Category Archives: Lead generation

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

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, ask for client referrals

(Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash )

Strong relationships with existing clients are crucial to your business. However, relying solely on repeat business can expose you to unforeseen fluctuations.  Economic downturns, changes in client needs, or even personnel shifts within customer organisations can suddenly disrupt your income. Extending your client base is essential for long-term success, and one of the best ways of achieving that is through client referrals.

A steady stream of referrals builds trust and positions your company as a leader within your industry. Potential clients are more likely to engage with a business visibly endorsed by the businesses already using them. Referred clients arrive with an assumed level of trust established by the positive experiences of their colleagues or associates. This translates to shorter sales cycles and less time spent convincing them of your value proposition. People trust the recommendations of those they know and respect. A glowing referral carries far more weight than any marketing message your company can create, fostering a stronger connection even before the initial interaction.

While referrals are highly valuable, there is a right and wrong way to solicit them:

Service Delivery: Start with making sure you are worthy of a referral. Exceptional client experiences are the cornerstone of this. Consistently exceed expectations, resolve issues promptly, and maintain clear, consistent communication.

Strategic Timing: Identify opportune moments to request referrals, such as after successful project completions or when clients express their satisfaction with your work. 

Streamlined Request Process: Simplify your referral process. Develop a clear, concise script for your request. Briefly outline the benefits of referrals for both your business and theirs. Offer readily accessible referral materials, such as flyers and links.

Selective Incentives: While offering a small token of appreciation can be a thoughtful gesture, building a referral program solely on incentives isn’t sustainable. The genuine satisfaction of helping a trusted partner should be the primary motivator.

Tracking and Follow-Up: Keep a record of referral requests and follow-up with thank you notes, regardless of the outcome.

Beyond that, cultivating referrals by building relationships with complementary businesses who you can mutually refer potential clients with. Network actively with industry professionals and join relevant business events to broaden your professional circle. Being an active referrer is one of the best ways of being referred yourself. Many of the major business networks build their ethos around the assumption that mutual support is better than asking without giving back.

Don’t wait for referrals to happen organically. Actively cultivate them as a core component of your business development strategy. By consistently delivering excellent service, strategically requesting referrals, and nurturing strong client relationships, you’ll establish a steady stream of qualified leads, ensuring your company’s long-term growth and sustainability. Remember, satisfied clients are your most valuable marketing asset. By leveraging their trust and positive experiences, you’ll cultivate a thriving referral program and secure a steady flow of new business.

At YBDT we work with SMEs across a wide range of industries. Our sales enablement support starts from the assumption that buying choices are made based on strong relationships. Working with many clients over the last fifteen years we have learnt that real value lies in improving sales conversion. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the conversation that transforms your sales.

Getting started with business development activity

In our last blog we talked about getting the temperature of your business development right, so that your activity is appropriate to the stage of evolution your business is at now. Whether you’re a startup, or a seasoned entrepreneur, mastering the art of business development is a critical part of achieving your goals. But where to start?  

Before diving into methods, we need a clear understanding of what business development actually is. Business development involves identifying growth opportunities, building strategic relationships, and creating paths for income generation. It’s about creating connections, nurturing partnerships, and aligning your business goals with your market. The foundation of successful business development lies in thorough research and analysis. Identifying your target market, and understanding their pain points, the drivers for buying decisions.  By studying the customer base and identifying your key competitors you will gather valuable insights and can tailor your approach to address specific needs and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Creating a comprehensive business development strategy that outlines your goals, target markets, and key tactics is the single most important step. This plan should include a timeline, measurable objectives, and a clear roadmap for execution. You should regularly review and adjust your strategy to adapt to changing market dynamics. As part of this you should be looking at your value proposition. This communicates why your product or service is unique and valuable, what problems you solve for your client base. A well-defined value proposition serves as the cornerstone of your business development efforts.

