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Business Growth: A Blueprint For Repeatable And Scaling Processes In Business With Scott Sambucci [Episode 109]

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Do you know the right processes for better growth, profitability, and scalability?

Many entrepreneurs and businesspeople want to scale, but not everyone knows how to. And sometimes, scaling isn’t the right move at all. In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Scott Sambucci, the founder of SalesQualia and an expert on scaling. Doug and Scott discuss when to scale and when not to scale, how to scale successfully while minimizing instability, and much more.

 

In this episode you will learn:

 

Episode’s guest – Scott Sambucci

CSS 106 | Scalable Process

Scott Sambucci is a startup coach, keynote speaker, podcaster, and best-selling author. He has spent 25 years building and selling enterprise technology products as an executive at two publicly traded companies and leading three Silicon Valley startups each to their first millions in revenue, most recently at Blend, which IPOed in July 2021 (NYSE: BLND). Today, as the Founder and Chief Sales Geek at SalesQualia, Scott and his team work with enterprise SaaS startups and tech companies all over the world and across several industries, including FinTech, HR Tech, EdTech, Health Care, Manufacturing, Construction, and artificial intelligence.

Visit his website: www.salesqualia.com

transcript

Business Growth: A Blueprint For Repeatable And Scaling Processes In Business With Scott Sambucci

In this episode, I have an amazing guest. His name is Mr. Scott Sambucci. He owns a company called SalesQualia. You can find them at SalesQualia.com. Scott and I are going to talk about how to build a repeatable, scalable process in business. Scott is an expert in this area. A lot of people I have found throughout my career confuse growth with scalability. We’re going to talk in-depth about what the difference is between those two and how you scale the right way.

The reality is a lot of companies try to scale but they’re throwing what is called a growth process into it. They get up to a certain place and go, “We’re here. We need to go to the next level.” They get stuck. Part of that reason is they haven’t built a repeatable, scalable, predictable, measurable process into that and they’re trying to scale sometimes even on talent alone. They get stuck and that’s it. We’re going to talk about the right way and the wrong way to do it. Scott’s an expert in this. You’ll love what he has to say. Without further ado, let’s go speak to Scott Sambucci.

Scott, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

Thanks for having me. I’m pretty excited about this.

Me too. We’ve known each other for a while. We’ve had good conversations. You’re a super intelligent guy and people are going to get a lot out of this. We’re going to talk about how to do a repeatable, scalable sales process.

That’s what I do.

A lot of people talk to me like, “I want a scalable sales process.” With that term around, they don’t even understand what it means. I thought we’d bring an expert on to give a qualification of what a scalable sales process means.

Surprisingly, not a lot of people ask themselves what it means. It’s a vision that they have in their mind that we’ve got lots of salespeople and customers all over the world. It’s more like a feeling that they’re trying to aspire to as opposed to a practical business definition of what it means to scale. At a fundamental level, when I think about scale, it’s almost like cloning. If I’m doing something well and I have a certain way of doing something, whether it’s how I go get leads, do my product demos or do customer success on the back end after I get a customer, then I can teach someone else to do it in a relatively short period. That person can do it as well as me, if not better.

By definition, what I’ve done is started to scale that process within my business because instead of me doing it with the opportunity cost, if I’m doing customer success and I’m not doing the prospecting, it’s great for customers because they’re getting what they need and I’m doing the customer success but it’s bad for the business that I’m not prospecting and vice versa. When we want to start thinking about scales from the most first-order definition of it, it’s how do we find a person, a system, a process, even sometimes software or some mix of those things to do something that as an entrepreneur, I may have had to do on my own.

I can successfully do that repeatedly across the different processes within my business starting with the sales side, marketing and lead gen through to customer success. I have an organization where if I can teach it to one person and they can do it successfully, then I should be able to also repeat it to a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on. By definition, that’s where you start to get scale.

I used to read Calvin and Hobbes. It was a comic strip. There was a whole series of comic strips where he was repeating as he had built a cloning device of himself. At one point, there are twenty Calvins in the bedroom. That’s the problem that we have to solve in the Calvin and Hobbes comic book. For us, that’s what we want because as owners of the company, we have a specific vision of how we want everything to be. Not just the vision of where we want to take the company.

I have a very specific way of what I want lead gen to look like, what I want my demos to do and how I want my customers to get results. It’s virtually impossible for us to get that vision out of our head into somebody else’s head so what we’re trying to do as closely as possible is clone ourselves and the way that we do things so that other people can replicate it as well as we can. Hopefully, if we’re good at hiring people, then those people are better and smarter than us so they can improve upon the baseline system that we started to build.

