Category Archives: Lead Nurturing

These blogs discuss our lead nurturing services. These services include messaging and prospecting.

Bruce Springsteen knows all about sustainable sales results, do you?

We often lead our blogs with a quote from a writer or speaker on sales techniques, but inspiration for how you approach sales improvement can come from many sources. In this case Bruce Springsteen “Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time.”  

As someone who has built a successful career on consistency and developing relationships with his audience, The Boss is a good role model when it comes to looking at the process which goes on in the mind of the customer when they are moving towards a decision to buy from you. All successful selling follows a process of building and developing relationships. These can take some time to solidify and yield results. To be effective the process of taking the initial interest and nurturing it needs to be very specific and based on a clear understanding of the prospect’s requirements and expectations.

The best way of achieving that understanding is to have a carefully crafted sales process that follows your customer’s journey from the initial interest through to cementing the relationship. Your Business Development Team works with our clients to create a tailored sales process which is the essential first step towards converting more prospects. Identifying and refining your target markets and the key points that will encourage them to buy from you leads into the sales process that guides them to an understanding of your business and how it will work for them. With the sales process in place YBDT can help you communicate it to your sales teams and support its roll out into your business.

Identifying and nurturing the prospects who will contribute to your sales growth is as we have said before, time consuming. We have pointed out in earlier blogs that it can take anything from five to eight contacts to bring a company to the point where they are ready to buy, and it’s a point we can’t make often enough as so many businesses give up early in the process. Using our specialist business development team to call the prospects in your sales pipeline to feed consistent high-quality leads into your account managers and salespeople frees their time up to concentrate on closing sales and supporting existing client retention.

Bruce Springsteen’s first two albums were commercial failures. But he had the building blocks in place to understand what his audience wanted from him, and the tools to deliver it, and used them to create the successful work that followed. YBDT can offer you the tools to build a consistent process which will lead to your sales success. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you generate, nurture, and convert your prospects.

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.

Consistent messages inspire customer confidence

In one of our newsletters recently we used the quote “Consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity breeds confidence, and confidence breeds sales” from Jay Conrad Levinson. He was the author of the 1984 book ‘Guerrilla Marketing’. While many of the marketing strategies that he suggested proved short-lived, his key point about consistency being the best way to secure long term customers is more valid than ever.

There has been lots of research into how businesses buy. The main takeaway from it is that it needs an average of seven contacts before a client is ready to make a buying decision. When they surveyed clients from a range of business sizes and types the CRM provider HubSpot discovered that 44% of sales people gave up after a single follow up. Pressure of sales targets, and servicing existing clients was blamed for this. But whatever the reason there is a mismatch between what the average internal sales team can achieve and the potential customer’s mindset.

Connecting with the client is the most important thing you can do to build a relationship. Emails only take the process so far. Picking up the phone and letting them hear your company’s name and the fact that you are there to support them when the time is right to talk is the single most effective way of following up a sales conversation.

In a restaurant the waiter will often follow up delivering food to your table, asking if everything is OK. Often, we just smile and say, “yes thanks”, but occasionally we do need something else or have a problem that is stopping our enjoyment of the meal. The same applies in a sales conversation. You provide the answer to a question and then follow up appropriately to confirm that all was well with the resolution to the query. The biggest concern of a salesperson can often be that they are being annoying or intrusive with follow ups. The reason for employing a professional lead nurturing service is to make the difference between being supportive and the waiter who constantly asks if everything is fine.

New business is vital to your business growth. Generating and nurturing leads that build a pipeline of sales potential for the future can be something that does not fit easily into the working pattern of your existing team who are focusing their energy on servicing and retaining existing customers.

YBDT can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy to generate and nurture leads up to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders. We can’t put it any better than one of our long-term clients. David Champ of TC Consult. “Using YBDT gives you an opportunity to focus on your sales process. Ultimately, it’s a much quicker more efficient process than trying to organically grow a sales team. If you are familiar with your core business but not with sales, why would you try and create a spec for a business development manager when you could use experts to help you and see results a lot quicker?”

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.

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.

Buying leads V outsourcing business development

If you are in sales or looking to grow your company, you must have read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill who also said that ‘Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle’.

Whilst we would all like to make sales and acquire new customers with minimum effort on our part, this is not a realistic expectation. I agree with Napoleon that growth comes from continues effort, but I would add using a strategic approach to that. Whatever tools you use to generate leads and develop sales, you need to put effort into it to make it work. For example:

  • Referral partners: Many companies only sell through referrals and that’s a great strategy. A referral from a trusted partner means that you are much further down the line to getting the sale converted. However, to get a good referral partner on board you need to have spent a lot of time in meetings and networking with them first.
  • Content Marketing: Some companies use content marketing as a key inbound strategy. Often, it’s hard to tell if you get any results from this but when people have read your communication and spent time on your website it’s often easier to convert them into customers. Obviously, getting to the point where your content is both engaging and selling takes a lot of time and hard work.

