Meet the Expert
Principal, Brian Bennett B2B Consulting
- B2B business development leadership, with roles in Direct Sales, Indirect Channels, Marketing and Demand Generation.
- Charter always includes the identification, development and generation of new revenue streams.
- Experience with early-stage, VC-funded, public and private companies; IPO with Mips, Netscape, E.piphany
- Experience with Multi-channel, online marketing solutions (PPC, SEO, Social Media, Display)
- Ad Agency experience. Developed Ad Agency channel for Conductor and worked for 3Q Digital, the Bay Area's largest privately held, digital Ad Agency.
Session Packages from $400
Your Expert Package Includes:
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Call Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Session Summary Report
- Post-Session Engagement
- Sales reps are tasked with demand generation in addition to executing sales cycles.
- Whenever there's a sales productivity issue, the sales reps are almost invariably spending less than half their time actually moving sales cycles. Why? Because they're spending a majority of their time just trying to find well-qualified prospects to talk to. They're doing their own lead generation, but that's really demand generation and should be a marketing responsibility.
- Do you know the time allocation of your sales force?
- Does marketing own your demand generation?
- Do you know how much time your reps are spending just trying to find new well-qualified leads to start new conversations?
- An investment is made in sales without a matching investment in demand generation.
- When a company decides it needs more sales and wants those sales to happen quickly, it usually hires sales reps. But who do those sales reps call on?
Some of your newly hired sales reps may have a contact list that they can immediately begin calling on. More commonly, this is not the case. So who do they call on? Do they have to do their own demand generation? When this is the case, and when the new reps are valiantly trying to prove they are making strong, early progress, they tend to fill their forecast pipeline with prospects and opportunities of mixed, or poor quality. They necessarily spend more time "finding" WQLs than they do managing the sales process for WQLs. It's vitally important to understand what problem you're trying to solve when you say you want more sales. Do you have a demand generation problem or do you have a sales productivity problem?
Companies should not hire sales reps without making a commensurate investment in demand generation. In some cases, a company may be better off making an investment in marketing and demand generation first before hiring more sales reps.
- The concept of nurturing prospects is either lacking, non-existent, or underappreciated.
- People are going to buy when they're ready to buy.
If you believe in funnel marketing, then you also have to believe in the value of nurturing. When someone downloads a white paper from your company's website, they've just expressed some level of interest and intent. Maybe they didn't answer the phone when you follow up that way, and maybe they're not responding to your emails either, but you now have their email address and you know they downloaded a white paper.
Over the course of the next couple of months, they should be "touched" at least once a month via email or phone. “I'm just reaching out. Wanted to know if you had any questions. Would you like to see a demo?" Something soft. They should be getting an email inviting them to subscribe to your blog, or an email inviting them to a webinar you're hosting in two weeks. A followup phone call saying, “Did you get the email invitation? If you can't attend, that's fine. We'll have a recording. We'd be happy to send that to you.”
All these things are "touches" that are part of a nurturing process, so that six months from now, when you may not have heard directly from the prospect, and all of a sudden they hit the “contact me” button on your website, it's because they're ready, and now you can start the sales conversation. But you wouldn't be top of mind for them when they are ready if you weren't nurturing them that whole time.
Nurturing is very important, and this is only going to increase. Few companies have the ability to do this well, however, and the investment in nurturing is still nearly non-existent in many companies This is true in the non-high-tech sector in particular. There's a great opportunity for companies to build future pipelines and to differentiate themselves through effective nurturing.
- Sales expectations are out of whack.
- Every company needs and wants more sales. But companies too often will hire a sales rep and then expect to see a return from them in 90 to 120 days. It just doesn't work that way. There's a need for more realistic expectations.
Top management needs to know that the path to more sales begins with a pipeline of well-qualified leads. More sales will come when professional sales reps are dealing with really well-qualified opportunities, and have the time to work those prospects properly. A WQL is somebody that needs your product, wants your product, and has decided they need to buy a product like yours in the next 60 days – that's a well-qualified prospect. Simply hiring reps without helping them with more well-qualified-leads is not going to lead to increased sales. At least certainly not in the short term.
There can be a clamor for short-term sales even when the company really wants to build long-term, sustainable, predictable growth, That's going to come from investing not just in sales reps, but in demand generation and the technology to make this possible. With most sales hires, it's more like 9 to 12 months before the company will see the payoff. Unfortunately, in many cases, that's an unacceptable idea to the top managers. They don't want to believe it can take that long. But that is the reality and it should be acknowledged or the company is just setting itself up for disappointment.
- There is a disconnect between marketing and sales.
In most cases, marketing and sales are not as close and well-coordinated as they should be. This disconnect may begin with the question of who owns demand generation.
- Do you expect sales reps to find their own leads?
- Do you expect marketing to do it?
- Do sales and marketing have the same concept as to what constitutes a well qualified lead?
- Are sales and marketing talking to each other constantly to make sure that they are developing content for the website that will attract well qualified leads?
- Is the website optimized in such a way to capture that information?
- Is sales actually following up – within minutes – like they're supposed to when marketing delivers that well-qualified lead?
- Is there any correlation?
- Are most of the people who download a white paper actually a prospect?
- Or are they a combination of competitors, job searchers, students and others who do not fit the definition?
B2B Go-To-Market Sales and Demand Generation Strategies for New Market Initiatives: Common Problems