The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year 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 isnumber one and it's it's the ultimate maylocks. You know founders how Harper because theycan't make payroll and you can cut costs all day long, but reallyit's about more sales. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, apodcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth.Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come tothe right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one.Welcome everyone to the BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson.Today we're talking about how to build a revenue machine, when should youngercompanies out a sales force and, more importantly, how you tell the differencebetween a goodly and a bad one. To help us, we have withUS ledged Ledger, would cofounder and managing partner of Ad One, hundred andtwo. Ledge, thank you for taking the time and welcome to the show, Chad. It's fun to be here. I love this stuff. Let's talkabout money, everybody's favorite topic. Before we get into that, though, we always like to ask a nice breaker question and always curious to knoweverybody that knows you from your work environment will have one perspection, but alwayscurious if there's something you're passionate about that those that know you largely through workmight be surprised to learn about. Yeah, you know, I don't get totalk about like my service work as much as I'd like. I havebeen involved in youth leader ship team leadership development programs with the Rotary International forabout twenty five years now. So love doing it at work with thousands ofkids just developing leadership skills, teamwork skills. You know, it's really like ayou know, like a heart anchor service right kind of thing, andso I don't know if everybody knows about about that, but yeah, Ilove to draw attention to that. Program is called Ryla or Yla, andif you don't know about rotary and rotary internationally, you should check them out. Biggest Service Organization in the world. They do awesome stuff. Nice.All right. So we don't usually start kind of with the guests background story, but as we were prevent for this and I was going through stuff,it's it's a fairly compelling story. So would love you just to kind ofrun US down. How did we end up here having this conversation today andyou, being, you know, cofounder and managing partner of a one zero, walk us through the journey? Goodness, yeah, I had no aspirations whatsoeverof ever having anything to do with sales. I didn't know what thatwas. I mean it just never even occurred to me. And I'm oldenough you can probably relate to this. Like in college there was not yetthis idea of learning entrepreneurship, you know, prior to the first 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 probably forty percent of our graduating class at at Bucknell University,went to work for one of the big then the big five, now thebig four. So I did that. I put in my time as a, you know, fortune five hundred consultant for ARP systems and other technological wonders, which is really a joke. I mean, now that I look backat it, I'm glad I did my time, I got that experience,but I mean the fact that anyone was billing money for us at that age, with our like negative experience of anything to install enterprise wide systems worth millionsand millions of dollars. It's slightly terrifying, but we did that and and somebodyprobably is still getting a paycheck at a major financial institution because of codethat I wrote and I hope that their paycheck is right. But after thatI did a stint in private media. So I was part of the kindof the launch and early efforts to get newspapers into the Internet. So thatwas fun. I did that sort of on a nationwide scale. Ran Somebig service and support organization. So always a technologist. I wrote code,I worked in technology organizations and some point...

