Category Archives: Lead generation

These blogs focus on our lead generation services, as well as discussions of the latest methods and tips.

Developing the hidden opportunities in your customer base

Whatever way you look at it, generating additional sales requires additional time and resources to maximise the opportunities available to you. As with most other things in business, working smarter rather than harder is the key to achieving the best return on investment.

You doubtless already have strong working relationships with long standing clients, but how well do they understand you and the full range of services your offer? Research conducted in 2021 for a leading B2B business portal found that 65% of the companies surveyed sold just one product or service to their top ten customers. There are two points to take away from this:

  1.  There is an audience who is already convinced of the key benefits to them of dealing with your company.
  2. Sales of one product or service is more vulnerable to your competitors than a wider range of sales would be.

A client who benefited from YBDT’s help in selling more products to existing clients is Harrier Pneumatics. Their core business was built around supplying new and replacement compressors to industrial customers. Working with our Sales Enablement Consultancy service helped them to identify the best routes to adding to the suite of products and services that their existing clients would benefit from. As in this example, an important part of YBDT’s sales consultancy is analysing your existing client base and their activity. This improves your understanding of the best opportunities to add sales, and to strengthen customer relationships. This goes well with another measure from the said report which states that 70% of the businesses surveyed said that they welcomed proactive approaches from trusted suppliers that saved money or improved their own customer service.

When working for Harrier Pneumatics we discovered that many of their customers were replacing components when regular maintenance would prevent failures, preventing costly production downtime and emergency call outs. Planned maintenance helped Harrier by keeping them in more regular contact with clients and putting them on the spot to discuss upgrades and system expansions. It moved them from being just suppliers of a single part to being a dependable partner in the upkeep of compressed air systems.

YBDT’s sales consultancy service is ideal for companies who need to understand how, why, and when their customers buy. It may be that purchases are made cyclically meaning that you need to be ahead of the competition in discussing renewals of maintenance contracts. Products bought irregularly mean that you need to be in front of the decision maker often enough to seize the opportunity when it arises. Likewise, if you depend on distributors to feed your business string relationships and knowledge of exactly what you do is critical to enable them to sell your products and services effectively.

A final relevant statistic: “It is six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.” I mentioned earlier the risk associated with supplying a single product into a major client. YBDT’s sales consultancy service can help you make the transition from supplier to partner, safeguarding existing work, and building firm foundations for the future. Get in touch with me to learn more about how YBDT can help.

What’s more important, getting the strategy right or keeping activities up?

The phrase ‘putting the cart before the horse’ certainly comes to mind in this case, so here are a few interesting facts (kindly supplied by Phrases.org.uk):

  • The earliest known reference to this phrase was made by John Haywood in 1589
  • hysteron proteron is a figure of speech we inherited from the Greeks, in which the thing that should come second is put first
  • There are more ‘horse phrases’ in English than those referring to any other animal

Education moment over, let’s consider the question in the title, in terms of what’s more important; both a good strategy and quality activities are as important. The question to consider rather, is order and timing. The answer very much depends on your personality type and I have used some information from DISC profiling to explain this better below.

According to DISC research there are four key personality types:

  1. Dominant (D): Places emphasis on accomplishing results and “seeing the big picture.” They are confident, sometimes blunt, outspoken, and demanding. Whilst people who fall within the D behaviour style will appreciate the need for a strategy to run a successful course of action, they will generally feel that ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and would therefore want to see some timely actions they can measure and analyse.
  2. Influential (I): Places emphasis on influencing or persuading others. They tend to be enthusiastic, optimistic, open, trusting, and energetic. People who fall within the I behaviour styles generally have low attention span for details and could find a strategy document cumbersome and limiting unless it’s entirely their idea. High I’s would prefer to get out there and approach things in a way that suits them, the moment and complements their skill.
  3. Steady (S): Places emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, loyalty, and dependability. They tend to have calm, deliberate dispositions, and don’t like to be rushed. People who fall within the S behaviour style would want to make sure that any new approaches or changes are accompanied by a clear strategy ensuring everyone is on board and in agreement. Once they have approved the strategy, they are happy to turn to action.
  4. Conscientious (C): Places emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise and competency. They enjoy their independence, demand the details, and often fear being wrong. People who fall within the C behaviour style find the notion of making a mistake terrifying and often procrastinate as a result. With high C’s, achieving timely action can sometimes be difficult.

