Brock Benefiel's posts

Brock is currently working on a book about Midwest startups. He's our resident writer at Visible and he helps companies drive measurable results through audience analytics, SEO, social and content strategy.

3 Metrics to Track to Start Sales Enablement

The success—or lack thereof—of a sales enablement team isn’t the easiest to track because the area itself isn’t always clearly defined. When a scaling company develops its initial sales enablement strategy, it’s often a struggle to determine exactly what the organization needs to focus on first. And that lack of clarity can present a real problem. “Enablement means something different in every company,” Katie MacDonald, global sales onboarding and enablement manager at Optimizely, said. “A lot of companies think they need enablement. But if there is not a clear understanding of the purpose of sales enablement, it can die very quickly.” So how do you start? Simply.  Focus first on a handful of easy-to-identify valuable functions that drive performance in a sales organization. Here are three great ways to start:…

Brock Benefiel - February 26, 2017

#Metrics & KPIs

How to Set up a System for SDR Success

Measuring productivity and finding the right number of hires is a key to succeed Last week, I touched on the paradox that exists in a SaaS world largely celebratory of the role SDRs play in a growing sales team: many boast of the value, few invest in the execution. But the mere addition of a SDR team can increase lead conversion by 35 percent and free up account executives (AEs) to focus on closing deals. That’s an unavoidably big advantage if you’ve created a process that avoids unnecessary pitfalls. This week, I want to drill down to the actual SDR work that’s needed to determine how teams can succeed and how many SDRs are needed to hit goals. There’s little doubt that a SDR team helps AEs focus on hitting quotas. Whether…

Why do SDRs Fail?

4 questions to answer that help you avoid prospecting woes when you start specializing sales roles If we measured online chatter alone around sales development in scaling companies, I’d be hard pressed to think of many opinions that earn greater approval than the importance of segmenting your funnel and specializing roles to increase your bookings. Everywhere I look it seems my favorite thought-leaders in the industry are singing the praises of sales specialization roles. Yet a survey last year revealed that just over half (51%) the companies asked segmented inbound qualification and outbound prospecting into separate roles. Where’s the disconnect? I can’t think of any sales leader in any organization I’ve talked to in the past few years that isn’t at least mulling over strategies to optimize the funnel through specialization. But…

Are Your Marketing Efforts Really Enabling Sales Performance?

A couple weeks ago, I attended High Alpha’s marketing forum and was reminded by one of the speakers of the simple, yet remarkable function of all marketing efforts: enable sales to close more deals. That doesn’t mean marketing plays a subservient role when sitting at the table with sales executives, but it does serve a measurable purpose and it’s time marketing is held to a regular revenue commitment. So how do we help marketing help sales? Specific directives and clear goals. Here are some questions you need to ask your team to make sure they’re moving in the right direction. Is your content really king? Easily one of the greatest tools marketing can provide sales with is valuable, in-depth content that establishes the company as an authority and the product…

Brock Benefiel - January 31, 2017


How to Determine if Your Channel Partners are Actually Working

When your startup hits growth stage, scaling the number of sales from channel partners is a no-brainer. For one, the customer acquisition costs are lower. A 2014 survey showed that companies spent about $0.53 for every $1 it attracted in new annual contract value (ACV)—almost half of what is spent on field sales: $1.02. Sales from channel partners also allow you to secure deals without scaling staff. Furthermore, your partners are likely hitting different customer and geographies. As Tomasz Tunguz notes, new channels diversify acquisition efforts “insulating the bookings number from the episodic underperformance typical of a single channel go-to-market.” That produces more predictable revenue and a greater multiple when you’re ready to raise money or sell the company. At first look, growing partner sales seems like the closest thing…

Brock Benefiel - January 18, 2017


Are you Measuring Product Qualified Leads?

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best ways to ensure a healthy sales funnel is to reevaluate the quality of your leads. Better leads produce better results. And taking a product-first approach to qualifying leads can help optimize your funnel. But first, let’s look back at how Categorizing leads Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, qualify your leads by placing each in three separate categories:  “organization-level,” “opportunity-level,” and “stakeholder-level.” Then ask specific questions that will determine if your product actually fits their needs or if this is a customer destined for failure. This filter alone can save your customer success team a great deal of headaches in the future. Types of lead qualifications Beyond categorizing leads, it’s important to assess where your leads are coming from and what teams…

3 Questions you Need to Answer if You Plan to Hit Your Quarterly Goals

Q2 is here. Now every startup CEO will set out to accomplish the big wins that will catapult the company forward. But big objectives will ultimately come down to small details. So the very first question must be answered: are you prepared to hit this quarter’s goals? Surpassing your quarterly goals won’t happen by accident. Instead, careful planning and the right expectations to execute are the best ways to set up your team for success. Before you allow a few errors to knock you off a great start to 2017, ask yourself the following three questions: What does each rep need to do to hit their goal? The best way to hit the big revenue number for the quarter is to break it down into small steps. Jason Lemkin has a…

How to Measure Customer Experience Better

It’s simple: if customers are happy, they are more likely to renew. Customer experience is essential—it can make-or-break your retention efforts, determine whether you’re at an acceptable churn rate and potentially drive your SaaS startup toward the all-important negative churn milestone. After all, as Tomasz Tunguz wrote, “startups that manage customer renewals better than their peers grow faster and require less capital.” What are you customer experience metrics? You wouldn’t avoid measuring marketing leads or quantifying the success of your sales staff to hit its quarterly goal.  So if you’ve avoided measuring and evaluating customer experience until now, you’ve ignored an indispensable part of assessing your business. Luckily, your current client base likely offers a wealth of data you can quickly tap into if you ask your customers the right…

Brock Benefiel - December 13, 2016

#Metrics & KPIs

How to Avoid Revenue Growth Distortion

Last week in a post about hitting revenue milestones to prepare for a Series A, I mentioned the importance of achieving true growth rates and avoiding false indicators of success. The problem for many founders comes when they try too hard to show exciting growth numbers at the expense of a clearer picture of the company’s performance. Avoid Misleading Metrics You don’t want to look like an idiot in front of your investors. At the same time, you want to excite your backers with some of the new accomplishments that are adding to the bottom line. So how do you avoid misleading numbers? Be honest with the size of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) numbers and your month over month growth (MoM) percentage. Your investors are likely assessing revenue figures from…

Brock Benefiel - November 28, 2016

#Metrics & KPIs

Customer Segmentation Brings Focus to Startups Ready to Scale

Using Customer Segmentation to Your Advantage Customer segmentation is a fantasy for startups struggling to gain customers. If your company hasn’t reached the product-market-fit stage, it’s hard to justify spending time segmenting your small client base. But once your startup begins to grow at a strong pace, it’s no longer responsible for your startup to continue grabbing at any potential clients without a clear understanding of how it potentially impacts your business. Customer segmentation applies mostly objective differentiation around your varying client types and helps you build a strategy to scale each. Additionally, understanding the value of scaling each will drive decisions to dedicate resources and future planning. Your investors aren’t going to be encouraged by your company’s direction if you’re not employing customer segmentation. “At the expansion stage, executing…

Brock Benefiel - November 21, 2016