Everyone wants new business but competition is rife in most sectors. So, what do you do to get ahead of the game and out-muscle your competitors? Below are our 9 suggestions to propel your lead generation activity.
Seems pretty basic huh? But it’s often an issue that vexes most of our clients. Where to put the effort? The key is to identify sectors where you can stand out and compete. If you have credentials in the sector or working for specific job functions (e.g. facilities or IT) then you have more chance to succeed. Check out our video on how to define your target market.
Integrate your Lead Generation Activities
Our recent blog talked about how outbound and inbound marketing solutions are coming together. The thrust of that article was that it’s advisable to avoid undertaking lead generation in isolation these days. That’s not to say that you have to spread your efforts too thinly or spend a fortune. Just that you need to consider how buyers evaluate you and your business. If you’re making telemarketing appointment setting calls, you’re less likely to achieve a positive outcome from the call if your online presence doesn’t stack. Buyers use search and their networks such as LinkedIn to inform their choice and check you out. If your website is bereft of useful info that engages visitors and your social presence is weak, you’ll be less likely to make the final cut.
Make Enough Calls
For higher value sales, little happens without some form of dialogue. Ultimately, that’s going to be a face to face meeting. But, unless your online or other activity drives a stream of incoming leads, you will need to undertake some form of outbound marketing. If telemarketing is part of your mix of activity, you need to generate sufficient momentum to establish enough of a sales pipeline to keep you going. That doesn’t mean doing a few calls here and there. That’s the pitfall of having callers that have other responsibilities. They simply don’t make enough calls to gain traction. So, make sure you focus and that someone internally or externally makes sufficient calls over time to build your sales funnel.
Ensure Front-facing Staff Know How to Engage
One would hope that anyone in a front-facing role has the right personality and skills to do the job. But, not every skill is innate and some training is required. Understanding buyer behavior and how to communicate to get the best result is crucial. Too often sales people love to talk and pitch features about the product or service and forget about the customer and their needs. Check out our video about choosing the right person. It’s more about asking good questions and listening than it is about presenting. So, make sure your front-facing team get the blend right or your sales will suffer.
Get Out and About
Not much happens at high-end sales if you plant yourself in your office all day every day. Sales is an interactive business. So, you need to get up off your chair and get out. That means networking events, exhibitions, client meetings, prospect meetings and meeting those that may refer your business to others. That doesn’t mean spending your life having coffee or visiting every exhibition in and out of town. You have to be selective but a steady stream of new business meetings coupled with peer networking is likely to stimulate enough activity to support lead generation.
Life is about connections. It’s who you know! To some extent, we covered this in the point above but what we mean here is online connections. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you extend your network. Once again, that doesn’t mean anyone and everyone. Even online, you need to be focused and selective. I don’t connect with everyone that asks. But I do target specific job roles and sectors for connections. That opens up the possibility that those individuals will see my status updates and posts and it potentially drives visitors to our website. It also enhances credibility for me and my business. When prospects check you out, what do they see on your LinkedIn profile? If it is light and you have few connections, what picture do they get of you and your company?
Create Useful Content and Tell People About it
Linked to the previous point, you need to make your online presence stand out. One way to do that and to differentiate is to provide worthwhile content for your site visitors and on your LinkedIn profile. If Facebook is important to you, that also needs to be a focus. Likewise for Instagram or Pinterest if your business is visual. And don’t neglect video! It’s huge and growing. You cannot ignore YouTube. The days of Social Media being for kids has long gone. It’s mainstream and you need to have interesting content to share if you want credibility. So, think about what content your customer would value (not just what you know about your products and services), create content and share!
Build your pipeline
In the early days of my business, I went to meet a supposed sales guru and asked him why I was struggling to close business. He asked me a few questions and after only a few minutes he stopped me and told me what my problem was. He said that closing wasn’t my problem. He advised that I was perfectly capable of closing. My problem was the absence of a pipeline. I was putting too much energy into trying to push one or two prospects over the line. The issue was that I needed more in the sales funnel since, at any given time, some will and some won’t. A bigger pipeline will take the pressure off to some extent since one or more are likely to convert at any given time. So, make sure you do everything you can to build the sales pipeline. It will serve you well. For help with lead generation to build your pipeline, check out our lead generation services.
One of the biggest impediments to sales success is the lack of a sales process and follow-up. Gestation periods vary. Some are short and some are long. The key is to ensure that you have a proper system for tracking and nurturing leads through to completion. That also goes for incoming sales leads from activity such as email marketing or PPC and for any enquiries that come in via the web. Inbound enquiry management is crucial to sales success. You don’t want to miss out because your competitors were quicker off the mark than you by responding to an incoming lead, sending the proposal and following up at the agreed time. Make no mistake, sales is a process and following up is a key component.
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business through telemarketing or social media lead generation or you’d like to book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.