In the increasingly competitive market today, connecting with leads can be challenging for BDRs. Often, the difference between a successful cold call (one that ends in setting an appointment) and an unsuccessful one is as simple as how efficiently the Business Development Rep (BDR) can talk with prospects. Often, BDRs are the first people that prospects will interact with during the purchasing process, meaning that their training must be a top priority for any Sales Enablement program.
Keep in mind that most companies hire junior-level people to work as BDRs, who then have to talk business with people who are necessarily senior-level decision makers. Unfortunately, many BDRs simply don’t have the experience to lead effective conversations with senior-level decision makers and they struggle to engage them enough to want to meet with Sales.
As the first contact between your company and leads, it’s important that BDRs are educated enough on current business topics relevant to your prospects’ industries to have meaningful and efficient conversations with them. Sales Enablement programs can craft BDR training packs that’ll give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The following will cover the three most important types of content Sales Enablement should include in BDR packs.
BDR Training Content #1: Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. Intimate knowledge about the target industry is the first step in crafting compelling reasons as to why the product is relevant and to have meaningful connections with leads.
Industry Briefs in BDR packs should describe the:
Industry at large
Basis of Competition
When Sales Enablement gives BDRs this solid, broad basis of information, they will empower them to have interesting and helpful interactions with the leads they connect with. A knowledgeable and well-trained BDR can ultimately foster trust with your company and encourage leads to talk with Sales.
BDR Training Content #2: Persona Profiles
With the industry already in mind, Sales Enablement should also focus BDR training on the specific personas they’ll be reaching out to. That way, BDRs can come from a place of familiarity with a prospect’s industry while also connecting with them on a more personal level. Sales Enablement programs can give BDRs the focused and relevant information on each of the target persona types that will allow them to make more meaningful personal connections with leads, thereby increasing their willingness to talk with Sales.
Persona Profiles in BDR packs should describe the persona’s:
This information, in conjunction with a more broad familiarity with the lead’s industry, will give BDRs the insights to connect more efficiently with leads. In a market where buyers are becoming increasingly difficult to reach (especially over the phone), Sales Enablement’s efforts in this area will boost appointment set rates.
BDR Training Content #3: Discovery Call Guides
With the above background information in place, the next important step for Sales Enablement programs is to equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Discovery Call Guides can boost the efficacy of BDR training packs by giving BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales.
Discovery Call Guides in BDR packs should give them:
Strategies to open calls professionally
Key messaging to use
Opening questions that will quickly qualify leads
Tactics to lead conversations to appointments with Sales
Voicemails to leave if applicable
A recent study found that BDRs who asked 11-14 questions on a call had over 70% success rates, whereas those who had less suffered up to a 30% lower success rate. Having the right training can make a surprising difference in whether or not your BDRs book appointments. Discovery call guides are vital to standardizing and optimizing how BDRs engage leads over the phone.
Effective BDR training packs can empower relatively inexperienced BDRs to stand out in today’s competitive business environment. Quickly making solid and personalized connections with leads over the phone is an important way to set appointments with Sales, and Sales Enablement can dramatically increase BDRs’ effectiveness in this role through optimized BDR training packs. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training, click here.
According to research from Gartner, only 6% of chief sales officers (CSOs) report that they are extremely confident in their team’s ability to meet or exceed their revenue goals. This means that for the vast majority of sales leaders, reaching revenue growth targets is a high-priority challenge.
At the same time, the B2B purchasing process has changed entirely in the digital era. To stay competitive, companies must adapt and keep up with their dynamic customer bases. But how can companies do this, as their buyers navigate the digital world on their own terms?
To answer this question, here are five factors affecting revenue growth that will elevate your company to the next level.
Factor 1: Choose the Right Market Focus for Revenue Growth
First and foremost, choosing the right market focus for your company is the single most important factor impacting your revenue growth. It’s the keystone of your marketing and sales activities; the one crucial element that can make or break your revenue growth.
Simply put, a well-chosen and narrow market focus can result in millions of dollars in the sales pipeline. Not only that, but you will see more high-quality leads each month. Of all of the five factors, this segmentation and focus has the greatest potential to increase or decrease your revenue growth from the previous period.
So, how does this work? A narrow target market empowers you to focus on excelling in a specific area. You can develop in-depth knowledge of your target market that would be impossible to develop otherwise. Consequently, this specialized knowledge increases efficacy and boosts the number of high-quality leads generated by your marketing efforts.
Factor 2: The Sales Process Is the Buyer’s Process
Next, the old sales process is out of date. The tactics that may have worked in the past—like cold calls and mass email marketing campaigns—are quickly becoming obsolete.
To be clear, today’s buyers spend only 5% of their time with a given sales representative during the purchasing process, on average. They spend more time researching solutions online, preferring to discover for themselves whether or not a vendor is well-suited to fulfill their needs.
But in the new buyer’s landscape, you must meet buyers on their terms. This involves creating highly individualized content to demonstrate what you have to offer your target market. To capture the attention of this new brand of buyers, sellers must align their sales and marketing processes with their buyer’s expectations and preferences.
