While there’s a lot of optimism around today’s economy, we talk with prospects every single day who have struggled to see the real impact in 2017. Today we’ll look at 2 of the major reasons for that struggle, and offer some suggestions on how to improve both your marketing and sales results in 2018.
We see 2 major factors coming into play, and we showcase some specific tips and options below:
- Active pipeline deals are stalling out
- The active pipeline isn’t being replenished at a rate that can drive consistent growth.
Overcoming challenges with deals that go cold
So often we hear stories about technical buyers being really enthusiastic about our prospect’s solutions. Then …. those buyers go quiet. Really quiet. Why? Well, most frequently, it means their budget for purchase wasn’t approved. If you’ve marketed your solution well from a feature/function standpoint, you’ve likely made an emotional connection with that technical buyer. Their disappointment in the lack of purchase approval leads to a very human reaction … they go quiet. They don’t want to talk about how much more challenging their work is without your solution, and they often don’t have a good answer as to when things may change in the budgeting process.
Not meeting enough people in the buying team – So often we see technical sellers focusing on the highest level resource who will manage and drive their solution if the purchase goes through. There can be a natural reluctance from your sales reps to network farther into the organization to develop rapport with different contacts involved in the decision making process, particularly the economic buyer for the solution. These discussions take on a different tone, there is less exuberance for features, and far more care about cost. It’s a challenge for sales representatives to make that pivot, and if not pushed to do so, they frequently fall back to the comfort zone of simply working through the more technical buyer. Unfortunately, not building good rapport and engagement with the economic buyer is precisely why deals are likely to go cold without much warning. At it’s core, this is a central principal to Account Based Marketing.
Our Right Offer Workshop helps build a blueprint for future campaigns that embrace value centric messaging.
Not enough “value” in the deal to get it approved – The first members of the buying team are eager and excited to discuss the features and functions of your product. However, the economic buyer, frequently part of the prospect’s core leadership team, isn’t convinced and rather than approving your sale, they decide to put things on hold. Why is this happening? Well, there can be several reasons for it to happen, but most frequently, it falls to a point where your team hasn’t done an adequate job of showcasing business value and ROI that your solution can bring to the prospect organization. Does your organization utilize value based messaging and offers? Are those concepts ingrained in both your marketing *and* sales communications? If you’re not taking the time to show your prospects how they specifically can realize the value benefits your solution provides, they don’t walk away with a vision of success and instead stay focused on cost.
Column fodder leads – If your leads and appointments aren’t properly qualified, you may be filling your sales funnel with deals that don’t have high odds of closing. This leads to challenges with forecasting and causes your key sales resources to lose time chasing lower propensity opportunities. Our best recommendation here is to ensure that your marketing and inside sales teams are working hard to properly qualify opportunities before passing to your sales team. Be progressive and active in market (both digitally and via phone), promoting solution awareness and building rapport to drive new leads that aren’t already in the market and have moved on to shopping on price. Being the first into any prospect gives you a significant advantage in terms of shaping future purchases to align with your organization’s strengths. It’s hard to be the first into a prospect if you’re waiting for someone to find you and raise their hand.
Integrated campaigns that drive real pipeline growth
Sometimes, organizations just aren’t driving a strong enough lead stream into their funnel. With a strong digital and SEO presence, great customer and industry reviews, and solid PR, your firm can be doing wonderfully with inbound interest. However, you’re frequently catching the people who are already looking. This means that you’re stepping into an immediate fight to position your solution as optimal for your prospect.
Build a strong digital presence – Make sure your organization is visible for the solution you provide, the industries you specialize in, and the benefits you offer. This enables you to catch people who are actively in market …. but it also gives you the launching pad for better performing campaigns, where you create the solution awareness and drive the initial interest, your strong web presence simply provides the framework with which to catch those newly interested prospects.
Use multiple mediums for communication – Too often we see firms over relying on single communication mediums when marketing. When you put all of your communications in 1 silo, prospects are far less likely to notice important information, updates, and offers. Example: For a recent large client, an event was being promoted digitally for several months, however, engagement and sign ups were low. With phone-based outreach to their partner channel, Frantz Group drove a huge spike in awareness, engagement, and participation in the event. Why? People simply get too much email, and aren’t real focused on messages as they read through their inbox. By combining voicemails and conversations with the email outreach, visibility and engagement go up. People become more aware of the specific communication you’re providing and the relevant content within. This increases overall engagement, and in the context of technology lead generation, helps drive and shape that early engagement that leads to a more successful sales process.
Getting too “salesy” with your messaging – It’s important to be perceived as helpful and insightful to your prospects. Be sure to blend multiple types of messages, occasionally call someone to invite them to an event, or introduce a helpful whitepaper. Don’t rely on simply requesting appointments … your prospects just don’t have the time to keep those appointments if they don’t have a real reason to participate.
Adding new tactics, but not integrating them – It can be very tempting to respond to offers that promise quick results that don’t distract from your existing marketing operations and strategy. However, if you’re not properly leveraging top digital positioning in your outbound message, alongside helpful emails, supporting content on your home page, engaging and personable voicemails, along with remarketing programs to help promote specific solutions, benefits, case studies, and new events/content, you’re missing a massive opportunity to drive better and more consistent results. Integrating your messaging through the entire sales and marketing process is essential to driving leads that have a better chance of closing the first time through your pipeline.
Want to learn more about driving better results in 2018? Contact us today, or give us a call at 800-707-0064.