Many people, when I talk to them about scaling, they’re thinking of growth. What I’m hearing you say is think to clone first.

Revenue was like this. You think about how long it is if you’re selling to the enterprise, which you’ve done for decades. If you’re selling a $100,000 a year product of software, you might have to take 3, 6 or 12 months to sell that deal and then get the revenue. Hopefully, the client implements the way you want, gets the success and renews and upsells down the road. We had to have a lot of small successes before we even got to that $100,000 contract. The revenue that we got for that contract is a lagging indicator of our selling process being successful.

If we take that individual contract and think of it as a company’s revenue growth, say you’re going from $1 million to $3 million, $3 million to $10 million, $10 million to $30 million, $30 million to $100 million, getting to those revenue numbers are the lagging indicator that you’ve built the appropriate systems in a way that enabled your company to get and realize that growth goal.

It’s an interesting way to look at this because many people look at the opposite. They’ll throw resources at this thing and then push all this process. What I’m hearing is to get clear about what you’re cloning and that’s going to give you the sanity in the process of being able to scale that process. Is there a difference between cloning and repeatability?

Yes. I’m using cloning as an easy way for people to imagine what we’re talking about here but it’s repeatability before scalability. I have a good friend, Amy Volas, who does a lot of recruiting for SaaS startups. One of the things that she talks about when she’s working with a startup or a founder is they’re like, “I need to hire a VP of sales because I want to scale my sales. I want to go from a founder-led selling or maybe even have a small sales team that the founder is managing but it’s time. I got to get a VP of sales to come in here and take over so we can scale.”

She’s like, “That’s great. Show me your sales process.” The founder is like, “We hired these three AEs and they’re going out and getting business for us.” She’s like, “Show me your process. How do they get leads?” Their answer could be, “This person has a great network and that person’s good at conferences and this person does some stuff on LinkedIn. I don’t know. They fill a funnel and close these deals. We grow revenue.”

She’s like, “What you’re telling me is you don’t have a sales process. You’ve hired some people that are good at selling. They figured it out on there. In a way, you’ve got three individuals selling your stuff but you don’t have any repeatable process. It doesn’t make sense to hire a VP of sales or any salesperson, even if you’re trying to get to the first salesperson until you have something that you have proven and documented to know that this is repeatable.” She likes to say, “You can’t scale what you don’t have.” People say, “I want to scale my sales process.” “First, you have to build the sales process.”

To your point, Doug, it’s time for me to scale. I’m doing $3 million in revenue. In the next 18 months, I want to get to $10 million. I’m doing $10 million and I want to triple sales in the next 3 years to get to $30 million. I’m going to go hire a bunch of salespeople so they’re going to help me grow. It’s great but what are you going to teach them on how your company gets leads, qualifies leads and does demos and discovery, overcomes objections and handles proposals, pricing and implementation?

If it’s not documented and there’s no process, then you’re going to hire a bunch of people. It doesn’t matter if they’re the best salespeople in the world. They’re going to come in and go, “What do I do?” You say, “I don’t know, figure it out.” Salespeople don’t get hired to come in and figure stuff out. They get hired to come in and sell stuff.

A) They’ll either flush out. B) Stay there or make up the process on their own.

It might work for them individually but not for the company as a whole.

We’re not going to be able to make that repeatable. You might have 10 different people with 10 different playbooks at that point.

It might be okay in the short run. You’re like, “If I’m doing $1 million, I go spend a bunch of money and somehow get 10 salespeople.” If they each individually sell $1 million worth, you could say on the surface, “We scaled to $10 million in revenue.” If I look behind the curtain and say, “This rep is getting all the leads from the network.”

“That rep’s getting all the leads from LinkedIn. That rep is getting all the leads from marketing or whatever that is,” if you can’t take that person out and put another one back in interchangeably, plug and play, in a theoretical sense, there’s always going to be some training costs. To say, “This is how we get leads,” doesn’t matter if it’s Bob, Joe, Susan or Mary. Whomever I put in that territory should be able to follow the system and get roughly the same results. The territory has the quota and not the wrap in a sense.

What I heard you say is the company grew to $10 million but didn’t have repeatability. Scalability equals cloning plus repeatability. We can clone people but we got to get that process to work in the cloning. Cloning plus repeatability equals scalability.

There’s the human side. Cloning is a good concept to think about. Salespeople have their styles and personality. You want that. You want a diverse team that does things in different ways in diversity in terms of how they’re handling sales situations, as well as their selling style, skin color and backgrounds. You want that diversity.

