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How can the perfect combination between sales activation & brand building increase your sales development success?

Last week I shared a video of Les Binet presenting the ideal combination between sales activation and brand building.

The core of our business is sales activation and short term results, we build modern sales development campaigns which produce a predictable number of new business meetings with your ICP. However we also initialise and build long term relationships with potential customers.

Parallel with personalised outreach which includes a clear CTA we run “Always On” campaigns focussed on brand building. Through this we try to stay at the forefront of each individual’s mind who matches the ICP criteria of our clients in the most relevant way. Throughout the year, without a CTA.

We call this Lead Cycling. The ability to get full benefit out of the valuable contacts you’ve invested in capturing. Minimising effort waste in searching, identifying and enriching your leads. In essence, don’t let them out of your sight.

The Always On campaign is focussed and dedicated to brand building. We try to achieve long term memories with inspiring content focussed on the emotion that can influence sales in the long term. Not only for the audience that is willing to buy now but the audience that is coming to the market in maybe 1, 2 or 3 years.

You can even broaden your audience with your brand building campaigns. When you stay at the forefront of prospects’ minds through brand building you build recognition for when it becomes relevant. When there is a need for your product or services it’s highly likely that you will be placed on top of the short list. You are able to use the power of your sales force and technology to work on your brand.

The consequence of implementing Always On within your sales development strategy with focus on the long term is that your sales activation campaigns will produce to a much higher level whilst delivering more consistency over time. The trick is to formulate the ideal way to orchestrate these activities over a prolonged period.

But that’s where Saleslift Studio steps in. And to quote (Guillaume Moubeche): B2B doesn’t have to stand for boring to boring.



During the Olympics, you constantly hear about the creation of the ultimate training environment to facilitate peak performance. I’ve seen someone sit on a bicycle in the middle of a Sauna to mimic oppressive heat. Athletes go on an altitude acclimatization course with their whole team, train, eat, sleep in a bubble. Nothing is too crazy. In the working environment we actually do too little with this.

Many companies who are about to set up their sales organization or have undertaken the first steps often have difficulty devising and formulating the next stages needed to build that  sales team. But why is it so difficult to create the right sales environment if you don’t yet have one / are just starting out. 

Let’s start with a short description of someone who fulfills a sales role:

  • An individual who succeeds within sales whilst enjoying it at the same time generally thrives from positive energy. Are comfortable environment in which they can spar with individuals who know what it’s like to be constantly working towards targets, KPIs and sometimes with setbacks.
  • They look for moments of success and these moments should be celebrated (big or small). This is where they derive that energy, buzz (dopamine) to continue in search of their next achievement.
  • Sales is lonely if you don’t work within a team, it’s even more isolating if those who surround you don’t have the same sales mindset. It’s even lonelier when things aren’t going well.
  • You want to motivate, help, inspire each other, hit the bell together, play ping pong, shoot a champagne cork at your colleagues or disturb the peace with your money gun. (Wink)

In short; Creating the right environment for a sales team is not that easy if you don’t have this preexisting sales ecosystem. It is difficult to understand and formulate the factors needed to create the correct success drivers. 

At Saleslift Studio it is of course logical that a sales environment is created that meets the aforementioned minimum requirements, however we also go a step further. We work in teams (also called pods) of different disciplines on the success of each customer. In addition, we have learning lab sessions where we also share experiences and knowledge throughout teams and thus share best practices to constantly evolve and improve. On a weekly basis, external courses and training are offered to take our knowledge to the next level, topics such as Social Selling, B2B copywriting and Email deliverability have already been taught this month.

If you want to grow as a company, sales is an essential part of the journey, you must do everything you can to create the right environment for your top athletes.



The Sales Development Playbook designed by Saleslift Studio is a framework created to enable you to design a successful Sales Development strategy. Firstly it is important to clarify the definition of Sales Development. 

Sales development is an organisation that sits between the marketing and sales function of a business and is charged with the front end of the sales cycle: identifying, connecting with and qualifying leads. Simply put this organisation is tasked with setting up qualified meeting between a salesperson and potential buyer with a probability of purchase aka conversion. A lead that meets this criteria is called a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Once a lead is successfully deemed to be qualified, it is then passed to a salesperson, typically an Account Executive, who takes ownership of the lead and continues on with the sales process. 

The ultimate goal is to create a machine that predictably generates new business. What that process looks like is unique to each business. You can use the Sales Development Playbook for new business campaigns, brand awareness, customer success, lead nurturing, etc. We aim to get and stay on the radar with the right strategy with exactly the person you want to talk to. You don’t have to have just one Playbook, you can design a new one for every product, niche or persona. 