I have spoken before about magic wands and silver bullets; in lead generation we often come across people looking for these. I am still taken aback when I get asked if we get paid for results only but I understand why people ask for this. When Pay Per Click (PPC) was introduced by Google in October 2000, it disrupted the lead generation market, as good products often do. As a result, many companies now expect to only pay for results, which is understandable from their point of view. However, any good lead generation campaign requires a good strategy, testing and measurement as well as lead qualification and nurturing to work. Which brings us back to the first point.

When you buy leads or pay for results you are only actually getting a part way in the sales journey and will still need to put a lot of time into qualifying and nurturing the opportunity in order to convert it. So, it is just a different way of going about your lead generation process where more of it depends on your own resource.

Next time you are considering a lead generation campaign, remember these three things:

  1. Generating the right leads from scratch takes a comprehensive understanding of your marketplace. You will need to consider your strategy and find a good partner to support you
  2. Whatever tactics you use to generate leads, they will need to be qualified and nurtured as part of the process
  3. Your campaign is only the start of the journey as developing new business takes time so be realistic on both your time scales and conversion expectations.

At YBDT we support you all the way from lead generation to selling, leaving less to chance. You can read more about how we do it here. As always, we are happy to support your lead generation effort so give us a call to discuss further.

Sales Performance – beyond the basics

In March we looked at some of the key drivers for sales performance where we made some suggestions in terms of guiding your thinking whilst selling to a changed market place. This month we are looking at improving your sales conversion by breaking down the points you need to address into manageable chunks.  This will make it easier to understand what support you need to progress in the new business world we are all operating in.

Focus: This builds on the “understanding” section of our previous piece. “Are we talking to the right people in the right organisations about the right things?” In 2021 we need to relearn everything about our potential clients. What we knew a year ago will not help us now. They are different, we are different. Focusing in on what is important to customers now will help you establish relationships with people who maybe were not on your radar in the old world.

Time: The one resource you can’t buy more of. As John H. Dean, Vice President at the Bank of America says; ‘just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year’. By measuring every activity against its importance to your business goals, you can make every minute profitable. As we said in March, the first place to look are those goals themselves. Are they fit for purpose in 2021?

Ask, listen, and act: John H Dean explains it perfectly: ‘Better than any others, these three words summarise success in sales’. Making your questions relevant, and direct, listening to the responses and taking appropriate action are critical to converting potential to actual orders.

Ask, listen and act is also a good summary of how Your Business Development Team can support you. By helping you refine your goals through our business development strategy we can understand the right questions to ask your prospects. Listening to the answers perfects the nurturing and follow up process. Acting upon what we learn from each engagement with your potential clients enhances our delivery of your message to the people you need to buy from you.

The American general Creighton Abrams is credited with the rather dubious quote that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. While we certainly wouldn’t suggest this as a dining choice, the principle of taking a large problem and tackling it one piece at a time is sound business practice. Working with Your Business Development Team allows you to draw the resources you need from our team of professionals to solve the lead generation, sales nurturing, and conversion issues that are holding your business back. To learn more about how we can help get in touch

The Secrets to an effective follow up

‘You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.’ Zig Ziglar

Current market conditions make winning new business harder. With many companies choosing to defer any decisions until clarity is restored, planning a tailored approach and keeping in touch will increase your chances of winning the project later. What can you do to encourage your sales team to follow up more often?

Many sales managers and business owners conclude that their sales professionals must work harder but often they are stretched in lots of directions having to keep existing customer happy, while also prospecting for new business. In my opinion, an even bigger problem lies in the fact that many sales people are not sure how to follow up effectively.

To ensure that you and your team are following up effectively you need to consider a number of things:

Be clear on the value of following up: many people believe that if a prospect is really interested, they will come back to them. This is true in an ideal world, but it depends on your product, industry and their relationship with the competition. Whilst we want to strike the right balance, most decision makers are very busy and will need a few approaches to refresh their memory.

  • Top tip: Call it ‘Building a relationship’ instead of following up to help build the value and understanding amongst your team

Make sure you set goals: like with everything else, setting a goal each time you follow up with a prospect will ensure you ask the right questions and get a better idea of where you are. Just sticking with converting to a sale is not specific enough, a good follow up system will have a goal for each call.

  • Top tip: Understanding that what you are selling is not suitable or a priority to a prospect is a good step forward. Flogging dead horses does not take you very far

Ask good questions: these take some time and planning. Once you have a goal for the call, ensure you write down a few questions you should ask to find out more. Don’t try to find out everything at once but rather break it down to bite sized chunks. This will allow you to get to the real detail but also to build a relationship gradually.

  • Top tip: If you are not asking any questions that make you feel uncomfortable you are missing some key points

Find out more about their problems: what keeps them awake at night and takes up too much of their time? Remember the Status Quo Bias by Daniel Kahneman which predicts that unless people perceive an urgent reason to change, they will stick with the status quo. The more you find out about their pain the better your chances of selling to them, if your product is indeed relevant.