You don’t want exact clones of yourself but the concept should be it doesn’t matter what person I put into a territory. Say they’re going to handle the Northeast. It’s the way that person should be generating leads and the way that person is handling objections, talking about the company and doing our pricing and our proposals.

CSS 106 | Scalable Process
Scalable Process: Have a diverse team that does things in different ways. Diversity in terms of how they’re handling sales situations, their selling style, their skin color, and their backgrounds. Don’t get exact clones of yourself.

 

We shouldn’t have the New York person doing pricing and proposals one way and the person on the West Coast doing something different. If the New York person is like, “I price all my deals at $50,000 because I know I can get the deals close at $50,000, even though we’re not getting any margin, that’s how I make my number. That’s my selling style.” Another person on the West Coast is like, “I don’t ever give discounts. I lose more deals but I get higher revenue per deal.”

Is that okay for the business in the long run or should there be standardized pricing models? What happens if the New York customer gets in touch with a California customer where it’s like, “You’re paying what?” You got to have standardization. That rep in New York might have the New York style, flavor and communication because that’s the East Coast way and the West Coast person might be more laid back. That’s their way of doing it because it’s the M.O. of the West Coast. At the end of the day, they’re still following the general sales process.

What if we go cross the border, like we go from the United States to Europe?

That’s a big challenge because we work with quite a few companies. We work with tech startups so many of our clients are often companies that started in places. We have clients in Norway, France, New Zealand and Australia. Many of them have built and established their companies in their home country but they want to get to the US because that’s where the huge market is. Some of them do struggle because of the way that you might sell in Germany or Norway in terms of communication style but also some restrictions they have around things like outbound.

There’s GDPR in Europe that doesn’t exist the same way in the US. Sometimes there’s a struggle and vice versa. In a US company, you’re like, “We’re going to start selling in Europe, the UK or Norway.” You realize there are some cultural differences or compliance rules and regulations differences. There are some adjustments you need to make but even there, you got to make sure that there’s consistency. You might have a German salesperson for 2 or 3 years. If that person moves on, you got to be able to find someone else to take over that territory and not hope that person can figure out how to sell in Germany the way the other person did.

That’s too expensive for you as an executive to say, “I’m going to hire somebody and hope they figure it out.” Instead say, “We’re screening for the right candidate.” Once we have the process documented, that also informs us what kind of people we should be screening for. That increases the success criteria. We work with founders and they say, “We want to start scaling sales. We’re going to start doing outbound.”

All of our sales so far have been the network I’ve been using in investor introductions. I’m an expert in my area, I get up on stage at conferences and people gravitate towards me. That’s how we’ve been getting sales and that’s okay. It’s gotten us to $1 million in revenue. We want to scale sales and start doing outbound. We’ve never done outbound before. I’m going to go hire three SDRs to do outbound.

I’m like, “I’m glad that you want to scale but what kind of outbound are you doing?” There are different kinds of outbound. There could be account-based selling, which is saying, “You’re only going to focus on these 100 accounts. You’re going to go super deep and research the top executives. You’re going to research, craft and find ways to get in touch with those.”

There’s outbound where it’s putting them in the email system fashion blast. There’s outbound that is very email driven and there’s outbound that for your industry, might need to be phone driven with the industry you’re selling to. If you’re selling to say, commercial real estate construction and you’re like, “We’re going to do outbound,” you’re probably going to need somebody who does a lot of phones because those people are out on projects dealing with big, multi $100 million projects or more. They’re on their phone and away from their desk. They’re not in front of email or LinkedIn.

You go hire somebody good doing outbound but the outbound they’ve done in their past job is on email and LinkedIn. You’re like, “You need to hit the phone.” They’re like, “I’m not good on the phone,” or they don’t like using the phone or they’re a Gen Zer who doesn’t even know how to use the phone. You’ve got a problem because you might have hired a great outbound person but it’s the wrong skillset for the outbound that you need to do.

That’s where I would tell a founder, “Before you go hire a couple of SDRs, let’s figure out what your outbound process needs to look like. Let’s get some documentation and a system in place. Let’s figure out what that playbook looks like so that when you go to recruit those SDRs, you can look for the skillsets that match the activities that need to happen for your outbound to work correctly.”

What I’m hearing loud and clear is not only do we have to have repeatable processes in cloning but we have to have some predictability. The actual playbooks and the process we’re going to use or scale will become unwieldy. Is that a great way of saying it?

Part of that process that you’re building is knowing what the metrics are around that process. Let’s use the outbound example. As a founder, before I went and hired some SDRs, I figured out that for my industry, my business and the people I’m selling to, we need to do some targeted outbound strategy. What that means is it’s a combination of using email plus LinkedIn plus phone, those three channels to do my outreach to contact the executives that we need to get on the phone to start the sales process. That’s my process.