So, the answer to the question does depend on your behavioural style but from a lead generation perspective our recommendation is to always create a detailed strategy first covering your goals, target markets and campaign approach. Once you have this in place, ensure you follow up with a timely action to ensure your sales are not delayed.

At YBDT we can help you create such a lead generation strategy and support it delivery. Read more about it here: https://www.yourbizdevteam.co.uk/sales-and-marketing-strategy.php

Selling clarity for your technical products

Some products are relatively straightforward to sell. Potential clients can appreciate the function and benefit of the offer. Other products need a certain a level of understanding before the business gain becomes clear.

An interesting example of this is Newicon, a client we started to work with sometime ago. They help companies to create effective digital products. That can mean websites, mobile apps, desktop software, or anything else that falls into the digital realm. One of the things that all their clients have in common is that they are doing something new and often untried.

Lead generation for a company like this is often about building confidence. Giving potential clients the information they need about Newicon to feel they can say, “I don’t know if this is possible but can you…” They have a vision for their business that they hope Newicon can turn into reality. This sort of confidence is not built in a single call or meeting and when Newicon approached YBDT to help them generate strategic leads they were clear that it was not an overnight project.

YBDT’s work was in two main areas, firstly, taking responsibility for the follow up for new and existing leads. The confidence we mentioned above is generated through understanding and building a relationship over time is the way to create understanding. YBDT’s telemarketing team spent time with the potential clients building trust and interest until they were ready for the more technical conversation that is the domain of Newicon’s own team.

The second critical aspect of this work was having a clear sales process through the efficient use of a CRM system that could keep the senior team up to date on the progress of prospects. This allows accurate sales forecasting and workflow management and can ensure that when a lead reaches the stage where the technical discussion is taking place that the resources to support it are available. Of course, “technical products” take many forms. Developing hardware solutions that fit the needs of a client demands the same level of understanding to effectively support development as software. Being clear on the potential customer’s values and expectations is often as important as their requirements for product performance.

The word “confidence” has appeared several times in this piece. Client’s confidence in Newicon to deliver the final digital product that they will build their business around, and Newicon’s confidence in YBDT to turn over a critical path to growth to us. Rich O’Brien, Newicon’s Head of Digital said of our work, “Since day one they have been attentive to our needs, provided expert advice, and patient support, and have been willing to go the extra mile to make the campaigns work.” Building a relationship with our own clients is the first step on YBDT’s path to supporting your plans for growth. Once we have your confidence, the possibilities are endless.

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of sales and marketing support makes us the ideal partner for software and technology based businesses. We can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy and generate and nurture leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Can you build your business on referrals alone?

Here is a great quote from the American politician, Bob Bennet: ‘in sales, referral is the key to the door of resistance’. I could not agree more and nor can most companies we speak to. So much so that it is very common to hear business owners and sales directors say that their conversion goes up to as much as 90% when following up on referrals.

So why are referrals so much better than a lead?

It might be worth understanding the difference first, here is Ivan Misner’s definition:

‘A lead is a contact that may come from any number of sources. The contact is generally not expecting your call.  A referral is the opportunity to do business. When you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead in that this prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting your call.’

For me, it’s not so much about the prospect expecting your call, you can get that through other methods of lead generation, but more about the building of familiarity and trust. This is what happens when someone they trust recommend you and effectively make you an extension of them in the eyes of the prospect. In a competitive market, it can be very hard to decide which supplier to use. The less you know about the topic you are looking to resolve, the harder is it to trust a third party, a good referral is therefore a great way to save time and make a better decision.

How can your business get more referrals then?

You could say that referrals happen over time through the building of your brand and reputation. In a perfect world, if you work hard and do a good job, customers should be coming to you. This is why many established companies see 70% of their business coming from referrals and repeat business which helps them build longevity and success. Whilst it will be great if you could just focus on your work and expect referrals to come to you, there are two key questions you need to consider here:

  1. How do clients purchase your product and service? Is it a very competitive industry you are in? What is the key deciding factor?
  2. How well do you stand out against your competition, do you really make a difference to your clients? Will they be happy to sing your praises?

In my experience, if you operate in a niche market and offer a unique service, you will get more referrals as there are not many people who do what you do. However, if like most businesses, you operate in a competitive market, you will need to build referral partner relationships to increase your referral rates. This can be done through a number of channels including formal and informal networking as well as client referral schemes and more.