Factor 3: Tightly Align Sales and Marketing for High Growth
To facilitate revenue growth, marketing has to be directly linked to sales outcomes. It’s not enough for marketing to simply generate brand awareness anymore. Marketing strategies must result in high-quality leads that are likely to start a conversation with sales.
To align sales and marketing, make sure that your sales goals are the motivation behind your marketing efforts. Uniting sales and marketing with a common goal will change the way you approach marketing. Read on to discover how to transform them from a cost center to a revenue generator:
Factor 4: Leverage Intelligent Sales & Marketing Data for Revenue Growth
How do you ensure that your marketing and sales departments are in alignment with the overwhelming amount of data present? Well, the answer is simple—use intelligent sales data to guide your strategies, rather than historical data and experience-based knowledge.
One goal of intelligent sales data is to keep your strategies as up-to-date as possible. You should be responding to industry changes and accommodating new buyer preferences in real-time, not years into the future. This makes intuitive sense—with historical data, you are responding to buyers’ past preferences and not their current needs. Intelligent sales data keeps your strategies cutting-edge. This will keep your company from falling behind.
As such, the targeted capabilities of intelligent data enables your sales team to more effectively speak to leads and prospects, increasing the likelihood of their conversion into buyers over time.
Factor 5: Importance of Managing Sales & Marketing Operations by Metrics
Additionally, you can’t fix what you can’t see. That’s what the final factor is all about—to successfully increase revenue growth, you must track the right metrics and use them to build effective strategies for sales and marketing.
To generate revenue growth at a faster rate than costs, companies should invest in tracking the performance of their marketing campaigns. And from Factor 3, we know that marketing is just as important—if not more important—than sales at generating leads and revenue growth.
Thus, using metrics to manage your strategies will provide you with an objective understanding of how your sales and marketing efforts are performing. The right metrics will expose where you can improve, where you’re already excelling, and everything in between. This is essential to increasing revenue growth.
Factor 1: Choose the Right Market Focus for Revenue Growth
Successful marketing isn’t about reaching the broadest audience possible—it’s about reaching the right audience for your company.
Let’s say you have a limited marketing budget, which means that you have to maximize the ROI of each dollar you spend. Without a defined target market, you will waste your resources reaching market segments that aren’t the right fit for your product.
Because of this, the real challenge is to target and reach customers who are most likely to convert into sales. You don’t want to waste your money on anything else.
By targeting a narrow market, you can increase your depth of understanding in a specific industry. So when you offer more individualized information that is relevant to potential customers, you stand out from the competition.
Remember, your goal is to get on the shortlist of vendors the buyer will contact. Buyers want to know that you can offer the right solutions for their specific pain points.
To do this, you’ll need to develop an in-depth understanding of your buyers. And not only do you need to understand their industry, but you also need to understand what motivates your buyers as individuals.
Also known as persona development, this process involves conducting thorough research to create a profile of the types of customers that are most likely to purchase your product.
Now, let’s solidify the concept of choosing a market focus with an illustrative case study.
Without a specific industry target, your marketing efforts could draw the attention of companies in any number of industries. Not all of these companies will be the right fit for your product.
In this instance, the client was a digital technology services provider that built digital capabilities for its clients. They provided services to any incoming request and did not target a specific industry. Even though company executives knew they had to focus on a specific industry sector to execute its outbound strategy, which one was the right one?
Well, we helped the client analyze its track record to determine which industries were the ideal targets. Then, we conducted in-depth industry research to narrow down the top industry that was worth targeting.
With one specific industry in mind, the next steps were to create content for this industry and generate targeted demand through email campaigns and phone prospecting.
As a result of this digital content strategy, the client generated 16 high-quality leads per month, increased name recognition, and brought 4 million dollars into the sales pipeline. This success story demonstrates the value of focusing your marketing efforts on a specific industry.
The Right Market Focus: Key to Success
With a narrow target market, you can develop your understanding of your target market to a greater degree. You can devote more of your resources to specializing in this industry, to refining your knowledge of their pain points, current and future challenges, and crucially, how your company and its services can help.
And there’s a reason that finding the right market focus is Factor 1—it’s the first thing companies should nail when developing a strategy for increasing revenue.
First, it will make your company stand out. Next, market focus increases the effectiveness of the following factors—starting with the buyer’s process in Factor 2.
Factor 2: The Sales Process is the Buyer’s Process
Does this story sound familiar? A salesperson blindly calls and emails through a list of contacts, hoping that someone will respond so he can convince them to schedule a meeting. On the off chance that he is successful, he will conduct the meeting as follows: First, he will tell the prospect all about himself. Then, he’ll ask the respondent about their company. Regardless of the response, he will then launch into selling his product.
This clunky, sales-centered approach is the old sales process that prioritizes the salesperson’s preferences. There’s a reason this process is ineffective—despite its name, the sales process is not really about the salesperson. Buyers aren’t interested in working on a salesperson’s schedule—they have their own priorities to fulfill, and they appreciate salespeople who anticipate and respond to their needs and work with their schedule.
So, calling it “the sales process” is a misnomer. Your focus should be on the buyer’s needs, desires, and timeline, making it more accurate to call it the buyer’s process.
To fully understand the buyer’s perspective along their journey toward making a purchase, let’s look at the purchasing process from their point of view.