When building a process for your business, part of it is knowing what its metrics are. Click To Tweet

We need to know what the metrics are that constitute success. For example, for doing email, what are the open rates we should be shooting for? What are the benchmarks for reply rates or engagement rates? How many meetings should we expect to book per 100 leads that are in our outreach, those become the benchmarks by which, in my business, as long as I get a 40% open rate, 10% reply rate and 3% of the people who book a meeting, that becomes the KPIs for the SDRs. It also drives their compensation structure like, “These are the KPIs and this is what we pay you on.”

Salespeople are very plug-and-play. Whatever you measure is what you get. Understanding those metrics and how those systems work is the same as conversion rates. We have a qualified dealer in the pipeline. We need to know what’s the average time to conversion. We get a qualified deal on March 1st. Our normal conversion time is 6 months. Our average contract value is $100,000. Our conversion rates are typically 30% of deals within 6 months after getting a qualified lead.

We have some basic pipeline metrics. As founders, we have done this ourselves. We know what those steps are and how to hit those metrics. We go find an EA and bring that EA in. We go, “These are the benchmarks that you’re going towards.” If after 3 months or 6 months, they’re not getting the deal sizes you need or not converting the deals in the time, it takes them 12 months to convert a $30,000 deal instead of 6 months to $100,000 and their conversion rate is 10% instead of 30%, what you realize is to coach this person up or you’ve hired the wrong person.

The processes also give you the metrics by which to measure. You start to understand why we’re talking about repeatability and scalability and the process. 1) The process tells you what is working and what’s not working. 2) By having that process in place, you have the metrics and the measurements that you need. 3) It also dictates for you what is the job description of the people that you need to hire. It tells you how to compensate them based on the metrics that you’re measuring. 4) It lets you know whether or not that person’s successful or not. That’s why we talk about the process first. You can’t scale what you don’t have. That goes back to, “I’m going to hire three SDRs to do outbound for me. I hope it works.” That’s why it doesn’t.

You can't scale what you don't have. Click To Tweet

I wholeheartedly agree. I had this debate many times with business owners. They’re like, “I want to throw a sales team at this.” My question is, “Does that solve your problem or does that create a new problem?” Many of them are in a big rush. What I’m hearing from you is this requires patience to scale.

As we work with startup founders, they have runways to deal with. They only have a certain amount of funding. They have pressure from their board. Even if they’re happy doing the selling, there’s the opportunity cost of their time because if I’m out there selling, I’m not working on a product, engineering, hiring, capital raising or other things. I get it. I’m spending 25 hours a week doing sales which only leaves me 50 hours a week if I work a 75-hour week to do everything else I need to be doing as a CEO.

I get it. You hear, “I got to get sales off my plate. If I could get it off my plate, everything would be okay.” You find a salesperson to take this over for you. You want that and frankly, the business needs that but it also requires you to be a little bit patient. I’d say this to founders all the time when they say, “I want to get this off my plate. I’ll find somebody to take this over.”

I’m like, “If I find the best salesperson in the world, I know this guy named Doug Brown. He’s awesome. He’s one of the best salespeople I’ve ever met. I’m going to introduce him to you. He’s going to come in and sell your stuff.” The chances of Doug being successful are small because you’re going to tell him, “Doug, go sell stuff.” Doug’s going to say, “How do you get leads?” “It’s easy. I text my friends from business school.”

“I can’t do that. I get up on stage on conferences and then after the conference, people come up and talk to me. We then turn that into a conversation. I move into the sales op and then close them six months later.” I’m like, “I can’t do that either because I’m not you. How do you close deals?” “A lot of times, I give them a good discount because they’re friends of mine and I want to get some logos. I know we’re probably selling those deals at a loss but that’s okay because it’s growth at all costs and I don’t care.” I’m like, “I can’t do that either.”

Doug, you’re all excited about this opportunity because you’re seeing the company’s growth and you’re like, “I’m going to take over sales.” You realize, “There’s no process for me to follow. I have to figure out what the sales process is.” That’s not the founder, which could take you 6 months of experimentation, even 8 months, 9 months or 12 months.

“I hired this guy. Scott said he is the best salesperson in the world. He hasn’t closed a deal.” Doug’s sitting there going, “Scott introduced me to this high-growth startup. There’s no sales process. I didn’t even have any leads. Half of my compensation is based on commission. I’ve gone twelve months without closing a deal because there was no process. I had to figure this out. I’m unhappy. What am I going to do? I’m going to bolt to the next opportunity.” Everybody loses.

