Nothing happens until someone sells something. ~ Henry Ford
Leads are the life blood of all companies. Without leads, you can’t then actually sell. This quote above by Mr. Ford is as true today as when he first uttered those words – “Nothing happens until someone sells something”.
So, it’s natural to put focus, money and time into looking to drive leads to your company. Early in the year, there is pressure to get off to a good start, so we jump right in with an SEO/SEM (search engine optimization / search engine marketing) campaign and/or push our sales teams into making calls to “drive the business.”
While well intentioned, these efforts rarely produce little to any results. We suggest you take a bit of time and have good answers to these questions before you jump in:
1. Know who YOU are: Too often, we engage with customers who can’t explain who they are, what makes their solution or products valuable, nor articulate why a customer should buy from them.
So stop right here: before you can take sales to the next level, you need to be able to answer who you are, what makes you unique to the marketplace and why customers should engage your company/why they should care.
2. Understand who your ideal customers are: We this hear all the time: Our solution/product is so cool that everyone is our client. That’s all well and good, but we will introduce another of our favorite quotes: “if you aim to be all things to all people, you will end up being nothing to no one.”
Instead, build campaigns around customers that are most likely to buy. If you pick up business with companies outside your ideal customers, that’s fine. Just don’t spend your valuable time targeting them.
3. Recognize what resonates with your customer: Here is where we often see our clients confuse what’s important to their customer (this is the important part of the equation!) with what’s important to them (i.e. the business supplying the product/service).
Just because YOU think it’s cool, innovative, or simply terrific doesn’t mean your customers will agree. Take the time to talk to them and ask what’s important, so you can learn what is most likely to capture the attention of a prospect.
4. Assess your team’s ability to drive leads: You may have the best group of account executives this side of the Mississippi, but in most cases they aren’t able to pick up a phone or send an email that will generate any new business.
And that is absolutely fine. Most good Account Executives don’t make good Sales Development Representatives – these are two completely sets of skills. If you’re in this situation, look to a good lead generation (appointment setting) company that can fill this gap and drive qualified business leads your way.
5. Be prepared to measure results: Once you’ve completed the above 4 steps, don’t forget to measure success. You should have in place a good CRM (customer relationship management system – learn more about it in another of our ECS blogs here!) that’s taking in information and reporting back on the key metrics that drive your company. Without the ability to measure success, you won’t know what’s working or where you can make improvements to get better results.
Not sure where to start to improve your sales, or are you stuck along the way? Reach out to us and we’d be happy to share with you our best practices and talk to you about how to get to the next step in the process:
Maureen Tucker – VP Business Development – VSA – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Morrow – Managing Partner – ECS – email@example.com