Monthly Archives: October 2017

What are the key buying patterns and why are they key for sales success?

In the world of sales and business development, people are always judged by their sales success. Their job longevity depends on developing an ever-growing pipeline with a high percentage of deals closed quickly. This has been my world for much of my professional career and whilst I got some great training along the way there was a key thing they all seemed to miss. I recently came across some research undertaken by Disc which basically states that only 35% of the population are likely to make a buying decision quickly. The remaining 65% like to take their time, which could be anything from days to months depending on the product.

This means two important things to a Sales Director who wants his team to succeed:

  • Identifying early adopters is key to getting some sales in quickly and keeping senior management happy.
  • Keeping in contact with the rest of the medium to late adopters through structured follow-up is as important.

So, how to go about doing this? Read up on buying styles. As always, there are a quite a few theories and numbers. I like the Disc approach, which identifies four styles:

  1. The Decisive: These buyers have a clear picture in their mind of what results they want. They are more often interested in “winning” or “promoting their own agenda” so they like to buy when they feel they have “gotten their way,” so to speak. They are attentive to actions or communication that will speed up those results. Discussions about details and minutiae are distracting to these individuals. They prefer to discuss top-line, big-picture concepts when considering the value of any offer.
  2. The Interactive: These buyers want to shape events and enjoy “getting their way” when it comes to negotiations or buying something. They are interested in people and like to interact with others. They are most receptive to making a buying decision when they feel a sense of connection with the person, are in a more social environment and have had the opportunity to express their emotions about the offering first. This person is also particularly inattentive to details, preferring to stick to the big-picture and emotional benefits of the solution.
  3. The Stabilizer. These buyers are more passive and introverted and interested in the how and why of a solution. Their primary interests are in maintaining stability within themselves and whatever situation they find themselves in. Messages that don’t address the specifics, or that champion radical change, are likely to alienate rather than resonate. They prefer to “take their time” more than any other dimension so any offering should give them plenty of time to decide.
  4. The Conscientious: These buyers are also more passive and introverted. They too take a much more detailed and accuracy-based approach to their buying habits. Without sufficient data to prove any statements made to them, you will fail to achieve their buy-in. They are therefore receptive to offerings that provide proof that the solution works and proposals that are meticulously detailed.

The next thing to do is to make sure that you are able to identify the type of buyer hiding in new leads coming in as quickly as possible. This will allow you to ensure that they are approached correctly for the best outcome.

Your sales team should be hot on the heels of early adopters whilst the medium to slow adopters should be followed up appropriately. This sometimes means taking it away from your eager and impatient sales people. Often, everyone in your business is very busy and as a result non-urgent, but essential, activities such as lead nurturing and systematic follow up, get put to one side.

We have recently developed a lead nurturing solution to support this situation. Click here to read more.

What’s more important, new leads or conversion and what does it have to do with colourful plasters?

I am sure it will not surprise many if I said that both were as important because one will not work without the other. So far so good, but here are a few questions for you:

  • Why do most companies invest more time and money in new lead generation and much less in improving their conversion rate?
  • How come every time you increase your lead numbers your conversion rate actually goes down?
  • Why should you consider it?

It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on this but as it’s my Blog, I’d better give you my take on things:

  • Why do we seem to value new leads over conversion?

Simply put, because it’s easier to measure and influence. It’s not that anyone is particularly stupid but we are all very busy. So, when it comes to lead generation, as it’s a simple number, you can easily work out how many you are getting from each channel, job done. In addition, new lead numbers tend to increase if you throw time and money at them so again, job done.

Improving conversion is much less obvious, which is why we often don’t get around to doing it. To make a difference, you need to work out all or a few of the following:

  • Your target markets
  • Their problem
  • The best solution for it
  • Your sales process
  • Your follow up system
  • Why does improving lead numbers, negatively affect your conversion rate?

I am sure you worked this one out yourself. As your conversion rate is a percentage based on the number of new leads, if that number increases but your conversion stays the same, it will be a smaller percentage overall. This is particularly true If you have a problem converting new leads.

  • Why is this important?

Getting these two numbers right, is the key to the success of any lead generation strategy. There is little point in generating leads if you cannot convert them. Many companies I come across are looking for smart solutions to generating new leads and in the process, get carried away with some shiny new methods. From my perspective, it seems like many are looking for colourful plasters to patch up the real cracks. Unfortunately, this can often result in wasted budgets.

  • What can you do about it?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Review your strategy
  • Work out your actual conversion rate
  • Set monthly targets
  • Improve your follow up system
  • Put aside time and resources for lead nurturing
  • Who is affected most?

This is a universal problem but if you are a growing business and employ a sales team, this topic is absolutely key to nail. Often, everyone in your business is very busy and as a result non-urgent, but essential, activities such as lead nurturing and systematic follow up, get put to one side. This means that the money you spend on lead generation is often wasted.

We have recently developed a lead nurturing solution to support this situation. Click here to read more.