You hit something that for a lot of people who are owners, I hope your ears perked up if you’re reading this. Many people are starting that process or even in the midstream of that process. I see this happening with companies that are even doing, $20 to $30 million trying to get up to the next level. They’re going at it from growth at all costs from the executive side but then when their salespeople are selling at growth at all costs, they’re at their salespeople saying, “You can’t do this.”

Where’s the balancing line for most of these companies, Scott? In other words, what I’m trying to help out people is whether should we be selling growth at all costs at that point or should we be stepping back like we’re talking about saying, “How do we create a cloning, repeatable, scalable, predictable process and then go from that point forward?” Where’s the strategy for growth at all costs? Where’s the fine line between that? What do we need to create a scalable process?

It depends. If you’re an early growth stage startup, that’s going to be venture funded and that funding is focused on top-line revenue growth. Growth at all costs is true. It doesn’t matter what the cost of the sale is as long as you can get to $10 million in a year and $30 million in 2 years. We then can get to the next round of funding so that later on, we can worry about profitability. That’s a common path for a lot of startups.

There are even companies that go public that are still operating at a loss 3 or 4 years later because that was trajectory growth at all costs. That’s what got them to that place. In our environment, there’s a lot of pressure not just on the public companies that are experiencing lower or no profitability but even on startups that are getting much lower valuations because of the lack of even a path to profitability.

There’s been this change in attitude, even within the venture community around, “Whom am I going to fund?” I get it that this company’s going to be losing money for a little bit but I also need to see a path where they could operate profitably in the next couple of years in case things continue to stay bad. In certain environments, growth at all costs is okay. It’s like an old axon of 3 yards and a cloud of dust. “I don’t care how I make any progress, I’m just going to make progress and then I’ll figure it out later.”

For the other 99% of the companies in the world that aren’t venture funded and encouraged to grow at all costs because they’re hoping to be the $10 billion unicorns, you’ve got to think more concretely about this because while in the short run, you’re like, “I want to get growth and revenue,” you have to remember what is that costing you, not just the revenue cost or the profitability cost but the opportunity cost of your time and effort.

We’re working with a client. The company’s doing over $10 million a year in revenue and the founder has done all of the sales. Every sales lead gets passed to him and he converts the deals at 80%, which has been great to get $10 million in revenue. The problem is he can’t grow anymore. The business is tapped out.

He has to go back a couple of steps. We’re working with a sales team to figure out what an outbound motion looks like for you. How are you going to get leads? How are you going to train your salespeople to convert their leads? Maybe not at the same rate that you can close it because you’re the founder and nobody else is going to ever be able to convert deals at the high rate that you can but it needs to be more predictable and repeatable.

If you don’t have those two things, you’re not going to be able to be scalable. He’s realizing, “The growth to get to $10 million was a great number to hit 8 figures in revenue but the cost has been I have to take a couple of steps back.” Those steps back might take him 12 or 18 months to build the infrastructure and process and get the right people in the right seats so that he can go back into the high-growth mode that he wants to get into.

CSS 106 | Scalable Process
Scalable Process: To be scalable, your process needs to be more predictable and repeatable.

 

There may even be a little drop in revenue while they’re doing that.

Think about the training costs. We’re hiring on our team for salespeople. Even though I’ve got a bunch of clarity on exactly the person that we want, I’ve got a great candidate that we want to make a bet on. I know I’m still going to have to spend time with that person. I’m going to have to let that person do some of the calls and fail. There’s going to be some deal.

From training salespeople, I’m like, “I’m going to let Jeff run this call and make his mistakes. Sometimes after he makes the mistakes, I afterward can jump in, recover the deal and get it closed anyway.” Sometimes, you lose it and that’s the way it is. Even at a $5 million, $10 million or $15 million company, every deal matters. You feel that pain, not just in the revenue. It’s the opportunity cost of your time training someone. It could take weeks or months to get them up and running. What if that person ends up not working out because you hired the wrong person? What if something happens to that person?

They get sick. Their spouse changes jobs. They have to move to Chicago. All of a sudden, that rep that you thought was going to be working with you every day in the office needs to move and is going to work remotely. That slows things down even more. It’s painful. A lot of times, you do have to be willing to take those steps back, which means having good planning and structure. We need to forecast, in some respects, a loss in revenue in the short run and think of that more as an investment in the future of the company. If I don’t take maybe a short-term loss in revenue, I’m never going to get from 10 to 30 in revenue that I want to get to.