However you get there, building an effective referral network depends on two key factors:

  •   Being clear on who you want to work with and why
  • Making a real difference to clients through your work

These may sound obvious, but they take some thinking and changing. 68% of customers who stop buying from an organisation do so simply because of a perceived indifference. When it comes to building referral partnerships, this can become even a bigger issue, making it hard for people to refer you effectively.

So, can you build your business on referrals alone?

At YBDT we prefer to have several funnels providing new business leads into our company. This is because whilst referrals are easier to convert, they depend on your networks’ availability and access to prospects who need your services at a given time. Therefore, you will find that referral numbers fluctuate greatly from month to month making them hard to forecast.

So, if you are looking to grow your business you will want to create other options to give you and even flow of new leads. However, referrals are key and learning how to become more effective at generating them is important. Our next sales enablement webinar will be offering tips on how to do just that, click on the link below for more information and registration: https://www.yourbizdevteam.co.uk/ybdt-lunchtime-webinar-20220322.php

Growing your insurance business needs positive action

At first sight the prospects for the insurance markets in 2022 seem less than optimistic. With the news full of economic and political gloom it would be easy to see this year as a time to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. The insurance industry news is far more positive however, with businesses making acquisitions, investing in new technology and recruiting new staff.

With many companies focusing their business development teams on retention and support for existing business generating new prospects can take a back seat. This is despite the 2021 Insurance Value Creators Report from Boston Consulting suggesting that the businesses that thrive in 2022 will be those targeting new business as well as maintaining their existing client portfolio.

The balancing act that this needs is illustrated in YBDT’s work for Higos Insurance. With a business providing independent insurance advice cover for wide range of commercial and personal risks Higos have opportunities in many sectors. The personal nature of Higos’ service means that their internal sales teams spend a lot of their time working with current clients. The leadership team were keenly aware that they needed to generate new prospects for their skilled business development managers to convert. They approached Your Business Development Team in early 2020 to build a strategy for identifying renewal dates and understanding current cover and future requirements of targeted industry and geographic areas.

Once the objective of building a pipeline of potential future business was in place, monthly telemarketing campaigns were implemented to specific regions of the country and industry-based databases. With a highly skilled insurance industry telemarketer on YBDT’s team we were able to provide directly relevant information that Higos’ internal sales teams could use to offer better cover and cost options to potential new clients. Once this information has been added to a CRM system for review by Higos sales team they were ideally placed to secure new business from the YBDT led campaigns.

The result of this ongoing work has been a steady input of prospect data into Higos, giving their team the information that enables them to help the client improve their insurance cover, as well as knowing when action will need to be taken based on YBDT’s telemarketer providing expected renewal dates. As Higos BDM, Nick Reynolds told us: “I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending YBDT to any organisation that want to create a sales campaign or indeed want to enhance their current sales structure. Their professionalism, organisation and tenacity has created sales opportunities for me and my colleagues meaning we can generate more new businesses in the months to come.”

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of sales and marketing support makes us the ideal partner for the growing insurance business. We can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy and generate and nurture leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to convert to new business. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Keeping going is often the key

In our recent blogs we have been talking about creating a growth mindset and planning for your business growth. Building your plans will nurture the growth mindset, and that in turn will help develop the other tool needed for success in the marketplace, resilience.

Every business owner will have challenges thrown at them, from the small and easy to overcome to the significant. Those who are growth-minded see these challenges as an opportunity to learn and strengthen their skill set. The resilient sales person and their leaders will have understood that life, and business, will not always go as they would wish. They will also have the ability to stay the course and work through adversity, as most businesses have had to over the last two years, and emerge stronger. While we hope and expect that business conditions will continue to improve in the coming year, having the tools to take some of the uncertainty away will mean you control your business destiny better than those who have the fixed mindset that looks for reasons why they are not succeeding.

Planning for growth, looking for opportunities and adopting the growth mindset all build resilience into your team, your business, and yourself. Creating a positive culture in your business will shape the mindsets of your team and help them face the challenges that all businesses face, and overcome them. Carol Dweck says that fostering a growth mindset “takes dedication and hard work” but focusing on simple things like the language you use when talking about your business and praising effort and innovation will go a long way to fostering the positive approach that will see your company succeed.

One major challenge for any business is time:

  • Time to make all the calls you need to
  • Time to research a project or customer
  • Time to perfect your offer and understand what your potential customer needs from you

Taking a growth-minded approach allows you to realise that you can’t do everything by yourself.