The Buyer’s Process
Today’s buyers start with research. Once they recognize the problem that needs solving, a team member begins looking for answers online. They’ll comb through blogs, articles, industry reports, and other sources, all in search of the best possible solution to the problem at hand. Your job is to stand out amongst this crowded market and make it to the shortlist of vendors they will contact.
To stand out, your content must address exactly what your buyers are looking for. This is where your in-depth knowledge of your target market comes into play (as you already know from Factor 1).
Then, buyers make the crucial decision of whether or not to include your company on the shortlist based almost entirely on your content. So, you must ensure that your content is highly valuable, relevant to their needs, and surfaces on search results pages.
Personalized Content Fitted to the Buyer
Not only is it is an opportunity to demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge of the potential buyer’s needs at every stage of their journey, it is the key to standing out in a crowded market. This approach works with the buyer’s preferred process—conducting independent research—and provides them with useful information to substantiate their purchasing decision.
Ultimately, the key to building a successful marketing and sales strategy is to focus on what the buyer wants. Your focus on a single target market will shine through your content and encourage readers to set up a meeting. Now the question becomes—how do you ensure that the right people are finding your content? Read Factor 3 to find out.
Start with your revenue goal and work backward from there to determine the targets your sales and marketing efforts should strive to reach. This process will align sales and marketing in pursuit of a common goal: growing revenue.
To achieve this goal, marketing has to deliver the right kinds of leads. It’s not just about branding and spreading the word—it’s about finding highly motivated leads interested in purchasing the product you’re selling, capturing their attention, and nurturing them along the funnel toward sales.
Here is an infographic that illustrates the process of funneling prospects toward sales.
But for every highly qualified lead that is likely to convert into a sale, there are plenty of less-qualified leads who will find their way into your funnel. Maybe they’re students researching a project, or an HR manager creating a job description. Whatever the reason, they’ve come across your content, shared their contact information to download it, and are not at all interested in purchasing your product.
So as not to get stuck in the funnel, you should choose targeted keywords to filter out as many of these leads as possible, but you will probably still receive some low-quality leads. After that, it’s the marketing department’s job to sort through these leads and separate the promising ones from the rest.
To do this, automation is key. Your marketing department is busy with strategic high-level tasks, and separating leads manually is time-consuming. If you automate the process, you receive more of the job titles you want while minimizing the number of low-quality leads.
That’s why the ultimate goal is to streamline the lead generation process to deliver the highest quality leads possible to your sales team. To accomplish this, both departments must be on the same page in terms of their goals, progress, and how these indicators will be measured.
Factor 4: Leverage Intelligent Sales & Marketing Data for Revenue Growth
Since we have established how important marketing is, how can we quantify our findings? Traditionally, sales planning relied on account segmentation, driven by historical knowledge of the market rather than up-to-date facts. But things have changed.
But in a post-COVID-19 world, historical data may not be relevant at all. More importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have long-lasting effects on consumers and companies alike. Using outdated data to develop your sales strategy will leave you struggling to keep up with buyers’ needs in real-time.
Looking towards the future, experts predict that smarter, more responsible, and scalable AI will be key to growing revenue from sales in today’s world. Access to constantly updating information about your target markets and their industry trends will be essential to developing effective sales strategies.
And where exactly does this data come from? Automated sales and marketing tools will provide you with the information you need to develop an effective and dynamic strategy for increasing growth. Automated tools simplify the process of collecting useful sales data, which makes it easier to put this information into action.
Using Intelligent Sales Data: Good Things Take Time
In response to a drop in sales, the sales department might be too eager to make adjustments without taking the time to review performance and properly diagnose the issue affecting sales. A sales diagnosis is key to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.
After conducting a sales diagnosis, the data you gather from practices like these should form the basis of your sales and marketing strategy. Rushing into a quick fix without uncovering and addressing the root of the problem will lead to more issues down the line.
Taking the time to implement intelligent sales data tools, interpret that data, and apply it accurately to your situation is essential to developing the strongest possible sales strategy. This is similar to the process of managing by metrics, the subject of the fifth and final factor affecting revenue growth.
Factor 5: Importance of Managing Sales & Marketing Operations by Metrics
To effectively foster growth, you must know exactly what is and isn’t working and why. This is what managing by metrics is all about—to develop growth-minded strategies for sales and marketing, you must track the right metrics in real-time.
Below, you’ll find some examples of critical metrics to track:
Average deal sizes
Average discount given
Quota attainment rate
MQL to SQL ratio
SQL to closed deal ratio
Sales budget per sales dollars
Marketing budget per sales dollars
As seen above, metrics provide you with crucial information that you can use to substantiate your strategic business decisions. They give you an objective and evidence-based measuring stick to use to foster your company’s growth.
Let’s take a look at a case study that demonstrates the power of metrics in action.
This client was a software vendor targeting the financial services industry. Their goal was to increase the number of clients served and bring in more new business from completely new customers—a crucial challenge for any company.
So, how did we go about strategizing for this level of growth the current period?
Measuring the right metrics was key to developing and implementing a sales plan that could double sales from new customers in 12 months. To achieve this goal, all salespeople had a set number of activities to complete each week, including calls, emails, and demos.