I have two last questions for you. This is probably on some people’s minds who are reading this. Should they even scale? Should they grow? Do you ever get that question posed? I do. That’s why I was asking the question.

It’s funny because I went down to Las Vegas and spent some time with a friend of mine. I went down for the CES Conference and stayed for the weekend. I was with a great friend from high school. I’ve known him for many years. He was asking me about my business. We were talking over lunch. He said, “What’s the hardest thing about running your business?” I said, “The hardest thing is figuring out how much you want to grow in some ways.”

Sometimes, the hardest thing in business is figuring out how much you want to grow in some ways. Click To Tweet

There are things we could be doing to grow sales. There are things we’re not doing on purpose because if we ramp up those things, we’re going to get a lot more customers, which on the surface sounds great but on the back end with delivery on the promises that we’re making, I also got to figure that problem out.

We’re bringing people into our coaching program. I got to figure out, “Do I have the right coaches to support them? Do we have enough calls on the calendar? Do we have enough space in the calendar? How about our technology stack? When people want to go to our library, get help and self-serve, does that work well enough that they can self-serve themselves when they need it on a Friday night at the time they’re working on the presentation for Monday? Do we have all of those things?”

If we don’t have all those things and I go bring in a bunch of customers, they’re going to churn, and worse, it damages our brand. The way I described it to them is to say, “Let’s say you’re a million-dollar business operating at a 30% margin. You’re earning a profit of $300,000 a year. On the other hand, what if you ran a $3 million company on a 10% profit margin? You are earning $300,000 a year.” You can go the other way. I said, “I could have no business at all other than Scott Consultant. I could probably work 30 hours a week, 20 hours a week or 40 weeks a year and make easily $300,000 or $400,000 a year. I’ll have a few expenses with travel and some other stuff because my profit is $300,000.”

Some of it is like, “How much aggravation and work are you willing to put in? Is there a payoff on the back end?” Going from there sounds great. “I got a $3 million business. I want to be a $10 million business.” That looks great. I know plenty of $10 million businesses that are running at 1% or 2% margins. With the downturn, digital agencies, for example, could have $10 million businesses doing 6 and 7-figure projects. You got a 60-person staff that you got to feed. If all of a sudden, you’re on 2% or 3% margin, even 5% margin and that one big deal doesn’t happen this quarter, you got people on the beach like, “I’m not working. I got no projects.”

Worse, you pay them and you didn’t get the revenue so you’re double loss. You not only didn’t get the revenue but you got money going out. You’re like, “Do I want that kind of business? Can I still make a 30% margin at a $10 million business? I’m making $33 million a year instead of $300,000.” That goes back to having processes in place. That’s the idea of scale.

The growth at all costs could lead to that situation and aggravation. It’s already hard enough to run a business. I already lay awake at night staring at the ceiling, worrying about stuff at 2:00 in the morning. Imagine if I would try to 10X my business to be $10 million, $30 million or $100 million, wherever you are on that journey. You’re going to be awake not just at 2:00 but at 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00.

You’re going to have health issues on top of this.

You got to decide. Sometimes it’s better not to scale. What life do you want to have? How much balance do you want to have? That’s the other piece. I got a son. I coach his soccer team. I don’t work weekends. My wife has her stuff that she’s doing. I want to support her. She’s a full-time PhD at UC Davis. I got to be on campus for three days. We’ve got some people coming in from Poland who are here researching. I got to meet and work with them. We got these big meetings going on.

CSS 106 | Scalable Process
Scalable Process: You have to decide. Sometimes, it’s better not to scale. It’s what life you want to have.

 

I don’t walk the dog in the morning. She usually does dog walks in the morning. I take my son to school. In the afternoons, we swap off. There are three mornings in a row. She’s like, “I can’t do it. Can you do it?” I’m like, “Yes.” That’s because I chose to have that space in my calendar. If I go to try to grow quickly to 3X or 10X of business and say, “No, I can’t. Sorry,” am I being a good partner there? What’s more important, my business or her career? That’s where choices need to be made and that’s where people can end up unhappy.

For me, I know where I want to be and what time I’m not spending on the business. I want to be able to have that space to do something simple like that or be able to take a week off, go skiing for four days and not have to worry about stuff. The short answer is it depends but you don’t have to grow your business.

You and I deal with a lot of companies. I remember there was one that was doing $200 million a year. The man was probably 1 of the top 5 unhappy souls on the planet. They decided to cut the business back. They’re doing $60 million and he’s as happy as can be. He doesn’t miss the $200 million at all. My second question is when people are designing this or thinking through it, clarity is important in the first step of this thing. Do you suggest somebody gets clarity on how they want their life to be and then build their business around it or build the business first and then get clarity on their life?

