then they write another kind of introduction on two pages, it just can’t be read, so any letter you write should be short and relevant to the person. Short, this means that a person with a high probability will read it completely, if it is relevant, then with a high probability he will also answer.

The second factor, very important, is to write from a business domain. Sometimes I meet companies that tell me: "And we create gmail mail specifically and write from it." I say: “Why are you doing this?” They say: "Well, what if our domain gets spam." This is just that difference, i.e. no need to deal with spam, you need to do quality outreach, let's call it that, and really be relevant, help people in what can be useful to them.

Therefore, if you do this, it will not produce any results at all, you can simply stop and quietly go to your business address, write from it and write so that there is no chance that people will send this letter to spam.

Everyone already knows that the minimum in the campaign should be 5-7 stages, I think that in some cases there may be more. There are official open statistics about cold emailing, which can be found on the Internet, indicating that more than 50% of all answers come after the fourth letter in the chain.

I even carried out an experiment at some point when they started to outreach me and write letters to me, I watched who would reach what stage. And in fact, there were an average of 2-3 letters, this is what is enough, after that everything calms down. Therefore, you should try to do at least 5-7 stages in the newsletter.

Max, right away a question about the subjects of these letters. The question immediately arises, but what to write in these seven letters? Well, the first letter: “Hello, John, everything’s okay, I found you in the group”, the second one, there, something else came up, on the third fantasy runs out, and on the fourth it’s generally zero.

Tut is a very important point in generally looking at the involvement of people, that is, it is not necessary to write the same message that was in the first letter. Very often this problem arises when we wrote the first letter with a specific message or proposal, and then we try to push all seven letters in the same direction.

You just need to switch. Let’s say, as we do, the first letter is understandable, we often do the second letter so that, say, we throw a link. Typically, the purpose of a cold letter is to make an appointment or call. The first letter is aimed at this, in the second we write: "Sorry, forgot to add a link to calendly, choose a time when it is convenient for you." Third letter: “So I sent a letter of such and such a date, I want to make sure you saw it or did not see it, can you give some kind of feedback?”

And then we already change the approach. This is where understanding the portrait is very important. When we write, for example, to some narrow group, we understand that this narrow group may hurt, and we write: “By the way, we have written an article on this topic that may be useful to you, here is a link, look ".

In principle, probably, the whole outbound is built on giving first, and then asking for something, not so much that we immediately take and ask, but first we need to give something.

Therefore, here it is just the place where inbound and outbound intersect very closely and partially the content that we write for inbound somehow, we also use the outbound channel when we write letters and we send specific content to specific target groups, which we We understand that it should be useful for them. Therefore, you need to build these chains in different ways, you need to experiment.

Tell me please, did you succeed in creating these chains on the first attempt, or were you tormented, tried, experimented?

To create something here is not a problem, it is necessary that they work. We managed to create something the first time, yes. The question is, of course, they earned far from the first time.

We tried a lot, we need to test everything. It happens that you find some kind of approach that works, it worked for you for a month and everything, after that it doesn’t work anymore, although you write to the same target audience.

Therefore, this is the thing that should: a) constantly change; b) constantly tested, that is, there is no limit to perfection.

We take and start by taking two topics, looking where the open rate is better, then taking the topic that is better than the open rate and taking another thought up, looking, now they are compared.

The same is with letters, we change letters and we look, whether open rate changes, we do with such personalization, with such personalization. That is, this is a very large amount of work that is being done on an ongoing basis.

I have not seen more than one case where you can find some option that you can save, click "constantly use" and it will constantly bring leads.

Everything is constantly changing, especially since we left this mailing list when we send thousands of emails, and now these are groups that are narrowly targeted, so the texts constantly change for them.

5-7 stages. For what period of time are these stages calculated, how much is approximately in time?

Custom gaps can be, that is, between the first letters for 2-3 days, between those closer to the end there may be a week span. That is, in general, up to 1.5 months for it to be. Again, outbound is a topic where it takes time to form a need, even if a person doesn’t have it now, if you give him the right information, the right content, then with time, when this need appears, he will remember and turn.

