Get Offshore Leverage

Prospect on LinkedIn for <$1,000/month

I’m back from our 12-day ski adventure around British Columbia and gathered great stories from fellow CEO’s at the Maple Summit event at Baldface.  Thank you Dan Martell for inspiring one of the sections of this newsletter.

What will we cover in this newsletter?

  1. How we prospect 24/5 on LinkedIn for $1,000/month.
  2. Expensive mistake – mistakenly hiring a sailor, thinking you had a Captain of the department.
  3. Beta test product ideas with offshore DevOps teams.
  4. Buy Back Principle with Dan Martell – hiring an Executive Assistant.

How we prospect 24/5 on LinkedIn for $1,000/month.

If you’re like me, you have a massive LinkedIn database awaiting prospecting.  That’s your opportunity.  The challenge – you don’t have enough time in the week to prospect that database effectively.

In my SaaS company Pipeline Signals, we looked at this as an opportunity.  Rather than relying on inbound marketing as our primary source of lead flow, we decided from Day 1 to create balance.  To accomplish this in a cost-effective way, we hired a team of three (3) Business Development Representatives (BDR’s) on a part-time basis for $333/month.

Why part-time?

LinkedIn will allow you to prospect only 100 contacts per day before your account is paused.  The average BDR (if well organized) can prospect 100 contacts in 4-hours per day.  This ensures we’re not falling into the trap called the “Cupboard Theory”.  The Cupboard Theory states that you’ll find a way to use all the cupboards in your house, no matter how many pots and pans you have.  Keep your prospecting cost efficient to reduce your Cost of Customer Acquisition.

Result – we’re booking +100 Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) per year.

Expensive mistake – mistakenly hiring a sailing Crew Member, thinking you had a Captain of the department.

A cautionary tale about hiring offshore executives.  In our first (1st) year of operations at Pipeline Signals, we wanted to hire a VP Product & Engineering.  We needed what we call “Level 3” talent:

Level 1: Crew – Given a pre-defined project or series of tasks and run with those assignments to completion.  They perform at an optimum level in correlation to the details pre-defined and documented in their role.  The clearer the documented tasks and lines of communication, the better they perform.  They are sub-optimal at either assembling these projects or tasks into a strategic initiative that can be incrementally improved on, manage “crewman” (team) of like minded people in this similar role, and unable to develop new strategic innovations within this role/function that lead to departmental improvements.

Level 2: Officer – Capable of being a team leader (roles/functions) or manager of a strategic program.  They are excellent at running the day to day operations of this initiative.  You can work with more autonomy and freedom to focus on reaching milestones and objectives, rather than actions and activities.  Level 2 Officers thrive when the strategy and tactics for the initiative are pre-developed, and they are taking over the initiative.  They can also kickstart an initiative from scratch and develop the initiative to a standard operational level.  Where they fall down is developing something that is better, faster, more efficient that you could have devised yourself.  They aren’t bringing you new insights or innovations – they are managing.

Level 3: Captain – Captains don’t just inherit a program / department, they can build from scratch and innovate better, faster, smarter than you. You can now properly buy back your time because your program / department is in capable hands to innovate beyond you. Captains can also become part of your ELT team. Cautionary tale – if you promote someone to a Level 3 before they are ready, or they were never a Level 3 to begin with, you will be frustrated that they are only capable of managing, not leading.

After an extensive search, we had found our talent in India.  We were so excited.  Unfortunately, signs of a miss hire showed signs within weeks.

1. The Product/Engineering leader wanted to work on a project-management platform all day, every day.  He couldn’t dig into the +10 fires without acquiring and building a product management platform first.  Priorities took a back seat.

2. He wanted to acquire and build products that he used at large consulting firms – not economical or nimble for a $1M ARR business.

3. He delayed (to the point of avoidance) building a multi-year product roadmap.  It was clear that ideation and innovation wasn’t his speciality.

All these were signs that he wanted to execute on projects we designed, like a project manager.  

This cost us six (6) months of product builds that we had to backlog.  Don’t get enamored with the shiny things and really vet your Level 3 talent.

Beta test product ideas with offshore DevOps teams.

Want to get new products and services shipped to customers for feedback, but don’t have the time or resources?  Highly consider complimenting your efforts with a DevOps team.  As an example, at my company Sales for Life, our DevOps partner Idea Rise created a custom-made Learning Management System that was nimble/customizable beyond anything on the market.  That investment was made five (5) years ago and has made us millions of dollars.  We partnered with Idea Rise again at Pipeline Signals to build our “Global Command Center” from ideation to Product Market Fit.

What are a few learnings?

1. Seek a product sample / wireframe before committing big to a project.  Don’t get caught focusing on their shiny case studies when your requirements are completely different.

2. Seek a win/win payment structure.  At both Sales for Life and Pipeline Signals, payment was a combination of monthly fees (so your DevOps partner can pay bills, as well as milestones based so execution is being rewarded.

3. Don’t fit a round peg in a square hole.  If that DevOps firm focuses on Python code with a specific UX design, don’t ask them to be Apache or Ruby on Rails experts as well.  There are 1,000’s of DevOps partners around the world.

Buy Back Principle with Dan Martell – hiring an Executive Assistant.

If you haven’t checked out Dan Martell’s new book “Buy Back Your Time” – it’s a must read.  Dan is both a friend and mentor, and I’ve had the pleasure of extreme skiing with him at Baldface Lodge annually.  In Dan’s book, he talks about the Replacement Ladder in which we as founders need to focus on creating more time for ourselves, not focus on more capacity for our employees.  Unlocking us founders creates 10x the horsepower and freedom for ourselves.

Level 1 of the Replacement Ladder is an Executive Assistant.  While Dan is a huge proponent of his EA living local (where he lives), there is an excellent opportunity of having an EA offshore.  In fact, our good friend Derek Martin, CEO of Tuxy, has an EA for his EA (1st EA lives in Canada, and the offshore EA for his EA lives in the Philippines).  The leverage Derek is getting from his two (2) EA’s is enormous:

  • All emails vetted
  • All meetings scheduled
  • All micro purchases transacted
  • All travel is booked

Neither Dan or Derek touch their emails.  In my opinion, emails are other people’s priorities, not your own.

Highly consider your first venture into offshoring is an Executive Assistant.

My personal EA lives in Bangladesh and works part-time for me for $150/month.  For the cost of a dinner out, how would you like to regain 10’s of hours of your life back each month.

Don’t Forget – Benchmark your team against offshore talent.

Access it here.

  • What is the profit increase you could expect?
  • What is the sales relief / reprieve you could expect to generate the same profit?

Get ready to be shocked!