Series D startup unlocks value through predictable revenue program

Prospecting playbook, process redesign, and new onboarding program lead to high-quality, predictable leads, fast ramp times, and triple digit growth for this highly technical startup.

Challenge

In a market demanding rapid growth, this venture-backed startup found itself grappling with a number of challenges that inhibited predictable revenue. High growth expectations led to a misalignment of metrics between marketing and sales, resulting in an influx of low-quality leads that overwhelmed the sales development team. Adding to the complexity, an unclear hiring profile led to a team with limited sales development experience. At the helm was a first-time manager, inexperienced in team management and recruitment, struggling to motivate the team and ensure consistent quality and effort.

The company called on SalesSmyth to help navigate these intricate challenges. Recognizing the need for a specialized approach, SalesSmyth was tasked with designing a sales development program from scratch, utilizing proprietary blueprints tailored for technical startups serving technical audiences like software developers. The goal was to align marketing and sales metrics, elevate lead quality, and equip the first-time manager with the tools to lead effectively.

Discovery

Working closely with the startup’s marketing and sales executives and employees, SalesSmyth conducted a thorough assessment across more than 10 customer and 20 internal touchpoints. The findings painted a picture of a landscape fraught with inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Despite a high volume of apparent sales-ready leads, subsequent lead conversions were low, and even fewer leads became opportunities, leaving a gap in pipeline coverage across the business.

The absence of a structured lead qualification methodology and system in place to track conversions through qualification stages left the startup in the dark about its lead quality, response times, and specific areas of improvement. The lack of a prospecting playbook and onboarding program to guide Sales Development Reps (SDRs) activities exacerbated the problem. New SDRs were left to navigate a complex landscape with limited understanding of customers, interaction techniques, software tools, or even the full sales process. This resulted in an alarming time-to-value, with some SDRs taking up to six months to generate a single lead accepted as a qualified opportunity by Account Executives.

The research yielded two important insights: First, a nuanced approach was essential given the startup’s focus on serving a technical audience of software developers — a community often wary of traditional sales approaches. Second, the issues with SDR performance were merely symptomatic of a broader set of revenue program issues. Peter Drucker wisely said, “What’s measured improves.” While marketing was hitting their lead volume metrics, sales was not seeing a corresponding increase in pipeline. These insights underscored the need for a constructive approach to aligning marketing and sales, a nuanced approach to enabling the team to prospect software engineers, and a fast turnaround time in order to achieve the company’s goal of tripling revenue in less than 12 months.

Impact

Soon after the engagement, the startup implemented a new playbook and lead qualification process, increasing qualified opportunities by 144% in the first quarter and by 112% in the subsequent quarter. The introduction of a comprehensive onboarding program accelerated the time-to-value for new SDRs, reducing it from 6 months to less than 30 days. This enabled the startup to not only meet but exceed its aggressive growth targets.

The campaign also led to the smooth onboarding of a new, experienced Sales Development team leader, which further solidified the startup’s ability to confidently exceed its growth targets with minimal interruption to the team.

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