Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

[Editors Note: This week, InsightSquared is proud to announce a new eBook co-authored by sales expert Aaron Ross about the metrics behind his popular “Seeds, Nets and Spears” theory. We’re confident that you will find this eBook an extremely useful way to understand your sales pipeline and fuel lead creation. But before we get to that, we were lucky enough to catch up with Aaron and discuss with him the origins of Seeds, Nets and Spears. Enjoy!]

Planting the Seeds

Before the concept of Seeds, Nets and Spears was a staple at sales conferences or the topic of a series of popular eBooks, it was a simple picture hastily sketched on a napkin at a California coffee shop.

Aaron Ross, then just beginning his career as a sales consultant, was having a casual cup of coffee with a VP of Marketing who was frustrated by his inability to explain the different types of leads to his Board. In a flash of inspiration, Aaron grabbed a nearby napkin and drew an early version of what has since become one of the most recognizable images in the modern sales landscape.

“We were talking about how most people at the time thought ‘a lead is a lead is a lead,’” Aaron told InsightSquared during a recent interview. “And I knew this was the wrong approach. So I was trying to explain how there were different types of leads, and they all had different conversion rates, behavior and metrics.”

In that initial burst of inspiration, Aaron came up with the foundation of what would become Seeds, Nets and Spears ‒ the concept that explains the three types of leads that comprise the sales pipeline: Customer Success (Seeds), Marketing (Nets), and Outbound Prospecting (Spears).

In the months and years that followed, Aaron honed his Seeds, Nets and Spears concept ‒ tweaking the way he thought about customer success, refining his ideas about how the three sources interact ‒ but the fundamentals of the theory have been largely unchanged since that fateful day in 2007.

Learn More about Outbound Prospecting»

Seeds, Nets and Spears Grow Up

Although Aaron’s Seeds, Nets and Spears concept came out almost fully formed, he quickly understood that that initial napkin sketch was just an entrance point into something much more interesting. Once he started writing about Seeds, Nets and Spears and explaining it to business leaders, he realized that the seeming simplicity of the concept helped it resonate with all types of business leaders, and helped them better understand the inner workings of their own businesses.

“Seeds, Nets and Spears just made sense,” he told InsightSquared. “It was more human, more organic than how people had been thinking about leads up until then. At that time, it was all ‘demand generation best practices’ and stuff, and sales concepts just lacked that human touch.”

Soon, Aaron was using Seeds, Nets and Spears as a gateway to understanding the more complex, fluid concepts of sales process and lead creation. Through his consulting work, Aaron began fleshing out the ways that business leaders could use the concept of Seeds, Nets and Spears to design and improve their companies.

“People would come to me and ask ‘Should I grow my business through inbound or outbound’ and my answer was always ‘Yes!’” Aaron told InsightSquared. “Seeds, Nets and Spears helped me explain to these people that it’s important to find the right balance between the different lead sources. And then, once they see what works for their own companies and what they’re own company is especially good at, they can triple down on what’s working.”

Ultimately what Aaron realized is that Seeds, Nets and Spears is a simple way for business people to conceptualize their businesses and systematize growth.

“Most people don’t really think in that overly sales-y way,” he said. “Simple ideas help salespeople come to a clearer understanding of how a business grows.”

Digging into Seeds, Nets and Spears

Here at InsightSquared, we couldn’t agree more. Too often, sales concepts are coated in jargon or siloed in byzantine Excel reports, and a normal business person simply can’t understand what they mean.

Like many growing companies, we found that Seeds, Nets and Spears helped us better understand our own business, and how the different types of leads we create complement and interact with each other.

But we also realized (like Aaron had) that there’s a lot more to Seeds, Nets and Spears than a sketch on a napkin. If you’re going to build your company around these lead sources, you need to understand them in a fair amount of detail.

Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to Aaron about Seeds, Nets and Spears, trying to bring the concept to the next level. We talked not just about how to define Seeds, Nets and Spears, but about how to measure and fuel them according to their own specific characteristics.

What we came up with is “The Metrics Behind Seeds, Nets and Spears to Triple Your Revenue.” We collaborated with Aaron on this comprehensive eBook to take his initial concept and apply it to real business decisions and back it up with real data.

With Aaron, we use this eBook as a chance to look at the specific metrics that sales leaders and executives can use to measure their Seeds, Nets and Spears and ensure that they are making the right decisions to create a sustainable pipeline and grow their business.

We’re proud to be offering this complimentary eBook to you and confident that it will help you:

  • Measure Your Team’s Prospecting Production

  • Identify Your Top Marketing Campaigns

  • Generate a Sustainable Stream of Opps from Customers

Download it now to dive even deeper into Seeds, Nets and Spears and start creating a sustainable pipeline for your business.

Data-driven Sales Forecasting
Mike Baker
Mike Baker is the Content Strategy Manager at InsightSquared, where he helps distribute original eBooks, articles and guides about data-driven sales and marketing. He has a BA in English and Journalism from Oberlin College.
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