We are in the business of helping EOS® companies grow revenue. Over half of the businesses that come to us with that goal in mind are wanting to do so by generating more leads.
As we work with clients to develop an initial Revenue Growth Plan, it typically becomes clear that the quickest way to move the needle on revenue growth is by focusing on their clients, not on generating new leads.
Compare this to the process of dating. There are two primary outcomes for a single person to date:
- Long term: To find a long-term partner to share their life with
- Short term: Sharing time with different people that may have different interests and perspectives, but without needing to share the same long-term goal
Having spent my adult life on both sides of this coin, I see that both have their merits. I enjoyed the process of dating itself, and I am now happily married. If you’re looking for a long-term partner in life, it is important to find someone with that same goal in mind and it’s even more important to find someone that shares the same vision as to what a long-term partner in life really is. This is not as important for those that are just looking to enjoy dating.
In the interest of self-awareness, it is valuable for the dater to begin with the end in mind and know which one of these outcomes they are pursuing when they are dating.
So how does dating relate to revenue growth? The leads are like dates. Are you looking for leads for the sake of dating, or are you looking for leads that share your vision of what a long-term relationship with a client is like? If you’re trying to build a sustainable business, the long-term approach makes a lot more sense; it’s a lot less expensive and a lot more fun. According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in retention results in a 25-95% increase in profitability.
In our Revenue Growth Workshops, we help our clients look at the entire experience that a prospect or client has with their business — from the time the prospect knows they have a problem to the time that they become a client and are enjoying all of the services and solutions that our clients have to offer them. Businesses that initially think they need more leads typically realize that:
- The most efficient way to grow revenue is to look at increasing their value to their current client base
- The experience that they are introducing leads into is not optimized to win, retain, and scale efficiently.
Prioritizing what to do first is a very important decision. If you decide that you want to start bringing in more leads before you optimize the whole experience that they will go through, it can be very expensive and frustrating in the long run.
More often than not, we end up helping clients improve the experience that their current customers have with their business before looking to generate more top-of-funnel leads. Once the client experience is improved and optimized, not only can you generate more business from those current clients, but you’re also ready to close and retain the leads that you bring in.
Back to the dating analogy, if you are pursuing a long term partner, but don’t have a good vision as to what life looks like in that scenario, it might be difficult to find the right partner, and even more challenging to achieve long-term happiness.
The four elements of the Marketing Strategy component of the Vision/Traction Organizer™ of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® provide a fantastic framework for growing your business. If you don’t remember off the top of your head, the four elements are:
- Your target market/The list
- 3 Uniques™
- Your Proven Process
- Your Guarantee
The first step in leveraging this framework is to ensure that you do a thorough job of documenting each one of the four elements. But that’s still just the beginning! As is the case with most of the EOS® tools, the power is in how you leverage these on an ongoing basis. How do you go about doing that? For starters, everyone in your organization should be able to recite each of the four elements at any given moment.
Below are some ideas as to how you can put the different elements in to work for you and your B2B business. A brief introduction for each is included, but I’m not going to spend much time talking about the elements themselves (your EOS Implementer® can help with that!).
Target Market/The List
The Target Market refers to the clients that are ideal fits for your business. This includes basic information like what industry they are in, what geography they are in, and other descriptive characteristics. In the B2B space, this should also include who the key players are inside of those businesses. Here’s some ideas around taking the next step in providing value to your Target Market and growing your business:
- Your target market is identified and an ideal client profile is created that represents the businesses that are ideal fits for your products and services
- Everyone in your business can communicate the profile of your ideal client and the desired outcomes that your organization delivers to those clients
- Key functional contacts that work in businesses that fit your ideal client profile are identified and documented and the specific outcomes they desire are identified and documented
- 100% of the organizations that fit your ideal client profile are identified in your CRM
- 100% of key functional contacts within your ideal client organizations are identified in your CRM
- A sales and marketing strategy is designed and documented with the goal of engaging with 100% of the key functional contacts within organizations that fit your ideal client profile
- You are able to measure engagement levels with all of these functional contacts
Your 3 Uniques™ provide a high-level outline for what differentiates you from your competitors. While you may share a unique or two with other providers, your 3 Uniques™ should not be shared by any other business. Here are some thoughts around putting your 3 Uniques™ to work for you:
- Your entire organization can articulate your 3 Uniques™ and why they matter to your ideal client
- 3 Uniques™ are clearly represented in some way on your website
- 3 Uniques™ come to life in all sales and marketing collateral
- Your sales process is designed to leverage your 3 Uniques™
- You have shareable case studies that show how your 3 Uniques™ are directly benefiting a client’s organization
- Content that that communicates the value of your 3 Uniques™ is regularly shared with your audience
- Proposals are structured to clearly communicate how the 3 Uniques™ will benefit your prospects
Simply stated, your guarantee should remove the most significant barriers for your target market to do business with you and it should support your value proposition. Here are some things that you can do to ensure your guarantee is properly communicated to your target market:
- Your guarantee clearly addresses and overcomes the most common challenge that prospects have in engaging with your business
- Your guarantee clearly articulates the consequences of your company not fulfilling on your end of the guarantee
- Your guarantee is communicated on the homepage of our website
- Your guarantee is communicated on all sales proposals
- You have referenceable examples where we a client leveraged your guarantee satisfactorily
- Your guarantee is in the footer of your emails
Your Proven Process should provide context and clarity as to how your ideal clients will navigate their experience with your business. At Convergo, We see the Proven Process as a subset of the Ideal Client Experience. We feel strongly that the Ideal Client Experience is the foundation for aligning to your entire business to maximize the value that you provide to your clients. Here are some thoughts around the Proven Process in motion:
- Your proven process has an internal brand and 100% of your team can recite your proven process and their role in the process
- There is a external version of your proven process that shows prospects how they will engage with your business if they were to become a client
- The sales and marketing arms of your organization are aligned around your proven process with the goal of creating an amazing client experience
We’d love to hear from all of you how you are bringing the marketing elements of your V/TO™ to life in your organization.
