First an insight into what this post is about…why do so many companies employ new business development execs when they have no clear new business development strategy in place? By non strategy we mean the age old ‘here’s a yellow pages, start at A and get phoning’ mentality which is seen time and time again in many B2B companies to try and generate new sales. Many companies have sizeable sales teams, business development execs, telesales execs etc but who’s creating leads for them and actually generating business opportunities? We don’t mean of the cold variety, brought about by haranguing unsuspecting targets who are most probably not the right person in the first place. We mean buyers that are in the market to purchase, know your brand and see trust and value in what you offer, that’s where marketing can help.
Brand awareness – is the company investing long term in making those companies and individuals that may want to buy their products aware of who they are and what they sell? Having no idea what you do isn’t the best start to any new sales conversation.
Targeting – do you actually know anything about who the individuals (not the company) that buy your product are, how they buy and what influences their decision? Research into this will help build a clear proposition to sell and give some guidance into whom they should go after and how. It’s a common misconception in B2B sales that it is the company as an entity that buys a product or service, yes the company funds the purchase but it can be one or many individuals who collectively decide to buy from you.
Messaging – are the team using a consistent message when they sell (presuming they’ve been trained on how to sell) and reaching prospects through the right mediums, be it digital or offline. Plus do they have good valuable content to issue rather than just a price list or scrappy old brochure? Plus can they actually close the business once they get the lead?
Tracking – do they have the right tools and technology to ensure a timely follow up of all opportunities over a period of time? Without a decent CRM system in place to help support this its reliance on spreadsheets and diary reminders at best to remember to follow up which is never going to be reliable or insightful into what’s working or not.
These pointers are just a starting point alongside a variety of digital and automation marketing techniques that can be added to the mix. You never know, leads may even come inbound to you rather than running a mile up the M62 to get away from you.
As an added bonus in this post a few definite things to avoid; don’t buy data – it never once works from all the times we’ve seen it used, don’t forget to keep training and developing employees and don’t drive a brick wall between the business development/sales and marketing teams as they need to work closely together and try to be one happy family!
In summary it should never be easier to break a yellow pages strategy given how thin they are these days, if they still exist, but the point is A-Z cold calling tactics get very little response at best. New business development teams need support and structure in generating opportunities to close and guess who may be best at working with them in that role?