Test-Pitting: How To Find Oil Before Standing Up Your Sales Program
Believe it or not, developing a sales program and drilling for oil have a lot in common. If you don’t know, a company drilling for oil doesn’t set up massive rigs anywhere and start digging blindly while hoping to hit something eventually. Instead, they undertake a process called “trial-pitting” or “test-pitting” where they research things like ground conditions, and soil composition before any construction begins, in order to determine whether construction is even feasible. After proving viability, they dig a little bit deeper, and then run more tests to determine if it's a viable place to invest even more resources. It is all about the smart allocation of capital and proving out assumptions. You should be taking the same approach with your sales program.
In this blog, we explain how you should go about a test-pitting process of your own when planning to grow your sales function.
Test Different Channels
A productive sales program is the result of testing several channels and determining which one is the best fit for your demand generation goals. Striking oil on the first channel you test is extraordinarily rare, and it is foolhardy to base an entire sales program on the first channel you tested. As you are looking to build your sales program, you must commit to testing as many channels as possible, because you never know which one will be the most financially productive.
Although you may intuitively believe that some channels will perform better or worse than others based on suspicions you have about your industry, anecdotal insights you’ve gathered so far, or your own personal biases, you must actually test the channel to confirm these hypotheses. Upon working with hundreds of organizations to build and scale their sales and marketing programs, we’ve found that hypotheses based on hunches are often wrong, and that organizations find their target audiences through channels or approaches they never would have thought to test originally.
Test Different Messaging
In addition to testing channels, it is equally important to switch up your messaging to determine what your audience responds to best and what language ultimately leads to the highest conversion rate. Sales channels all behave differently, and your messaging must reflect that at each turn.
It's critical not to make sweeping generalizations about a channel's efficiency based on one failed test. If you haven’t switched up your messaging several times. Just because you tried sending emails for a couple of weeks, but experienced a low open rate on your first sequence, doesn’t mean that email isn’t a channel that can work for you. Perhaps your value proposition as presently constituted just didn’t connect with people. It is wise to test different kinds of messaging across your different channels until you find combinations that drive results.
Test Different Target Personas
Another component of your test-pitting process should be Sometimes, your sales program is falling flat because you just aren’t reaching the right decision-maker or target persona. Again, many organizations go into a sales and marketing test with the assumption that they know who their decision-makers and influencers are, how they behave, and how they can best be reached. These assumptions are often proved wrong through diligent testing, which is why it’s critically important to test outreach to several different personas to see who responds best to your offering. Sales is about hitting the right person, with the right message, at the right time and place. You need to continue to systematically test these variables until you find the most productive combination possible, even if it differs from what you originally expected.
Once you have conducted a considerable amount of testing using these variables, it is time to determine where you should continue to dig. Ultimately, your goal is to create a financially productive sales funnel, and you must pursue whatever strategy helps get you there. A key metric you need to keep tabs on at the top of the funnel is your Cost Per Sales Qualified Lead (CPSQL), or the cost at which your sales program is generating a qualified meeting. If your channel, message, and persona of choice are not hitting a financially viable CPSQL, you should not commit to investing tons of capital in continuing to dig there.
It is of the utmost importance to consider that what is a financially viable CPSQL one month may not be in another, as this number is heavily influenced by the behavior of your deals as they move down the funnel. For instance, if your team is closing deals at a higher than expected rate, you can therefore afford to pay more for an SQL, since the likelihood that the opportunity will close is higher than anticipated. The relationship between your CPSQL and your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is vital to a financially productive program and will be determined by your conversion rates within the funnel.
You should never attempt to scale a sales program until it is consistently and predictably financially productive. If you rush to scale your program once you hit your goal CPSQL without taking into account behavior down the funnel, you could be scaling a program that is driving a lot of leads that although being qualified, perhaps aren’t all that likely to move forward, leaving you with a sales program that brings in meetings, but ultimately does not bring in revenue at a commensurate rate. Before making a true commitment to standing up your sales program, you must be certain that it makes sense financially.
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If your firm is struggling to get the most out of its sales program, FullFunnel can help. We provide all-encompassing revenue operations support services, and we’re here to help your team with anything sales, marketing, and customer success, from staffing to consulting, to tech stack implementation, and everything in between. Request a free consultation today to learn how we can empower your sales program and help you drive the results you want.