Furthermore, the proof is in the results. After 90 days, the company saw a 620% increase in outbound sales calls and achieved 246% growth in the sales pipeline. The result was a 67% increase in the number of deals closed each month.
And this level of growth wouldn’t have been possible without regular and accurate measurements of strategic sales metrics. As this case study demonstrates, setting attainable, evidence-based goals for growth is a key step toward building your high-growth lead generation strategy.
Managing by metrics can expose areas of weakness in your sales and marketing strategies. This provides useful data detailing what you can improve on. That’s why metrics are crucial to any sales and marketing strategy today.
Through these five factors, we’ve provided a comprehensive overview of the key practices that impact revenue growth in today’s world. This knowledge will form the basis of a sales and marketing strategy that delivers revenue growth now and into the future.
We know that it’s important to optimize your marketing strategy for each of the B2B buyer types if you’re going to make an impactful marketing campaign, but which specific strategies yield the best results for each type of buyer?
What’s important to know here is that the way you’ll reach each of the buyer types is going to be dramatically different; you can’t use the same strategies you would use for a Visionary, who would take little issue conducting all business digitally, and a Conservative, who may be hesitant to even use a computer unless absolutely necessary. When optimizing your marketing strategies for each of these groups, it’s crucial to make sure your message doesn’t get lost in the medium.
Who You Should be Marketing to
Before we get into it, it’s important to get a sense of which of the buyer types will respond best to your product. Keep in mind that a product’s maturity, or the stage it’s at in its life cycle, will determine which buyer category will find it the most appealing.
In general, Visionaries just need to see a working demo with enough allure and they’re in; they don’t need (or want) to know that the product has been used elsewhere, because they’re looking for something new.
Pragmatists, on the other hand, won’t show interest in a product that hasn’t been taken on successfully by a peer company. You’ll generally only be successful marketing to a Pragmatist type if you have convincing key accounts, which typically might come from Visionaries.
Only once your product has matured past these stages and has been tested and trusted by many will it become interesting to Conservatives. When figuring out your marketing strategy, make sure to take the life stage of your product (and its associated desirability to each of the groups) into account. To learn more about each of the buyer types in B2B marketing, click here.
Strategies that Work for Visionaries
Visionary buyers are at once the easiest and the hardest to reach. That’s because you can’t really find them; they find you. On the one hand, they’re exceptionally tech-savvy, and so they know how to scout out the newest products on their own and will reach out for more information if they see a fit. Most of the time, it’ll be the Visionary buyer who initiates contact with you, not the other way around.
On the other hand, however, trying to find them on your own can be a lot more difficult. Visionaries exist in all industries, and because their claim to fame is largely that they are unique, it’ll be rare to find them in a definable group in any setting. When marketing to them, your best bet will therefore be to take a relatively horizontal approach, as long as it prioritizes online exposure. Visionaries are horizontally focused, meaning that they don’t care about which industry the product is intended for, as long as they think it could fit their own use. So, focus on highlighting the features of your product most likely to engage someone looking for something new.
Anything online is a good way to go with Visionaries; blogs, posts, forums, ads, and organic or paid searches of any type will all raise your chances of getting their attention. You don’t need to package anything specifically for them just yet; they’ll ask for more information once they’re interested in the product.
Strategies that Work for Pragmatists
Pragmatists, on the other hand, do need to be targeted, and your strategies for them should reflect a nuanced understanding of their needs. It’s important to note that Pragmatists are typically vertically focused, meaning they stay within their industry when looking for new products. More specifically, they’ll want to see not only proof that your product has worked for others, but also that it has worked for companies in the same industry, of a similar size, and of a comparable level of complexity as their company.
To market to a Pragmatist, you’ll need at least a few key accounts to grab their attention一 most of which will come from the Visionaries who took on your product first. In transitioning from marketing to Visionaries to marketing to Pragmatists, make sure to work with companies that are of a similar size and complexity of those of the Pragmatists you’re targeting; they’ll want to see proof of concept in companies that are similar to theirs.
You’ll need a more tailored marketing strategy when working with Pragmatists, the majority of which will be online. Materials such as case studies, detailed analyses, white papers, ebooks, buying guides, and even webinars can all prove impactful as long as your product is appropriate for the Pragmatist’s company.
Strategies that Work for Conservatives
The strategies you’ll use to market to Conservatives will be very different from those previously discussed. Because they’re not exceptionally tech-savvy, online marketing strategies will not engage them nearly as well as they would buyers from other types. Face to face is what Conservatives prefer, though this method is only as effective as is your brand recognition among their circles. Conservatives like to go to conferences in person in very familiar venues; your success in this sector will rely heavily on whether they recognize you and associate you with their industry. Become a presence in their spaces and gain acceptance by their peers in order to get their attention.
Besides having a physical presence in the conferences they attend, the most effective marketing strategies for Conservatives will be those that are not limited to the online realm; printed handouts s, phone calls, print publications, and in-person speaking engagements are all effective options for this type.
The marketing strategies you choose to reach your buyers will vary depending on which of the B2B buyer types you intend to attract. As with anything in marketing, it’s important to understand who you’re speaking to and what will incentivize them to act. Click here to learn more about how to optimize these strategies for each of the buyer types一 you’ll learn what words and ideas will speak the most to them and how to frame your information in a way to cater to their unique motivations.