  • Top tip: Most people buy to alleviate pain and not to further their gain

At YBDT, lead nurturing is a key part of the support we offer our clients. We identified that having a clear sales process is a great way to ensure you have an effective follow up system. That said, we think that many companies fail to create an effective process that is used across the board. To support our clients and contacts, we are launching a series of quarterly seminars to cover key elements to creating a sales process and using it successfully.

If you want to learn more, sign up for our first lunch webinar: How to follow up effectively on Tuesday 23/03/21, 12:00- 13:00.

Why selling takes time and effort?

On a cold February morning in the middle of another lockdown planning how to improve your sales can seem like all too much effort. If you are thinking “well this worked when we did it before”, and before was 2019 then it likely will be wasted effort.

Doing more of “the same old same old” in 2021 is not very practical. Walking into your customer’s office with a smile and a firm handshake just isn’t happening. Unimaginative selling had been slowly dying long before the Pandemic, but now we all need to think more clearly about how we sell, and most importantly what our customer thinks of our interactions with them.

“How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.” – Tiffani Bova

Innovation in your lead generation and nurturing is important. Now more than ever. With the world now firmly online, there is the temptation to rely on a few social media posts to do your lead generation for you. Your competitors probably think the same, but my experience shows that contacting customers directly raises you above the background noise of the Internet. Going offline to engage with your potential customers can positively influence their view of your company. One of my team was sent a drinks coaster by a supplier, a simple gesture but it showed that when so many companies have gone quiet and are just hoping for it all to be over soon, his supplier is still there ready and able to do business.

So, why does selling take time and effort? Because your customers are worth it. Taking the time to build a relationship with a new contact, understanding their business and what they need from you is a key piece in building the jigsaw puzzle of a sale. When much of their contact comes from instant sales pitches on LinkedIn, or they haven’t heard from a supplier in months, being contacted by a company that is interested and actively seeking to work with them will encourage them to look seriously at your offer and ultimately to buy from you.

A stat I have used on our website comes from Wanda Allan; “80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less”. Your Business Development Team offer dedicated support to your sales team. Lead generation can be time consuming and your skilled salespeople’s time is usually best spent on the later stages of the sales process where their knowledge of your products and services matters most. That leaves the crucial area in the middle, nurturing those leads to the point that they are ready to buy. Remember Wanda’s stat. It isn’t your sales team’s fault that they only have time to make three calls rather than five or twelve. They are doubtless stretched in lots of directions having to keep existing customer happy, while also prospecting for new business. Your Business Development Team can fill in that gap between the lead and the sale.

For more information how Your Business Development Team will work with you to generate and nurture the leads that are vital to your business’s recovery visit our Lead Nurturing page, and get in touch to talk amore about our service.

Our lead generation funnel

What is sales conversion support and why is it helpful?

When working on business development strategy with clients, we often come across companies who struggle to define their conversion rate. Three years ago, I wrote a blog about this which I think is still spot on. The key argument I was making is that getting both lead generation and lead conversion right, is the key to the success of any lead generation strategy. There is little point in generating leads if you cannot convert them and this can often result in wasted budgets.

To understand the problems better, take a look at the info graphic above. If you are using a lead generation agency to support your sales, you will find that most of them will support stages 1-2 of the funnel above leaving you and your team to complete stage 3. This often results in reduced return on your investment due to lack of conversion. which is why so many companies initiate lead generation campaigns which never get concluded leaving them feeling disappointed and frustrated.

As with other problems, explaining it can be easier than solving it because the solution needs to be specific and complex. We believe that you need to consider three key questions here:

  1. How much do you know about your prospect and their issues? Knowledge is power and really helps converting sales because it highlights where the opportunity lies as well as builds a good relationship. People are very keen to talk about themselves and their needs yet so many times we forget to ask the questions or dig a bit deeper to make sure we understand. Sometimes the answer is to pick up the phone and ask more questions or book a time to do so.
  • How detailed is your follow up process? Many people find follow up difficult because they are worried they will annoy the prospect or appear desperate. If you changed the word ‘follow up’ to ‘relationship development’ that might help you understand how important it is. The key to doing it well is to break it down to small goals and outcomes and then practice a lot. Still, this can be easier said than done and sometimes, another pair of eyes is required to make this work.
  • Does your CRM support this activity well? Most companies use a CRM system to record their business development work but getting this process right is difficult and time consuming. A big part of the follow up process is about booking the next conversation and documenting your new knowledge which makes the CRM work very important. To make it work you need to ensure the CRM process mirrors your sales process and that the team is clear on what needs to be done.

Like I said, it is easier to describe why conversion is difficult to affect than improve it. But fear not, at YBDT we approach things differently because we understand that new leads are often very initial and require a structured nurturing process to yield a sale. We offer our clients a more strategic approach that supports them throughout the sales process. You can read more about it here.