The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 11 months ago

Why Your Company Should Start Building A Sales Force w/ David Ledgerwood


You need more sales, not more advice. 

And to get there, you need to build a sales force that has the capacity to work full time from setting appointments to closing deals. 

To learn more about building a revenue machine, I caught up with David “Ledge” Ledgerwood, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Add1Zero, which provides lead-to-close sales execution for B2B technology companies.

In this episode, David explains:

  • His professional journey and how he founded Add1Zero.
  • When businesses should build a sales force and what to look for in a sales team.
  • How to determine a good or bad sales lead. 

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with David “Ledge” Ledgerwood, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Add1Zero.

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.


The reality is, like revenue is numberone and that's it's the ultimate maylocks you know,founders have hartburn because they can't make payroll and you can cutcosts all day long, but really it's about more sales. You're! Listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated ELP, a executives train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: welcome every one to thebtob revenue executive experience. I'm your host Chad Sanderson today we'retalking about how to build a revenue machine. When should younger companiesadd a sales foruce and, more importantly, how you' tell thedifference between a goodly and the bad one to help us. We have with US ledged,ledger: Wood, cofoner and managing partner of ad one zero legs. Thank youfor taking the time and welcome to the show child it's fun to be here. I lovethis stuff. Let's talk about money, everybody's favorite topic, efore. Weget into that, though. We always like to ask an nice breaker question andalways curious to know everybody that knows you from your work. Environmentwill have one perspection, but always curious. If there's something you'repassionate about that, those that know you largely through work might besurprised to learn about yeah. You know I don't get to talk about like myservice work as much as I'd like. I have been involved in youth leadership,team leadership, development programs with the Rotary International for abouttwenty five years now so love doing it. Work with thousands of kids, justdeveloping leadership skills, teamwork skills. You know it's really like you know like a heart anchor servicekind of thing, and so don't know. If everybody knows about about that, butyeah, I love to draw attention to that. progrems called Rila Ryla and if youdon't know about rotary and Rotary Internationall, you should check themout biggest service organization in the world. A they do awesome stuff, niceall right. So we don't usually start kind of with the guests backgroundstory. But as we were prefing for this, and I was going through stuff, a it's afairly compelling story, so would love for you just to kind of run us down.How did we end up here? Having this conversation today and you being youknow, cofouner managing partner of ad one Zeo Walk Ers Tro, the journeygoodness yeah. I had no aspirations whatsoever of everhaving anything to do with sales. I didn't know what that was. I mean it just never even occurred tome and I'm old enough. You could probably relate to this like in college.There was not yet this idea of learning entrepreneurship. You know prior to thefirst Internet boom right. So as far as I knew, everybody grew up andjust became a consultant, and so that's what I did you know we, like probablyforty percent of our graduating class at Bucknell University, went to workfor one of the big, then the big five. Now the big four. So I did that I putin my time, as you know, Fortune five hundred consultant for ERP systems andother technological wonders, which is really a joke. I mean now that I lookback at it. I'm I'm glad I did my time. I got that experience, but I mean thefact that anyone was bilding money for us at that age with our like negativeexperience of anything to install enterprise, wide systems worth millionsand millions of dollars is slightly terrifying, but we did that and- and somebody probably is still gettinga paycheck at a major financial institution because of code that Iwrote and I hope that their pithcheck is right. But after that I did a stent in privatemedia. So I was part of the kind of the launch and early efforts to getnewspapers into the Internet, so that was fun. I did that sort of on anationwide scale Ram some big service and support organization, so always atechnologist. I wrote code.

