Pipeline Before People

Rich comes to ScaleX.ai from a long heritage of sales leadership roles from IBM to Miller Heiman and Vistage among others. In his own words: “It's a human world where integrity, experience, and relationships matter. My personal focus is from the outside-in: how does the client experience growth, success and value - and what can a company and it's partners and alliances do to align with their customers to create the highest degree of customer success. This is no longer a "hero" environment, it takes everyone pulling on their oar with perfection and the courage to depend on the others in the boat to carry out their role so you can focus on your own search for excellence.”

“Pipeline before people”

Every day I’m in a conversation with an executive that has the same tone: “I’d like to start bringing back more salespeople, but I’m afraid I still don’t know where my top line is headed. I just don’t have the confidence to do it, but I can’t afford not to do it.”

We’ve all been in this situation at some time in our career for one reason or another, but now most all of us are in it – and all for the same reason. And we’re not used to being frozen from taking action.

The problem is a circular problem:

  1. Can I find good people right now?
  2. How do I know they are good people for sure given the remote hiring and working environment?
  3. If I commit the burdened sales expense, how long will it take to ramp to full productivity?
  4. What can I expect “full productivity” to be, in today’s company, environment, and customer world?
  5. But if I don’t…..

Therefore the frozen behavior and lack of action.

The prescription I’m finding most effective right now is “pipeline before people.” What do I mean by that?

  1. Commit to a set of proven AI tools and outside resources that can create prospect meetings at a significantly higher rate than new or existing SDRs, BDRs, or AEs – at a flexible and much lower cost.
  2. Use that to build a pipeline of meetings prior to hiring, so that when you decide to hire you already have pipeline in place to cover you – and you have “food” flowing to feed the new team.
  3. Migrate the AI toolset to your new team members to speed their ramp and keep the outsourced resource in place as a flexible workforce to feed your existing team, focus on time-specific campaigns (launches, events, etc) – and overall enhance the productivity of your whole sales tribe.

You may be wondering what types of sales motions can best be augmented with AI today, with the most predictable result. If not, you should be – we’re all getting spammed in email and on LinkedIn with every sales tool imaginable and can’t take the time to sort them out.

  1. Prospecting via automated email in almost any form is currently seeing the worst performance in history. Not purely because it’s automated, but because of the lack of specificity in messaging and targeting that leads to “generalized fluff” that just doesn’t get a reply
  2. This can be significantly enhanced in several ways:
    1. Higher levels of personalization
    2. Addition of tailored personalized video (still produced at scale, not a rep’s Vidyard done one-at-a-time) to the prospect
    3. AI ability to reply as well as send, extending the conversation several early, basic steps down the qualification process before engaging the SDR or AE
  3. Making sure that any AI-driven campaign aimed at getting a meeting is multi-channel:
    1. LinkedIn/Social to get coverage, connection, attention
    2. Targeted paid ads to get visibility and parallel mind space
    3. Email to drive to specific qualification or action
    4. High-productivity calling using agent-assisted dialing to business mobile phone numbers – so that actual conversations only happen with target prospects, not others

This kind of activity can drive productivity and results over 10X, even in today’s world.

Pipeline before people. It’s a reality that fits today’s world and can differentiate you into tomorrow’s.