For me, the reason that I’m doing this business is because of my family. I was the Head of Sales at a company called Blend, which is the IPO in July of 2021. Back in 2013, ‘14 and ‘15, I was the first head of sales and employee number 13 at this company. It’s a great time to be there. There’s so much fun growing the company. I went through the A round and the B round. We were closing a C round of funding in those two and a half years that I was there.

I was also traveling all the time. I was in Dallas, DC and Des Moines doing meetings and implementations. There was one time I was gone 8 out of 9 weeks. I left the house Monday morning and caught a 5:00 AM flight. The flight left at 5:00 AM to get to Dallas. I got home on a Thursday night. It was 4 days, 8 weeks out of 9. At the same time, my wife is still finishing her PhD and our son was 2 or 3 years old at that time.

At some point, this is not going to work. Some things happened to us. It wasn’t in our relationship but my son got sick one day. I was traveling and my wife texted me, “He’s sick.” Right after we took him to daycare for the first time. Kids always get sick. She’s texting me, “Benjamin can’t breathe. I got to take him to the ER.” I’m standing outside of BW3 about to go to dinner with my team. I’m stuck in Dallas. It was 6:00 or 6:30 at night.

There are no flights. You’re going from East to West. The next flight is in the next morning. I called American United. They’re like, “Sorry, no flights.” I’m stuck. I’m thinking to myself, “Is this what I want? My wife is up all night in the ER when she’s supposed to be working on her dissertation. I’m not even there to help her, let alone be there with my son when he is sick.”

That was the breaking point for me to decide, “I need to unwind from this position at Blend,” which took me almost a year to get there. I left millions of dollars on the table with options to go and do this because I wanted to be home. As I think about this, I’m growing my business and also balancing how much I can push on the business but also make sure I can take and do club soccer with my son. I can take the dog for a walk if I want to. I can go to Mammoth for four days and go skiing.

If my wife wants to go see her family, which she did for four days, to hang out with her mom and her dad, no problem. I can do school drop-off, dog walks and everything else. I got those dates and times blocked off. For me, it was family first. Anytime I find myself trying to push hard at work and I’m starting to creep into the morning time when I should be making pancakes and taking my son to school or I find myself it’s 9:00 at night and I should be in bed because I get up at 4:00 in the morning and instead, I’m in the office working, I’m like, “This is not what I signed up for. This is not what I committed to.”

There is that balance. There might be certain parts of your weeks or months where you’re like, “We’re going to make a push on this thing. We got this opportunity.” We established this partnership with a big company. We launched a new product. We got three big conferences that we know we can get some good leads at. That’s where you go, “For the next 6 or 8 weeks, I’m going to do a hard push but also promise myself and even schedule the time. After that push, I’m going to take the vacation off. I’m not going to work nights and weekends for the next four weeks.”

Sometimes it’s balance in between. Make sure you’re communicating with your partner, spouse and family. Say, “I’m letting you know starting March 1st with this first conference, I got to do some traveling. We’re doing a product launch. I’m hiring some new people. The good news is on May 1, we’re taking a week off and heading out to the beach for a week. If you want to go see your family, cool. I’m going to take care of things at home.” It’s all related to me. Take care of your life first. Otherwise, you’re going to be the $200 million revenue guy where it’s freaking miserable.

Sometimes, business is not all about growth but having a balance in between to make sure you have plans for business without leaving your personal life behind. Otherwise, you’ll be a miserable $200 million revenue guy. Click To Tweet

I was wondering what your advice was on that because I give people that same advice. Go for your life first. You said it perfectly. You asked the question, “Is this what I want?” I have friends who have become billionaires at one point in their life and then they lost control of their businesses. They lost their marriage, children and homes. When I talked to them, they’ll still say, “It wasn’t worth it.”

I heard Dave Thomas from Wendy’s once in an interview saying that building Wendy’s was the worst thing he did. They said, “Why, Dave?” He said, “It’s because later in my years, I had no family life.” He rattled it off. “I got all the money I want but I don’t have what I want, which is all that time back that I wanted to have with everything I wanted.”

When it comes to scaling, many people think they need to scale up their business and grow business to the next level. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s a great thing but the question is, is that what they want? That’s an awesome question you asked here. I would challenge everybody to ask that question who’s reading this. Scott, how do people get ahold of you if they want to know more about you or the company and what you do?