The playbook as you can see consists of 5 columns. Idea customer profile, key indicators for success, engagement, storyline and campaign. When you start designing the Playbook yourself it’s important that you specify your focus. For example on a product, region, case study or solution / challenge. In order to achieve a good result, it is important that you take the time to work on the Playbook with the team of stakeholder who will be involved in the project. Think of; Marketing, Business Developer, Account Executive, Manager etc.

In this article we explain the different parts step by step.

Ideal Customer Profile

We start with the target market. Formulated on the basis of which criteria you can describe or define. For example one of our customers is OneFit, they offer a flexible company fitness subscription. The locations where you can exercise are situated mainly in large urban areas. A criteria for the market in this case is therefore a radius of X miles around the city. You also are able to narrow your target by looking at industries, company size, B2B or B2C, region, turnover and other criteria such as the company has recently received funding or has gone through certain growth. As you can see the criteria is not just focussed on a person alone. 

In the next section we will dive deeper and look at who you want to meet with. Focusing on job title. The difference between the ideal picture and reality is important. When I ask customers who they want to talk to, you often get the usual suspects such as CEO, Marketing Director, Head of Sales. But take a look at the job title of the last 10 new clients you brought in. Then you probably see that there is a lot of variation in their titles. In addition, several stakeholders are involved in the DMU (decision making unit) during the process with which you want them to come to your table. Based on the job title and the market, we cluster them into personas. You only do this if you also want to approach these personas in a different way.

Now the market and your ICP (ideal customer profile) have been identified. You will map out how big your market actually is with the help of research. 9 times out of 10 you can map the potential sales market based on the results and criteria that you can utilise in Sales Navigator (Sales version of Linkedin).

What is the suitable strategy to get in touch with your ICP? Can we develop an account based strategy, persona based, personal 1 on 1 approach or do we focus more on brand awareness? This depends on your market and ICP.

Key Indicators for Success

The next column is about key indicators for success. A kind of checklist that you can put next to your sales development campaign. The more strongly represented, the better the campaign will perform. Reason to reach is a reason to contact your ICP. Only “I came across your profile on Linkedin” is not a valid reason. A logical statement that focuses on the person and not you needs to be made. 

We are dealing with people, you are not talking to accounts. What’s in it for me as a person should be obvious early in the campaign phase. You want to add value for that individual, bring something. Don’t talk about your product or how their organization can benefit from it when x, y, z. No, why does this person have to make the time for you? What good is it for them to create time in their busy schedule just to listen to you? Do you take away their frustrations, do you make their life easier, do you help them shine with their manager?

Only after you have discovered and discussed personal benefits can you proceed to discuss company benefits. THe majority of the time these are focussed on long term objectives.

In order to demonstrate why now you have reached out can be aided with the creation and link to current events. Is it important to take action now or can it wait until next year? The statement ‘because you want to achieve your targets this quarter’ does not count as a good interpretation of why now.


We’re on the radar, now what? How do you present yourself, or what is the introduction of your organization? You agree this in advance with the team. When we do workshops using the Playbook, commonly we notice that there is a disconnect here. It is also important to think about the goals you set for a campaign. Do you want to build new relationships, create direct opportunities or invite people to an (online) event? You determine the CTA per step in a sales campaign, also think about a second best indicator.

You often hear content is king. Content is in any case key in this process. We orchestrate contact moments across different channels within a certain period. Via Linkedin, mail, telephone, landing pages or chat. In these contact moments you try to add value in every step through good relevant information.

We often reverse the inbound marketing method. We share the right content based on 3 phases: awareness, consideration and decision. Different content suits each phase. Start easily with content that is already available, but in the end you adjust the details to your campaign. This way you stay relevant with every contact moment without having to fall back on reminders.


You will distil all the information that you have collected while filling in the Playbook into your unique circumstance. Choose the most applicable starting points and write your story in full. Think of a method such as Spin, Aida or another theory to put a story on paper. Don’t skimp on copywriting. We work for KesselsKramer (advertising agency), they are of course lord and master in copywriting. We used these skills in the campaigns which clearly had a significant impact on the result. Now we are not all KesselsKramer, but in any case, do not place the heavy responsibility of message creation with your intern.

Once you are satisfied with the storyline, you will cut it up into logical pieces that you want to share with your ICP in a flow of contact moments. Our campaigns consist of at least 7 contact moments across different channels. There are many tools available that can help you in this process. Remember that it is about the strategy and not the tools, if the input is not good, you will not get good results.

This manual alone is not the way to success, unfortunately it cannot be put into a manual. However it does give you a helping hand to think seriously about implementing a good strategy. For more insights and tools, take a look at further articles.