Modification of chains is done automatically, based on comparison or manually?

We make several options, and the same tools have an A / B test function, we just turn on the A / B test and see which modification works best.

GIFs can be used, although they need to be used sparingly, we noticed that the reply rate rises when we use some kind of GIF that can lift a person’s mood. That is, it is important to work with how it generally looks, it is certainly not a panacea, these are such small things that you can use.

Another important point, if you send your letters through such systems, then for the first letter, turn off the message opening tracking, because the tracking pixel that is added for tracking adds an html code to the message, and if for the first time it comes to inbox a letter, then it can get into spam.

Therefore, deliverability increases significantly if you simply turn off this pixel for the first letter. There are a few more points, for example, when we write a letter, we make a couple of mistakes not grammatical, but typos, which T9 usually makes and add “sent from my Iphone” below.

This adds such a personalization from the point of view of the fact that I just sat, typed, made a mistake, and it really increases to some extent the reply rate as well.

There are a number of technical issues that are more for the domain administrator to configure correctly the SPF signature, DKIM signature. DMARC - this is what allows you to not get into spam emails. Once they called me, they said: “We have a problem, we sent letters for a month, there were no answers at all, then we began to analyze, it turned out that they did not reach.” And we looked, and there simply these signatures were not configured and everything fell into spam by default.

If you work with native English speakers, such as the USA or UK, it is very important to read letters from professional readers who understand the mentality and can correctly re-register your letter in other words, leaving the same message.

What are the weekly plans for the number of emails sent?

It depends very much on what goal we need to achieve, they are not permanent. It all depends on the funnel, there is a funnel, there is a CRM system, we look at the inlet of the funnel, if we see that from the point of view of lead generation, subsidence started in the first stages, then we send more letters.

If we do not have time to complete these first stages, then we stop the campaigns and wait until the leads pass through the funnel, therefore I can’t give concrete recommendations on how many letters should be sent, I need to proceed specifically from the situation.

Now a few interesting secret things, maybe someone is using some, but I think it will be very useful anyway. There are tools, they are listed below that allow you to find out from which company the person came to your site.

How do we use this? To whom we outreach, we write letters, but we know which companies we write to. And we look at which of them visited the site, and if we see that we wrote, for example, to Disney, and two days after we sent the letter, there was a visit to our site from Disney, then we understand that most likely this person or his colleagues came in.


Accordingly, we can personalize the next letter in the chain, and if it was on the price page, we write that we can phone and tell in more detail how our pricing is arranged, etc.

That is, there are a lot of approaches, for each business they are probably their own, but it is always useful to know this information and make some kind of personalization based on it.


The second interesting tool. Before you start writing your leads, show some activity on social networks, for example, like, comment, share their posts and be sure to do this on the behalf of which the newsletter will be sent.

Thus, a person sees that some Vanya liked him once, liked him a second time, commented on something, shared something, and then two days later a letter comes from him with the same photo on Facebook with the same name .

This is such a mini-warming before we write, so that the letter is not so cold and it feels like he already knows this person.

By the way, one of the cases is how to use the Phantom Buster so as not to do it all by hand. We just make a lead list, and this thing likes, shares, does some things that are customizable and don’t need to be done by hand, it’s very convenient and in this way conversions in answers are increased.

But Facebook does not calculate that it’s not a person, but does some program do it?

No. Let's just say this tool is for “arm”, it needs to be done clearly under vpn, then everything will be fine.


The third approach is before we do outreach, we take a list of emails that we plan to outreach and launch an advertising campaign on them on Facebook, where you can run advertising on a specific list of emails.

And before you write, a person sees your ad constantly, maybe you even shot yourself on a video and tell something.

Trust greatly increases when a letter arrives to him, and he is even glad that such a famous person wrote to him. We also encountered this, it works well to increase the same reply rate.

All these things are aimed at maximizing the optimization of the outbound that you do.


About LinkedIn, just a few words. Do not send standard invitations, I think this is understandable. Here the same rules apply that you need to automate everything and do the minimum number of actions with your hands.

