Napoleon’s conquest and the antithesis of Spray and Pray

Napoleon's methodical pursuit of empire expansion and what B2B Sales could learn from it

What could the Napoleonic Wars possibly have to do with the “Spray and Pray” strategy of today’s B2B Sales environment? The Napoleonic Wars were a series of highly efficient and historically successful military land grabs. Up until his ill-fated invasion of Russia, Napoleon’s tactical prowess’ was nigh-unstoppable. B2B Sales, on the other hand, consume an enormous amount of time, energy, and money- all for, at best, marginal victories. The reward/investment ratio of a “Spray and Pray” B2B sales pursuit is staggeringly low in a unit-adjusted world.

Why this analogy? What was efficient about the Napoleonic Wars? What is inefficient about Spray and Pray in High-ACV B2B Sales?

Let’s dig in.

A brief look at Napoleon’s conquest

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of military conflicts waged between the French Empire and various European powers throughout the early 19th century. At its height, the Empire had expanded to govern large parts of Italy, Spain, Germany, and Poland, and had strategic alliances with other major players in mainland Europe. There were several meticulous strategies they adopted to remain a highly successful military force:

✅ Do not start multiple wars that are unwinnable

✅ Incrementally expand from the edges of your kingdom’s territory

✅ Consolidate resources of the conquered nations

✅ Study the opposition well before the attack

✅ Avoid expensive wars when possible and instead build strategic alliances

In 1812, Napoleon embarked on his notorious conquest of Russia. Charles Minard’s iconic infographic (see above) highlights the flaws of Napoleon’s ill-fated campaign. Despite commanding a large and well-trained army, his “Spray and Pray” of soldiers proved ineffective in a pursuit where all the cards - geography, logistics, weather - were stacked against him. Ultimately, his failure in Russia was a major factor in the downfall of the Empire, and his ultimate exile from Europe.

The inefficiency in today’s strategic B2B sales

Let us define strategic B2B sales. Strategic. Tier-1. Whales. Enterprise. We have heard these terms thrown around. They all refer to the customers who provide the bulk of your revenue.

We define strategic pursuits as accounts whose Average Contract Value could be at least 100K USD in 12 months. If your company is pursuing such accounts, you need a strategic sales motion in addition to your PLG strategy.

However, 95% of companies we surveyed said they were either "Extremely Dissatisfied" or "Dissatisfied" with their strategic sales.

Why? To understand this, let us look at the core categories of B2B Sales tools:

🌫 Stalkers: Tools that stalk your accounts' activity online (for engagement on 1st party and 3rd party sites)

📖 Directories: That supply contacts of their employees (usually via non-GDPR compliant processes)

📩 Spam: Batch and blast 100's of thousands of emails hoping someone responds

🏃 Chase: Follow on social media, conferences, and other online/offline locations hoping to get a meeting

The result is a very long sales cycle, low morale in the sales team, and most importantly, an atrociously low win rate.

Source: Vieu Inc. survey of 70 B2B Technology Companies

Vishal Gupta, CEO of Seclore and an early adopter of Vieu, clarified it in our conversations. “The Enterprise Sales landscape is changing rapidly, and cold outreach just doesn’t work while selling to large enterprises. We need to protect our brand while reaching out to our target customers and demonstrate our expertise in solving their business problems. Vieu helps us make warm introductions to the target accounts and deliver productive meetings founded in awareness of their problems and matching it with our offering.”

The Vieu Way

Samir, former CEO of KenSci, and Simon, former head of Microsoft Office Customer Engagements, have both experienced first-hand the difficulties of enterprise sales. Closing deals sometimes took quarters longer than necessary and sales teams never had actionable insights, despite drowning in sales tools. CRM has long failed to create a self-updating system for actionable, real-time customer intelligence. Samir and Simon realized that the foundation of the future sales assistant ought to be a semantic graph birthed by a native AI stack to fuse signals across internet, enterprise, and end-users. Vieu was born.

Our data show not only that Spray and Pray is ineffective in landing strategic B2B engagements, but it’s actually entirely counterproductive to the deal pursuit.

Vieu has a simple 3 step process to pursuing strategic sales:

1. Identify your true strategic pursuits

Just because a customer is in your segment (e.g. Retail) and is your ICP (e.g. Looking to upgrade their ML stack) doesn’t mean it’s a strategic pursuit for you. We embrace and extend BANT as BRANT – Budget, Reachability, Authority, Need, and Timing. VieuAI provides approximately 10 true strategic accounts per your quota-carrying major reps. Explore here.

2. Prepare, Map, & Pitch

Most sales tools are optimized around volume.

Volume of emails. Volume of responses. Volume of outreaches.

Vieu is about timing and efficiency. A well-timed reach out via a warm introduction with a compelling opportunity stands out from others who are simply raising their volume. Vieu AI provides an autogenerated account plan that jumpstarts with your strategic pursuits. Learn more here.

3. Execute, Execute, & Execute

"What is the next best action?" is the 100K ACV question for most sales teams. Sales teams are drowning in data, and many Generative AI tools are autogenerating even more data. Turn those actions into guided insights and a step-by-step plan.

“Can you provide a prescriptive meeting digest before my customer call?” Yes, we can.

“Can you tell me the right people to meet at this conference?” Yes, we can.

Vieu is your valet on your strategic pursuit. See it in action here.

Three ways to start

Vieu uses Vieu for our sales. We are a company looking for strategic deals. We do not spray and pray. Besides very limited use of a CRM, we do not have any sales tooling in the company. We are now working with 20+ enterprises and we have more customers than we have Sales and Customer Success team to serve them (we are hiring!).

You can start with any of our modules or a combination of them. Need help with your strategic pipeline? Get started with our "Auditions" module. Need to tighten up your game putting together the Account Plan? Get started with our Autogenerated Account Plan. Need help in running a tight execution game? Leverage our Autogenerated Execution Plan.

Need general direction to uplevel your strategic pursuit? Our VieuValet is a Generative AI interface that you can use as your personal assistant. When all else fails, we know you need to talk to you a human. We have been there and that's why VieuValet's Generative AI has an exception handler to a real human.

Give us a try!

Ashwin Sande
Last updated
September 14, 2023

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