We can begin gathering data to determine how the solutions are affecting the site and, as a result, reaching business performance targets once you have Identified Site Bottlenecks and done an in-depth study of the Solution Delivery. Follow the steps below to gain a better grasp of all the actions required to properly gather, analyze, and act on all of your data.
We must judge the effectiveness of site updates in terms of the goal: driving the organizations’ KPIs, which can only be observed by delving deeply into the data. When determining whether future adjustments are required, the data points collected from the site will be a powerful indicator of whether a change produced favorable or negative consequences.
Google Analytics is the most basic, and universal data interface for extracting data points for analysis. It features the most extensive analysis of data collected and gives various graphs, charts, and graphics that make the dataset presented very easy to interpret. Many website builders, such as GoDaddy and WordPress, have their own simple data analytics sites. The disadvantage is that these data analytics solutions are quite basic and lack the variety of Google Analytics. A Google-optimized website should use Google Analytics.
Achieving Statistical Significance
Before examining data from updates to your website, it is critical to properly understand statistical significance. A website modification is statistically significant if the positive or negative change in the KPI is strongly related to the adjustments you made rather than random chance or uncontrollable circumstances.
Google Analytics provides an infinite amount of data points, and each website, based on the problems found and the solutions implemented, only requires a few data points to comprehend the changes in website efficacy.
Website developers will connect with industry specialists if they have a better understanding of the statistical significance and data collection methodologies. Our team at SOMAmetrics is fully engaged with clients searching for better and more effective website performance, and we are delighted to give that with the greatest degree of customer satisfaction.
If you want to learn more in-depth about Measurement and Reiterative Testing, click here.
The first step to ensuring efficient and optimal website development and SEO is to identify site bottlenecks. With that accomplished, the next step is to implement the necessary changes to address these bottlenecks. Follow the steps below to roll out these ideas in your business plan or implementation phase.
Research Solution Channels
To solve your website’s SEO bottlenecks, the first step is to conduct deep research to determine the most effective method to use. This can include third-party resources, alternative web design, or manual code reconfiguration.
Sometimes the only way to switch to a more optimized website is to modify some elements of web design. For example, Google’s Accessibility tab is very critical of graphic elements, such as elements that have barely distinguishable colors or an overlay of non-images. In this instance, it is necessary to have a graphic designer on hand to support the rollout of graphic changes.
The Next Steps
During the analysis phase, the website development team must work with other internal business units to ensure no significant actions are taking place over the same timeframe as the website changes. Your website needs to be ready to see the first set of changes. It is important that all members of the website team are aware of what changes need to be made, and for what reasons.
To learn more about solution delivery, click here.
But what makes B2B email marketing effective? What differentiates the emails that senior executives find valuable, and the emails they disregard? And how can one email cut through the multitude of emails executives receive each day?
There are many different factors to consider when it comes to creating an effective email marketing strategy. First, senior executives want to find information they don’t already know in order to make informed business decisions. Plus, the decision-making process is becoming more diffuse as organizations become more complex and more decision-makers come into play. With communication technologies like Slack bringing more people into the decision-making process than ever, it becomes even more complicated. In fact, 72% of senior executives responding to a McKinsey survey agreed that bad business decisions were as frequent as or more common than good decisions.
To make matters worse, the world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Between the fluctuating restrictions on workplaces due to COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty associated with the pandemic, executives have to make decisions quickly and efficiently to keep up with the changing world.
With all of this in mind, today’s executives are eager to find more information quickly and seamlessly, in order to make the best possible decisions in an increasingly complicated business environment.
What are the Elements of an Effective Email Marketing Strategy?
Not all emails are created equal. There is a reason some emails are effective in reaching senior executives, and others are sent straight to the trash folder without a second glance. We’ll discuss the elements of a highly effective email marketing strategy below.
But executives are busy people—they don’t have time to read a 10-page newsletter every day. For this reason, an effective email marketing strategy includes concise emails, while still packing in a wealth of information that is relevant to the specific executive.
What about the layout? Executives respond to clean and simple layouts. Overwhelming them with a barrage of multimedia elements and unreadable fonts might make an email stand out—but in the wrong way. In order to get a concise and relevant message across, a clean layout is a vital element of an effective email marketing strategy.
With a highly-relevant, well-researched, and concise email marketing campaign ready to go, the process of implementing an effective email marketing strategy is almost complete. The next step B2B marketers have to consider is the logistics of sending these emails. B2B marketers obviously don’t want to overwhelm executives with too many emails, and run the risk of being discarded as spam. So what is the right number of emails to send to executives in a given period of time?
With these key elements of a highly effective email marketing strategy in mind, B2B marketers can cut through the noise in an executive’s inbox and deliver highly-relevant information. This will establish credibility, and lead to increased email engagement in the future.
SOMAmetrics designs and executes its proven 4-step high-quality lead generation programs to deliver more leads that close faster and at a higher rate for 20% of what it costs clients to produce in-house.
As a next step, download this white paper that describes the most effective way for B2B companies to generate high quality leads for their sales organization.