At Your Business Development Team, we believe that selling is a process of building and developing relationships. These can take time to yield results and our lead generation and nurturing services work by taking away the need for you and your team to do everything yourselves, providing you with extra time to build sustainable sales for 2022 and beyond.

For example, letting go of the follow up process too soon often means missing out on sales. A specific targeted plan to draw potential clients towards you will help you convert more sales. We take your initial leads and follow them through to the point that your sales team can pick them up and make the final close. Get in touch with us to start planning your route to business growth in 2022.

Feeling overworked? How about some lead generation?

John Lennon famously referred to life as what happens while you are busy making other plans. This quote is particularly apt now when many businesses find themselves working to capacity and beyond. According to many articles and news items, the unprecedented demand created by the pandemic has meant that many are trying to deliver 12 months’ work in 3 months, which obviously puts a lot of strain on staff and systems.

One direct result of this situation, which we come across a lot currently, is companies putting their sales operation on hold. If you have limited resources to support your existing clients and you are struggling to recruit new staff, the thought of new clients coming on board may seem like complete madness. I agree that existing clients always come first and providing good service is key to your reputation. However, I don’t think you should ever let go of your sales operation as it’s the life blood of your business.

Since most things, good or bad, do not last forever, the current surge in demand will also come to an end and you will be back to chasing new clients. This will be hard to do having abandoned your sales activity for a long period of time.  So how can you manage to keep on top of your sales operation whilst being stretched in all other directions? Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

Review your sales strategy. It may well be that you are very busy and stretched but potentially you might also be allocating the wrong resource or banging your head against a brick wall. If this is the case, reconsider your current sales strategy and operation:

  • Where would you like to be at the end of next quarter?
  • Are you approaching the right target markets?
  • Have you got the right case studies and sales collateral?
  • Are the right people in your team covering the right roles?

Review your sales process. Like many other processes, it may well be held up by various bottlenecks and unnecessary admin slowing it down:

  • Where are most opportunities being held?
  • What are the biggest obstacles?
  • What could you do more?
  • What could you do less?
  • How are you measuring success at the moment?

Consider technology and new tools. Once you have looked at reshaping your strategy, consider the tools you are currently using to makes sales happen:

  • Is your CRM working for you and the team?
  • Is the CRM set up to support your sales process?
  • Are there software tools that can support your sales operation better?
  • Could some of you selling be done using digital marketing?
  • Would an effective content marketing help?

Ask yourself if this is the time to outsource or bring in an expert? Often sales success can be stuck in your blind spot. It may well not be your area of expertise or passion. Given that you are very busy but don’t want to let go of sales, why not consider asking someone else to help?

At YBDT we can help you with both lead generation and sales consultancy which means that we take the ownership for creating a strategic, tailored plan and then deliver on it. In the past 12 months we have increased our sales consultancy offering and you can read more about it here.  Get in touch to see how we might help.

When selling gets personal

There are few decisions in business as critical as choosing a coach. They will become embedded in your business and be privy to your successes and failures. Putting a coach or consultant in front of potential clients needs to be handled sensitively. Some businesses choose to work with coaches at the point they are having problems, so building a supportive relationship that forms confidence in the coach through regular contact is a critical path for fostering long term connections.

In our blog back in July we talked about building a sales pipeline that is fit for the future. Coaches and consultants need that pipeline every bit as much as businesses with a less intangible offering. We talked then about the gap that can occur from not having an eye on work for the future while supporting your existing projects. Businesses, and their owners, need the backing of their coaching and consulting network more than ever so you may be spending more time on each client than may have been typical before the Pandemic. Where does that leave the time to create the work that will sustain you in 2022 and beyond?

While Your Business Development Team have supported manufacturing industry over the last eighteen months, we have also been working to generate and develop prospects for TAB – The Alternative Board. TAB have a unique method of working, including advisory boards made up other business owners, one to one coaching, and a suite of business tools. To fully realise the potential offered by this supportive offering takes a little time, and explanation. Working with YBDT gave TAB the opportunity to have the conversations leading up to the point where a potential client understood that TAB was the best option for them and needed to take the next step towards working with them.

It is equally important for the coach or consultant to understand that the prospective client will benefit from their service. And the only way to achieve this is to spend time learning the nuances of the business. A quotation that I am fond of is Wanda Allen’s “80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less”. Few coaches will have the time to give adequate attention to their existing clients as well as having the conversations over weeks or months that potential clients need from them. So, they need an alternative way, which YBDT can provide. As Jonathan O’Shea. MD of TAB Bristol North said to us. “I know the process and structure works in different businesses and sectors, which shows that their work with me is not a fluke.” Get in touch to learn more about the range of services we can bring to supporting your search for new clients.

