Many companies have observed there to be a correlation between giving Webinars to prospects and closing sales. But correlation is not causation. And so when they try to scale up their lead generation program to drive more Webinars, they often find that their close rate goes down precipitously, while their marketing costs soar.
What's going on? More/Less
Very often, a company in its early stages will market their products through a variety of methods, including personal selling, advertising and networking. And as part of the sales process, they'll often conduct a Webinar with their prospects as a way of demonstrating their features and benefits. Many of those prospects (in fact, often all of them) will close successfully. So when the company has the resources to scale up their marketing by adding cold calling, or even other methods like pay-per-click, they'll often include conducting a Webinar as a required step in the process. And then their close rate falls off a cliff.
The reason this happens, it turns out, is that the Webinar was not actually required. Yes, it's a convenient way to tell prospects about features and benefits. But what drove the sale was actually what took place before or after the Webinar: the relationship building, the uncovering of needs, or even the particular way in which the leads were generated.
I can't tell you the number of times I've heard owners or salespeople say, "Just get me in front of a prospect, and I can close them." After so many of them insisted that all we needed to do was set up Webinars, and after so many of those leads failed to convert, we realized that this was a classic case of "killing turkeys causes winter."
What makes this problem especially bad, though, are the time and money wasted setting up Webinars that don't ultimately happen, and the frustration of salespeople chasing unqualified leads.
If you can set aside the content of his message, one could argue that what Donald Trump did in order to get elected was straight out of the Marketing 101 textbook. More/Less
While you may not agree with his politics, his campaign is right out of Marketing 101.
If your company operates in the business-to-business sector today, you probably have a marketing problem. This is because virtually all of the promotional tools available today are either optimized for consumer product companies, or they’re so expensive or ineffective that only the biggest or best-funded competitors in your industry can afford them. Data mining, however, can level the playing field, and provide a cost-per-lead that is at least an order-of-magnitude lower than traditional methods. More/Less
While it has virtually destroyed many traditional advertising media like print and trade advertising, the Internet has seemingly provided the B2B business with a vast new ecosystem in which to get its message out. Unfortunately, with now 15+ years of experience under our belts, most B2B business owners have come to the conclusion that the Internet is mostly just a “siren song,” often leading to nothing more than disaster in the market.
Read the rest of the article here
Cold calling is the fastest, most effective and least expensive way to find new business - if you know what you're doing. Not coincidentally, the process of creating an effective cold calling program also enables you to develop more effective marketing, pricing, sales and new product development programs, as well. More/Less
"B2B Cold Calling" ($9.95) provides you with a step-by-step guide for developing an effective cold calling program that will enable you to generate more, and more qualified sales leads, ones that lead to more sales, increased market share and greater profitability.
A 12/28/15 report on Business Insider here quoted a Goldman Sachs report on Capital Expenditures' failure to rise with the recovery. Explanations include companies' willingness to "make do" with what they have, the weakness of oil prices, and the preference of buying back shares to boost share value. But their conclusion is that it isn't going to get any better any time soon. More/Less
As you can see in the full chart above, almost every B2B sector (the sizes of which are reflected by the widths of the bars,) are predicted to decline 2014 - 2017 (with the magnitudes reflected by the heights of the bars.) Only software, tech hardware, and semiconductors are predicted to grow. Healthcare, autos, transportation, food retail, capital goods, telecom, utilities, real estate, materials, energy, and oil services Capital Expenditures are all expected to shrink. If you're selling into any of these sectors, your market is shrinking. And the only thing you can hope to do is take share from someone else. There's no rising tide to lift all ships.
This is reinforced by another analysis they did back in November, which shows capital expenditures falling from a high of 40% of corporate cash usage in 2009 down to 29% expected in 2016! If you sell into a B2B market, you have not recovered from the recession!
This clearly explains the lack of hiring in the industry. It also shows that the industry is a circular firing squad, since many of the companies that are cutting Capex are themselves beneficiaries of it.
But for those of you who are on the front lines, what can you do about it? Again, this is a classic case of needing to unhook your competitors if you're going to make any money. How? Call us if you want to know.
What do you do when revenue falls flat or slips below acceptable levels? More/Less
Sometimes we don’t see the crisis, sometimes we pretend that it’s not happening or we just hope / imagine that things will somehow get better. It’s at times like this, when things get tough, you can hide your head in the sand or you can get going. When revenue objectives aren’t being met and business begins to slow, a business can mobilize its resources and grab more market share and beat revenue objectives. By focusing and going after new clients, by finding more “low hanging fruit” faster and by jumping in the middle of opportunities that your competition are already working on and come out better for it.