For a B2B company seeking to increase its revenue, the first step is choosing the right market. Market focus is the single most important factor impacting revenue growth.
There has been a shift in expectations for B2B marketing departments in recent years. Today, nearly 70% of CEOs expect CMOs to lead revenue growth for their companies. In order to facilitate revenue growth, today’s marketers need to increase their understanding of their customer bases and better anticipate customer needs. In today’s world, marketers who fail to work toward the goal of revenue growth will fall behind their competitors.
This means that today’s B2B marketers have to take things back to basics and reevaluate the fundamentals of their marketing strategies in order to maximize revenue growth—and this process starts with defining the right market.
Choosing the Right Market: Broad vs. Narrow
When it comes to determining a target market, many companies make the mistake of defining their market in the broadest possible terms. This might make sense at first glance—one could rationalize that a broader market definition will include more potential customers—but in reality, this is the wrong approach for revenue growth.
With a broad target market, marketing content will have to appeal to a wide variety of individuals with differing needs and motives for purchase. This makes it difficult for a company to demonstrate its depth of understanding of a potential client’s needs and the workings of the client’s specific industry. In addition, with an unnecessarily broad target market, marketers risk wasting resources on customers who are unlikely to purchase the product. In the end, with a broad market definition, marketers will encounter difficulties when it comes to differentiating their business from competitors.
This might seem like a counterintuitive marketing strategy—how can a business be successful by targeting a single customer? It’s important to remember that companies within a market segment are in conversation with one another. By providing solutions to one specific company at the center of a market segment, marketers can simultaneously appeal to other companies with similar needs and goals.
Putting Market Focus Into Practice
To make this concept more concrete, let’s consider an example in the form of a hypothetical company that provides software for the healthcare industry. According to marketing expert Geoffrey Moore, there are three elements of a B2B market segment: industry, role in that industry, and geography. With this in mind, the target market segment for this company could be defined as Hospital Administrators in the United States.
A specific number of potential customers will fall into this category, which can be expanded to include more potential customers or narrowed even further, as demonstrated in the table below.
A. Hospital Administrators in California
B. Hospital Administrators in US
C. Healthcare Professionals in US
Managing value-based reimbursement
Managing value-based reimbursement
Regulations in healthcare
As discussed previously, it might initially seem like a good idea to target the broadest possible market—Healthcare Professionals in the United States—because of its 128,000 potential customers. But it is vital to consider the perspective of the buyer—will this software company provide value to all 128,000 US-based Healthcare Professionals equally? In addition, what messaging and strategies will be effective to reach all of these professionals with varying job descriptions, including Doctors, Nurses, and Hospital Administrators, to name a few?
At this point, the company faces a difficult decision: It can choose to go shallow and wide, or invest exorbitant amounts of money in building expertise in each specific profession. Most companies choose to go shallow and wide, rather than investing in a focused market—and they are ultimately beaten out by companies that choose to go narrow and deep—which explains why the costs of sales and marketing rise faster than revenues.
However, there is another option—companies can choose to go narrow and deep in one segment at a time. This is the best option for increasing revenues.
Evidence has shown that with a narrower market definition, marketers can maximize revenue growth. Instead of burning through resources to compete with hundreds of other software providers, the software company can simplify the marketing process by honing in on Hospital Administrators in California, for instance. With significantly fewer competitors and fewer conferences to attend, marketers can increase the depth of their content and differentiate their company from the competition more effectively. Plus, it is more feasible for sales reps to become experts on the issues faced by this smaller market.
When it comes to increasing revenue growth, choosing the right market is the single most important factor for marketers to consider. With the right market, B2B marketers can use their resources more effectively to increase revenue growth.
SOMAmetrics is a revenue-focused marketing agency, delivering high quality leads that close faster and at a higher rate. Our proven process identifies the best targets, defines the most compelling messaging, and runs highly targeted, digital campaigns—for about 35% of what it costs clients to do internally.
Capability assessments are important tools for driving corporate success. Yet, businesses often do not recognize the importance of examining and fine-tuning their capabilities. The Boston Consulting Group explains the term “capability” as “an ingrained ability to do something well in a way that improves business performance.”
At the core of a capability are behaviors— “the activities, interactions, and decisions made by a set of individuals in a company who exemplify that capability.” In addition, a capability is built on four components that strengthen each other. These components pave the way for long-term behavioral change in a company:
Competencies: the skills, knowledge, and beliefs of employees.
Tools: IT, databases, apps, and related systems
Processes: activities, resources, and responsibilities that regulate the division and execution of work.
Governance: accountability, KPIs, incentives, and reporting structures.
Why Transformations Often Fail to Deliver Desired Results
In order to stay competitive, many companies launch transformations that involve changes to their strategy, business model, culture, and organization. These transformations often serve as responses to the changing demands of a dynamic industry. In other instances, transformations prepare companies to enter new market segments in search of growth. Whatever the motivation, transformations are essential undertakings that can yield growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and improved manageability.
However, transformations fail to deliver lasting results when companies focus too much on the end goal and not on their capabilities. Lasting transformations depend on capabilities, which must be evaluated using a capability assessment and then systematically integrated into the transformative process. According to a Boston Consulting Group study, behavioral capabilities such as strong leadership, engaged employees, and collaboration are closely tied with a company’s ability to create value. An indispensable element of transformation is building capabilities, though it poses some serious challenges.