With your target markets defined as part of the overall strategy, the next step will be to research and identify the key decision makers in companies who fit into your target sectors. Sourcing static data lists can be a minefield unless you clearly understand the process of selecting the correct parameters. 

Creating a suite of material to support your business development is vital. Case studies, and brochures need to be professional and able to encapsulate the value proposition you have set out. But there is more to your sales collateral. You need to consider, email templates for follow ups, telemarketing scripts, and how you will appear on LinkedIn and social media. All these items are part of the crucial first impression that you give a prospect so taking short cuts is not an option.

With business development activity planned how will you and your team handle the expected enquiries? How will you communicate with your potential clients? Do you have the telephone, and sales skills to capitalise on each enquiry.

If the to do list for business development sounds daunting, then YBDT can help. The first tier of our staged sales support package is all about helping you get started. YBDT support the creation of sales collateral and help develop the data that will drive your engagement, as well as working with you on the all-important strategy. We can provide skills development workshops and through our mentoring sessions help you stay accountable for the success of your business objectives. Get in touch to book a discovery call, that is the first step to your business growth.

Take your business development temperature

We’ve asked the question, “what sort of lead generation do you need” around different market sectors and targets, but how do you get started on your business development journey at an early stage of your business?  The temperature you apply to your lead generation is related to the budget and resources you have available, as well as where you are in your business’s life story. You can turn the heat up or down depending on seasonal factors, your growth plans or market conditions.

Gas mark 1 – Getting the basics right.

Smaller businesses or ones that are at an early stage of their development need to build the strategy, collateral (case studies, brochures, email sequences), and data that will help you progress. The most important part of any business development campaign is creating a viable strategy. Defining your target markets, looking for opportunities for growth within them, and agreeing campaign goals will help you build a firm platform for success. Once you start seeing tangible results from your lead generation effort you will be able to progress to the next stage of your growth. If you put the basic building blocks for sales success in place early on, they will last you for the lifetime of the business.

Gas Mark 3 – The first step into external support.

You may find that your growth expectations quickly outstrip your ability to create new customers internally. At this point outsourcing lead generation activity will enable you to allocate your own resources to where they will be most valuable, nurturing and closing new clients. Identifying and connect with potential prospects through LinkedIn, and creating content that raises brand awareness and strengthens relationships can be outsourced, often more cheaply than they can be carried out internally. Taking the first steps into proactive marketing, such as direct email campaigns are often better taken with support from an expert.

Gas Mark 6 – Outsourced Business Development

Once your lead generation activities are bearing fruit you will need to consider how you will maintain a pipeline of new prospects to maintain existing revenue levels and continue to grow in line with your objectives for the business. At this point your own sales team will be best employed solidifying relationships with existing clients, and nurturing prospects who are close to a buying decision. Pouring new leads into your lead generation process, and then cultivating until they are ready to be passed on to your specialist sales team to close.

YBDT’s staged support mirrors these steps, enabling you to warm your business development up as the business grows. Our 15 years’ experience of supporting business in many sectors means that we have seen and solved most of the issues that business will face. The first tier of our staged support package includes extensive mentoring and support along with skills development workshops that will put your team on track. The second tier of support introduces the content and data driven components of the YBDT service, paving the way for you be ready to turn the heat up to the full YBDT business development process that has supported sustainable growth for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and take the temperature on your lead generation campaign.

Managing lead generation for your renewal clients

Renewal clients are existing customers who have already bought products or services from you that have a renewal date or contract end point. As well as ensuring that the renewal is secured, managing your contact with these clients involves identifying opportunities to add additional services to your current customers. As Lewis Howes points out, “It’s almost always easier to sell to an existing customer base than to find a new one.”                       

Managing lead generation for your renewal clients involves a combination of tactics and strategies that are focused on retaining and expanding your existing client base.

Analysis: The first step is to identify which clients are most likely to renew their contracts, which ones have the potential to expand their business with you, and which ones are at risk of leaving. From there you can determine the best tactics for approaching each segment of your client portfolio.