I worked in technology organizationsand some point. I got the bug. I worked inoperations and I just got the bug and said you know. I really want to start my own company a little bit ofthat came from on nine eleven. I was intimately closeto a client side close to the World Trade Center, and you know I just kindof had the the year after that, having escaped pretty close to death- and youknow kind of I remember, hiding under a desk and smoke, and you know fire andbrimstone and kind of Gong. I really don't want to die in a job that Iloathe. You know I realy, and so I thought you know I always, andit was such a you just didn't- have thoughts aboutstarting your own business. Like you do now, you know now it's just Solik Oeverybody does NA start up, at least in my world, but it wasn't like that. Soyou know I had to figure thout out as I went and we we all quit our jobs, a bunch ofpartners of myself and moved down to Nashville Tennessee from from the NewYork area when we started a consulting company and we did all right and we gotabsolutely pummel in two thousand and nine for that. You know the greatrecession you know and I'll come back to that, because I think that was aimportant learning lesson. So you know, then it was just like well, we gotwrecked. We lost all our investors money now what you know so thefollowing Monday. Let me pick up a consulting contract call, my network. Igot to do something here to get paid shut the company down and I got hiredonto a business development team at an EDTECH start up that I was connectedwith and kind of weasled my way into building yo w high stakes, sort of likesuper expensive proposals and and RFP answers for state and federal localgovernment it systems I mean I had no business being there. I had absolutelyno idea how to do that, but maybe that was my first cell. I guessis convincing people to hire me for the SIL team, but I did that and we closed.You know twenty million dollars a revenue and I kind of just was likewell this isn't that bad? I can do this, then I wen too a Clo role and learned awhole bunch more about startups and did a bunch of early stage stuff and thenultimately found my way into a vpof sales roll. Where I worked in the it sort of elitefreelanceer it staff ind kind of space and that that whole experience betweenthose things, you know really built up this- I don't know, maybe a body of work or atheory that you know first first point being no founder, ever wakes up atthree o'clock in the morning, worrying about anything except more sales. Andso, if I can figure out what is the way to work such that, theonly thing I ever talked about is bringing people more sales, so thatkind of stuck in my brain, the just. I don't care how much we talkd abouteverything else. The reality is like revenue is number one and hat's it's the ultimate maylocks. You know,founders have hartber because they can't make pay roll and you can cutcosts all day long, but really it's about more sales. So that really stuckto me- and I took that- and the second thing was that startups and founders seem to beobsessed with this idea of hiring sales teams or VP of sales. You know oncethey reach, I don't know: half million million dollars a and just run ing TaMath, like that's insane like there's, just simply no way that that makes anysense what I just don't think they know better, and I I looked at all the things that we did.Some thirteen different startups and different experiences that I had is like. We hire interum CFOs. We hireinterum COOS. We get all these different things, but where's. Thisidea come from that we need Iro vpos sales like we must have it inside. Whycan't that? Be a fractional leadership role and I looked around and there's alot of people who do...

...fractional sort of you know sales,coaching and sales consulting and will help you build your strategy and willhelp you. You know do the Bahblah Blah Lah blah, but but nobody ever talkedabout just closing deals like I just I thought well shouldn't we just hire closers like that's what we want right.So that was the concept that led to the adone zero idea that you ought to have actual revenue. You should pay only forpeople that close money, you don't need a VP of sales. You just need sales,that's what matters and that's pace between five hundred thousand ofrevenue and five million, and I should say we work and BTB services and VVGand tech services right. So this this is not a Sass Business Equitiono, and Iknow that, but that space between that five hundred and five million- it's just a pithy way to say tenx,that's where you should be building a scale. Will Revenue Function RevenueMachine if you will document the hell out of it, the sops like all the stuff and pull in the staff only as necessary.You certainly should not be blowing a quarter million dollars on a BPS saleswith a Rollo deck. You know it just doesn't make any sese like it's insane,and so that was the message we started out with and it turns out thatresonates and people kind of say, yeah, that'sexactly what I want like get on the get on the calls and turn these leads intomoney. Now. What we actually have to do is all kinds of things that are prettydamn close to marketing and changing messaging and positioning, and you knowit's like all the stuff, but we are operators. We are essentially just founders, who figuredout that that we could sell, and so we can put on that operator had and we'repretty successful with that SOT oround the story, all hot. We started thiscompany, you know in grand form last year, and you know since I like to start companies duringdebilitating or something we here we are, but I say from thefirst experience going all the way back to the beginning: Having lost a companyin two thousand and nine and run myself bankrupt. You know trying to justhandle cashflow in a no longer surprises me or it's not astrange scenario for me to say you know that sales revenue, like actual Rovenu,can go to zero and stay there for at least six months, and now I know how to bring that lesson along and Ipost on Lik Din right a the beginning of this to say you all better figureout how to have a hundred and fifty days of cash in the bank right, because,if you don't like this could be a really really bad thing, and I thinkthat's that's bearing fruit. We have our notes from our March quarterlypartners meeting where we kind of go. You know March tenth, Hey. This isgoing to be the real deal, start building cash balance and I think that's that's correct. Nowwe've been lucky enough to build and grow. You know revenue during this thing, but I empathize withall the people who are really struggling to pay the bills, becauseit's no jokes yeah it's there are. There are Thogh it's interesting. Thereare companies that are struggling individuals. Some are strugglingbecause of operational management. Some are struggling because the industry, Imean arts events thats, I mean some of them just disappeared almost overnight,and then there are these others that are just taking off right. Like thefitness equipment industry, we was ridiculous. I was talking to thepresident of fitness galler here in Denver, one of the largest providersand I put his putting a gym in my basement- he's Sa Oh yeah. My businessis up three hundred and ninety eight percent from this time last year. Soand now he was having different problems he's like how do I manage thethe shipping the receiving, because all that stuff most, that stuff scalinglogistics and human visitors to houses? And you know I mean imagine all thatstuff. You know it's change thing or sure, yeah. Allthat...