I got the bug. I workedin operations and I just got the bug and said, you know, Ireally want to start my own company. A little bit of that came fromeleven. I was intimately close to a client side, close to the WorldTrade Center, and you know, I just kind of had a year afterthat, having escaped pretty close to death and you know, kind of Iremember hiding under a desk and smoke and, you know, fire and Brimstone andkind of going I really don't want to die in a job that Iloathe. You know, I really hated it and so I thought, youknow, I always and it was such a you just didn't have thoughts aboutstarting your own business like you do now. You know, now it's just sortlike, oh, everybody does to start up, at least in myworld, but it wasn't like that. So, you know, I hadto figure that out as I went and we we all quit our jobs,a bunch of partners of myself, and move down to Nashville, Tennessee,from from the New York area. We started a consulting company and we didall right and we got absolutely pummeled in two thousand and nine for that,you know, the great recession, you know, and I'll come back tothat because I think that was a important learning lesson. So, you know, then it was just like well, we got racked, we lost allour investors money. Now what you know? So the following Monday, let mepick up a consulting contract, call my network. I got to dosomething here to get paid. Shut the company down and I got hired ontoa business development team. had an ED tech start up that I was connectedwith and kind of weaseled my way into building high stakes, sort of likesuper expensive proposals and an RFP answers for state and federal local government it systems. I mean, I had no business being there. I had absolutely noidea how to do that, but maybe that was my first cell I guessit's convincing people to hire me for the sill team, but I did thatand we closed, you know, twenty million dollars of revenue and I kindof just was like, well, this isn't that bad, I can dothis. And then I went took a cello roll and learned a whole bunchmore about startups and did a bunch of early stage stuff and then ultimately foundmy way into a VP of sales roll where I worked in the it throughof elite freelancer it staff and kind of space. And that, that wholeexperience, between those things, you know, really built up this, I don'tknow, maybe a body of work or a theory that you know,first first point being no founder ever wakes up at three o'clock in the morningworrying about anything except more sales. And so if I can figure out whatis the way to work such that the only thing I ever talked about isbringing people more sales. So that kind of stuck in my brain. Thejust I don't care how much we talked about everything else. The reality islike revenue is number one and it's it's the ultimate maylocks. You know,founders have harper because they can't make payroll and you can cut costs all daylong, but really it's about more sales. So that really stuck to me andI took that. And the second thing was that startups and founder seemedto be obsessed with this idea of hiring sales teams or V P of sales. You know, once they reach, I don't know, half million milliondollars and and just running a math like that's insane, like there's just simplyno way that that makes any sense. And I was just don't think theyknow better. And I I looked at all the things that we did asome thirteen different startups and different experiences that I had. It's like we hireinterim CFOs, we hire interim Coos, we get all these different things,but where's this idea come from that we need ire VP of sales, likewe must have it inside? Why can't that be a fractional leadership role?And I looked around and there's a lot of people who do fractional sort of, you know, sales coaching and sales... and will help the build yourstrategy and will help you, you know, do the Bulbla Blabah Blah. Butbut nobody ever talked about just closing deals. Like I just I thought, Whoa, shouldn't we just hire closers, like that's what we want, right. So that was the concept that led to the aero ideas that youought to have actual revenue. You should pay only for people that close money. You don't need a VP of sales, you just need sales. That's whatmatters. And that space between five hundred thousand and revenue and five million, and I should say we work in BB services, VBG, in techservices, right, so this, this is not a SASS business equation,right, and I know that. But that space with ween that five hundredand five million, it's just a pithy way to say en X. that'swhere you should be building a scalable revenue function, revenue machine, if youwill document the hell out of it, the s sops, like all thestuff, and pulling the staff only as necessary. You certainly should not beblowing a quarter million dollars on a VP of sales with a Rolodex, youknow, and it just doesn't make any sets, like it's insane. Andso that was the message we started out with and it turns out that resonatesand people kind of say, yeah, that's exactly what I want, likeget on the get on the calls and turn these leads into money. Nowwhat we actually have to do is all kinds of things that are pretty damnclose to marketing and changing messaging and positioning and, you know, it's likeall the stuff. But we are operators. We are essentially just founders who figuredout that that we could sell, and so we can put on thatoperator hat and we're pretty successful with that sort around the story all out.We started this company, you know, in grand form last year and youknow, since I like to start companies during debilitating or section, we herewe are. But I say from the first experience, going all the wayback to the beginning, having lost the company in two thousand and nine andrun myself bankrupt, you know, trying to just handle cash flow in ayou know, longer surprises me, or it's not as strange scenario for meto