Connection: To avoid clients falling into the “at risk of leaving” segment they need to feel valued and appreciated by your company. Staying in touch with your clients regularly through check-in calls, personalised emails, newsletters, and other channels will keep you in their mind and open to hearing extra sales messages from you.

Planning: Develop a plan that outlines the actions you will take to achieve your renewal goals. This plan should include communication strategies, and product offerings that suit each of your identified segments.

Refinement: Renewals are a continuous cycle, not just for a single year. Using data acquired from one sales cycle to guide decision-making for future campaigns.

By effectively managing lead generation for renewal clients, you can increase customer loyalty, retention, and revenue. Our new favourite business quote comes from sales expert (and sister of Robert for the music fans) Patricia Fripp. “It is not your customer’s job to remember you, it is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” Growing your business with YBDT’s effective approach to outreach will give you a clear blueprint for success and ensure that your renewal clients don’t get the chance to forget you.

We are more than a lead generation company and focus on supporting the creation of an effective strategy for finding and then developing leads with your existing clients and new prospects. Using our highly experienced team to nurture your clients through regular contact will leave you in the ideal position to capitalise on the opportunity to renew and extend your relationship with them when the time is right.

After years of building sustainable effective marketing for our clients we have a toolbox of techniques and insights into market sectors and prospect behaviour that make YBDT the ideal choice to support your lead generation. Get in touch to book a discovery call that is the first step to your business growth.

Why applying empathy is key to your sales conversion?

‘You cant understand someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.’

The person who first uttered this American saying is lost to history. The fact that it’s so well known is a good indication of the importance of empathy in living a meaningful life. It is also an important lesson to remember when approaching the planning of lead generation campaigns.

When I launched Your Business Development Team all those years ago, one of the first things I did was to ask business owners within my target markets what were their key issues with lead  generation. Many said that they found it frustrating because the campaigns rarely provided them with sales; they got leads but very few of them converted. This fact was fundamental to the development of our key USP, which is the provision of a long term lead generation and nurturing service designed to support our clients along their sales journey and beyond initial lead generation activity.

Making sure you understand firstly, who your target markets are, and secondly what their key issues are within your area of expertise, is key to your sales success. Earlier in the month, we wrote about understanding the right lead generation for you. Our key point was that you needed to understand how people bought your product to get a better understanding of how you should approach your lead generation campaign. Today, I want to explore how you can go further down this road to improve your product and sales conversion.

Consider what you currently do to understand your prospects’ problems. Do you,

  • Make assumptions based on your market knowledge?
  • Run surveys or focused groups?
  • Read books, research and articles?
  • Ask questions to improve your understanding?

Based on my conversations with many business owners, I would guess that most of us stick to making assumptions and these are often correct. After all, if you have been operating in an industry for many years, you tend to get a good understanding of it. But relying solely on assumptions can be dangerous for a number of reasons including:

  1. Market conditions change and industries adapt
  2. Assumptions can be over simplified or too general
  3. We can often become biased by our own offering

Another problem, is that people involved in selling often overestimate their preservation abilities and rely heavily on relationship building instead of getting a better understanding of their prospects true motivation to buy. People who talk about sales enablement often talk about understanding pain and asking pain questions. As you might know, this relates to the status quo bias which claims that most people are unlikely to make a change unless they are forced there. Simply put, this means that true motivation, the holy grail of sales conversion, depends heavily on our prospects’ issues. This means that by understanding their problems better we can achieve two important outcomes:

  1. Improving our solution and increasing our chances of a sale
  2. Improving our ability to understand the odds for sales success

Yet asking pain questions is not easy, particularly if you are a people pleaser, a common trait amongst relationship builders. It also requires us to listen carefully and apply empathy, being prepared to alter our understanding and start again. Putting this together with how overworked and busy many of us are and you get to a point where all of this becomes a step too far. Which is why so many sales end up with companies choosing to keep with the status quo and keep with what they have already got.