...everything is. You know I don't even want to say newnormal. It's just like. I think, if we learn anything, it's just going to belike your contingency planning is invariablywrong. You know like, like literally zero percent of us, had this on ourcontinuis plan. Like disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan, like anyone who says that they had gobalpandemic, will fill everything on their plan is just as likely to had you know.Wildfires were burned down my entire state right, er, it's even more likelyto have that because at least you kind of like that's a disaster, but this isjust a the unknown territory. So you know I respect anyone that has builtthe ability to pivot and to just you know kind of act differently and beagile. I mean that's, that's like he only game in town now, yeah, well, N,it's and it's really hard for some organizations like our like y. It wasinteresting for us because we do most of our training. I mean Ihad a hundred and sixty eight osand air miles last year lived on a plane. I wasnever home and all of a sudden march boom everything's got to go virtual.Now, we'd always done some level of virtual training, but it never had doneanything at the scale. So we were able to invest, were invest in redesign itand pivot, but I know a lot of organizations that didn't and a lot ofpeople that a e that are struggling and it's going to be interesting to see howthis all all plays out, and so I guess that leads to an interesting questionis like when you're working with these companies now as the as the o sittingin that VP sales spot as the operators helping your clients to closhe. Whatkind of things are you doing differently than? Maybe you were doingpre precovid evet? Well, that's the fun part of the story,because we're doing nothing different and everybody finally thinks that we'resmart. I mean I is recently as December last year. I can rememberconversations of yeah that'll never work for us, because you know we justhave an imperson sale and it's just complicated and you know you got toshake hands with somebody across the table. Well, okay, YOU KNO! So we were.We were selling on eight hours a day of zoom calls in Deafh, and I've beendoing this for five years I've. So thirty five million dollars of stuffand never been in the same room with the people who bought it right. Thisdoes not surprise me and I think it's a hell of a lot more cost effective. Butyou know if I'd said it on Linkedon the other day. You know if you were corporate culture or your sales processis dependent upon humans in the same roomlike you're, just screwed right. So let's just get real here like it's notcoming back. Maybe you know I don't wish for it not to come back, but stick in your head in the sand rightnow and kind of wishing for it to go awaywould be a terrible idea. So I guess my message: Amebody is you you can sellanything this way. We can make really meaningful relationships. I've neverworked with any of my business parters in the same room. I don't you know wejust yo all the time in the last in the last Yewr I'm within the last threeyears. I only have one deal where I, where I had went into completeaconversation before I closeit everything else has been online, but alot of people strurgle with it, because it's a different, it's a differentthing like now granted we're doing a podcast and I'm trying to optimize. Inow how my video on right now but there's different ways to manage it.Like you look at your backtrop, you have a nice there's curtain there, it'sNice backshop you'R, managing the impression that you're making all ofthe same things that you would do in a normal sales relationship. It's likethe minute. You put them on zoom they freak out and forget I mean I had I hadsomebody show up to a call that had a Rainbow Unicorn Hodion and I was likewhat in the world are you doing? What kind of impression does that make? Soit's just interesting to see not only a as we're dealing with what's going onwith covid and the changes it makes them business now people having tounderstand that this video and digital... isn't just about duck lipping infront of Instagram for Selfis and crap, like that, there's actually a way thatyou can have and build a meaningful connection and sell to someone it'sgoing to be an interesting to see who can figure it out fast enough yeah! I Iagree, I mean yeah. I have a nice setup. I have you know microphone, Hi, deffcamera. Yes, these are things I did before, but I mean it's not that hardlike right, it's less than two hundred bucks of stuff yeah and it's totallyportable. You know I can do it anywhere soon. Maybe people are scared of theunknown, but I mean it's really not that much so you know I'm glad, I'mjust glad that we made that leap a long time ago, but I really would encourageanybody like you could figure this out in a couple of days. So Yeah Nos notrocket science, all freak out yeah. You know I mean behind me: is like a bunchof toys and crap, and my house looks awful and I have a thirty olar curtainthat I pull across Carson Yeah. It looks pro but believe me, it'sa disaster. You know so, and you know I may or may not bewearing pants, but you can't talk because I have a nice shirt. I don't know so. This was our life. Youknow before yeah W, and it's and it's I like to see you know people arestarting, I think, starting to level out a little bit. People get a littlebit more used to it stuff, and so these organizations now can go back tothinking about growth rather than necessarily think about survival. Whenwe've been doing it, we're in at deep notdat granted, I mean I know some techcompanies are making announce in's where they won't have people back inthe office or even discuss having them back in the office to like July of nextyear. So this isn't going away like you say so when the company comes out ofthis and they start to focus on growth again. When do they, when do yourecommend they make that shift from somebody helping themselve to hiringtheir own sales teams there a magic moment that needs to happen or whenrevenue threshold? What makes the most sense there? I definitely think of itas revetue threshold and again we're. You know so I'll, be clear that it's Btobe services with a tech flavor, that's our tad and therefore I knowthat business. I cannot tell you where to do this, you know for Sass or forother businesss, but if you are a techanabal btob services company, I donot believe that you should hire your own sales folks until you hit aboutfive million. That just feels to be the magic number where it becomesaffordable, and it's you talking about outsors in theentire team or just the leadership. The whole thing the whole thing: Yeah,that's what we do yeah. So when I say leadership I mean yeah, that's what wedo, but that's the after thought. You know we are just like you're. Lookingat now, like me, or someone like me on, our team is doing the call with the prospect forthat company book. Those calls like from an outbanter inbound perspective.Do the appointments close the deals, send the MSA get it signed, so thespace between top of funnel and make the appointment and close the deal.That's all US and it's one hundred percent white label like perfect whitelabel. No one will ever know that unless you want them to know that youknow so that was my thought that it is just absolutely nuts to internalize theridiculous expenditure of doing that on a fulltime basis. For some you know,stereotypical sort of you know: Rolic Rolla decks, not Rolex molymay everol.I was going to say mad. They might they might hemits your money that bought it.So you know, but I don't know we're just heavy commission loaded. You knowlike we just think that closing deals should be about performance, and so themetrics I want to track are you know: Did a company pay us forevery dollar that a company paid us? You know how much did we bring back intopline revenue and I like to keep that at ten Ar plus. So to me, that's a vastly betterproposition, because if you pay, you know three hundred thousand fullyloaded on. You know roladek person in order to get tenx return on thatthey're going to have to immediately...