Most businesses have a host of contingency plans covering fires, injuries, client resolution, lawsuits, continuity, IT, credit, etc. They have plans for cost reduction, asset liquidation and establishing lines credit with suppliers and financial institutions. But most don’t have a rapid client acquisition plan in case of low sales numbers.
The fact is that having more paying clients translates directly into earning more revenue. Increasing sales quickly is the premise behind LeadGen’s Accelerated Client Acquisition Program (ACAP). ACAP ensures that your Client Acquisition Strategy or your Client Acquisition Management Plans have a rapid response for when things start heading South. Whether you have an overall plan in place or not, ACAP can prevent your business from experience any type of shrinkage or unnecessary debt acquisition by making sure you have the resources in place that quickly bring in new clients.
If you want to make sure that your business has an effective ACAP make sure that at the very least you’ve:
1. Identified complimentary lead generation service providers
2. Have access to and knowledge of use of lead barter sites
3. Ensure that non-essential employees are trained to effectively cold call
So an ACAP is kind of a standard operating procedure (SOP) that you want to use when revenue begins to drop below acceptable norms.
By ensuring that you have identified, qualified and communicated with a lead generation service provider you’ll save yourself weeks and months and maybe even years of on-boarding, training, program development and logistics efforts. By implementing ACAP when things are “good” you will have the upper hand in the negotiation, and leave you less vulnerable to choosing a poor partner.
Lead barter sites enable to trade your needs for other businesses’ leads. Getting access to good lead barter sites and learning how use them can prevent you from suffering a downturn and will more than likely generate more revenue at far less cost than traditional marketing methods. www.leadgenerator.com is a free lead barter site.
A really shrewd strategy to make the most of it when implanting APAC is to use your non-essential employees to cold call new prospects. If you want to use this trick make sure that you’ve given the best fastest training you can. A well trained person with a half decent communication skills can accomplish more in a work week that an entire SOE campaign that could cost 10s of thousands of dollars. Here is a free cold calling training course.
We at LeadGen.com are cold calling experts. Let us know if you’d like to talk about our services and see if we are a good partner when you need one. Give us a call or email us and someone would be glad to have that initial conversation with you.
It's very simple. If there's a gap between "where you are" and "where you want to be" with respect to your company's sales, you need to change what you're doing. More/Less
To be sure, whether you have a stretch objective that you're trying to reach, or are simply struggling to survive, doing the same thing over and over again - if it isn't moving the needle - isn't going to get you there.
The problem may be that your objectives themselves (i.e. "where you want to be") are unrealistic; in which case you may need to change how you come up with your objectives. Or it may be that something's holding you back. But if there's a gap between where your sales are and where you want them to be, LeadGen.com has the Strategic Market Planning experience, tools and solutions to close the gap, and get you where you want to be. Fast.
Marketing Is More Than "Marketing Communications"
Along with Operations and Finance, Marketing is one of the core functions of your business. But "Marketing" is a lot more than advertising or marketing communications. (In fact, those are merely promotional tactics that are implemented as part of a much broader Strategic Market Plan.) True marketing - or strategic marketing planning - includes deciding what markets to go after, and how to go after them. It therefore includes everything from sales management, coaching and recruiting, to new product development, positioning, channel management, lead generation, competitive strategies, application design, pricing and more. If you truly want to close your sales gap, you have to take a look at your whole sales and marketing plan.
At LeadGen.com we pioneered the development of Strategic Market Planning as a tool for growth [see MOD]. We're also not a one-trick-pony. Whether you need to penetrate new markets or develop old ones, LeadGen.com can help.
The Strategic Market Planning Process
Closing a gap requires a little discipline, and a little flexibility. You need the textbook and experience, research and intuition, traditional tools and innovation. And at LeadGen.com, we bring it all. We're not afraid to get our hands dirty by going out in the field with your reps to see what's happening either, or talking to your prospects to find out why they're not buying from you. And we have available almost every marketing and sales solution you could possibly need. In short, we'll do whatever it takes to get you to where you need to be.