This is not so bad if you operate in a high demand environment where you attract many leads and can afford to convert only 20-30% of them. It becomes more important if you are struggling to find many leads because your offering is high end, very specific or a new product. So if you are placed with the latter, when you are considering your next lead generation campaign take some time to go beyond your initial assumptions of the problems troubling your prospects:

  • Talk to your current clients and contacts
  • Read related articles and analyse data
  • Put together some key pain questions
  • Make sure you ask them and listen carefully to the answers

This will not only improve your conversation rate, it will also help you ensure that your product is current and relevant to your future clients. If you need help understanding how to include this in your current sales practice, get in touch.

How can you tell what sort of lead generation will work for your business?

The first question is, what actually is lead generation?  It is simply the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services. The end goal of lead generation is to convert these potential customers, or leads, into paying customers.

Lead generation can involve a variety of strategies including many aspects of the work YBDT offer. Content marketing, email marketing, telemarketing and using platforms such as LinkedIn. These strategies are designed to attract potential customers towards a business where they can learn more about the products or services on offer and your business can build a relationship with them.

How can you tell what sort of lead generation will work for your business? There are some basic questions you need to answer to establish what is going to work for your business. The best lead generation strategy depends on your business’s unique context, industry, resources, and goals. That means it is crucial to keep learning, adapting, and innovating to stay ahead of the competition and meet the evolving needs of your audience.

  1. Do you know who your ideal client base is?  It is important to know who your ideal customer is and what their pain points and challenges are. Knowing who you are targeting will help you understand the most effective lead generation strategy to reach them. If your ideal clients are tradespeople who are on site all day then phoning them would be unlikely to work, but an email that they can read at their leisure may well do.

  2. Do you understand your industry and how it operates? Researching your market sector will also help you understand what strategies will connect with your potential clients. Knowing how your industry behaves will let you see what is, or is not, working for your competitors, and allow you to develop the marketing collateral that will speak to your prospects.

  3. Is there a pattern to how potential customers buy? This is probably the most critical question. If your potential clients are buying regularly, on subscription, or as an annual renewal then your lead generation process revolves around the data that lets you be in position to talk to them at the right time.

  4. What are the key drivers to a buying decision? Another vital question for companies whose purchases are less predictable. Almost as important is where they buy. Is it direct from the manufacturer or through a distribution channel. That answer can affect who your lead generation efforts are aimed at and how you develop relationships.

  5. How often do they buy? If your product is a repeat purchase or consumable item then the lead generation process also includes keeping in touch with existing customers and distributors to ensure you are in their minds when it comes time to buy.

Remember that lead generation is an ongoing process, so it’s important to continually test and optimize your approach to ensure that you are generating high-quality leads for your business. It is important to be open to testing different approaches and measuring their effectiveness. As we mentioned in a blog recently, there is no fairy dust to be waved over the lead generation process. It is a careful process of building knowledge and understanding about the most effective strategies for each business we work with. After 15 years of building sustainable effective marketing for our clients we have a toolbox of techniques and insights into market sectors and prospect behaviour that make YBDT the ideal choice to support your lead generation. Get in touch to book a discovery call that is the first step to your business growth.

Playing The Long Game

Successful lead generation and nurturing takes time. We looked in a recent blog at the planning which is needed to build a sustainable strategy for growth. That growth is not something that can be achieved overnight, so it’s important to set realistic expectations and be patient. There are many different tactics you can use to generate leads, the most important part of any strategy is discovering the most suitable ones for your business, and the markets you operate in.

A lead generation strategy will identify potential customers who are interested in your products or services and reaching out to them to start a process of understanding and engagement. By building relationships with them, providing information, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns you will be in an ideal position to act when they are ready to buy. Nurturing leads takes time because you need to establish trust and credibility with potential clients before they are willing to make a purchase. It’s important to provide them with relevant information and solutions that address their specific needs and pain points. This process can take weeks, months, or even longer depending on the complexity of your product or service.

