Building a Sales Team

Outbound Always Works'

Jason Lemkin

These days, it can really feel like the Old Bag of Sales Tricks is starting to just not work anymore:

  • With maybe 500x the SaaS vendors of 10 years ago, there’s so much noise.
  • Emails get blocked, spam filtered.
  • No one even has voice mail anymore.
  • 50 calls a day feels awfully dated.
  • Everyone gets 10,000 drip email campaigns sent to them.

Are there categories where outbound sales just doesn’t work?

Well maybe, but let’s step back a minute.

One thing has not changed in SaaS in the last 10 years:

  • Everyone spends 1-10 hours a day in email.  Even more these days as we are glued to our phones.


  • Everyone needs solutions to their top 1 or 2 biggest problems.  Everyone.

send-bulk-email-marketing-2003The 10,000th uncustomized “did we meet at SaaStr Annual?” email is not going to work, at least not 99 times out of 100.

But if you know your prospects and her problems, and target her exactly, and hit her when she’s looking for a solution — outbound sort of always works.  At least some of the time.

At least, it almost always creates a dialogue some of the time.

Given that, realize if your outbound sales team isn’t performing at all, maybe it’s their approach.  Yes, the sales playbooks of 2009 and even 2013 may not work as well in 2017 and 2018.

But VPs are still sitting in their corner office, struggling to hit their plans, manage their teams, hire the next great engineer, deploy their software releases, and hit their OKRs.

If you have one of 10,000 tools in the market that all sort of do the same simple thing — well, then yes, inbound sales may be your only solution.

But if you have a solution to a true real and important headache …

Well, then iterate and find a way to get to the VPs, Directors and CEOs whose very top headaches and problem you can truly solve.

They’ll answer that email.

Published on April 7, 2017
  • Hey Jason, this is a great article. I think also reassuring for many entrepreneurs out there doing saas. Question, do you see the need to have more of an account based marketing, or targeted approach to your outbound strategy? What I mean is, does there need to be more personalization and timing with your outbound strategy? If so, it sounds like that would diminish the quantity but increase the quality. With Enterprise saas, I’ve seen that we have to really understand the customer and create Target list and overtime learn the specific needs of those targets. What do you think are the best ways to apply outbound to Target list? You don’t need to answer this here, but it may be a future topic for a post. Regards!

  • ron gallater

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