say, you know, that sales revenue, like actual revenue, cango to zero and stay there for at least six months. Right, andnow I know how to bring that lesson along and I post on Linkedin rightat the beginning of this to say y'all better figure out how to have ahundred fifty days of cash in the bank, right, because if you don't likethis could be a really, really bad thing. And I think that'sthat's bearing fruit. We have our notes from our March quarterly partners meeting wherewe kind of go, you know, March ten, Hey, this isgoing to be the real deal. Start building cash balance, and I thinkthat's that's correct. Now we've been lucky enough to build and grow revenue duringthis thing, but I empathize with all the people who are really struggling topay the bills, because it's no jokes. Yeah, it's there. Are thereare the it's interesting. There are companies that are struggling. Individual someare struggling because of operational management, some are struggling because the industry, Imean arts events. That's I mean, some of them just disappeared almost overnight. And then there are these others that are just taking off right, likethe fitness equipment industry. We're was ridiculous. I was talking to the President ofFitness Gallery here in Denver, one of the largest providers, and Iput putting a gym in my basement. He's how you're my business is upthree hundred and ninety eight percent from this time last year. So sure.And now he was having different problems. He's like, how do I managethe the shipping, the receiving, because all that stuff, most that stuff, scaling, logistics and human visitors to houses, and you know, Imean imagine all that stuff. You know, it's change the game. You sure? Yeah, all that everything is... know, I don't even wantto say new normal. It's just like I think if we learn anything,it's just going to be like your contingency planning is invariably wrong. But youknow, like like literally zero percent of US had this on our continuous plan, like disaster covery plan, business continuity plan, like anyone who says thatthey had global pandemic will kill everything on their plan is just as like we'dhad, you know, wildfires were burned out my entire state right we're it'seven more likely to have that because at least you kind of like that's adisaster. But this is just the unknown territory. So, you know,I respect anyone that has built the ability to pivot and to just, youknow, kind of act differently and and be agile. I mean that's that'slike the only game in town now. Yeah, well, it's and it'sreally hard for some organizations like are. Like it was interesting for us becausewe we do most of our training. I mean, I had a hundredsixty eight thousand air miles last year, lived on a plane, I wasnever home and all of a sudden, March move everything's got to go virtual. Now. We'd always done some level of virtual training, but it's neverhad done anything at the scale. So we were able to invest, we'reinvest in redesign it and pivot. But I know a lot of organizations thatdidn't and a lot of people that are that are struggling and it's going tobe interesting to see how this all all plays out. And so I guess, at least to an interesting question is like, when you're working with thesecompanies now, as the as the you're sitting in that VP sales by,as the operators, helping your clients to close, what kind of things areyou doing differently than maybe you were doing pre pre covid event. Well,that's the fun part of the story, because we're doing nothing different and everybodyfinally thinks that we're smart. I mean, I guess recently as December last year, I can remember conversations of yeah, that'll never work for us because youknow, we just have an in person sale and it's just complicated andyou know you got to shake hands with somebody across the table. Well,okay, you know. So we were. We were selling on eight hours aday of zoom calls, indefinite. I've been doing this for five years. I've saw thirty five million dollars of stuff and never been in the sameroom with the people who bought it. Right, this does not surprise meand I think it's a hell of a lot more cost effective. But youknow, if I'd set it on Linkedin the other day, you know,if you're corporate culture or your sales process is dependent upon humans in the sameroom, like you're just screwed. Right though, let's just get real here, like it's not coming back. Maybe you know I I don't wish forit not to come back, but at a sticking your head in the sandright now and kind of wishing for it to go away would be a terribleidea. So I guess my mess of Sh anybody. As you you cansell anything. This way we can make really meaningful relationships. I've never workedwith any of my business partners in the same room. I don't you know, we just go all the time and the last in the last few I'mwithin the last three years, I only have one deal where I where Ihad went in to complete a conversation before I close with everything else has beenonline. But a lot of people struggle with it because it's a different it'sa different thing. Like now, granted, we're doing a podcast and I'm tryingto optimize so I don't have my video on right now, but there'sdifferent ways to manage it. Like you look at your backtrop, you havea nice there's curtain there. It's Nice backtop. You're managing the impression thatyou're making all of the same things that you would do in a normal salesrelationship. It's like the minute you put them on zoom they freak out andforget. I mean I had had somebody show up to a call that hada Rainbow Unicorn Hoodie on and I was like, what in the world areyou doing? What kind of impression does that make? So it's just interestingto see, not only as we're dealing with what's going on with covid andthe changes it makes some business now people having to understand that this video anddigital world isn't just about duck lipping in...