My favourite lead nurturing statistic is Wanda Allan’s ‘80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less’. This stat says more about the reality of time poor salespeople than about their willingness or ability to follow up leads.

This is where YBDT’s sales enablement service comes into its own. Using our extensive experience of lead generation and sales we have put together a three-step process aimed at improving your sales success.

  1. Gap analysis – Our unique gap analysis system identifies bottle necks and other blocks in your sales process.
  2. Tailored sales process – We help you create a winning sales process that is based on your operation and becomes the blueprint to your sales success
  3. Bespoke sales training – With these steps in place we can deliver training and mentoring individually designed to support your team as they adopt the new process.

With time always at a premium for your sales team, lead nurturing service may be the solution to making sure the follow ups are maintained consistently for as long as required, rather than risking the effort of acquiring the lead being lost as priorities within the business shift. The beauty of what we offer is that we can help you with both, providing a full sales support service, from lead generation through nurturing to improving your internal sales mechanism.

Successful lead generation and nurturing requires a long-term commitment to building relationships with potential customers. It takes time to establish trust and credibility, but the rewards are worth it in the form of loyal customers who are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer others to your business. YBDT has built a successful business over the last 8 years by applying the principles of sustainable relationship building to ourselves. And we can help you achieve the same long-term success. Get in touch to book a discovery call that is the first step to your business growth in 2023.

Don’t believe the hype. There is no fairy dust

Like most people I’ve been getting a lot of emails promising to work miracles in all areas of business. One recent one told me how the sender had “helped John go from £100k/mo to £200k/mo in 3 months and Joe close $485k in new deals while working part time”. The truth, of course, is that the sort of magic needed to live up to promises like that does not build viable businesses. If you had found the secret formula to instant sales success, would you give it away? In the real world where our businesses live, we want to create sustainable growth that gives value to our customers now, in a year and in five years. To do that takes time, planning and developing a long-term strategy to prove your worth to your clients.

In 2023 sustainable growth means taking a clear view of how to achieve your aspirations for the business. It is easy to get attracted to each new opportunity and devote all your resources to chasing it down. Much like a football team where everyone is running after the ball, you risk of leaving your own goal, or existing business, undefended. Any game, or business plan needs to be built on a sound strategy with the tactics used to achieve your aims changing depending on the opposing team you want to beat, or the business prospects you are looking to convert into clients.

In a leading article at the CEO-Worldwide portal Colin Thompson suggests that: “The route to growth is more important than the growth target itself”. He goes on to point out that skincare company Natura, owners of Avon and Body Shop, has achieved success by concentrating on a relationship-focused business model. While having a target to aim for is clearly still important, putting the steps in place that make hitting targets repeatable is critical.

YBDT has 15 years of experience in doing exactly that. We create finely tuned sales and marketing strategies for business looking to build success for now and the future. Creating a successful sales and marketing plan calls for a comprehensive understanding of your business, it’s products, unique selling points, and story to help us craft the strategy. We can help you pit that strategy into practice by creating a tailored sales process and using our team of experts to produce the content and make the calls that will convert leads into customers.

We have worked with Higos Insurance Services since early 2020, here is what their Regional Manager Alan Clarke said about his experience of working with us, ‘I would say YBDT are ideal for businesses who are looking for a strong partner, who will represent them well, and deliver positive results in terms of strengthening your telemarketing distribution channel and sales pipeline.’

We know there is no fairy dust, but after 15 years of following our own advice and building sustainable effective marketing for our own business, we also know what is needed to do the same for your business. Get in touch to book a discovery call that is the first step to your business growth in 2023.

Should you prioritise existing clients over new business?

