Sales Success: An Art or A Science?
Successful selling is about a process that you can measure and monitor and rely on over and over again regardless of what’s going on in the world and your business. The art is hiding this from customers!
Most organisations are clear on the value of their product and their ‘sweet spot’ new customer however their strategy falls down as they do not have a sustainable model for discovering and engaging these customers, communicating the right message, creating momentum early enough to underpin plans and most importantly converting live leads into deals. As we embark on the second half of 2019 and steel ourselves for months of uncertainty, we offer are some tips to help ensure your sales process is fit for purpose.
Own Your Niche
When campaigning a specific group of customers, you should be the unmistakable authority in this niche. Don’t cast a wide net but develop campaigns that focus intensely on the needs of this market, with compelling yet simple messages and evidence of how your product solves real ‘business’ issues. Marketing to the masses is ineffective and costly and tech customers often state they see little difference between competing technologies.
Pick Up The Phone
With the focus on generating content, emails and LinkedIn messaging, many organisations overlook disciplines that worked before email and social media. Yes cold calling is hard and with all the generic telemarketers out there, it has caught a bad rap too. We encourage our clients to stay active digitally, but to also ensure an appropriate level of personal interaction for important prospects. The key is to make ‘cold calling’ about quality not quantity, and a part of a structured process and incisive campaign, that also considers timing and content.
Create Value for Prospects
Always reach out with something of value. Contacting a prospect for an update is all about you! An interesting article about their industry, news about a trend or product development, specific business issues you have solved for their competitor; or simply offering feedback on something you know is important to them, will all show you’ve given thought about them and their business. Sounds so simple however so few follow through!
Get the Right Insights
One of the biggest mistakes we see business make with their campaigns, is that they know very little about their targets before seeing them. We often see customers rushing to phone, email and meet, when they know very little about their audience and their motives. We encourage customers to make ‘insight’ a priority before meeting with customers or executing a campaign within a sector. Once you have a clear understanding of the prospect dynamics, then tailor contact tactics and messages accordingly.
Unqualified Meetings are Pointless
Conventional sales wisdom is that meeting with prospects drives sales, and in truth a well-timed and informed face-to-face meeting is key to building trust and chemistry. Unfortunately, most meetings occur too early or too late and do not result in any actionable intelligence or progress, simply because the customer was not ‘active’. Huge sums are spent on meetings, that don’t go anywhere because the prospect wasn’t qualified in the first place.
Long Sales Cycles – A Drag or An Opportunity?
In B2B tech sales, opportunities can take months or years to become bids, and then slip, go on hold, change specification or simply hang due to bureaucracy! Our advice is to treat long sales cycles as opportunities. Continuing to invest in building stakeholder insights is essential. Continue to build your relationship; advise and help with issues that the incumbent technology may be creating. Keep you and your brand front of mind.
Measure What Matters
All too often when sales are down, organisations spend inordinate amounts of times reviewing sales forecasts and badgering sales team and ignore one simple truth – more new opportunities were needed from the outset. Especially during uncertain times, you need a steady and qualified lead flow. Ensuring your sales plan is fit for purpose from the outset is critical, however failing that, monitoring the quality of new opportunities that your sales process is generating is the single most important priority, when sales are down.
Mind The Gap
The notorious gap between sales and marketing is a large contributor to inhibiting new sales growth. The sales cycle is longer than ever and the DMU complex and disparate. The simple truth is that purchasing decisions are made and specifications shaped, long before a formal process and following a series of brand touchpoints. Leads must be created, nurtured, and converted which is why your sales process is critically important to unifying sales, business development and marketing disciplines toward a single outcome.
Our approach is different – we work with businesses looking for something different, who believe in their product, and want an experienced and straight talking growth partner. If that sounds like your business, we’re keen to hear from you.