This Is The Secret To Scalable Revenue Generation In 2018 And Beyond
Everyone asks me, “Do you know the secret to getting more leads for my company?” I always respond with, “Is it leads you want, or is it more new customers so your revenue grows month over month?” They always respond with confirmation around the revenue point.
The answer to their question is yes, I do know the secret, but it’s not what they want to hear. There is no special tactic or magic program that you’re missing. The reason your business isn’t growing is because you don’t know your target prospects’ buyer journey and you have not purposefully and strategically matched the experience you provide directly to that buyer journey.
Don’t feel bad. Most companies haven’t done this yet either, which is why they spend millions of dollars on advertising, going to events, sending bad emails and hiring weak salespeople to muscle their way through the challenge. This is actually easier, but it’s much more expensive and inefficient. Plus, it does more harm than good most of the time.
But if you truly want the secret, and you’re prepared to take this information and use it to build a revenue generation machine, here you go.
Fully Understand The Buyer Journey
You can’t half-ass this. You must be intimate with this journey.
While most people start with the awareness stage, I’m going to tell you there’s a stage before that, and you need to know as much about what’s going on before prospects even start searching. Specific issues, challenges and pains trigger someone to act, getting them to look around for options or solutions to those pains. Once someone starts searching, they’ll end up in awareness, but understanding how they arrived there helps you do a better job of engaging with them at this early stage.
From there, stop thinking about the journey in a linear funnel paradigm. Instead, think about it as a small collection of connected hurricanes. That’s the best way I can describe it. The sheer amount of content and digestible information today is a hurricane of info, and even the best, smartest people struggle to manage. We’re not serving content up in easy-to-digest ways; we’re throwing prospects in the deep end (resources pages) and asking them to find what they need. Not good.
Instead, by understanding their questions and challenges through their journey, try serving up more content in context and using the available tools to profile prospects, get them to share insights about their journey and then match that content to them in a more responsive way. Consider some of the best content providers on the market, Netflix and Amazon. How do they serve up content? Marketers can learn a lot from those content companies.
Experience Map Your Marketing And Sales Process To That Journey
All of the smart marketing executives know you need to align sales and marketing. Our book “Fire Your Sales Team Today!” was about building a revenue department with both sales and marketing resources under one roof.
You can’t create a wonderful marketing experience and not address the sales experience. You can’t have a successful revenue generation machine if you don’t carry that amazing experience from marketing and into sales.
The experience your prospects have with your sales team is even more important than the one they have with your marketing team. Why? Because they’re signaling they’re ready to buy. Anyone who asks to talk to a salesperson is closer to buying than ever before. Your sales team has to execute elegantly to get that prospect to feel safe and be educated enough to make a decision. Your prospects have to know, like and trust you (and your company) enough to choose you over all of your competition and over doing nothing. Remember, maintaining the status quo is always an option.
The more salespeople involved, the harder the task. The more complex the sale, the harder the task. The longer the sales cycle, the harder the task. The Harvard Business Review states that complex sales cycles with complex products typically have five people from the prospect’s organization involved in the purchase decision. This is highly complex stuff we’re talking about.
That’s five people with five different opinions, backgrounds, perspectives and levels of understanding around their own company’s challenges. But great salespeople identify the five people, flag their key issues and, one by one, start providing insights and content to address those issues. The fastest way to a new customer is handling all of those issues with grace and in an advisory way. You need to build a sales process that empowers your salespeople to do just that. Again, it’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable.
Actively Plan The Handoff To Sales
The handoff between marketing and sales is a delicate one. I’ve seen great leads left hanging by companies that did not actively manage this handoff.
I’ve seen marketing and sales sabotage each other by purposefully not planning the handoff well in advance. This is a critical time in the buyer journey. Prospects are leaving the protective cocoon of marketing and now must talk to a salesperson. No one wants to talk to a salesperson, but they know it’s necessary to finish their journey.
This is an opportunity to exceed their expectations and continue the guided process that marketing started. Your salespeople need to be guides, helping prospects navigate their journey with language such as the following:
- Don’t do that, because if you do, you might make a mistake. Instead, here’s what I recommend and why.
- Here’s an article that talks about a company just like yours and shows how they overcame some of the same challenges you’re facing, how they did it and where they are now.
- Let me give you some options so you can pick the right option for your company. All of the options are reasonable, but this way you’ll be comfortable with your choice. I’ll also give you some insights into each to help make the selection process easier for you.
Each of these approaches has guidance as the overarching element. You’re not forcing them, limiting them, dictating to them or leaving them on their own. Each step in the sales process must include the opportunity to continue to help the prospect get to know, like and trust you, your sales rep, your company and your product or service. Again, this should be strategically mapped out, so every sales rep is executing it the same way, every day.
Don’t Stop When They Say Yes
This type of approach shouldn’t stop after they hire you. This experience-mapping exercise should continue all throughout their lifecycle with you. You have opportunities to get new customers to refer you to their friends, family and other business associates. You have opportunities to offer them ways to buy more from you or to buy other items/services.
You’re going to need these new customers to be advocates for your business. Companies are so transparent today because people provide reviews on everything. You want your customers to want to write positive reviews, participate in your sales process, do testimonial videos for your company and share their successes because they are so happy to be working with you.
The science of revenue generation is quickly moving away from “spray and pray” to a targeted application of smart marketing and sales tactics directly aligned with what your prospect/customer feels, wants and needs.
This means that you can no longer rely on siloed marketing and sales execution. You can’t have a separate agency for social, search, content and web. You can’t have sales working in a vacuum and not collaborating with marketing on the details of campaign tactics. It means you can no longer have internal marketing teams that are not working to surgically target marketing tactics with marketing technology at specific stages of the buyer journey.
If you’re looking for a specific military metaphor (and you know how marketers like their military metaphors), the days of the big bomb drop are over. Today, it’s about drones targeting specific vehicles.
The results can be dramatic, with lower costs, higher quality leads, accelerated sales cycles and more consistent revenue generation. But the work to create these new paradigms is massive, and most companies are not up for the challenge. Are you?
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