Veteran software salespeople and consultants share their insight for improving sales efforts.
The key to being world class in B2B demand generation is this: Build a strong foundation first. Skip this step, you’re dead.
Recently, the CMO of a $108 million software firm told me his goal was to be “world class.” (He was later dismissed.)
A laudable goal, no doubt. Many CMOs and CEOs say the same thing. Everyone wants to be THE best. But it also caused me to do some deep thinking. If so many have a goal of being world-class, why do over 9 out 10 come up short?
Here are some stats that show how bad it is. (From presentation by Ardath Albee of MarketingInteractions)
• 64 percent of marketers with lead nurturing are dissatisfied with results
• Sales quota achievement is at the lowest level ever measured (CSO Insights)
• Without lead nurturing, 79 percent of leads never turn into sales opportunities
What’s going on here? If they all want to be the best, why are they performing so poorly? And why aren’t more salespeople making quota? For another experts take on the problem, please read The Unspoken ‘Real State’ of Modern B2B Demand Generation 2 of 4: Technology, Alone, Is Not Enough.
In my mind, it’s because so many companies look for the easy fix and skip the hard stuff. The article above points out that companies do the bare minimum to get marketing automation working, but not enough to provide an adequate flow of qualified sales leads.
It seems everyone wants a quick fix.
• Just buy marketing automation
• Hire a product marketing person
• Invest in search marketing
• Hire some salespeople
There’s nothing wrong with those ideas. But to become the best, you need to make a BIG commitment. You need to invest serious sweat and patience in the foundation of demand generation:
• Value proposition development—Specific business outcomes that result from the use of your products and services
• Ideal customer profiles—Who are the best prospective customers for us?
• Buyer personas—What makes them tick? What do they really care about? Where do they turn for information? (See Personas are critical, Mr./Ms. CEO for more)
• Problem to Solution story-telling—How can we tell a story about their problems and keep their attention as we show them how to solve their problems? As Ardath Albee said, “We need to answer the What’s In It For Them? question.” You also need to leverage Catch Factors to get attention and use Cliff-Hangers to hold attention (editor’s note: Credit Ardath for these terms) (See How to Use Great Story-Telling for Lead Nurturing as well as Ardath’s great book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale for more.)
• Great Content mapped to Buyer variables—Content that is brief, interesting and
o Right format
o Right person
o Right time
Only by really working hard on understanding buyers, their issues, their problems, etc. will you have the insights to craft a world-class demand generation program. Don’t short cut this process. Nothing in life is easy.
Jeff Ogden is President of Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple”. He’s also the author of two highly acclaimed white papers, How to Find New Customers and Definitive Guide to Making Quota, as well the ebook, Prospect Driven Marketing. Find New Customers helps businesses develop and implement programs to improve the way they find and acquire new customers using best practices in lead generation.