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In the Transform Sales Podcast #81, Eddie Bello, Sales Outsourcing Specialist at CloudTask interviews Yusuf Ahmed, Founder of Zevenue. In this episode Yusuf discusses how Zevenue started as a side project and evolved into a successful sales development company for B2B software and SaaS companies. Yusuf emphasized the importance of understanding the ideal customer profile and tailoring messaging to stand out in a saturated market. He shared a success story of helping an e-commerce startup improve their lead conversion through personalized messaging. Yusuf also talks about Zevenue’s outbound approach, their focus on email and LinkedIn outreach, and the importance of customization and research in their sales campaigns.
In case you missed it…. these are the highlights
Would you briefly introduce yourself, your sales agency, and how you broke into the Sales Outsourcing Industry?
I am Yusuf Ahmed, the founder of Zevenue, a sales agency that I’ve been running for over two and a half years since the end of 2020. My journey into the sales outsourcing industry was somewhat accidental. While I was working on building software, I noticed that many other software founders were struggling with building their sales pipelines. Given my background as a Sales Development Representative (SDR) and my experience as a co-founder of a hardware startup where I became the default sales person, I decided to address this problem.
I started Zevenue as a side project while I was still working on my software. However, I soon realized that the agency was a better business than the software I was working on, so I decided to focus on it full-time. Zevenue helps software companies, especially those founded by technical profiles who may be great at creating software applications but lack the expertise in selling those products. We work closely with founders and heads of sales or growth in these companies, helping them navigate the second phase of growth where they need to reach out to the market beyond their personal networks and referrals.
In essence, Zevenue provides an in-between solution for software companies that need to figure out their sales development strategy. We help these companies get the word out and connect with potential customers who are similar to their previous customers.
Who are your agency’s Best-Fit Customers?
Our agency, Zevenue, best fits with B2B software or SaaS companies that have between 2 to 50 employees. We’ve worked with a wide range within this range, with one exception being a larger company that was transitioning from B2C to B2B.
In terms of the sectors that our customers typically sell in, we’ve seen the best results with companies in three specific sectors. The first is SaaS companies that sell tools to e-commerce companies. The second is in the machine learning space, which requires a very technical approach and a high bar for the quality of outreach. The third is companies selling within the HR space. Given my background as an SDR in the HR space, we bring a lot of expertise to engagements with these types of companies.
“Independent of the industry, the best customers are those that have a very sharp understanding of their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). They are able to go beyond just identifying a target industry and job title.”
Let’s talk about a Success Story
A success story for Zevenue involves a company we worked with for about four months. When they first contacted us, they were struggling with a lack of pipeline and needed help. During our engagement, we booked 69 qualifying meetings for them, which went on to become meaningful deals for their pipeline.
This was a unique engagement because the company was working towards bringing in a long-term sales hire. They had a timeline and needed to hit their targets in the meantime. We not only exceeded our expected number of meetings per month, but we also provided them with a backbone and infrastructure of content, technology, and process. This foundation allowed them to grow towards their next step and bring in a full-time sales leader.
The success of this engagement was not just about the 69 meetings, but also about enabling the company to grow and prepare for their next phase. We helped them understand their market, develop detailed lead lists, and build campaigns that led to successful results. This comprehensive approach allowed us to deliver results even in a saturated market like e-commerce.
What are the Top 3 tips you would give Buyers to increase the probability of achieving the result they want with your agency?
Here are the top three tips I would give to buyers to increase the probability of achieving the result they want with our agency, Zevenue:
1. Set Realistic Expectations: It’s crucial to understand where your product is positioned in the market compared to your competitors and what your differentiation is. However, it’s also important to set realistic expectations about closing rates. Many companies have a history of working within their network with very warm leads, and they expect to close deals at the same rate when they start to look at the broader market. It’s essential to be conservative when setting forward-looking projections in terms of what close deals look like.
2. Understand Your Market: The best engagements we’ve had have been with clients that have a deep understanding of their market. They know how their product compares to their competitors on every possible feature level. They have a clear understanding of their value propositions and know which ones matter most to each person in their target market. This understanding makes the outreach much more effective and easier to experiment with.
3. Know Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of who your ICP is. The scariest thing for us to hear is when a prospect says that anyone can use their product. While this may sound good to investors because it suggests a massive addressable market, it’s a challenge for us because it means there’s no history of customer development. Knowing your ICP and what differentiates everyone in your market is key to successful sales outreach.
In essence, understanding your market, setting realistic expectations, and knowing your ICP are the keys to achieving desired results with Zevenue.