Growing a business is tough today. In a B2B sales environment, you must deal with intense competition, crazy-busy buyers, and highly variant sales teams. For executives charged with increasing the top line, without any increase in budget resources, it can be nearly impossible.
Yet, increasingly that’s the position sales executives find themselves in today. They’ve got their sales team in place, they’re charged with materially increasing growth rates, and doing so without adding things to the mix.
While this is certainly challenging, as the old maxim goes, “within every great challenge there is opportunity.” In many ways, the inability to spend more money forces you to focus your efforts – and resources – to drive the better results that may have occurred if you had more money to spend.
As someone who’s worked with small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) my entire life, I’ve learned a thing or two about bootstrapping growth initiatives. In that time, I’ve found three strategies to be particularly effective:
Put More Focus on Lead Generation
While I don’t have the data to back this statement up, my experience gives me enough confidence to still make it. More than 80% of SMBs are overstaffed on the sales side – and that can be the case if you have just one salesperson on staff.
The reason for this is that every entrepreneur or executive’s first impulse when desiring more growth is to throw a salesperson at the problem. Always remember and never forget, in 2014 and beyond, more salespeople does not mean more sales.
Recent research demonstrated that more than 75% (that’s three quarters!!) of salespeople are failing. But, it’s not their fault. SMBs do not typically put salespeople into a position where they can be successful.
There is really only one determinant of increased growth rates, and that’s are you dramatically increasing your lead generation results. More quality leads, means more sales. It’s as simple as that.
Spend more energy and reallocate resources (if necessary) to lead generation and lead management. As you create better leads, you’ll need fewer salespeople to meet your numbers and everybody will be more effective.
Put More Focus on Nurturing Leads
SMBs operate with very flat sales funnels. Every “lead” they meet they try to sell. The reality is that fewer than 25% of the leads a company creates are going to buy anything in the next year or more (source: Gleastner Research). Less than 33% of the companies that directly ask for information about your company are going to buy anything in the next year.
You need to align your customer acquisition process to the journey of your buyer, and that means you need to develop and implement effective nurturing programs and processes. Nurturing increases the likelihood that a prospect will buy from you, and the average value of what that customer will buy.
This means higher closing ratios that allow you to meet your growth targets without adding to costs!
Leverage The Use of Content In Your Sales Process
The B2B sales process is too complex to rely on people alone. The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) has radically changed how customers assess their situations and pursue potential solutions.
If you’re not developing and utilizing content to leverage your sales team’s efforts, there is simply no way to grow without dramatically increasing the cost of growth. You can read more about winning the ZMOT here, or how to position yourself to leverage content.
If you need to reallocated resources to support these three strategies – do it! You don’t have time to waste. Every day you’re not focused on 10x-ing your lead generation, effectively nurturing and utilizing content is a day you’re falling behind.