If, after reading this manual, you still have questions about Sales Development, this Playbook or the rollout of the software, please contact us:

We at Saleslift Studio recently had the privilege to sit down with our valued partner, the creative Frank de Blok from Content Animators. 

He gave us insight as to the trials and tribulations he faced from organic growth and how allocating the prospecting stage allowed him to focus on what was truly important to him, content animation, predictable sustainable growth and return on investment.

We have been working together for about a year, can you tell us what is the main reason you wanted to partner with Saleslift Studio?

We are a start-up and we employ people who are mainly involved in making animation videos. We want to focus on this, because that is what we are good at.

On the other hand, we don’t want to rely solely on organic growth. By outsourcing sales development to Saleslift Studio I can focus on Content Animators and I don’t have to worry about sales development. I only take action when it really matters.

In addition, I do not have the resources and knowledge to do this in-house with the same quality and speed. A nice side effect is of course that the risk is very low due to the flexible cooperation.

You have a proposition that is primarily on a project basis, how do you ensure that customers come back? What would the lifetime value of your customer be?

Indeed, we do not work with a licensing model or similar. But thanks to our quality and know how, customers tend to return several times a year with different projects. We do not only focus on the initial order value, but mainly consider the lifetime value of a customer. A qualitative solution from sales development fits in well with this.

Can you elaborate upon what Saleslift Studio has brought to Content Animators, without giving away too much personal information of course?

Our business case is quite clear; we receive an average of about 12 qualified appointments per month from your sales activities. We convert +/- 60% of this directly into an assignment within 3 months. We stay in touch with the rest of the contacts for when it becomes relevant.

We know the average first deal value of the customers and the lifetime value of the customer. By completing this calculation, we can precisely calculate the ROI of our collaboration. We are still working together so it has been going very well so far.

You naturally create content, what exactly do you do and how do you think this can be best applied?

We help customers achieve a better reach through the use of animation videos. With this our customers experience a higher impact with their marketing / communication campaigns and achieve measurably better results.

Animation video can be used for any organization (formal or informal) and in numerous ways. It is especially important that the message is tailored to the goal and target group of the customer.

In addition, the video should mainly be about solving the customer’s “problems” and not so much focussed on the company itself. A short and concise message combined with a high-profile design ensures the desired result.

Finally; how do you see the future in the field of marketing and sales. We try to bring them together, but what trends do you see among your customers in this area?


Evolution of traditional Marketing & Sales: We see that during this corona crisis, mainly traditional forms of Marketing & Sales, which are not measurable or deliver demonstrable results, are being phased out more quickly. So following up measurable marketing campaigns with sales so that demonstrable results are achieved, or strengthening your sales funnels with valuable marketing content, we see as an increasingly important focus.


Video Marketing: We see that better results can be achieved with video marketing, because video is not only faster but also easier to consume whilst being more appealing than, for example, a piece of text. We see combining sales funnels with video / animation video is highly effective. This way you can not only explain propositions / products or services more easily, you can also literally give the organization a face, making a message much more personal resulting in much higher engagement.


Analytics / automation: What we see a lot is that marketing and sales must be tracked, so that the impact can be measured and managed accordingly. Furthermore, we see both sales and marketing becoming increasingly automated in content flows. In this way you not only create awareness, but you can also manage to achieve a concrete result by providing leads with the right content throughout the entire sales funnel.

Thank you Frank for all your insights and knowledge. They have been truly stimulating and we know the learnings can be applied as best practise for a multitude of organisations. 

May we also take this opportunity to welcome any readers to contact us directly on the below details as we are more than happy to evaluate your current growth strategy and provide a free playbook on how to grow your business to the next level.

At Saleslift Studio we love Sales Development. We believe it is a spectacular skill, but at the same time, we know better than anyone else how demanding and difficult it can be to master it. To help both you and ourselves with successfully carrying out Sales Development, we are going to give you a look behind the scenes.  

In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing one of our golden rules, guidelines, and tools. That way each week you will be able to find something that will help you improve your Sales Development and compose a checklist. 

This week the first three. You can put them in an arbitrary order, but not exactly. Here they come: 

Tip 1. Don’t spray & pray

Being personal and relevant is of the utmost importance when it comes to Outbound Prospecting. When someone doesn’t feel addressed by an email, invitation, message, or phone call then you need to go back to the drawing board to make sure you have a solid picture of the right target group.

Make sure you can get on this person’s radar in a relevant way. Always choose quality over quantity and relevant over personal. If you can do both, then of course that is even better. This can result in the “account-based” and “persona-based” of an individual strategy. More on the different approaches will come later in another article. 

Tip 2. Reason to reach out

Make sure you have a valid reason to contact the prospect. I came across your profile on LinkedIn is not a reason. What is in it for them? A good exercise would be writing a prospecting email where you don’t talk about your own company, but rather completely focus on the person you want to engage in a conversation with. 

We take into account key indicators for success and having a valid reason to initiate contact is an important one of them. Focus on the person, their challenges, pains, and frustrations. In a later stage, you can dig deeper into the challenges and advantages of the company itself.  

Tip 3. Research

Do your research. Explore further the market, the person you are targetting, and their organization. Make sure you are well-prepared. Be aware of what is going on and anticipate. Check news articles and read the profile (but really do it) to make sure you don’t miss anything important. 

If you are doing everything right, you should make a prospect playbook in advance where the ins and outs of all personas of individuals are being discussed. Often there is plenty of information available, internally as well. Having a word with clients to find out what keeps them busy is going to yield you some useful insights for sure. 

It’s a wrap for this week. Next week we are going to post three new tips where we are going to dig deeper into the numbers and variations of Sales Development. Do you have any tips? Post them below. 

In case you would like to know more, read the following blog: How do I make my Sales Development scalable? Or ask for our template to start working on your Sales Development Playbook:

Being the one who is responsible for the sales development, and feeding the “top of the funnel” with leads, you are likely satisfied if what you do is working well. This is especially true if you are successful and able to generate a sufficient number of high-quality leads for your business. After all, generating highly qualified leads is the most important driver for growth. And that’s awesome, you probably worked hard for that.

However, next week, month, or quarter, the newly increased targets arrive and the questions surrounding that: Can you perform successfully also in another market? Can you do this for another product line as well? Or when we go international?

Duplicating people is not possible yet. Hiring new people costs time, money and has a success rate that we always secretly tend to overestimate. 9 out of 10 times it is disappointing, it always takes time to find the right one and it takes even longer until the rep is fully onboarded. 

How do you make sure that your successful sales development approach can be copied from one market to another one? And that you can provide optimal support for your people? How does that work? That’s what you are about to find out in this blog.  

Always make a “Design”

First and foremost, make sure you design each of your sales development processes. Make sure it is blueprinted, sketched, and adjusted in advance. Make sure that you force yourself and your organization to do that. 

What is our target group? How big is this target group? What is relevant to them? Why do they want to talk to us? Why now? What content are we going to use? What is the call to action? Which series of positive touchpoints are we going to orchestrate? 

(We have a sales development playbook for that if you want to have the template send me an email:

All the effort that you put in advance into this design process is going to help you not only to be successful, but it will also enable you in times of success (or less success) to go back to your drawing board and do it again. Design it again. But this time better, quicker and just a little bit more different. 

Eventually, you will have a both playbook and a design that has been thought out, tested and proven to be successful. Ready for the next market? That way you are going to make designs/playbooks for more situations and markets. 

One for a product introduction, a separate playbook for inbound leads, a playbook for upsell, and one for cross-sell. Just as good as a playbook for certain (remote) events. 

You don’t have to do all of this at once, but if you take one step at a time and if you do it the right way, then you will find yourself building a fascinating library for yourself and for your company, that will pay off well over the coming months and years.  

Template, template, template 

Use templates. Nobody likes automated bullshit but everyone likes good tools and working efficiently. Documenting in templates responses and stories used in your sales process gives your sales reps the opportunity to personalize well. Templates are tools. The better the tools, the better you can do your job. 

It is easier and more trustworthy for your salespeople to provide relevant, personal responses coming from good templates, rather than providing a response “from scratch”. In order for your actions to be successful, you need to make templates. Out of these templates, you can personalize, discover new things to talk about, and in turn make new templates for those new topics. 

On the one hand, you give your sales reps good tools to work effectively and with more confidence. On the other hand, you simultaneously register your sales development process (read: scalable and applicable). 

By giving importance to those 2 points and by consistently working on them, you document your business activities and make them available. Maybe even more importantly, you build a culture where each sales challenge is well thought out, discussed, and worked out in advance. With all the advantages that come along. 

Besides, you will notice that just like most things in life, your company is getting better at sales development because you keep on collecting feedback continuously and you are continuously having a conversation with each other about what works, what can be better, and what we have learned. Because of this your skills and confidence in your teams will increase, causing them to dare to take larger challenges and in turn increasing your chances of growth enormously. 

So, time to start designing! Good luck!

Terry van den Bemt


Ps. Do you want a template for the playbook? let me know.