- Situation analysis: identify the revenue gap between your goals and results
- Identify information gaps to be filled, and fill them
- Identify process gaps, shortfalls and barriers to success, root cause analysis
- Strategic options analysis
- Results, conclusions and recommendations
- Continuous improvement
Fixing Sales Problems Fast, and Permanently
We're also adherents of John Boyd's O-O-D-A approach (observe, orient, decide and act) as a means of gaining both tactical and strategic advantage. This means we take an "agile" approach that doesn't waste time, or sometimes even produce a binder.
We know the clock is ticking, the calendar is turning, and competition (and the bank, for that matter) aren't going to let up. So if you need more sales this quarter, we can bring them in. And if you need to take your business to the next level over the next year, we can make that happen, too.
For now, though, the only thing you need to know is that closing your gap starts with one phone call - to LeadGen.com.
Success in B2B Sales and Marketing isn't rocket science. But despite the fact that many people have been successful without a degree, it is a science. That is, there are axioms, theories, data and formulas that govern the behavior of competitors, customers and markets. And some people understand them intuitively, and then there are the rest of us. Read this note to find out what you need to know to be successful.
If part of your job is to find new sales opportunities, then you already know that the telephone is the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal - if you know how to use it. This LeadGen.com training course on Cold Calling for Professionals will teach you everything you need to know in order to be successful on the phones. More/Less
Everyone says that "cold calling is dead," but everyone's wrong. They either don't know what they're doing, or they're peddling some other solution. We've been setting appointments for our B2B clients for over 20 years. And the fact is that, if you know what you're doing, cold calling can be easy, fun and very profitable. For only $49.95, LeadGen.com's 300+ slide online Cold Calling for Professionals course will teach you everything you need to know in order to build an effective program so you can get in the door, find new sales, and win!
The Lead Generator from LeadGen.com is like a "dating site" - except it's for businesses who want to sell their products/services, and reduce their purchasing costs. You basically trade access to your needs for access to other users' needs, and get FREE sales leads in the process!
Click here to get started.
The Ansoff Matrix was developed in 1957 by Igor Ansoff to help businesses better understand their opportunities for growth. It identifies four possible product-market strategies: Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development and Diversification. The attached worksheet is designed to help you do the analysis.
Let me start by saying that this isn’t a “how to” guide, nor is this intended to provide a set of “tricks of the trade.” Rather, this is simply a collection of cold calling best practices to help you improve your success rate. More.
Of the 20 million or so businesses in the US, the vast majority do not want to grow beyond their current size, according to a 2011 study by Erik Hurst and Benjamin Pugsley of the University of Chicago. Are you one of them? Or would you like to ease your fears of doing better? Click here.
Case histories are extremely powerful and effective sales aids. But if you do them wrong, you could end up wasting months of time and tens of thousands of dollars. Read more here.
To virtually everyone with whom we've spoken about the concept, the rationale for LeadGen.com seems to be both simple and compelling. By using a "one-stop-shop" for all of your B2B marketing and sales needs, you can save a tremendous amount of time and money, dramatically reduce your risk and headaches, and significantly improve your sales results.
Why this is the case is the subject of today's blog entry. More/Less
To understand what a "one-stop-shop" can do for your B2B marketing and sales program, it helps to start by considering the basic nature of the B2B market. For example, unlike consumer markets that tend to be responsive to mass marketing techniques, B2B markets are much more responsive to direct marketing. This is simply because decision makers in B2B tend to focus primarily on doing their jobs, and spend little, if any, time engaging with the media. And so a one-stop-shop that emphasizes tools used in direct marketing and direct sales is going to naturally be advantaged over one that doesn't.
In addition, decisions in B2B tend to be far more rational (for example, based on ROI) than those in consumer markets, where emotional appeals tend to be more effective. And so a one-stop-shop that knows how to tie together economic or technical arguments with promotional and sales expertise is similarly going to be more effective.
But it is the B2B marketing and sales processes themselves that virtually demand the kind of integration that only a one-stop-shop can offer. Specifically, if you consider the basic marketing and sales process in B2B (below, or in more detail here), it's clear that there are specific efficiencies, and opportunities for qualitative improvements - both vertically and horizontally in the process - that only a one-stop-shop can enable, and that a multi-vendor (or even specialty vendor) approach can't possibly achieve without an extremely high level of coordination and expense.