There are many statistics and quotes around how much harder it is to generate new business than it is to retain existing clients and build additional work with them. Bill Quiseng encourages us to “work as hard to keep a customer as you do to find a new one.” Starting from scratch will always be harder than continuing to work with someone who knows and trusts your business. You need to find that balance between the existing business that keeps the wheels turning and allows you the time to create the new business that grows the company. How that balance is achieved depends on what you do. In sectors like insurance or SAAS renewals are critical to building a sustainable business.

Locking in clients for another year is a task that cannot be left to chance. Discovering where your competitors are not fulfilling their customers’ needs is vital to building your business. Creating a strategy that will take account of both the requirements of existing and new business is the key to making sure nothing slips through the net.

The common factor is that both existing renewals and new business are based on relationships. Existing clients need to be nurtured every bit as much as potential new customers. A clear business development strategy will give you the information to make decisions about where your existing team is most effective, and what other resources are needed to allow your goals to be met. YBDT’s sales enablement service starts by creating exactly this strategy.

If you are looking to build a renewals pipeline then understanding your competition, and differentiating yourself from them is important in busy crowded marketplaces like insurance and IT. Whether you are talking to new or existing customers your sales conversations should cover three elements: creating interest, nurturing it appropriately and conversion. Taking clients for granted because they have been with you for years, is to undervalue them. Nurturing them when renewals are due demonstrates their worth to you. YBDT have put the nurturing of potential customers at the heart of our work for clients for a long time. It works just as well when speaking to your existing clients about their renewals, by reinforcing relationships and flagging areas of concern.

YBDT have worked with Higos Insurance since 2020 through our sales enablement programme. We have helped them identify renewals in new target sectors, allowing their team to concentrate on supporting existing clients and retaining their business. Higos regional manager Alan Clarke said: “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.”

YBDT can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy to differentiate you from the competition, maximise your client retention and build a pipeline that balances renewals and new business acquisition. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Plan for a successful 2023

When I was thinking about what to write for my last blog of 2022, I found this quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Planning is everything, the plan is nothing.” The difference between “planning” and “plans” can be summed up in one word: Change.

The two phrases that best sum up our business lives are “expect the unexpected” and “the only constant is change.” Planning is an active process, setting goals, objectives, and strategies, and reviewing constantly to keep us up to date with market conditions. Plans are how we document the results of our planning and can end up as fixed points that the business tries to fit around. The process of planning helps us know what we need to do to accomplish our goals and fulfil our vision for the business. It allows to us control the effects of the unforeseen and helps our team become aligned with our vision and understand the part they can play in the company’s success.

Throughout this year our blogs have looked at building for the future, and specifically how you can build a bridge between your vision for the business and setting and achieving the goals to get there. In a time of uncertainty, the only thing you can be sure of is that your plans will need to change.

YBDT’s Sales Success consultancy programme starts with identifying your specific sales needs using our unique gap analysis system. Once we have that in place, we can create a tailored sales process, supported by training and mentoring designed for your team as they adopt the new processes.

The key to the success of your planning is an overarching business development strategy. This gives you an understanding of the market and your place within it, creates detailed and time-based goals, and the activities to support them, along with realistic KPIs to measure your success. Having the basic strategic framework in place means you can adapt aspects of the process and support that with additional training. This means that as market conditions change, you can avoid tearing your whole sales and marketing system out and starting from scratch repeatedly.

YBDT’s strategic approach and long experience in supporting the creation and nurturing of prospects has proven effective for many clients. For example, Graeme Brown, MD of Sentinel group Security, said that for his company it is the combination of experience with innovation offered by our team which has resulted in the creation of a much improved and better targeted pipeline.

The best quote about sales and marketing in a time of economic uncertainty came from Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. When asked, “What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”  YBDT has the tools you need to step ahead of your competitors when they fail to look beyond the next dire headline. Get in touch to talk about how we can help you look forward to a positive, profitable future.