Key Challenges of Capability Building
Capability building requires coordination across different departments and functions, but most companies find it difficult to unify their groups. Business executives hand the job to HR or set aside a few days for training, neither of which yield potent or sustainable results. New capabilities also require behavioral changes, which are not easy to sustain. Without a systematic approach, businesses tend to revert to their old behaviors once the transformation stage is over. For reasons such as these, attempts to bolster capabilities fall short in the long-term.
In a 2014 McKinsey global survey of business executives, 50 percent of respondents ranked capability building as one of their top 3 priorities. However, survey results showed that few respondents had effective approaches to assessing their current capabilities and identifying skill gaps. Only 18 percent of respondent organizations used structured third-party diagnostics, as most respondents preferred manager assessments or self-assessments. Unsurprisingly, 37 percent of respondents cited a lack of credible metrics as one of their companies’ biggest challenges in building capabilities. Furthermore, 1 in 5 respondents reported that their organizations did not measure the efficacy of their learning programs at all.
Where You Can Start
In order to build sustainable capabilities that generate value for the company, businesses must diagnose their skill gaps through objective and systematic capability assessments. Objective third-party assessments help companies assess their skill gaps relative to industry peers. Such assessments also allow companies to quantify the potential financial impact of addressing these gaps. Once this step is done, companies will have a deep understanding of their capabilities that allows them to design effective learning programs and enact sustainable transformation.
Before hiring more resources to meet your growth targets, conduct a capability assessment to find what are hindering your company’s performance. Without removing these performance obstacles, your investments in new payroll or systems will not likely payoff to the extent you expect.
SOMAmetrics provides a complete sales and marketing assessment that takes 3 to 5 days to perform. A thorough investigation of the company’s internal capabilities and adherence to stated Senior Management goals is conducted through interviews and a review of systems, processes, and publications.
The whole point of B2B marketing is to get your sales people onto the short list of vendors that a prospect is considering.
That can only happen if your marketing is compelling, which will only be the case if you have identified real problems you can solve. The process of identification is a lot easier if you focus on a well-defined group of customers that you fully understand, rather than going after a large number of prospects that you don’t really understand.
Focusing on a well-defined group of prospects is what makes marketing work. Everything else might as well be junk.
The number one objective of marketing is to get your prospects to actually reach out to your sales team. These are people who are ready to evaluate potential vendors. Their numbers are likely to be small—typically under 10% of your target market.
Next to that is fully engaging the remaining 90% and gradually converting them into Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs—people who are interested in finding out more, and may even be willing to meet with a sales rep.
Awareness→ Curiosity→ Interest→ Action
The process always starts with the prospect’s awareness: awareness of the extent of her own problem, that there is a solution to her problem, and that you have a potential solution. You want that awareness to be converted into a curiosity to find out more, and then an interest in learning more, which ultimately leads to some action—such as a willingness to attend a webinar, download a free trial, or talk with a sales rep.
In rare cases, the above journey might only require the first email you send out because the prospect is actively searching for a solution. In other words, she was already aware and interested before she even knew you existed. As soon as she finds a potential candidate, she is ready to meet and evaluate.
Most of your prospects, however, are not aware that they have a problem, much less the type or extent of the problem. If they are aware, they don’t really think the problem is a pressing issue. It is the responsibility of your marketing team to convert a mild and vague concern into an urgent one that must be dealt within sooner than later.
That is accomplished primarily by gaining a nuanced understanding of the prospect’s world through research, developing highly relevant and engaging content around it, and then distributing that content where the prospect is most likely to find it.
Here is what you are trying to find out: did your prospect come across your message (awareness)? Did she view it (curiosity)? Did she take further action after viewing it (interest turning into some type of action)?
Key indicators are (in the order listed): Emailing or calling you based on your marketing; attending or registering for a webinar; filling out a form; viewing a video; liking/following you on social media; clicking on a link; and opening an email.
Read about the second crucial operation of B2B Sales, “Prospecting”.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into building and maintaining the operational excellence necessary for generating consistent revenue growth. Not only does a company need to produce high quality and compelling content regularly, but it must also continually distribute this content to its targeted audience, track engagement, make necessary adjustments, and pass those that are ready to the next operations team. Building a marketing team is expensive, and therefore a big decision point that management needs to make is to build or buy.
To Build or Buy?
A common mistake that many companies make is to think that to improve their revenue growth, they can hire one or two people who will take on the various roles shown in the chart to the right. It doesn’t seem to work out that way, no matter how hard the marketing team tries to learn and master these various disciplines.
A better alternative is to keep your marketing team lean with just the Head of Marketing, who is responsible for developing your marketing strategy, and a smart, energetic product marketing manager who will work with sales to develop product marketing campaigns and push for revenue growth.
With your internal team controlling your marketing and revenue growth, strategies, and metrics, you can now work with a partner to provide you with both the Marketing Operations and Prospecting Operations deliverables you need for revenue growth.
This approach gives you the following benefits:
Focus. You focus all hiring where it matters the most—on those that are integral to the design and development of your products and services.