As we have previously written, Buyers Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Outcomes. I see a perfect example of this as I look out my window into my driveway. I bought a car to get to the places I need to get to support the outcomes that I need:
- Enjoying our home in the mountains to bike and ski
- Get to the airport to fly somewhere to visit a client or an occasional trip for fun
- Sustain day-to-day life at home
I don’t drive very often, but the car I drive is reliable, it allows me to transport my gear and delivers the outcomes I need. Quite frankly, it is less than impressive for anyone that would consider themselves a car junkie. Sounds like I may be cheap but trust me that the outcomes I need require plenty of investment over and above a car.
The outcomes that your business delivers should be woven throughout the operational as well as the sales and marketing aspects of your business. Let’s focus on sales and marketing given this is your focus if you landed on this blog.
Outcomes are in play at each stage of the process that you have in place to help your ideal prospect to become an ideal client:
- Marketing/Prospecting: Your marketing plan should be targeted to attract businesses that are looking for outcomes that your company can deliver. Remember, Buyers Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Outcomes, so product-centric messaging makes it challenging or impossible for the target to understand what outcomes they might get from your product.
- Qualifying: The goal of the qualifying stage of a sales cycle is to determine if the buyer is a good fit for the outcomes that your company can generate and if they have resources to pay for your product or service.
- Discovery: The idea with the discovery stage of the sales cycle is to explore areas of need that your prospects have. Needs for all potential outcomes that you can deliver should be explored.
- Proposing/Recommending: Your proposal should be communicated in terms of the outcomes that your clients will receive if they invest in you.
- Enjoying your services: Your operational team should be focused on maximizing outcomes for your clients. From a sales perspective, you need to gather outcomes — actual, quantifiable metrics — from happy clients when you conduct periodic business reviews. Those metrics should then be used in the other stages of the buying process to help communicate your value.
Having a resource, let’s call it an Outcomes Framework, shared by the sales and marketing team that is updated regularly, and shared centrally between sales and marketing provides many benefits:
- Alignment: Historically, sales and marketing teams are at odds with each other. Sales teams need marketing to communicate properly to prospects in a language they understand (outcomes and value, not product specs). On the other hand, marketing relies on sales to gather outcomes to help them create messaging. Both need each other to be on the same page, and an outcomes framework is a great place to start!
- Effectiveness: Outcomes-based messaging resonates with prospects, so win rates go up when communicating in terms of outcomes.
- Efficiency: Having a centrally-shared resource in place for an entire sales team makes it significantly easier for sales teams to prepare for all calls. Better yet, it can take fewer calls to achieve the same result. How happy would your sales team be if you were able to cut in half the time that sales reps spend preparing for meetings and helping them win more deals?
Leveraging an Outcomes Framework with real-world client success stories can be a game-changer for your revenue generation team.
4.7 million people work from home in the United States [source]. The need for collaboration and meeting with co-workers does not go away when people transition to working from home, so it is no surprise that products like Zoom Meeting have realized huge growth.
The recent Coronavirus spread is creating challenges for sales teams that did not need to make this transition to meeting virtually until now. My anticipation is that the number of people that work from home will be drastically increased for the long-term once we get back to normal.
Virtual or not, We have all been in our share of meetings that were good, productive meetings and others that were a waste of time for all involved. So, ensuring that you can effectively conduct a meeting is critical in business continuity during these times.
The 3 keys to having quality virtual meetings are:
- Use of tools and technologies
- Engagement techniques
Failing to plan is planning to fail. The nature of virtual meetings makes planning even more important. Here are some specific things you can do to plan for a fantastic meeting:
- Prepare an agenda, and stick to it: Your agenda should include items that you would be able to cover given the time allotted. Send the agenda out to all participants prior. One good practice is to present each topic as a question. If the topic does not answer a question, then you may want to consider the relevance of the topic.
- Prepare questions: More on engagement later, but the last thing virtual meeting participants want is a lecture. Asking the right questions in a meeting promotes healthy thinking. Asking the low-value questions compromises the integrity of the message. Prepare high-value questions that generate thought and support the intended message.