...front of instagram for selfies and craplike that. There's actually a way that you can have and build a meaningfulconnection and sell to someone. It's going to be an interesting to see whocan figure it out fast enough. Yeah, I agree. I mean, yeah, I have a nice set up. I have, you know, microphone, hidef camera you. Yes, these are things I did before,but I mean it's not that hard, like right, it's less than twohundred bucks of stuff. Yeah, and it's totally portable. You know,I can do it anywhere. So I don't maybe people are scared of theunknown, but I mean it's really not that much. So, you know, I'm glad. I'm just glad that we made that lead a long timeago, but I really would encourage anybody like you could figure this out ina couple of days. So, yeah, it's not down rocket science. Don'tfreak out. Yeah, I mean behind me is like a bunch oftoys and crap and my house looks awful and I have a thirty dollar curtainthat I pull across bars and yeah, it looks pro but believe me,it's a disaster. You know so, and you know I may or maynot be wearing pants, but you can't tell because I have a nice shirton. I don't know. So this was our life, you know,before. Yeah, well, and it's and it's I like to see.You know, people are starting, I think, starting to level out alittle bit. People get a little bit more used to it stuff, andso these organizations now can go back to thinking about growth rather than necessarily thinkabout survival. And we've been doing it. We're in it deep enough, granted. I mean I know some tech companies are making announces where they won'thave people back in the office or even discuss having them back in the officeto like July of next year. So this isn't going away, like yousay. So when the company comes out of this and they start to focuson growth again, when do they? When do you recommend they make thatshift from somebody helping themselves to hiring their own sales team. Wiz are amagic moment that that needs to happen? Or when revenue threshold? What makesthe most sense? There? I definitely think of it as a revenue threshold. And again, where you know? So I'll be clear that it's BobServices with a tech flavor. That's our dam and therefore I know that business. I cannot tell you where to do this, you know, for Sassor for other businesses. But if you are a tech enabled be to beservices company, I do not believe that you should hire your own sales folksuntil you hit about five million. That just feels to be the magic numberwhere it becomes affordable and it's you talk about outsource of the entire team orjust the leadership, the whole thing, the whole thing. Yeah, that'swhat we do. Yeah, so when I say leadership, I mean yeah, that's what we do, but that's the afterthought. You know, weare just like you're looking at now, like me, or someone like meon our team is doing the call with the prospect for that company. Bookthose calls like from an outbound or inbound perspective. Do the appointments, closethe deals, send the MSA, get it signed. So the space betweentop of funnel and make the appointment and close the deal. That's all USand it's one hundred percent white label, like perfect white label. No onewill ever know that, unless you want them to know that. You know. So that was my thought. It is just absolutely nuts to internalize theridiculous expenditure of doing that on a full time basis for some you know,stereotypical sort of you know, roll x rolodex, not roll x Molley.Maybe a role, I was going to say made. They might, theymight have it's and it's your money that bought it. So you know,but I don't know it. We're just heavy commission loaded, you know,like we just think that closing deals should be about performance. And so themetrics. I want to track our you know, did a company pay us? For every dollar that a company paid us, you know, how muchdid we bring back in top line revenue? And I like to keep that atat ten dollars plus. So to me that's a vastly better proposition becauseif you pay, you know, three hundred thousand fully loaded on, youknow, rolodex person in order to get ten extra turn on that, they'regoing to have to immediately sell, you...