...sell. You know three million dollars rightand they can't do that yeah, so yeah. There are very few that Cam, you knowso that when your average ticket sizes, what fifteen and two thousand andthirty forty grand like this just it doesn't make any sense. The math iscompletely impossible, and wouldn't it be better to do that at a ten to oneratio, revenue to cost of sales and then in acouple of years be at that three million to five million mark, at whichtime you have a fully documented revenue system, program systems, ops,everything and you built it with your own money. Your cash flowing like crazy,youre, positive sure, go ahead and hire a bpscls like that. That's a pretty badass choice at that point right! Well, you've made it to that point where youshould be sustainable enough, that it makes sense O to uplevel the founationin order to go from five to ten ten to fifteen or something now I don't makeany allusions that I know exactly haw a scale from the five million to o fiftyyeah so like those are material change in circumstance and do something elseright. You know, that's the that Ar our thing, but we want to prepare you forall the documentation, systems, processes, ops, TC, etc. They in Cashinthe bank frankly t that you can then hire somebody else to do that, becausethat's not our jam, and so when you're working with these companies and you'reout there you're doing it you're doing you're doing the whole sale. How do youar your team or the people that are dedicated to these customers? Do youhave an internal qualification or way you assess? What's a good lead versus abadly where you' going to spend your time? Because I'm assuming we'retalking High Commission, I mean I'm one hundred percent commission sales rap toso. You got to be able to times the one I sai you don't get back, you have toBuilld Tho manageit. You got to be able to qualify. How do you effectivelyensure your teams doing that consistently? So the bottom of thefunnel people work from appointment to close right. So that's the commissionarea and therefore it's really the top of thefunnel in appointment, cetter, outbound and or imbound types who make thoseappointments happen on the calendar. So we think about those two thingsseparately, so those top people outbound and inbound and marketingsales combination at the top of the funnel. Those are the ones that need todo the qualification. So you have to do very careful targeting if you don'tspecifically know what it is. The thing that you do, what the value of that ischange it all to you. First language. You know all the tricks that you woulddo for copywriting and an assessment of of opportunity and then do it. Itadequate volume just to fill the calendar, so we try to think of it aslike a math operation. If we can drive up each of the conversion pointpercentages, you know just step to step in the funnel right, the higher you goin the funnel the more difference it makes. You know at the bottom to changethat equation, so just try to optimize it at every stageand and really clearly defined. What is it that moves a thing from one stage tothe other, because th that's what qualification is now I tend to like you know the bottom part. I don'treally do the top part myself, because I like, when stuff shows up on mycalendar and then I get on the call, and I do my dance and I take my notesand then off slides into you, know pop the proposal and all that that's justmy world there, so I have never aspired. In fact we didn't set out with thecompany to even do top of funnel stuff. We just found partners that we wetrusted to tag in, because I like to work we like to work on. Youknow from appointment to close like t: that's it you know, that's what we knowhow to do. We're really really awesome at that, and obviously we can. You know,throw a little consulting up at the top there to make sure that bad thingsaren't happening, but I would much...