The best thing to do is if they visit the website of SalesQualia. It’s SalesQualia.com. One of the things I was going to offer is I’ve written a bestselling book called Stop Hustling, Start Scaling, which is a foundational book on how to think through building out that repeatable sales process. If you go to SalesQualia.com/Book, you can download a full free copy PDF version of the book. If you want to go to Amazon and buy one, that’s cool. I’m not buying an island with the royalties. I care less about that. I care a lot more about getting the message out to people.

CSS 106 | Scalable Process
Stop Hustling, Start Scaling: Ramp up your B2B Startup’s Repeatable Revenue with the Q Framework by Scott Sambucci

That’ll also get you on our mailing list. We’re doing tons of webinars and training. I’m pumping out content all the time. We have a podcast that you can subscribe to. It’s the window to my world. You’ll get access to everything else that we’re doing and pumping out there so that’s what I would suggest.

Thank you, Scott. For those of you who do buy it on Amazon, give it a review.

In the book, whether you download the PDF or buy the copy, I encourage people in the introduction to send me an email to tell me that they have the book and that they’re reading it because I want to help them stay accountable. The book is written almost like a textbook. Every chapter is a set of activities. It’s centered around a specific question you want to ask yourself about your business and your sales process. Each chapter is designed to help you answer that question for your business. There’s even a companion website where you can download worksheets and start building out a playbook for yourself using the book as a core.

If you want to use the book the right way, the best thing you do is to let me put my coaching hat on. Buy the book or download the book. Send me an email and say, “I’m reading this book.” I will check in with you. I ask people that have downloaded the book, “How’s it going? What questions do you have?” I see whether or not people are downloading the worksheets. It’s a great opportunity to get some help from me through the book and get in touch with me if you need to.

You’re the first person that I’ve ever heard say that. Most people are like, “Buy my book. Read my book.” You’re like, “I’m going to have an accountability process into this to make sure that you’re consuming and getting forward in what you’re doing.” I appreciate you doing that for the audience.

You’ve got it, Doug.

Thanks for being here on the show, Scott. As always, I’d love to have you back another time. It’s always a wonderful time to talk together.

Thanks, Doug.

Did you like the part about cloning? I love that. A lot of people don’t think about scalability as cloning. Cloning means, “If I could take one thing and I can clone it into another thing and then clone it again and again and put it into a process that’s cloneable, I’ve got something that I can scale.” The reality is it’s repeatable, measurable and predictable. That’s the key to scaling. If you try it without what’s going to happen – and so many companies do this and I know in my companies we’ve done this in the past – we’ll scale, get to a place and get stuck.

What we’re doing is we’re growing. We’re not scaling because it’s not predictable. Scott and I talked about that whole process. Part of the challenge and why this happens is that we’re in such a big rush to get there. We’re not stepping back and creating a process. We’re not taking the blueprint that we have. Let’s say we’re building a home. We’re not building with high-quality structural materials. We’re saying, “We got to put this home up in two months,” even when the job requires 6 or 8.

That’s where we get a bit into trouble. We grow and get some extra money. What do we do? We try to backfill that. We’re taking a step forward and three steps back. What happens is we’ve got to create and go through that whole process again to create a scalable and predictable process. I go through this with so many clients because they don’t understand the foundation of that.

Before you get the blueprint, a great question to ask is, “Do I even want to do this?” As Scott said, “Is this what I want?” Get very clear on that process in the beginning. If it’s not what you want and you’re trying to do it and you do it, you might find yourself in a place that’s way more stressful than you ever wanted to be. As Scott and I were discussing, you may not even have more money.

You may have had higher profitability at a lower revenue and had a life. When you get to higher revenue without the profitability, what you have is a lot more mouth to feed and responsibility but you’re not making any more money. You may not be happier than you were before. Ask the question, “Should I scale? Is this what I want? What do I want?” Start with that point of clarity and then move forward. I highly recommend that you get and read his book. It will give you massive clarity on where you want to go and answer that question for you, “Is this what I want?”

If you love this topic, please give it a five-star review. Thank you to all of you who have been doing so. If you have any questions on that, you can certainly contact Scott directly. He gave you his contact information. If you’re an expert in a field and you know somebody who’s an expert in a field and you’re like, “I would like to have a subject done on this particular subject matter in this show,” reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. We will respond to you either way. We’ll review all responses.

If you want to get yourself or someone you know into the top 1% of sales earners, you want to learn that process, put that process in place for yourself, maybe your sales team or someone you know, reach out to me directly at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. I will certainly respond to you. Until next time. Go out, sell something, sell a lot of it. Play win-win. That means if you help someone, they help you. That is the best sale in the world and that also makes sure that your sales are profitable and that you’re taking yourself to the next level day upon day if that’s what you want. Thanks for spending some time again with us. To your success.

 

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