...know, three million dollars, right, and they can't do that. Yeah, so, yeah, they're very few. The can you know? So that when your average ticket size iswhat, fifteen and thirty, forty grand like? It's just it doesn't makeany sense. The math is completely impossible. And wouldn't it be better to dothat at a ten to one ratio of revenue to cost of sales andthen in a couple of years be at that three million to five million mark, at which time you have a fully documented revenue system for a ram systemsopts everything and you built it with your own money. You're cash flowing likecrazy. You're positive. Sure, go ahead and hire a VP of saleslike that. That's a pretty badass choice at that point. Right. Well, you've made it to that point where you should be sustainable enough that itmakes sense to up level the foundation in order to go from five to ten, ten to fifteen or so. Yeah, now, I don't make any illusionsthat I know exactly how to scale from the five million to four hundredand fifty. Yeah, so, like those are material change of circumstance anddo something else, right, you know, that's the thought are our thing,but we want to prepare you for all the documentation systems, processes,opps, etcetera, etc. They and cash in the bank. Frankly,right that you can then hire somebody else to do that, because that's notour jam. And so when you're working with these companies and you're out there, you're doing it, you're doing you're doing the whole sale. How doyou, or your team and the people that are dedicated to these customers?Do you have an internal qualification or way you assess what's a good lead versusa badly? Where you're going to spend your time, because I'm assuming we'retalking High Commission. I mean I'm one hundred percent commission sales up to soyou've got to be able to times the one as say, you don't getback. You have to build to manage it. You got to be ableto qualify. How do you effectively ensure your team's doing that consistently? Sothe bottom of the funnel, people work from appointment to close. Right.So that's the commission area and therefore it's really the top of the funnel andappointments setter, outbound and or inbound types who make those appointments happen on thecalendar. So we think about those two thinks separately. So those top people, outbound and inbound, and marketing sales combination, at the top of thefunnel, those are the ones that need to do the qualification. So youhave to do very careful targeting. If you don't specifically know what it isthe thing that you do, what the value of that is, change itall to you first language. You know all the tricks that you would dofor copywriting and an assessment of opportunity and then do it it adequate volume justto fill the calendar. So we try to think of it as like amath operation. If we can drive up each of the conversion point percentages,you know, just step to step in the funnel. Right, the higheryou go in the funnel, the more difference it makes. You know atthe bottom to change that equation. So just try to optimize at every stageand and really clearly define what it is it that moves a thing from onestage to the other, because that's what qualification is. Now I tend tolike, you know, the bottom part. I don't really do the top partmyself because I like when stuff shows up on my calendar and then Iget on the call and I do my dance and I take my notes andthen off slides into you know, propric the proposal and all that. That'sjust my world. They're so I have never aspired. In fact, wedidn't set out with the company to even do top of funnel stuff. Wejust found partners that we we trusted to tag in because I like to work. We like to work on, you know, from appointment to close,like right. That's it, you know, that's what we know how to do, or really, really awesome at that. And obviously we can,you know, throw a little consulting up at the top there to make surethat bad things aren't happening, but I would much rather hire the appointment makers, lead generators, marketers, you know,...

...inbound outbound content, creators, youknow, you name it. All those people are available and they're awesomeat what they do, but full zero percent of them actually work the bottomand literally close revenue right, and so I believe that we're all important toeach other. Nice, excellent, all right. So let's Change Direction herea little bit. We ask all of our guests two standard questions towards theinterviguary first is simply as a managing partner and cofounder, that makes you aprospect for a lot of people out there, and so I'm always curious to knowwhen somebody doesn't have a trusted referral, like somebody that brings them to youso that you should talk to this person. What works for you fromyour perspective, for somebody to be able to capture your attention and earn sometime on your calendar. So I'm kind of a Weirdo, like I notthat I want to give away my calendar all the time, but like I'lltake a lot of pitches because I just want to see what happens and Ilike to take those calls and turn them around and turn them into a salespitch for me, because I can be like basically like you know, I'msorry, Mr Founder, but you're awful at this right and but I likeyour thing and I think that if you hired us, we could sell alot of it. It's actually it's actually a little legion game to keep meon my toes and, you know, flip the vendor call. But thetrue answer