...rather hire the appointment makers leadgenerators, marketers. You know imbout outbound, content creators. You knowyou name it all. Those people are available and they're awesome at whatthey do, but full zero percent of them actually work the bottom and literallyclose revenue right, and so I believe that we're all important to each othernice excellent, all right. So, let's change direction her a little, but weask all of our guests two standard questions: towardsthe individuanry,first, as simply as a managing partner in cofonter. That makes you a prospectfor a lot of people out there, and so I'm always curious to know whensomebody doesn't have a trusted referral like somebody that brings themto you and say you should talk to this person. What works for you from yourperspective, for somebody to be able to capture your attention and earn sometime on your calendar, so I'm kind of a Weirdo like I not thatI want to give away my calendar all the time, but like I'll, take a lot ofpitches because I just want to see what happens and I like to take those calls and turnthem around and turn them into a sales pitch for me, because I can be likebasically like you know, I'm sorry, Mr Founder, but you're awful at this right,and but I like your thing, and I think that if you hired us, we could sell alot of it. It's actually it's actually littleLegien game to keep me on. My Toes, you know flip the vendor call, but the trueanswer is that pay attention to the the channel firstof all like if you look at the stats now on what on what email out reach hasdone and linked in out reach. Since the since Covid I mean it's a freakingdisaster like every don sure you get hi'm like Oh yeah, ive, ten fifteencopies a day of these ridiculous outreach that it's like. I don't knowwhat template that came from, but stop because it's terrible biht, you know hey just this is morning. This is asixt time. This has happened this this month, like Hey David, weird question,but I see you've done a lot of experiencesand I ever wondered if you thought about getting in Franchising like comeon, dude, not read anything, I'm doing no, I mean I accept every invitation,but I'm just like come on like just try, please try like add a little bit ofvalue to my life, so I look for personalization. One Nice trick forfiltering on Linkdin is that since my nickname is leg, my first name is Davidon Linkedin and then after it I have in Parenteses Ledge, because I like to becalled that. Well, anybody who strips that into their little automatedmessage program and ends up saying: Hey David Parintheses, ledge commo. I knowright away. They didn't even reap my thing right, so I would I've seen thattrick before you know thor a little till day or something after your nameand Linkedin that way I'll help you to ye are automated. What it then theautomation that is so easy to spot. I mean it's so easy is fur and it'shorrible, I'm with you. I don't know who the hell helpd them come up withsome of those tomplits all right so want to be introduced to people rightlike I just work. Your network like it's not like. I don't need thosethings but show me why you're valuable right. You know it's like I respect everybody's sign and ifsomebody reaches out to me this is nother thing. I would ask everybody whogets an out reach for US sales. Excuse me for a salesperson just say no tothem, because the worst thing for US- and you know this is like a maybe like-don't drag me on like if you, if you don't want to hear from me just say,Hey, you know chat. I respect your job because I haveyour job and I'm going to give you a hard firm nose. So you can delete thisfrom your database and you can go make some money yeah and I wish that morepeople would not be afraid to say no to us because we eat nos for breakfastyeah Wu. We do. We totally do all right. So, like last question called theacceleration insight. If there was one thing you could tell sales, marketingor professional services, people just one piece of advice- that, if theylisten to you believe, would help them...

