Happy holidays from the Bandalier team! As we settle in before the new year, our outsourced inside sales teams are working hard to reach decision-makers - but with Hanukkah and Christmas behind us and New Year’s ahead, it can be tough to reach people. Here are a handful of tips from our reps on how to find success between the holidays:
What other tips and tricks can a great outsourced sales rep use to stay in touch throughout the holidays? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Abagael Rudock - Jr Associate Sales Manager at Bandalier
It’s time for the first feature in our Talent as a Service series! We’ll be featuring the team members whose talent shines through on these programs. Up first is Sheontee Cochrane!
Sheontee joined our team this summer after receiving a recommendation from a friend. As one of the introverts on our team, Sheontee knew that she would be stepping outside of her comfort zone for this role! With Desirée as her mentor and manager, Sheontee was able to excel quickly. The two built a strong bond, and worked together to continuously deliver stellar results on a tough program. As Sheontee said,
“I love working with Des… she helped me utilize the skills I learned in Bandalier University, and encouraged me to think outside the box, strategize, and test new ideas to improve our outcomes. I’m an introvert by nature, so I had to learn how to be more outgoing and how to handle rejection, and Bandalier equipped me with the tools I needed to keep working through roadblocks.”
Sheontee has become famous on our team for her persistence - if a prospect asks her to call back, we know she’ll reach out almost daily until she reaches them! If she isn’t reaching prospects, she keeps trying - whether that means calling the same office a few times each day, or reaching out to a hundred different people before lunch, Sheontee is always pushing for better results. She and Des make a deadly duo - with Des’ famous fearlessness and Sheontee’s persistence, these two can reach even the most elusive prospects! Here’s how Sheontee described her growth over the past few months on our team:
“The company values self-improvement, and my team has given me the opportunity for growth. I am more outgoing, and I feel more empowered to embrace who I am - an assertive and strong person who is capable of relying on others when I need to. I am now an embodiment of my better self and working with Bandalier helped me get there. We have a supportive and reliable team - and it goes without saying that it’s refreshing to work in a supportive environment.”
We’re so glad to have Sheontee as a member of our team! If you’re interested in working with driven young professionals like her, head over to our website. We’d love to hear from you - whether you’re a driven young professional looking to build a career with Bandalier or a company hunting for amazing talent, we can help you grow alongside our spectacular salespeople.
Abagael Rudock - Jr. Associate Sales Manager at Bandalier
Over the last few months, you’ve followed the stories of Bandalier’s hustlers. From coffee to clothing, our team members are working on a little bit of everything! To wrap up the series, we wanted to shine the spotlight on each of our team members’ businesses one more time.
We’re delighted to work with so many entrepreneurs! Which business was your favorite to learn about? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for our next blog series highlighting the experiences of our employees working with clients on our Talent as a Service program!
Abagael Rudock - Jr. Associate Sales Manager at Bandalier
In our last post, we focused on some of the reasons it can take a while for outbound sales campaigns to start showing ROI.
A natural question for clients to ask, given these constraints, is how to know when to pull the cord on an outbound SDR program. After all, start-ups are often cash constrained - one of the most important factors in their ultimate success is knowing when to cut off a strategy that isn’t working.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect science here. But managing three years of outbound campaigns for dozens of SaaS clients has given us some helpful heuristics to look for in the early months of a sales campaign. These are some of the questions we ask (along with related KPIs) that help us understand whether success is going to continue eluding us - or whether it could be right around the corner.
As our Side-Hustle Series winds down, we’re featuring one of the products that keeps us going - coffee! This week, we sat down to chat with Colin Meagley, co-founder of Hustle Bean Coffee.
Like many of our team members, Colin is a student of Binghamton University’s School of Management. While he was stuck inside over the summer, Colin took some time to reflect on his passions. As a hustler and coffee lover, he realized that no one was catering to his network. As he describes it, “I really enjoyed coffee and the culture around hustle and entrepreneurship. But no brands were targeting that market. No one was making coffee just for us.”
Colin got to work alongside his roommate and co-founder, reaching out to suppliers and manufacturers to build their coffee company. Together, they found high-quality beans, hand-roasted in small batches in Buffalo, NY. Even though Colin has so much on his plate, he has no issue juggling his roles as a student, salesperson, and entrepreneur - in fact, he said that working remotely has made it even easier for him to balance his time:
“I can go immediately from work to class to managing my business - I’m not losing 15 minutes or more traveling between my home, school, and work.”
Colin credits Bandalier with their quick success in launching the business, too:
“Bandalier made it much easier for me to communicate with other businesses. Since I’ve worked with business-to-business marketing it was no problem to get in touch with different suppliers and manufacturers for our beans and packaging. I’ve also been lucky to keep growing my network, connecting with people over 2 commonalities - entrepreneurship and love of coffee. As you get to know people, they introduce you to people they know who love the same things.”
If you’re looking to step up your coffee game, check out Hustle Bean’s website for tips on making your daily brew - Colin uses an AeroPress. Regardless of how you make it, Hustle Bean’s Brazilian roast makes a “darn good” cup of coffee, according to our CEO, Jeremy Ruch. Head over to the Hustle Bean website to get your coffee today, and use the code “BANDALIER” for a 15% discount on your purchase!
Abagael Rudock - Jr. Associate Sales Manager at Bandalier
Outbound Sales Cycles - Part 1: How Long Do Outsourced Inside Sales Programs Take to Generate Results?
