10x AEs go the extra mile on follow ups to get results

10x AEs go the extra mile on follow ups to get results

10x AEs go the extra mile on follow ups to get results

October 24, 2022

One of my favorite startup CEOs, Auren Hoffman, wrote a blog awhile back around what it takes to bring 10x the value of your peers at an organization, essentially what it takes to become a “10X’er.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">to be a 10xer:<br>(1) Do everything you say you are going to do.<br>(2) Manage your boss and colleagues — don&#39;t make them spend time managing you.<br>(3) Proactively help the organization.<br>(4) Be positive (don&#39;t complain). Be a “yes, and” person. <a href="https://t.co/i710eSQkUu">https://t.co/i710eSQkUu</a></p>&mdash; Auren Hoffman (@auren) <a href="https://twitter.com/auren/status/1149116394849443841?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

As I interface with AEs weekly at Journey, I started to think about some of the very tactical things that some of the great ones exhibit. How they “follow up” was top of mind and the results follow.

In enterprise sales, fortune lies in the follow up. Non-transactional deals take awhile and there are lots of people involved. The AE is the quarterback guiding a champion on the other side to a solution. This seems straightforward, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world, in my opinion, given that there’s 10+ people involved in a buying decision and you get little face time to influence this (less than 5% per Gartner). In a world where buyers do loads online research, talk to peers, read reviews, and have internal meetings - most are 70% of the way to buying even before talking to sales.

How do 10x’ers stand out in their follow up? From my experience, they make life simple for their champion. Let’s unpack this.

After an initial call, there’s a bunch of resources that a buyer wants from the seller to share internally and move the process forward (if they are interested). The average seller will have this templated and send the same resources.

Specifically, they’ll:

  • Write up a long email summarizing the recap, goals, and next steps

  • Attach their deck, maybe swapping in a logo

  • Attach relevant case studies

  • Attach security one pager

  • Link to website for technical docs

  • Link the full call recording

From the buyer’s perspective, they will likely have multiple of these follow-ups from competing vendors. They will have to pull everything together themselves for internal meetings and perhaps loop in multiple stakeholders into the email thread or forward it internally. Now, one might be thinking - so what?

Getting back to theme of a 10xer and making life easy for buyers, this is what I’ve seen from the best, specifically, they’ll:

  • Write a concise email summarizing next steps and pull all assets together in one space

    • Record a quick personalized video recapping the call and next steps

    • Personalized deck (as a link that can be updated in realtime)

    • Link a snippet or highlight of the call, perhaps 2-3 mins

    • Personalize the demo as a leave-behind, either via Loom or Navattic

You might be thinking again - so what? Let’s unpack the differences in these two follow ups.

The first one puts the onus on the champion to package everything up for their internal teams while the second does this for them. Less work for the buyer = making life easier.

The first one lives in a static world of attachments and email. Things go stale quickly in this world leaving the buyer left to go digging through emails and attachments for content as things progress. The second one removes searching their email - they have one place to go for everything. Less work for the buyer = making life easier.

The first one relies on email opens to understand the engagement of the buyer. That’s fine, but doesn’t help a 10x’er distinguish between serious buyers and lurkers. The second one, with everything in one place, gives off analytics across all assets informing the 10x’er of who is looking at what, for how long, and make for a more relevant follow up. They can even start multi-threading with individuals on the team based on what they care about.

The first one just leads to more emails and more attachments as the cycle progresses. The second one activates one space throughout the cycle that gets updated over time. Once again, less work = making life easier.

The first one looks standard. Nothing special and could be from any vendor. The second one stands out as a “VIP” experience for the buyer. This is qualitative, but we’ve all had novels of emails sent to us from sales reps as well as meetings that “should have been a loom”.

When I asked some 10x’ers how they measure going the extra mile on their follow ups :

  • “I need to stand out from the crowd in a hyper competitive environment and I get way more engagement than I used to, it’s lead to a few 6 figure deals closing about a month earlier than expected” - Enterprise AE

  • “Putting the time at the beginning of a cycle leads to a faster Yes or No” - Mid Market AE

  • “Doing this has led to 25% increase in deal velocity, because we don’t need as many meetings with a large buying committee” - Client Partner

  • “Prospects just like it - buyer behavior is evolving, so we have to do this as sellers to optimize our process” - Growth Manager

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