8 Ingredients for Business Growth Success
Finding new customers is the life blood of any growing organisation however is an area often neglected and relying on outdated tactics. We outline 8 vital ingredients essential for growth. Don’t allow business development to be left to stretching sales targets, expanding sales resource without investing in additional support, chasing unqualified appointments and leads and deploying generic marketing messages to mass audiences.Isolated initiatives fail if they sit outside of a cohesive, measurable and systematic business development framework.
Focus on your verticals properly
A vertical market approach offers many benefits but means nothing to a customer if not executed properly. It is essential to support this with differentiated value-based propositions specific to the needs and challenges of the market and focused customer sets and personas. Support your activities with select services, partners and advocates that complement your proposition, network and brand.
Simply pointing a salesperson at a market is not enough!
Reach active customers with the right message
All businesses have target lists and your competitors are probably identical to yours. Start with firmographics such as size, geography, locations etc but more importantly understand market trends, organisational priorities, legacy activities and whether prospects are ‘active’ and then use this to build important themes into your business development programs.
Research shows that buying decisions are mostly taken in the first 3 months of the procurement process. Your window to discover, engage and influence is narrow. Consider technology to complement your efforts; monitoring customer activity across the web, ad-networks and social media, to beam a light on those organisations that are active.
Gather the right intelligence
Understanding prospects is critical. Finding and mapping the stakeholders is hard enough and just the starting point. You need to know as much as possible about their drivers and the competitive landscape. Building detailed market intelligence and more importantly ‘customer’ insights is a critical function of the business development process and facilitates account based strategies based upon the issues that matter to the decision makers. Research shows that customers buy from professionals who know their business and understand their challenges. Many organisations still do little to support their activities with the right customer and market insights.
Reach all the key stakeholders in the Decision Making Unit
The inescapable truth is that to build a relationship with a target customer you are going to have to initiate dialogue with the right people at some point. You can simply call or be more innovate and reach the right individuals through a diversity of techniques across different channels. Either way you will need to have the capability to reach your audience and put those calls in. If your sales team is field based, then an inside sales function directly employed or outsourced will be a vital mechanism for desk and telephone based groundwork and outreach.
Generate multiple contact points
DMUs are increasingly complex, hard to reach and well informed, yet many organisations do very little differently when trying to reach them. Use multiple techniques to engage with the different stakeholders complementing traditional telephone and face to face contact with systematic social media activity, account level messaging, networking and self-organised events and webinars. Your engagement strategy should be diverse and multi-dimensional, while themes and messaging remaining focus and uncomplicated.
Extended sales cycles are an opportunity
B2B sales cycles are lengthy and frustrating extending in some cases to years. Consider whether you have a process that treats long sales cycles as an opportunity – enabling sustained and relevant contact that builds an understanding of the customer, coupled to creating interest, credibility and relationships. Use the right CRM system and methodology – a capable system with strong marketing automation and analytics capability will allow you to monitor engagement and activity by theme and message.
Be systematic and constant
Business development must be systematic and this where most new business programs fail! Developing personal relationships and chemistry is key, but behind the intangible there must be a rigorous process that ensures the right activities are taking place at the right time, consistently, so that your BD effort is sacrosanct and protected from day to day business distractions.
Ensure your BD is measurable
Yes, the ultimate measure is of course sales growth. You also need KPIs that measure progress, drive the right behaviours and inform your business. Blend traditional and upstream measures such as new quotes with prospect activity and receptiveness to content. Traditional new business approaches remain important but in isolation are increasingly outdated and less effective – a multi-faceted and sustained program is essential. Most companies that are serious about developing new business, however, won’t have the time, capabilities or technology in-house that are required to be effective.
Solve your business development headaches with a GTXM program, give us a call on 0330 133 0102 to arrange a free discovery session.