For this there are tools such as Dux-soup, Linkedhelper. We, in principle, use both of them, but LinkedIn very seriously monitors such things in order to minimize automation, so they constantly try to “pinch” these tools, and they constantly dodge and come up with new approaches.

Therefore, it happens when it does not work very stably, but in general it works out 90% very well and saves a huge amount of time for those who do this outreach.

Now a few words about why it happens that sales often work inefficiently, they spend a lot of time trying to get some tasks into the CRM system, contacting incomprehensible leads who did not qualify, then to write follow-ups manually, etc.


Many sales departments are faced with a similar problem and the main caveat is that there are no properly distributed roles, responsibilities within the sales department.

So, ideally, it should look like:


There is a book, perhaps many have read, Predictable Revenue, whose author worked for Salesforce, and he, in fact, developed a new approach that he implemented in Salesforce and now this approach has become quite popular.

Its essence lies in the fact that if we exclude the head of sales as a role, the roles within the operational sales department are divided into the lead generator, SDR (sales development representative) and Account Executive (closer).

Why is there such a distribution of roles and how is it useful?

Firstly, you can very clearly formulate and install kpi for each of these roles. If we are talking about Lead Generator, then it should have marketing qualified leads and actually the first generated responses from potentially interested customers at the output.

And this is his kpi both quantitatively and qualitatively. If we talk about SDR, then at the input there are answers from interested and MQL, and at the output it should have sales qualified leads and they should already pass according to certain criteria at the output.

And the task of Account Executive is to take the lead, which is qualified, who has a need and hold the right negotiations with him, sign a contract.

Such a system within the sales department can save time for those who previously focused on everything and most of the time engaged in non-seller activity, let’s say so.

How to get sales qualified leads? There is a very good BANT framework, which consists of four criteria, the first criterion is the budget, that is, we must understand that a person understands what budget they are talking about, not that he already agrees with him, but at least he is aware of this budget. The second criterion is the decision maker.

We must understand that we are not talking to someone who is figuring out for someone, but to someone who is already making a decision. Third - needs - we understand whether a person has a need for the solution that we offer or not.


And the fourth - time - where we actually determine whether he needs it now, urgently, or after six months or completely vaguely. Thus, the task of the SDR is to conduct this qualification and pass the Account Executive lead, which passes by these four criteria.

And Account Executive, in turn, focuses on working with precisely such leads, and accordingly the results of its work are also improving, because it does not spend time on those who do not pass this qualification.

From what I see from the sales funnels of different companies, that very many leads do not reach the qualification stage and merge somewhere along the way. Why it happens?

Very often this happens because, firstly, we do not always measure in general, when we write letters to people, how much they open them, how much they read them.

And secondly, very often we just forget to followup. This is a very important point, especially when inside the funnel. That is, in fact, when you finish a live communication with a client, you should immediately set the task of phoning with him after a certain period of time, after two or three days, as agreed.

Very often, I see a situation where customers are simply forgotten, or when a huge number of tasks accumulate and as a result a person simply surrenders.

This is just a big problem, which is primarily due to the fact that sales do not work in a CRM environment. When sales has the main medium of his work - CRM, he very clearly understands that here is the whole list of my tasks, I do not do anything else, I go about my tasks.

When it happens that there is CRM somewhere on the side, and I have 80 tasks there, but I believe that now it’s more priority to do something else, this is where the problem begins. These tasks accumulate like a snowball, and this leads to the fact that the CRM system as such does not work, but serves more as a database for recording what is happening with the client.

Concerning how to make proposals / estimates depending on the situation. There are some simple rules here and the most important thing, probably, is to make good, high-quality proposals / estimates. We did a little research, we have about 80% of the people who prepared the estimates, did it simply in google docs and made a google table where they entered the number of hours, the amount, and this, in principle, is enough.


This is a big problem as a whole, probably in the IT industry, when we treat the creation of such documents very, let's say, sloppy. This is what the client sees, on the basis of which he makes a decision, and he very often compares it with other proposals / estimates that he receives at the same time. Therefore, your option should differ significantly from others. I highly recommend once to allocate some time and even a budget in order to make a very good quality template that not only adds the results of estimation, but also add some elements of marketing and sales.

