Solving The Lead Generation Conundrum for SME’s and Start-Ups
An organization’s sales success is always a function of its sales team’s talent. However, that is easier said than achieved. Customers are wary of being cold called and this limits a sales person’s ability to reach out to interested prospects and qualified leads. Without good leads, sales people end up doing a lot of busy work but not necessarily productive work.
The Knowledgeable Customer
As per statistics1 put by research firm, SiriusDecisions – “67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally and online searches are an executives’ first course of action”. In effect, today, sales has been digitalized.
However, exploding the myths2 surrounding the 67% statistic, SiriusDecisions further explains that digitalization of sales doesn’t mean
- The customer is unwilling to talk to a salesperson before reaching more than halfway through the buying cycle
- Sales has to wait for the customer to find them online when they’re ready
- Digital marketing is only for customer education
In a previous era, marketing was enough to generate interest and therefore leads, but no more. With the information overload on the internet, marketing can no longer remain mass but has to be precisely targeted. In the current era, marketing has become digital and the concept of digital lead or demand generation has well and truly arrived.
It really is a no-brainer to use digitization of sales to one’s advantage rather than fight it. However, many companies, especially SMBs and start-ups struggle to implement a consistent lead generation system. Either because of available expertise, resources or budgets.
Either way they end up doing, what one would call, activity based marketing i.e. posts, blogs, videos, ads etc. across the social media landscape rather than outcome based marketing. The plethora of digital marketing service providers out there also feed the frenzy of internet marketing and propagating FOMO (fear of missing out) resulting in either lost resources or chasing low possibility leads. This leaves SMBs rightly confused and wary when they don’t get the results that they seek for the money that they spend.
Winning At The Sales Game
Building on the belief that Fractional Sales Management is one of the best alternatives to bring in the Sales Management Leadership necessary for SMBs and start-ups to ramp up sales, the starting point for good lead generation lies in creating a virtual sales engine (VSE). This is, in effect a digital sales mechanism that is highly process oriented, measurable and effective – built on a set of strategies focussed on executing better rather than stressing on being creative, generating steady marketing or sales qualified leads (MQL/SQL) that can be handed over to the field sales team to nurture and close.
The VSE mechanism comprises of the following stages, each with its own specific set of actions.
Creating a market outreach strategy that provides a target list relying on research that comprises identifying target markets, industries, organization size at the macro level and further deep diving into departments and designations that are best suited to hear about the particular product or service one is offering.
Creating content and messaging that counter business pain points with solution offerings, use cases, USP, case studies, ROI etc. as applicable which can feed the prospective clients’ need for education, nurturing interest or validation in the buying cycle.
Begin interactions with the target list derived in stage 1 with the content and messaging created in stage 2 in an organized manner following a specific and progressive schedule over time generating interest via an opt-in procedure, following through with information dissemination or response as per the prospect requests.
Lead qualification and appointment setting is the next step which is an important step in the qualification process that introduces for the first time a sales representative i.e. an inside sales person who interacts with the prospect leading the discussion with a series of qualification questions that qualifies the prospect based on budget, authority, need and timeline (BANT criteria) – leading to an appoint setting exercise that is handed over to the field sales team for follow up actions OR ends up being dropped/ or into a nurturing mode as a future prospect.
The Path To Success – Quick Start
Having understood the importance of sales digitalization it’s our recommendation that some thought go into creating an execution plan that takes into account current organizational capabilities and potential budgets.
It’s easy to think Do It Yourself (DIY) would work but while it likely is cheaper it would most probably come with a slow execution speed due to the lack of knowledge and expertise inequalities faced by SMBs. And one has to be wary of DIY becoming Do It Never (DIN) because the business owner is burdened with 25 other issues – all requiring his attention!
Another option would be to get someone to Do It For (DIF) you. It’s faster but expensive for obvious reasons. Also however, you would not own the process. So as long as one has weighed the pros and the cons. It’s a matter of choosing the right partner to outsource the activity.
However, as with Fractional Sales Management, you can choose to Do It With (DIW) i.e. engage with someone who can assist you to reach the next level together.
Do you want to grow your business ? Reach out to us for a 30-minute no obligation consultation for your unique needs.