...hit their targets or why alright hittheir target Tur Eseedem? What would it be and why I absolutely know what the answer is tothis, and it is package your offerings into named packages such as the youknow, those sort of three columns that you might see on a website. I don'tcare what you're doing make packages and name them, because it will give youso much power over the costing and pricing and bundling of what you do. Noone will ever Nippick, particularly professional services. No one can nitpick your line items an dime you for what they think they need, because youknow what they need. Your thing is good and when you name it and you offer it,it shows a level of authority. This person must have done this thing a lotof times. It must be valuable because they took the time and effort to nameit and put it out there. It's now an entity, it's a thing. It's a Noun! It'snot a custom proposal for each one of our clients. That is the biggest kipoff to me that you have no idea what you're doing and you will do anythingfor money yea, and so that is my nurber. One advice like just do that. We haveseen that alone that exercise and we could take you through Itin two hours.That exercise will raise your average takeetprice by about thirty percent nice. Nice, all right, Legi, balistersinterested in talking to you learning more about ad one's Zear. Where is theoptimal place? You want us to send them. They should look at ad one zero Dot Co.So it's got the numeral one in the Middle Atd numeral one zero Dot, Co. Wehave a nice blog that features my ugly mug on it doing all kinds of teachingand stuff also linked in. I welcome those out reaches. But again you know Iwill notice your automation. So how about you just reach out and say helloand I'll? You know we have a thing called expert community. That's a lotof fun that we like to have people join. It's the cheapest possiwill step in youget all our templates, our full community, our full attention, allkinds of stuff for the do it yourself, firs wo, you know, aren't ready andthat's that's only five hundred a month, it's ten to one value, so love to tellpeople about that and just you know, add to our membership there excellentleg. I can't think you Knou for taking time to be on the show. It's EEN, anabsolute pleasure. You are a boss, my man, it is so good to be here. I lovetalking about revenue, appreciate what you guys are doing all right, all rightevme, that does it for this episode. You know the drol be to be revizeccomshare with your friends. Family. Put your kids in front of it. Instead ofthe IPAD, give them a break until next time we ar valy selling associates withyouall nothing with the greatest success. You've been listening to the BTOBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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