Suppose if we send this to a client, a travel company, then we show what relevant cases we have, what results the travel companies achieved, with whom we worked, what we gave them.

At that stage, when a person most often sees numbers, and if he sees the same google doc from sales from India, of course, they look the same, only the price is three times lower there, and he has a question, why so, he needs to be very careful prepare proposal / estimate, add trust.

And there is a good Useloom tool that allows you to embed your video directly in the mail when you send an estimate. Instead of writing accompanying text in the letter, you simply attach the video, and this greatly enhances trust.

A person receives an estimate, it is beautifully designed, everything is clear there, there are cases, plus there is not only text, but an accompanying video in which the person is shown, what are the benefits, immediately there is an understanding that this is a living company, living people, they speak English normally and so on.

These things have a very good effect on personalization, on the customization of your proposal they give a good result. I highly recommend giving something beyond expectations. If you make an estimate, then do something else, for which others will ask for 100-200 dollars, some additional calculation or a small TK, do it for free, it always pays off. Let's do more than is expected of you, and they will always come and return to you.


Where to get leads? If, for example, you don’t consider outbound and inbound channels, during your work in CRM you have gathered a certain number of leads that you didn’t close, but they are your target audience. For some reason, everyone categorically forgets them.

My recommendation is as follows. Firstly, to resume all the leads that you have, and at least once every six months to find out how they are doing, plus it’s very important to ensure that if this is the lead that you had before, and he, For example, I changed my job (on LinkedIn, you can track them).

Perhaps someone else came in his place, and you can turn to him and say that we used to work with this person, we can continue to communicate with you.

And, on the other hand, the person who left has got a new job and maybe there is a new need there and this is an additional reason to contact him and clarify.

You can track this using google alerts, or on LinkedIn, but in general you can track specific people, if something happens, immediately respond and be the first.


The first error, which I already mentioned, is that many use the CRM system as a database and do not automate their work. This, of course, is already good, but this is not what the whole CRM system was created for.

In my understanding, a CRM system is what allows you to really set priorities for employees, to understand what tasks to do, when to do them, how much time to spend on it and to some extent, we can say that the CRM system should give direction .

To realize and configure all this is a rather complicated process that makes you take a deeper look at the processes that occur inside the sales department. And if there is chaos in the processes, then by automating them, we get automated chaos.

Accordingly, you must first understand how the process works, and only then automate it in a CRM system. How to create auto-tasks in CRM-systems depends on what purpose, at what stage this client is and there are a lot of different options.

You probably use a CRM system, mail, some other services for sales, it is very important to combine them into a single infrastructure. Now there are tools (Zapier, for example) that allow you to integrate various services among themselves and transfer data between them.

I can give an example of how we automate the creation of tasks in our system. We have several types of auto tasks.

One of the types of tasks is when we send a proposal to our client, as soon as he opens it, we immediately send a hook through Zapier, and in CRM the task is set for the manager that the client has opened a commercial proposal, you can contact him.


Because it often happens that we send a commercial offer, the client has not opened it yet, and after two days we are already ringing panic, why there is no answer.

This greatly simplifies the work and, again, puts the right priorities. There are a lot of such opportunities for creating auto tasks in a CRM system, but they are almost always associated with other services. Let's take the same outreach systems, like reply.

There, the CRM system is connected via Zapier in the same way, and if an answer arrives, the responsible person is immediately given the task of contacting or creating a deal if necessary.

There are many different cases and there is not one correct flow for which you need to automate CRM. It very much depends on the company, on those processes that are within the company, on the goals that the company sets for the sales department, on the structure of the sales department, etc.

Therefore, it is very difficult to say which specific bundles should be used and how to automate it. But now there are just a huge number of automation opportunities and CRM systems themselves do a lot for this.

Metrics need to be tracked in order to be able to influence them and measure the results of this influence, otherwise they simply are not needed. What to track with metrics? To do this, you need to understand what is important for you at the moment, but in general we set up the following metrics for ourselves:


And finally, three useful books on outbound that I recommend reading, here they are:


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