is that pay attention to the channel. First of all, like, if you look at the stats down what on what email outreach has doneand linked in outreach since the since covid I mean it's a freaking disaster.Like every damn sure you get them like, Oh yeah, I've 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. Right, youknow, hey, just this is morning. This is a six time this hashappened this this month. Like, Hey, David, weird question,but I see you've done a lot of experiences and I ever wondered if youthought about getting in Franchising. Like, come on, dude, not readanything I'm doing. No, I mean I accept every invitation, but I'mjust like, come on, like just try, please, just try,like add a little bit of value to my life. So I look forpersonalization. One Nice trick for filtering on Linkedin is that, since my nicknameis ledge, my first name is David on Linkedin and then after it Ihave in Parentheses Ledge because I like to be called that. Well, anybodywho strips that into their little automated message program and ends up saying Hey,David, parentheses ledge, Comma. I know right away. They didn't evenread my thing right. So I would I've seen that trick before. Youknow, throw a little till day or something after your name and Linkedin thatway, I'll help you. So we YEA's are automated. What it?And the automation, I was so easy to spot. I mean it's soeasy to spine and it's horrible. I'm with you. I don't know whothe hell help them come up with some of those tumplets. All right,so I want to be introduced to people right, like I just work yournetwork, like I it's not like I don't need those things, but showme why you're valuable, right. You know, it's like I respect everybodysign and if somebody reaches out to me, this is our thing. I wouldask everybody who gets an outreach from sales, excuse me for a salesperson, just say no to them, because the worst thing for us, andyou know this is like a maybe, like don't drag me on, likeif you if you don't want to hear from me, just say hey,you know, chat. I respect your job because I have your job andI'm going to give you a hard, firm know. So you can deletethis from your database and you can go make some money. Yeah, andI wish that more people would not be afraid to say no to us,because we knows for breakfasts. Yeah, we do, we totally do allright. So light last question, called the acceleration inside. If there wasone thing you could tell sales, marketing or professional services people, just onepiece of advice that, if they listen... you, believe would help themhit their targets? Or why? or hit their targets Turk seeds. Andwhat would it be? And why? I absolutely know what the answer isto this, and it is package your offerings into named packages, such asthat, you know, those sort of three columns that you might see ona website. I don't care what you're doing, make packages and name them, because it will give you so much power over the costing and pricing andbundling of what you do. No one will ever nitpick, particularly professional services. No one can nit pick your line items, and I'm you for whatthey think they need, because you know what they need. Your thing isgood and when you name it and you offer it, it shows a levelof authority. This person must have done this thing a lot of times.It must be valuable because they took the time and effort to name it andput it out there. It's now an entity, it's a thing, it'sa noun. It's not a custom proposal for each one of our clients.That is the biggest tip off to me that you have no idea what you'redoing and you will do anything for money. Yeah, and so that is mynumber one advice, like just do that. We have seen that alone, that exercise, and we could take you through it in two hours.That exercise will raise your average, take your price, by about thirty percent. Nice. Nice, all right, Legi for a listeners interested in talkingto you or learning more about add one zero. Where's the optimal place youwant us to send them? They should look at add one hundred zero dotCoeo. So it's got the numeral one in the middle. Add numeral onezero dot CEO. We have a nice blog that features my ugly mug onit doing all kinds of teaching and stuff, also linkedin. I welcome those outreaches, but again, you know I will notice your automation. So howabout you just reach out and say hello and I'll you know, we havea thing called expert community. That's a lot of fun that we like tohave people join. It's the cheapest possible step in. You get all ourtemplates, our full community are full attention, all kinds of stuff for the doityourselferswho, you know, aren't ready. And that's that's only five hundred amonth. It's ten to one value. So love to tell people about thatand just, you know, add to our membership. There excellent asI can't thank you enough for taking time be on the show. It's beenan absolute pleasure. You are a boss, my man. Is so good tobe here. I love talking about revenue. Appreciate what you guys aredoing. All right, all right, number. That does it for thisepisode. You know, the drill be to be REV exactcom share with yourfriends family, put your kids in front of it instead of the IPAD.Give him a break. Until next time we evalue selling associates. With youall, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenueexecutive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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