I’m deliberately covering the various stages in the end-to-end B2B marketing, sales and delivery process. Your business may be stronger in some areas, but not as strong in others. You’ll know that maintaining a balance helps to avoid feast and famine, and reduces the knock-on wastage caused if one or more areas is under-performing. I appreciate that actually achieving balance is much more difficult though.
With that in mind, if one or two areas are weaker for you, then I hope at least one of the ideas below will resonate with you. If you find these helpful please share with others, and comment below.
The important thing is to take action, so most of the ideas should be actionable in about an hour, give or take.
And if I can help you to move forward with any of the ideas, with the actions to execute them, or help to identify opportunities for business and sales performance improvement then please get in touch, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via other channels.
1. Review your strategy and tactics to Attract potential buyers
In today’s climate it’s worth considering where in the buying cycle you want to attract or intercept potential buyers.
If you can intercept buyers at the end of the buying cycle, just before they commit to someone else, you may close a sales very quickly, which is beneficial to any business at the moment. A strategy and tactics to interrupt and disrupt a buying process is high risk, and can be incredibly challenging; to get in-front of people at this point, to cut across existing relationships, and internal thinking. Among the requirements it takes keen lead generation skills, a very compelling offer, and the ability to respond extremely quickly.
For me an example would be to intercept people who are about to get their website redesigned and rebuilt. I can offer an independent assessment to give people reassurance that a new website really is the best value for money spend within their sales funnel, that the brief they have developed will deliver the maximum return to the business, and they have made provision for generating traffic to the website, that lead capture is built in and lead follow-up is in hand. So often the investment in a new website is not recouped because there is a weak sales funnel strategy around it.
Someone in the middle of their buying cycle may be drawing up a short-list. They may be spending some time on websites of targeted suppliers, registering and downloading product data sheets and so-on.
Someone at the start of the buying cycle may not yet know what solution they want or need, but are investigating and researching based on the business needs that they want to achieve, using generic phrases such as ‘Lead Generation’ or ‘Increase Sales’.
If you need inspiration take a look at my article on Business Drivers for more insight.
Action: Put yourself in the shoes of people at ONE of these stages, and use a technique such as mind-mapping to jot down ideas about their thought process and the words and phrases that they may well be thinking.
2. Create an Information give-away to use to Engage potential buyers.
Information sheets written from the potential buyers perspective and containing valuable educational contact can be incredibly powerful marketing and sales devices, in this era of content marketing and search.
If it’s your first attempt then do Keep it Simple (KIS). Aim at a ONE page A4 sheet with your branding and contact details on it, along with the content. Make sure the content is on-message and consistent worth your value proposition. Ensure you include keywords and phrases appropriately especially if you will be putting it online, on your website or blog.
Perhaps you have some existing content you can re-purpose, or files on your computer that are just not quite ready to use yet, or an idea from some client or prospect contact this week. Creating a short slide presentation can be very effective. You can then load it onto Slideshare where it can be found. You can also add it as media to your LinkedIn profile.
With more experience and time to invest you might look at producing a white paper, a booklet, or investing time and money to increase the quality.
As an example, I created a one page example of Key Performance Indicators across a typical B2B Sales Funnel.
Visit the Goals, KPIs and measures page, scroll to the bottom, enter your details and download the sheet, to give you an idea of what you could start with.
Action: Re-purpose a slide presentation or create a 1 sheet checklist PDF that people can download from your LinkedIn profile.
3. Prepare the ground to do some more Nurture activity.
Nurturing contacts (Marketing Qualified Contacts) and creating opportunities (Sales Qualified Opportunities) is a vital part of the sales process. Whether this is a marketing or sales responsibility, or you do it as the business owner, depends on your circumstances. Key is to find a way to run a multi-touch lead nurture campaign over several weeks or months.
Action: Identify a group of 40-50 luke-warm prospects. Find a way to gather them together as a group – ideally on an email marketing system, or on your CRM, or wherever you keep their details. Having created the group you can send out the information give-away you created at the stage above, assuming it’s relevant. If not the create something of value that is.
4. Create a compelling reason for people to buy now.
Potential buyers may well be sitting on the fence, and need an incentive to go through the process of decision-making, rather than the easier option to delay and postpone. Create a compelling reason for people to buy now, and to put time and mental energy into the buying process.
Try to protect your price and your market position and reputation.
Rather than discounting, look for ways to sweeten the deal somehow to overcome resistance. Assuming they are genuinely going to benefit from what you are offering them, maybe you need to improve the cost:benefit balance either by increasing the value, or reducing the (overall) cost for the client. Or it might be the risk side holding them back, in which case look for an offer that will reduce the risk and increase the certainty of benefits. What objection do your potential customers have that’s holding them back?
As an example: My offer to you is that if you agree to take a Review and Action Plan within a week of contacting me I’ll spend an additional 20% of the time working with you to develop the idea and content for an information give-away that you can use subsequently. So, a 5 hour review gets a 6th hour for free. You can find details of the Review and Action Plan packages (for Social Media, Website, Email Marketing, CRM and Sales Funnel) on the Wurlwind Website, and on the Wurlwind Company page on LinkedIn.
Action: Fill in the contact form at the bottom of those pages, or email me at email@example.com and let’s start a conversation about improving your sales.
5. Challenge yourself to think of ideas that will improve Delivery by 20%.
Put yourself in the mindset of your mentor or role model, chairman or non-exec director. If they challenged you to improve delivery by 20% what could you do? How could you respond? Maybe this is looking for ways to add 20% to client benefit, or to cut your cost of delivery by 20%, or to cut the time to value for your customers by 20%.
Whichever way you look at it this could have a dramatic impact on your profitability.
For clarification, by Delivery I am refering to the period and process between when the customer places the order and when they receive the benefit.
If you deliver a tangible product its the sales order processing, pick, pack, dispatch, courier and receipt process, plus any ‘start-up’ time or delay, (for example if it’s software that needs to be learnt).
If you delivery a service there may be a time delay between the order and the service taking place (for example for Training or Consultancy), and maybe a time delay until the between commencement and completion.
Action: When you’ve thought of a great idea please add them as comments below.
6. Re-market, re-cycle and re-activate customers and lapsed contacts.
Like many businesses you’ve probably got a set of contacts who have not been spoken to or communicated with for a very long time – either by design or by accident. They might be customers who bought once upon a time but not since. They might be good customers and asking for a reference or referral is appropriate. Maybe you have a new product or service that you’d like to highlight to them.
Action: Look for new and interesting reasons to go back and talk to lapsed contacts, active and dormant customers. For example, what are you doing now that you weren’t doing a year ago? What does that mean in terms of customer benefit, pain-relief or gain? Have you won new customers or clients and does this create a bridge or connection opportunity with your lapsed contacts? Try to craft a message to use to re-connect with your old contacts. Add comments below if you have any really good ideas that you’d like to share.
I hope you have found this issue of Funnel Friday interesting. If you’d like to receive similar strategies, techniques and tips sign-up below and keep an eye out on Friday.
Have a great week.