You can begin to see where attention to the entire sell cycle (which is what you get with a one-stop-shop) can be advantageous if you consider a typical B2B marketing/sales process, such as the following:
For example, if the benefits that drive prospects to close successfully can also spark initial interest as part of your lead generation program, that's always a good thing. And any competent Marketing Manager can make it happen. But what if those benefits can't stimulate initial interest? What if the attribute that stimulates initial interest is wildly different from your basic value proposition? How would you even know? How would you ever even see it if you didn't have responsibility, or at least a view, over the whole process?
You can't. Unless you have a partner who can.
Another problem is that of lead qualification, where - often - Marketing produces leads that Sales doesn't consider to be qualified. The traditional response is Lead Scoring. But most salespeople find lead scoring to be akin to "putting lipstick on a pig." Only if the marketing program has accountability for sales results - which only an integrated approach with a one-stop-shop vendor can provide - can you even begin to solve the problem.
But ultimately, the issue that drives business owners to a one-stop-shop approach is the problem that, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". That is, without a one-stop-shop, the solution that the vendor recommends isn't necessarily going to be the best solution for you. It's just the best solution he has to offer.
A quick story - literally from a meeting I had yesterday (although this happens all the time) - illustrates the point. Specifically, I received a call from an insurance brokerage that was interested in our lead generation services. During our conversation I asked if they had a CRM, and the Marketing Director explained that she was in the process of trying to find one. She was dismayed at all the options, though, and the cost, and especially at the prospect of implementing it. This is because it involved some customization, and they had a big issue around integration with their Account Management system. But she was meeting with different vendors, and was hoping that one of them would be able to come up with a solution soon.
So I asked if I could take a look at her Account Management system. And after poking around for a few seconds, I could clearly see that they had a very functional CRM embedded in it that they had just never used.
Ask yourself: Would the CRM vendors to whom she was talking have ever done that? Of course, not. But a one-stop-shop would - because they don't need to sell a CRM, they need to solve the customer's problem. And that's a major difference that can't easily be replicated elsewhere.
Or how about the case where an IT company asked us to do some telemarketing for them. Looking at their budget though, it was clear that outsourcing was going to break the bank. Instead we showed them how we could recruit a team for them to do it in-house, with LeadGen.com providing coaching and support by phone (because we understood what kind of business they were looking for). Within a month we had their department up-and-running, and productive. And their cost-per-lead is 70% less than they had originally budgeted.
Or consider the case where we were asked to find new business for a consulting company. They had closed a number of deals on the strength of their personal contacts, but were unable to grow beyond. Only after we developed a package of case histories, sales aids and a Web site, and researched a viable target list, were we able to go-to-market for them, and bring them the new business they were looking for.
Would the company that built their original Web site have been able to do that? (No, because they don't write case histories or make phone calls.) Would their PR firm have been able to do that? (No, because they don't build Web sites or research lists.) Would their list vendor have been able to do that? (No, because they don't do market research or build Web sites.) In fact, if all we did was telemarketing we couldn't have helped. But a one-stop-shop, one that understood their business and how to market it, could.
The tens of thousands of dollars saved, just in these three examples, is barely a fraction of what a one-stop-shop can do for the typical B2B business. And, in fact, the economics and strategic advantages are so compelling that we've been able to attract some of the leading solution providers in B2B to the cause. Why? Because they want to do the right thing, too.
You could argue, of course, that looking across your marketing and sales programs is what a consultant is supposed to do. But there are several problems with the consulting option. First, it adds a significant cost to the program, even if some of it is on the back-end. Second, the issue is not "what's the right thing to be doing?" The issue is "actually doing (or implementing) the right thing." That is, giving advice is easy. Getting something done, and having it be the right thing, is what you're really after. And third, of course, is that no matter how big is the consultant's network of referrable solution providers, it is rarely big enough, and the vetting is opaque.
So, if you have a challenge in the B2B market, you have a choice. You can try to find someone with just the right hammer, or you can call a one-stop-shop. Who do you think is better equipped to solve your problem?
The magazine, Agency Sales, is one of the biggest journals that covers the Manufacturers Rep business. They ran an article where they interviewed four experts on what makes the agency-principal relationship work, and then spent 1/3 of the space, starting on page 14, quoting our comments on the issue. The point we were making was that these relationships tend to be pretty simple: If your Business Plans line up, you can work through most problems. If they don't, then there's nothing you can do to fix it. Download it here.
As we launch this new venture, we'll use this space to update you on our activities, and offer insights and solicit opinions on B2B sales and marketing issues. If you have anything to say, feel free to comment. If it's insightful, it'll get posted.