- Posted by Graham Dockrill
- On April 24, 2019
- 0 Comments
- automation, business, disruptive, lead generation, market entry, marketing, pipeline, sales
Working with technology start-ups constantly challenges the status quo. At Citrus Tree Consultants we ask the five questions below before deciding to work with a client:
- Are you disruptive?
Is your offering unique enough to remove the incumbent? Is it a new way of thinking that leaves your competitors scrambling to catch up? Are you the Uber or AirBnb of your vertical and sector?
- Are you scalable?
Can you grow quickly and effortless without having to invest in infrastructure that will cause delays in your race to market. Again, Uber owns no taxis and AirBnb owns no rental inventory (although that has recently changed).
- Are you borderless?
Can you move your product or service across the globe with minimal logistical effort and with no bureaucratic burden? Facebook is a very good example of this.
- Are you innovative?
Can you deliver your offering at a fraction of the price of your competitors due to technological innovation.
- Is it fun?
With the above in mind, if your current sales strategy cannot adapt to this criteria, a re-alignment of strategy and sales may need to be undertaken within your organisation. The points below will help guide you through this process.
Leverage consumer-type internet lead generation methods
In a business to business campaign you need to offer solutions that will add value to your customers and engage in a way that creates a relationship between you and your client. These activities include using such tools as HubSpot, to manage and generate web leads. Hubspot allows you to:
- Create and share email templates
- Automate outreach without being impersonal
- Track your entire pipeline
- Land more meetings
- Follow up flawlessly
Secondly, create on-site forms and key pages using pay-per-click (PPC) programs, organic search strategies and email campaigns that leverage keywords that lead to specific landing pages. From the landing pages, offer educational materials such as blogs, eBooks, white papers and webinars, or demos, product sheets, price quotes and ROI calculators for those further down the learning curve.
Score your customers through the buying cycle
Your customers, no matter what the product complexity or price point, are highly inclined to self-educate and conduct extensive research before completing the sales engagement. It’s important to understand where in the lead generation cycle your customer is. There are three steps in closing a sale, capture their interest, educate and nurture them to a buying signal, then deliver that lead to sales.
Throughout these four steps follow the BANTER score to identify where to focus your energy to get your prospective customer to the next stage.
B – Budget – do they have the budget to work with you?
A – Authority – do they have the authority to spend the budget?
N – Need – do they have the need for your services?
T – Timeliness – do they have an urgent need or is it a planning/process decision that could take 36 months to go through the system (e.g. preferred supplier process for large corporate versus almost instantaneous for owner/operator).
E – Evaluate – do we have certain obligations to make the decision-making process easier, do they have upsell opportunities we can quote on. Evaluate the current landscape and move forward.
R – Roles/Responsibility – do they require escalation for approval? Do we need to put energy into multiple layers of an organisation to get approval?
(For more on the BANTER model see this blog.)
An inbound lead will have been typically self-educated about the solution and have an established mind-set. Thus, you need to be ready to respond to more detailed product questions and more competitively framed questions.
Focus on old school selling
Once a lead has been generated your first approach should be primarily over the phone. Follow up using a remote meeting tool such as Webex, , Go-to-Meeting JoinMe or AppearIn. A face-to-face meeting comes much later in the sales cycle and only when required by the client.
Your sales process should have a two-tier structure. The first tier is an outbound lead generation team calling warm or cold lists. The second tier is an inbound lead qualification team responding to inbound interest, most frequently from phone, email or web leads. If you are a start-up you may be conducting both these tiers yourself, always be sure which tier you’re working in and apply the BANTER rules.
An important next step in generating a sale typically starts with a demo. A primary internal metric for your sales success is a contact-to-call ratio, where a contact is measured by a ‘conversation’ that takes place between you and a lead lasting longer than 45 to 60 seconds. The outcome of that ‘conversation’ is typically an appointment to undertake a demonstration.
Develop strong performance metrics to manage inside sales
Disruptive sales is an ‘endurance sport’. You may be familiar with the sales technique known as the ‘20 Mile March’. This originated from Ronald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott’s quest to be the first to reach the South Pole. The ‘20 Mile March’ comes from the winner of the race, Amundsen’s, methodical, disciplined consistent approach to march 20 miles each day no matter how good or bad the weather and conditions were. Amundsen’s approach applies the principles of SMaC – specific, methodical, and consistent.
Disciplines become routines, and when they do the habit becomes natural. That’s the value of establishing and practicing strategic discipline. Before long you have built an unconscious discipline that keeps your business in a continuous process of accepting and initiating change. It guarantees you will maintain and grow your business while navigating storms that periodically confront your industry. Two companies I founded, hairyLemon and the I.T. Team run and use this model daily to generate sales and achieve success. Define what constitutes your 20 mile march and apply the SMaC principles. Disruptive sales models work in cycles of day, weeks and months, not quarterly cycles.
Make your offering ‘available’
Give your customers the ability to try before they buy, or at the very least, give them a taste of what you are offering. This is especially true for SaaS applications and the companies I work with Hedgebookpro, Who’s On Location, Fluent IQ and Sky Dive Academy. The idea is to enable the prospect to ‘sample’ the benefits of your product in an environment where there is little friction in getting started on a free trial or in ordering the free version of your product.
Graham Dockrill is a sales and market entry strategist, specialising in aligning strategy and sales. Having studied at Harvard Business School, Graham works closely with SaaS companies to help them navigate the global market, establishing clients and growing sales.