Change for Success

Over the summer we have been talking in our blogs about reorienting your sales and marketing effort to suit the changed business landscape of 2021. Thinking strategically, and planning for future achievements is a critical path to success.

Identifying and exploiting new opportunities requires quick, decisive actions. Your Business Development Team have worked with Sentinel Group Security (SGS) for several years. Over that time as the market for effective, personalised security services has shifted, YBDT have kept pace with the changes, and provided solutions to support SGS’ priorities. You can read the case study on our work for SGS here. YBDT worked with them on the creation of their contracted manned security division which has seen them grow into one of the premier suppliers of officers to the security industry.

Relationships are key to success in the security industry, so YBDT’s proven lead nurturing service was invaluable in creating the foundations for the ambitious targets set by the client. Running targeted campaigns aimed at specific industry sectors using direct mail and the trade press to establish the SGS brand in the minds of potential clients were carried out. As new products such as security workforce management software were introduced, and carefully planned launches were implemented. When unexpected developments, such as the need for additional manned guarding brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, occurred, the strategy was flexible enough to accommodate a sudden switch in the priorities of the industry and allowed SGS to respond positively to their customers’ demands.

“Expect the unexpected” is a good maxim to live by in business generally, but the last year and a half have shown this to be truer than ever when planning a sales and marketing strategy. The construction industry has had a lot of change forced on it by the requirement for remote working. Entrepreneur JB de Lartigue had recognised an opportunity as far back as 2018 to support businesses in the construction sector who were struggling with the new area of Building Information Modelling (BIM). He created Driving Vision as the vehicle for this drive. With contacts and leads built up through the application of YBDT’s sales and marketing strategy, JB and his team were in an ideal position to exploit the heightened interest in the online collaborative approach to building design of BIM. JB said of our work for him that: “YBDT helped us to have a marketing strategy in place, all the sales, and marketing tools and materials necessary to get our first key prospect just three months after entering the market.” You can read more about our work for Driving Vision here.

Being in a position to embrace a rapidly changing market place for your products and services requires a business to have laid the groundwork. Sales and marketing strategies, relationship building and lead generation and nurturing processes actively seeking your ideal client, and above all a team of professionals ready to support your salesforce in capitalising on opportunities as they arise, promptly. We can be your business development team. Get in touch to learn more about how we can support your success.

Selling creatively creates success

Last month we discussed two companies which successfully utilised our established experience in business development support in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. As we pointed out, these are industries that have not previously needed to rely on active sales and marketing strategies as they could expect to see sufficient repeat business from regular customers.

There are many business sectors currently finding that they need to find new ways of putting their product and services in front of potential customers. The “new thing” can be very simple, here are a few examples:

For SVR Plastics, a long-established business selling into the Civil Engineering market, YBDT provided email and telemarketing services to raise awareness of their product specification guide. The campaign focused on ensuring that SVR’s products were on every merchant trade counter and the desk of the main estimator at each major contractor. A straightforward awareness raising campaign has led to a significant increase in enquiries and orders.

For businesses that do not have a culture of proactive sales, a “soft touch” approach can still bring benefits, as in the case of SVR, regular emails highlighting specific areas of their range supported by calling to key decision makers kept the company’s name in front of buyers with regular requirements.

When Tom and Teddy, the successful man and boys’ swimwear designer brand, came to the UK in 2018, they looked for support in getting them in front of retailers. As part of their marketing effort, they hired YBDT to research and call independent retailers and department stores and invite them to attend their stand at a key fashion exhibition in London. Founder and Director Michelle L’Huillier said: “As a result of this I have had some great conversations with retailers including Harrods, one of our key targets”.

Thinking creatively about what would generate leads for your business, in the distribution channel or when selling direct to the end user, helps your business stand out from the clamour of competitors jostling for the customers’ attention. For Tom and Teddy, the careful research and targeting of the best contacts, in the right companies lead to growth in the U.K. building on their previous success in Australia and the USA.

Creative thinking about sales and marketing comes from our experience of working with companies in many industries. Our expertise, built up over years of creating B2B strategies that support clients’ goals and objectives, means that we can tailor the services we offer to your expectations. Raising awareness of your presence in the marketplace, developing a clear strategy for sales growth, or generating and nurturing leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders all form part of our support to help you progress in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you realise your goals.