Start-ups, by definition, need to move quickly. Companies that have raised capital to prove out an operating model only have so long to prove product-market fit, and are under significant amounts of pressure to demonstrate to investors that there’s a healthy and growing market of customers that need what they are selling. Many are optimizing for the all-critical LTV : CAC ratio: that is, how many dollars in lifetime revenue they are generating for each dollar spent on marketing / sales.
No surprise, then, that prospective clients regularly ask us how long our outsourced inside sales programs will take to generate results. Unfortunately, it’s a question that is impossible to answer in one broad stroke: beyond the obvious role that luck plays (particularly early on with smaller sample sizes), there’s a significant number of variables inherent to each product and industry that impact the pacing of results.
One of the most significant of these is the length of a client’s outbound sales cycle. We sell SaaS products ranging in average sales cycle from one week to up to a full year or more. Because spend on our inside sales programs is the same irrespective of sales cycle length, clients that have sales cycles of several months or longer will often find they are significantly underwater in the early days of an outbound sales campaign - even in a case where it is performing well. This is made even more complicated by the fact that inbound sales cycles aren’t always the same as outbound sales cycles.
At Bandalier, for example, we find that clients who find our services via search engine or referral tend to close significantly faster than those we prospect, because they are already actively interested in launching an outbound sales program and have a timeline for doing so. This makes measuring the relative effectiveness of the different channels complicated: if, as is often the case, a client we prospected a year ago comes back to us now and launches a large program, it can significantly change the performance of our outbound SDR program relative to other channels.
Let’s explore this with a specific example. Below is an illustrative case of an LTV : CAC ratio for an imaginary client that has a 6 month sales cycle (which is on the lengthier side, but not unusual for SaaS clients) selling a $2,500 / mo SaaS product.
In this case, for six months, the program isn’t generating revenue at all: the CEO and investors are probably getting nervous, looking at a program that has cost over $40,000 with nothing to show for it. Deals start trickling in once the first six-month cycle has passed, but not a pace fast enough to recover the investment. But with results compounding month-over-month (since each deal is generating incremental monthly recurring revenue), the program slowly claws its way to profitability. Still, even 10 months into the program, we’ve barely generated enough total revenue to cover the costs of the program. Investors are looking at competing channels, like search engine marketing, and seeing significantly higher ROI. In many cases, they might decide to reinvest their marketing dollars away from outbound sales.
But the year 2 results show why that would be a mistake. Monthly recurring revenue continues to build over the course of the year, and by mid-way through the year, we’ve crossed a 3x return on cumulative marketing dollars invested. We end the year above a 5:1 CAC / LTV ratio - enough to double down significantly on the investment. Meanwhile, other channels might find a natural cap on results, since there’s a much smaller number of folks actively searching for the product online and significant competition with other vendors bidding on the same digital ad space. By the end of year 2, outbound sales appears to be the most profitable marketing channel available.
Of course, this begs the question: if it can take that long to show significant ROI, what are some early signals we can look to to ascertain whether the program is worth continuing to invest in? More on that in Part 2, to follow next week.
Welcome back to our Side-Hustle Series! This week we’re featuring Leighton Blackwood and his bubble tea business, 2nd Heaven! You may know Leighton from past social media features - he’s been a key member of our Sales Ops team since joining Bandalier in February of 2018.
Leighton has always had an interest in entrepreneurship but gives credit to Bandalier for inspiring him. As he describes it,
“A great part of the inspiration to build my own business has come from watching Bandalier grow. When I first joined the company, it wasn’t even a year old and we were a handful of people in a small office room. It’s been an amazing journey. Now, there’s an active entrepreneur community that exists within Bandalier. The opportunity to learn and grow with other people on similar paths as me is great, and I am excited to network with other entrepreneurs!”
Between his work at Bandalier and his experiences as a student at Binghamton University’s School of Management, he has a diverse knowledge base to work with. As a frequent diner at BU’s Marketplace, Leighton noticed a conspicuous lack of specialty drinks:
“Coming from NYC, bubble tea has been one of my favorite drinks. In Binghamton offerings of the drink are limited both in quality and location, especially for students without convenient transportation. I identified bubble tea as a great drink that many students like me with a taste for it would benefit from having access to it on campus.”
Once he recognized the need, Leighton reached out to the university to propose a new business. Inspired by the success of Chick’n’Bap, he suggested the development of another student-founded and student-run business. After a year of work with his friend Darren Shi, things didn’t quite pan out for an on-campus business. Business plan in hand, Leighton started exploring other avenues to bring bubble tea to the Binghamton area.
“We placed a lot of work into our concept, especially in creating our recipes from scratch. Our current recipes are a result of about 7 months and hundreds of cups of data-driven trials where we tested everything from the perfect temperature to brew tea to the perfect recipe for cooking boba. Each trial went through a rigorous process of taste testing via focus groups and surveys. With all the work that we put in and my drive to explore entrepreneurship, we decided to keep pushing towards a new launch, this time at the local farmers market on a small scale to test the market.”
After meeting with the managers of the Farmer’s Market in August, Leighton went to work obtaining the licenses and funding he needed to start serving tea. He sold his first cup of Bubble Tea in October, and though he admits that there “have been growing pains… it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience!”
You can catch Leighton every Saturday at the Broome County Regional Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 9-1. If you don’t want to make the trek out to Front Street, you can also get 2 Heaven’s bubble tea delivered via Grubhub or UberEats! You can also connect with 2nd Heaven on Facebook and Yelp.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier