Build the Account Management function from 0

Case by Academy Smart and Olga Klok

Increased ARR

+20%

Increased MQL-SQL CR to

50%

Increased Win Rate to

60%

Company Type

Product (CRM)

Company Size

21 - 50

Primary Markets

USA, Canada, Australia

Areas Covered

Inbound & Outbound Sales,
Customer Success

Advisor

Alex Zlotko

Advising Duration

11 months

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  • Company Type

    Product (CRM)

  • Company Size

    21 - 50

  • Primary Markets

    USA, Canada, Australia

  • Areas Covered

    Inbound & Outbound Sales,Customer Success

  • Advisor

    Alex Zlotko

  • Advising Duration

    11 months

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About

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Academy Smart is a Ukrainian Software that allows businesses to forget about digital issues and focus on strategic goal achievement and their people. 
Company's expertise expanded from E-learning to a variety of web, mobile applications, and cloud services. The team is constantly growing, and keeps looking for new business growth opportunities.

Challenge

Scaling without sacrificing process quality and revenue was a struggle for NetHunt. They needed an expert well-versed in B2B sales and the CRM industry who could add outbound lead generation to an already successfully performing inbound lead gen channel and adjust sales team performance to higher leads volume + increase team's efficiency.

Here're more details on the challenge that the team had:

1. Inefficient Organizational Structure

The company lacked dedicated roles for managing the client lifecycle. The same people handled sales, support, and customer success, which led to overlapping roles and ineffective processes and results.

2. Inefficient Organizational Structure

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    Customer Success didn't work as a revenue-generating function.
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    Lack of systematic process with rituals, artifacts, and upselling strategies.
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    There was no performance-based bonus system for the team.

3. Absence of additional revenue streams beyond inbound

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    The company relied primarily on inbound leads.
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    The NetHunt team tried running outbound a few times with no success.

Advising request

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Optimize organizational structure

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Enhance inbound sales

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Systematize customer success

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Launch outbound sales

"It would be great to get connected with someone from our industry who knows the benchmarks well. We need someone who can build the entire cycle by effectively connecting its elements."

Andrii Petrik, Founder & CEO at NetHunt

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Why connecting with Alex Zlotko

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Alex was chosen for his extensive experience in B2B sales, his systematic approach to optimizing processes, and deep understanding of the CRM domain. His proven track record in launching and scaling sales operations made him the perfect candidate for advising NetHunt.

Here's a quick look at Alex's background:

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    Over 15 years of experience in B2B Sales in Product companies.
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    His expertise covers a full sales cycle, including customer success.
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    7 years of profound hands-on experience in the CRM domain.
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    Alex has launched and scaled sales in over 10 companies.
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    Alex has an exceptionally systematic approach to optimizing and re-structuring existing processes.

Advising Roadmap

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Advising Roadmap

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Achieving the Targets

Before starting cooperation, Alex and the NetHunt team set four targets that would allow them to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented changes and the obtained results.

Target 1: Optimize an organizational structure

Despite the NetHunt team achieving commendable results, they had an inefficient structure with overlapping responsibilities. It would affect further process transformations, so Alex prioritized this task.
After a series of meetings with a team and comparing existing processes with industry standards, Alex unbundled the processes and roles. He managed to build a structure that let each team focus on a specific client lifecycle stage.

Optimizing the organizational structure unlocked further improvements at each stage. 

Target 2: Improve an inbound sales process

The primary goal was to increase the number of SQLs. To achieve this, changes had to be implemented in three stages.

2.1 To filter the inbound leads and focus on the most promising MQLs.

To do it, Alex and the team first identified existing client profiles that match the ICP. Next, they created a set of characteristics and criteria to identify prospective leads. This involved expanding the lead registration form to gather more comprehensive data about each lead. Subsequently, they developed a scoring system for MQLs, which was then implemented in the CRM system.
This allowed the NetHunt team to focus on the most relevant leads, ensuring a personalized approach for their potential customers.

2.2 To improve the lead qualification process

After lead filtering, the team, along with Alex, started reviewing the existing pipeline and formulated the process of working with MQLs, which was implemented after several iterations.This involved identifying the correct stages in the sales funnel pipeline, defining what should happen at each stage, determining which data must be recorded in the system, and under what conditions a deal moves from one stage to another.
The next step was consolidating all leads through a centralized qualification by a newly dedicated SDR role.
Finally, Alex outlined the process for qualifying MQLs to SQLs using the BANT methodology and trained the SDR on this approach.
A more efficient qualification process let Account Executives focus only on higher-converting leads and showing them personalized demos.

2.3 To increase the MQL-SQL conversion rate by structuring the process

Alex and the team set up the updated sales processes within the CRM. The second task was to develop the best practices for working with opportunities at each sales pipeline stage.
To consolidate the process, Alex conducted a sales workshop with the team: "What to do at each stage of the funnel: objectives, questions, rituals, metrics, and KPIs."

Here's a quick look at the activities covered in the workshop:

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    How to arrange the next step and the call with the prospect.
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    Understanding the decision-making process within the client's company.
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    Writing follow-up emails with a summary after meetings.
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    Conducting product demos: general vs. tailored to the industry and type of client's business.
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    Preparing a product presentation script.
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    Presenting the commercial offer.

Additionally, Alex helped to identify key metrics essential for tracking overall and at each funnel stage.
One such metric is the Win Rate. Given Alex's deep industry knowledge, he was familiar with the benchmarks. Using these as a guide, the team successfully pinpointed the reasons for low performance and formulated a set of improvements.

As a result, the team ensured that all promising leads were centrally processed through the SDR, who then did everything possible to progress the lead to a meeting.

This approach led to a significant improvement, increasing the MQL to SQL conversion rate to 50% and the Win Rate to 60%.

Target 3: Systematize the customer success function

The next goal was to increase the retention rate by improving the Customer Success process.
At that time, the company's Customer Success function was fulfilling a customer satisfaction role rather than a revenue-generating machine. The first step was to start shaping a culture of Customer Success as a revenue engine within the company. To achieve this, the company allocated a dedicated customer success manager. Each CSM received a specific list of clients to work with regularly. This approach aimed to deepen the manager's engagement with each client's business, enabling them to understand specific needs, identify problems, and proactively address them.

Next, Alex helped to establish a client engagement process:

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    Handing off clients to CSMs.
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    Regular calls and rituals.
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    Identifying and processing new opportunities within existing client accounts.

They also defined a list of metrics to monitor the effectiveness of the Customer Success function and each CSM's performance. 

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One such key metric was Net Retention Revenue (NRR), which began to be tracked monthly. 

Net Retention Revenue is how much money you keep and grow from customers over time, usually a month or a year. It adds up all the money you keep, plus any extra money from upselling, and subtracts any money lost from customers leaving or spending less. NRR shows how good you are at keeping and growing customer revenue, making it a key sign of a healthy subscription or SaaS business.

Net revenue retention (NRR) formula

NRR =

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) at start of month + Expansions + Upsells - Churn - Contractions

MRR at start of month

The goal was to achieve 100% NRR by building personalized approaches, identifying opportunities, and systematic client engagement. As a result of these efforts, 100-105% NRR was achieved in Ukraine and 98-99% globally. 
These changes helped to stabilize the company’s revenue from existing clients and fostering growth.

"The team began tracking the number of upgrades and downgrades and calculating expansion. They started to celebrate the fact that they were making extra sales. Finally, Customer Success began fulfilling one of its two most crucial functions."

Alex Zlotko, Sales Advisor

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Target 4: Launch an outbound sales process

NetHunt CRM had ventured into cold email outreach multiple times but without success. The primary challenge was to launch a campaign that would resonate with their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and yield tangible results. The goal was to make cold email outreach a viable lead-generation channel.
Initially, Alex and the team focused on defining the ICP and segmenting the target audience. This ensured that our outreach was tailored and relevant.
Next, Alex conducted marketing research to identify key pain points that NetHunt's features could address the ICP. Based on the research, the team formulated Unique Selling Points that would form the backbone of their outreach content.
With Alex's expertise, the team drafted email templates that were engaging and resonated with the audience's needs and challenges.
Then, utilizing the robust capabilities of NetHunt CRM, they set up automated email flows, ensuring efficiency and scalability in their outreach efforts. They also set up a dashboard with metrics and KPIs to track the progress and success of campaigns at each stage.
After a series of tests (4,000 contacts, Open Rate — of up to 71.7%, and Response Rate — of up to 8.1%), the company identified the most performing region that yielded excellent, scalable results.
Also, the series of campaigns brought insights that prompted a significant pivot in product development to better meet the needs of the target audience.

Outcomes & Business Impact

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    Revenue increased by 20% through improved organizational structure and process development

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    MQL/SQL conversion rate hit 50%, focusing efforts on promising leads

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    Opportunity Win rate improved to 50-60%, by refining sales processes and training

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    Reached 100-105% Net Retention Revenue in Ukraine and 98-99% globally, surpassing the initial indicator of 90%.

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    Adopted a metrics-driven approach across various areas, enabling decisions based on metrics rather than gut feeling.

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    Identified the most performing region for outbound campaigns that generated leads monthly.

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    Helped formulate hypotheses for potential product niche expansions. These became a priority for product development over the next six months.

Additional outcomes achieved with Alex

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    Identified low-performing sales staff and suggested staffing changes.
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    Established criteria for hiring new sales personnel.
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    Assisted in evaluating final candidates and determining replacements.

The Advisor's involvement progress

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Initial Period - Facilitative  and Brainstorming:

During this phase, Alex gathered information from stakeholders, brainstormed with the team, and helped construct an action plan.

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Project-Specific Engagement: 

Alex was involved in specific project segments to strengthen and expedite the work process.

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Consolidating Results through Workshops and Masterclasses:

To solidify the outcomes, he conducted workshops and masterclasses with the team.

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Transition to Weekly Sync Calls:

The collaboration evolved into weekly synchronization calls with the team for regular updates and guidance.

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Final 3 Months - Biweekly Sync Calls:

In the last three months, the engagement shifted to biweekly sync calls focusing on pipeline, deals, metrics, and forecast development.

The Advisor's involvement progress

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Initial Period - Facilitative and Brainstorming:

During this phase, Alex gathered information from stakeholders, brainstormed with the team, and helped construct an action plan.

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Project-Specific Engagement: 

Alex was involved in specific project segments to strengthen and expedite the work process.

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Consolidating Results through Workshops and Masterclasses:

To solidify the outcomes, he conducted workshops and masterclasses with the team.

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Transition to Weekly Sync Calls:

The collaboration evolved into weekly synchronization calls with the team for regular updates and guidance.

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Final 3 Months - Biweekly Sync Calls:

In the last three months, the engagement shifted to biweekly sync calls focusing on pipeline, deals, metrics, and forecast development.

Testimonials

“Alex, with his deep knowledge of B2B sales and CRM, was a perfect fit. He revamped our sales, fixed our team structure, and made our Customer Success truly impactful, boosting our revenue and keeping customers happy. His practical, data-focused advice was exactly what we needed. For any founder wanting real growth without the headaches, I highly recommend Alex. He set us up for lasting success."

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Andrei Petrik

Founder and SEO at NetHunt

"Working with Alex was a highly professional and structured experience. His keen focus on metrics and benchmarks and his scientific approach to each task ensured we achieved valid and effective results. Thanks to his guidance, we now have a reliable and optimized process.

With Alex's help, we successfully established an efficient lead generation process, identified a high-performing region for outbound efforts, and gained insights on product improvements needed for entering other target markets."

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Olha Petrik

Marketing and Sales Director at NetHunt

“I truly adored working with Alex. He is super structured and professional. For him, no issue is new. He always knows what to do in any case. With him, we learned how to make predictions and took a data-driven approach to customer success challenges. With Alex's help, we have built a comprehensive B2B sales process with different roles. We started to track more metrics and look at the whole picture. He helped our team gain self-confidence and move forward without fear of using new approaches."

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Anastasiia Tatsenko

Chief Customer Officer at NetHunt

Looking to boost your Sales and Customer Success?

Get connected with an industry-leading advisor

Looking to boost your Sales and Customer Success?

Get connected with an industry-leading advisor