Rent-to-own. You let others make the required investments toward achieving the operational excellence that is necessary to deliver the quality and quantity of results that you need for revenue growth.
It is the classic case of paying for what you use, rather than for the infrastructure needed to deliver what you use.
We Can Help You with Revenue Growth
SOMAmetrics is a sales productivity enhancement consulting company that enables client companies to experience revenue growth by fixing three critical sales hurdles—insufficient sales pipeline, low conversion rates, and access to new markets.
We provide the best practices, new market research, SEO, digital marketing, sales enablement, performance metrics, and sales and marketing automation services that clients need to consistently achieve revenue growth.
Our best practices, systems, and processes have been honed through working with over 100 small and mid-sized B2B companies serving a wide range of industries including: Financial Services, Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Data Centers. Please contact us today:
If your marketing and prospecting is working, you will find that a lot of people are opening your emails, clicking on links, downloading papers, and attending your webinars and other events. All that is great. However, not all of these people are qualified to see your most expensive resources—your sales reps.
What you want to do next is pre-qualify these prospects to make sure that your sales reps are meeting with the right people, at the right time. You want to give your sales team the truly Sales Qualified Leads (SQLS).
The objective of the Teleprospecting process is to pre-qualify MQLs and set appointments for the sales team with qualified prospects who are decision makers and ready to meet with a sales rep.
As we mentioned earlier, only a small portion of even your most actively engaged audience will reach out to you asking to be contacted. The vast majority will continue to view your new content and attend many of your events without making a move to buy.
You need actual humans to call them, qualify, and then set appointments with your sales reps for the qualified prospects.
This is far harder said than done:
In today’s B2B world, it takes between 25-40 dials to reach someone, and it may take two rounds to reach the right person. Therefore, it is vital that the target list ONLY contains highly targeted prospects rather than a wide audience.
Once you reach the right person, you have about 20 seconds to get the attention and curiosity of the prospect before she says, “No thanks” and hangs up on you. During that brief moment, your rep must make a compelling value proposition; keep the prospect engaged, and qualify her adequately.
Since your reps have less than a minute or so before the prospects says she has to go, they need to immediately ask your most critical qualifying questions—those that would absolutely qualify the prospect IN or OUT. First, is the pain a pressing issue; next, is this the right person to talk to; after that, are there any disqualifying criteria; and finally, if it’s all a go, schedule the meeting.
Clearly, you want to use highly experienced Business Development Reps (BDRs) for prospecting. They must have at least 5-7 years of experience in B2B prospecting, and preferably have had quota bearing inside or field sales experience as well. Remember that this is your first line team, not a place to try and save a buck or two.
Besides the actual number of appointments set per month per BDR, you want to track how many of these were added to the sales pipeline (conversion rates); how many were attended or rescheduled; and how many were no-shows. You also want to track these numbers not just in the aggregate, but per BDR and sales rep to see if there are anomalies you need to address.
Your sales team is by far your most expensive resource, compared to Marketing and Prospecting. While your marketing must be targeted, the same marketing assets and messaging will go out to large numbers of prospects. And while your prospecting activity is one-to-one, each engagement happens for a very brief time. A good BDR can work a list of 200 or so prospects in any given month.
Sales, however, is absolutely a one-to-one process and not very scalable. Your sales people will likely find it hard to work with more than 20 or so prospects at any given time.
Every member of your sales team must hit at least 80% of his/her quarterly sales targets on a consistent basis.
Sales Qualify→ Prove→ Propose→ Negotiate→Close
All B2B sales will likely require at a minimum of the following stages. While there may be more stages, these are the “gateway” stages that determine if a deal will close or not.
Sales Qualify—the most critical stage. During the first call, reps must determine: whether the prospect wants to address this issue now rather than later; whether she is part of the decision making process; whether or not pricing is going to be an issue; and whether there are other alternatives that are far more likely to be selected than your product. This last one is the main reason why so many companies miss their revenue targets—they waste too many resources chasing deals that will never close.
Prove—Sales reps have to prove that their solution can solve the prospect’s problem and deliver reasonable ROI, so that the prospect will not experience any personal embarrassment from spending resources on an ineffective solution. The question is what kind of proof does the prospect want—a demo, customer references to speak with, ROI calculation, all of the above, or other?
Propose— No proposal should be submitted until the first two steps are completed and it is still a go with the prospect. The purpose of the proposal should only be to present the prospecting in writing— what the rep and the prospect have already agreed upon. The rep should NOT give out a proposal unless he or she thinks that the ONLY thing left to do is to negotiate pricing and Terms & Conditions. In other words, a proposal should be made when pricing is the only factor keeping the prospect from choosing your firm, and aside from that, the prospect wants to give you her business.
Negotiate—expect some negotiation and be prepared to counter by offering more value rather than price discounts.
If the above stages are done properly, good sales reps can expect to close at least 33% of their Sales Qualified Leads. Otherwise, the ratio is likely under 20%.
Average deal size; average sales cycle; average closing ratio. If you watch these metrics closely and enforce discipline, your worst performing sales rep should not bring in less than 25% of what your best performing sales rep brings.
Read about the first and second operations in B2B Sales.