- Prepare your environment: Prepare your background. Ensure it is professional, yet has a bit of character in it as well. Arrive early so that you are able to test out all technology and be there when participants arrive to set the tone and ensure they use a camera if at all possible. Ensure you are dressed appropriately and positioned properly in front of your camera such that you are close enough to be seen.
- Plan meeting key points and takeaways: For all topics, ensure you are ready to summarize the main points and any follow up items from the meeting. You will likely add to the list during the meeting as well if you succeed in creating an engaging environment.
Use of tools and technology
Improper use of tools and technology can derail any meeting regardless of how prepared you are with your message. Specifically:
- Use a video conferencing platform like Zoom: We have conducted meetings virtually with screen-sharing tools for some time, but our transition to using Zoom a couple of years ago was a complete game-changer for our meetings. Zoom makes balancing video conferencing and content sharing easy and, unlike previous applications that we used, does so reliably
- Use webcams: Most people have a webcam integrated into their computers. Use it! If a picture tells a thousand words, video conferencing tells a million. Seeing the faces of participants eliminates the biggest challenge with remote meetings
- Presentation Software: Many use PowerPoint, we use the Google Apps suite. Highly designed animation can actually be a bit distracting, so this shouldn’t take too much time. Regardless of what you use, ensure you have bullets and visuals as needed to support your message. When you use text, use short snippets of big ideas, and don’t use too much text as you want to deliver the message with your voice.
When I was in college, my Astronomy class (we had to take a lab science!) was a lecture with a couple of hundred students. My literature classes were a lot smaller, which made it a lot easier to create an engaging environment.
There are many ways that you can create an engaging meeting to increase its effectiveness:
- Proper use of questions: Leveraging different types of questions can be very effective in increasing engagement. Here is a blog that talks to different types of questions. Overhead questions are put out there for anyone to answer and can be challenging to control the group when it is a question that a lot have opinions on. It is also not great when you hear crickets after you ask an overhead question. Direct questions, relay questions, and reverse questions are great in getting your participants to engage.
- As participants to share ideas or even present a module: Sending out the agenda prior and asking participants to do some homework prior is a great way to get folks prepared to share ideas. If appropriate, delegate topics to others to lead.
- Use chat, polls, or other tools in your video conferencing platform: Using different tools effectively keeps people engaged. If you can find a good use for a poll in your content, use it! Chat is a great way to gather insight from participants as an alternative to asking overhead questions. The # of participants in the meeting helps you evaluate which might be most effective. Larger meetings may require you to use a “Listen Only” feature and enable users to interact with chat.
Ensuring you are able to facilitate virtual meetings effectively can minimize the impact of our new reality. Put these things into practice to minimize the disruption to your business.
Originally published at the Revenue Growth Engine
One touch simply doesn’t cut it in today’s world. Salesforce.com research found that it takes 6-8 touches with a prospect to get an appointment. Sirius Decisions found that it takes 8 to 12 attempts to reach a decision maker by phone, even when they’re interested in your products or solutions. Whatever the number, the point is simple: you must reach out to prospects multiple times if you expect to get results.
Salespeople need both trust and attention. These are earned by consistently reaching out with ideas that prospects see as helpful to achieving their outcomes. As sales reps are seen consistently offering up helpful ideas, trust is earned, appointments happen.
Unfortunately, many sales reps are “one-and-done” when it comes to prospecting. They make a call or send an email hoping to find a hot opportunity. When they don’t get through, then put a note to reach out again in another 90 days.
Today’s sales rep is blessed with many ways to communicate with prospects including the phone, email, direct mail, and a variety of social channels. While these multiple channels create opportunities, they can also feel overwhelming.
Every prospector knows the law of ratios. Only a small percentage of dials will get through. SPAM filters combined with the sheer volume of email most people get means only a handful of emails you send get read. Direct mail is similar with only a small percentage of items getting more than a glance. Social media posts only get seen by a small percentage of your audience that happens to be scrolling when you post.
Smart prospectors realize that getting in touch with the most prospects requires flexibility to communicate over multiple channels.
Look at it this way. Let’s say you only get a 1% appointment ratio on the following four communication channels: phone, email, direct mail, and LinkedIn. If you add all of these together, building a multi-channel prospecting strategy, you could get a 4X bump in your results.
In today’s environment, the formula for prospecting success is as follows: Reach out to prospects with ideas that matter. Do this consistently across multiple communication channels.
Fortunately, there is new technology that makes it possible to execute this strategy efficiently and effectively. I call these prospecting sequences.
What is a Sales Sequence?
A sales sequence is a planned series of prospecting touches using multiple channels over a period of time. For example, a sequence might flow as follows:
- Day 1: Email
- Day 2: Phone Call
- Day 2: Direct Mail Letter
- Day 3: Social Touch on LinkedIn
- Day 7: Email
- Day 8: Phone Call
- Day 9: Direct Mail Card
- Day 10: Social Touch
- Day 13: Email
- Day 14: Social Message
Over a two week period, this prospect would have heard from you up to 14 times. Remember, however, that not all of your messages will be seen. So, while 14 times may sound excessive, in reality, it takes a lot of touches to get through.
Imagine how much you will increase the odds of getting through to your target accounts when you use a multi-touch, multi-channel sequences!