Aaron Ross is the bestselling author of Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com. He knows all about getting the most out of Salesforce.

More importantly, he knows how to increase sales revenue sustainably and predictably.

During his time at working at Salesforce, he “built a new tele-prospecting inside sales team and process (Cold Calling 2.0) from scratch that sourced $100m in recurring revenue,” according to his LinkedIn.

How the heck did he do it?

Well, we had the chance to speak with Aaron and learn how to increase sales revenue dramatically by understanding and cultivating the 3 main sources of your pipeline:

  • Seeds → leads generated through word-of-mouth marketing and building relationships with people.
  • Nets → leads that come from inbound marketing and growth hacking efforts.
  • Spears → leads brought in by outbound prospectors or BDRs who actively search for prospects.

The key to increasing your sales revenue is optimizing these three pipeline generators by understanding how each functions and which metrics you should be tracking. These lead sources should all be treated differently, since they have unique conversions rates, sales cycles, average deal sizes, etc.

Let’s break down each one and look at the most relevant sales metrics.


The most reliable, highest-converting leads are generated by leveraging existing customers and getting referrals. These high-quality leads, also called seeds, are the result of your customer success team.

Seeds are an essential part of your pipeline that you don’t want to go to waste. If you have loyal customers who are crazy about your brand, creating a customer community can be a great way to boost referrals and increase sales revenue.

You should track the following metrics to gauge the success of your seeds:

  • Account Management Activities
    • Are your account managers regularly reaching out to existing customers and asking for referrals?
  • Referral-Sourced Pipeline
    • How much pipeline are your account managers creating via customer referrals?
    • How has this contribution changed over time?
    • Which stages are those opportunities currently in?
  • Revenue from Cross Sells and Upsells
    • Are you generating enough bookings through customer success?
  • Churn Rate
    • Is the amount of customers you’re losing each month affecting your growth rate?


These are leads that come through digital marketing efforts, including content marketing, social media, advertising, etc. People who find you online and give you information about themselves to download your content clearly have some interest in your product.

These marketing campaigns can generate a huge amount of pipeline, but bear in mind that they can have relatively low conversion rates. It’s up to your sales team to find out if a seed is ready to become a customer.

The best way to get a better understanding of your Nets is to track the following metrics:

  • Market-Sourced Lead Trajectory
    • Is marketing lead generation on track?
    • Which of your lead sources is most productive?
  • Lead Velocity
    • Is the number of marketing qualified leads growing over time?
  • Marketing-Qualified Leads And Opportunities Over Time
    • Is a high enough percentage of your marketing-sourced leads converting into opportunities?
  • Opportunity Creation By Campaign
    • Which marketing campaigns are generating the most opportunities?
  • Pipeline Contribution From Nets
    • Is your pipeline becoming more Net-driven over time?
    • How valuable is each lead?


These leads come directly from sales reps who actively hunt for prospects. They fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), but haven’t been reached through marketing efforts.

To generate spears, BDRs source lists and cold call people who might be interested in your product.

You should track the following metrics to keep tabs on your Spears:

  • Number Of Activities
    • Are your reps performing enough activities to hit your pipeline goals?
  • Sales Activity Efficiency Ratios
    • Are your reps’ activities efficiently leading to opportunities and deals?
  • Activity Results Vs. Activity Goals
    • Are your reps meeting their activity goals?

At the end of the day, all leads are not created equal. The source of each lead matters immensely, and leads of all types shouldn’t be grouped together when analyzing your pipeline.

The key to increasing sales revenue is creating a predictable, scalable pipeline for your sales reps. And the trick to optimizing your pipeline is segmenting leads by source and understanding how each type is inherently different. By analyzing key sales metrics for each type of lead – Seeds, Nets, and Spears – you’ll gain deep insights about your pipeline that will ultimately help you improve your sales results.

To learn more about how to increase sales revenue, check out our FREE eBook with Aaron Ross: Seeds, Nets, and Spears to Triple Your Revenue.