This is how Security Weekly, a 14-year-old company, broke its sales records for two consecutive years with Straight Talk. Security Weekly first met with Straight Talk after a Straight Talk client appeared on its podcast network.
Within two weeks our co-founder Dan Wheatley was also scheduled to appear on the show, and shortly after both hosts signed as clients.
Read on to see how we lead Security Weekly to break its sales records two years running and created a machine for continuous growth.
Security Weekly is the security podcast network for the security community, distributing free shows, articles and interviews since 2005. It boasts over 100,000 weekly listeners from over 50 countries.
When Security Weekly first signed with Straight Talk in May 2018, its growth had been flatlining. The company had developed a trusted audience and a very knowledgeable team. However, they were struggling to leverage this audience for additional growth.
Security weekly works with their sponsors to provide social proof, thought leadership and lead generation with their audience. They do this by offering interviews, technical segments, show advertisment and guest articles.
When we completed our due diligence it became clear where the initial challenges would be. The internal operations were in a bad place. Work was not being accurately measured or tracked. Many different tools were being used – including CRM, email marketing platforms and social media – but they were not speaking to one another. Up until then, the company’s sales had only been referral based.
This meant that work was being repeated, going missing or not completed on time. The impact of this was twofold – first, the team simply did not have the capacity to grow the business, and second, the standard of delivery was not as high as it should have been.
The lack of a structured sales process meant that new leads were dealt with in an ad hoc manner. It also resulted in many poor quality leads that were costly to process, disqualify and remove.
We knew that we had to overhaul the business’ operations to deliver greater value to sponsors, increase the team’s capacity through efficiency, and subsequently create higher-quality lead generation and sales processes.
With the problem clearly articulated, we tackled our goals in the following ways:
- We started by undertaking a full review of the company’s operations and creating a flow diagram of all activities. This allowed us to understand everything the team was working on. With this end-to-end view we were able to identify changes that would make the process more efficient. We were also able to create a technology stack that would ensure all of the required tasks could be completed using fewer products. Finally, we ensured that all of the technologies we chose integrated with one another. The core product used was the Hubspot CRM.
- With our new technology stack in place, we began using Zapier and Hubspot workflows to create automations of key behaviours in order to reduce the workload of the internal team, while also increasing their work capacity.
- We documented all of the teams’ processes and transferred this knowledge into a document. This made the future training of new staff members quicker and easier.
- We implemented a structured sales process. Every new prospect passed through a structured methodology in which they would either qualify and be moved through the sales process, or be disqualified. No prospect or lead fell through the gaps.
- We created a structured outbound lead generation process using email and Linkedin. We identified key companies we wanted to work with, and then contacted them to find out more about the work they were doing. This had two benefits – first, it kept the hosts up to date on the latest companies and features, which was imperative in serving listeners who relied on Security Weekly to keep them informed on the industry. Second, it initiated conversations on how partnering with Security Weekly could help these companies with sales, lead generation, thought leadership and brand awareness.
After one year of working with Straight Talk Consulting, Security Weekly had:
- Completely overhauled its internal operations
- Implemented new automation process to increase the working capacity of the team
- Implemented a new outbound sales process
- Implemented a new email marketing process
- Begun automated outbound lead generation to improve audience growth.
This resulted in Security Weekly breaking $1.1 million in sales in its first year with Straight Talk, a new record for the company.
In our second year we continued to improve the operational efficiency of the business. We increased its audience and completely changed the sponsorship proposals into bundles with a specific focus on brand awareness, lead generation or thought leadership.
These improvements and consistent achievements resulted in sales of over $1.5 million in year two.