December 23, 2017

Acquiring New Clients Amongst Worn Out Lead-Gen Models

Andrew Sudhindran

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How Tech firms can acquire new clients by building top-funnel engagement

Every Head of Sales I have met in the Tech industry has tried some kind of lead-generation effort in the past. They have either tried doing this internally or through an agency. Most spend a lot of time and money on this effort, but report it as being dismal upon receiving results.

The first thing to know before acquiring new customers is the size of the buyer/decision committee at your target companies. IDC reported that as of 2015, the average size of a decision committee increased to 9 people and in some cases, involves 17 people including several key influencers and decision makers.

Next, selling into an account has become more complex with cross-functional teams having a major influence in the purchase decision. A lead-generation approach will not cut it since you now have multiple people and scenarios who need to be influenced in order for you to sell your product.

With these factors in mind, here are five actionable steps to help you build top level engagement with your target market.

1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

At the very beginning of every lead-generation effort, the first question to ask yourself is: who are your best customers and how the criteria are defined? If you are unable to explain why a specific customer type is their best fit, go back to the drawing board.

It is important to know your client’s best fit customers, average fit customers, and those who will waste your time. Expand the criteria from size, location, revenue, industry vertical, technological compatibility, and previous year’s spending to include things like the level of technological maturity, user size within key departments and other attributes that correlate to value. This leads to building the right buyer personas within the ICP which will be covered in upcoming articles.

2. When on a tight budget, hire Digital Sales Development Representatives (D-SDRs) with digital marketing experience

If you’re not too familiar with the Account Based Marketing (ABM) process or the role a Marketing team plays in helping Sales representatives open new accounts and close deals, I advise you to hire D-SDRs. Their payroll cost doesn’t usually exceed 45k per year and one D-SDR can support up to two sales reps depending on the volume of Target Accounts. D-SDRs (different from telemarketers) bring a new set of digital skills and fall under a new scope of work which goes beyond appointment setting.

They are capable of building Target Account lists based on your ICP, data validation and testing of your contact database, lead-to-account mapping, customer & competitive research, email messaging and personalization, social media messaging, using marketing and sales cadence tools, and setting up Google Analytics and paid spending. Marketers today call this, “Account Engagement.” It moves from the traditional lead-generation in an open vague market to highly targeted “engagement” within specific accounts. D-SDRs can cover a multitude of tasks that align with creating top-of-the-funnel engagement with target consumers.

3. Invest in these low-cost sales & marketing tools

D-SDRs must have access to these sales and marketing tools to efficiently deliver decent results: A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to track prospective engagements, at least one low cost data provider (Salesflower, ZoomInfo), communications tools (Outreach, Mailchimp), research tools like answerthepublic, an intent tool like Bombora to prioritize ABM accounts, a graphic design software like Photoshop to quickly whip out personalized creatives and content, and an internal communication tool such as Slack for correspondence and updates between D-SDRs sand sales teams.

4. Define your metrics & collect your data

A sales rep should take the lead when it comes to defining the ICP and coming up with the Target Account list. After sales reps and D-SDRs agree on the target list, define the metrics to be measured before you kick off your sales play (More on how to develop successful sales plays will be covered in future articles).

By the end of the first two plays, don’t be distracted by the good results! It is important that you collect data from your plays. Having metrics such as length of sales cycle, average deal size, , win rate from 1st demo, interest-to-win ratio, email open rate, social response rate, and the no. of touches needed for a response and to generate engagement defined early on will optimize top-of-the funnel tactics.

5. Focus on content

For your D-SDRs to generate engagement within your target accounts, there must be enough content to provoke interest among your personas. At the very least, it should be email worthy. While there must be enough quantity to generate interest, it is best to focus on the quality of the content. For Small-to Medium Enterprise (SME), writing up about half a dozen focused on the creating problem/pain awareness, problem your solving, benefits people are seeing, solution provided by your product/service, a couple of case studies, and a how-to guide should get you started for top and mid-funnel engagement. Since short messaging via emails and social media play such an important role, make sure that all correspondence focuses sharply on why the prospect should give you their attention.

Strategy, tactics and execution of these simple steps should not take a lot of time if your D-SDRS and reps know their plays. The cost for all this, i.e. hiring an SDR and subscribing to sales and marketing tools should average about $7000-$8000/month. This does not include any paid spending you might have to do, depending on your budgets and target segment.

The alternative is to outsource sales support and customer acquisition efforts to an agency to keep your costs low and save valuable time. However, performing it in-house might allow you to keep a closer eye on your progress.

Hopefully, this has helped you, as a Sales Head, to embark on the new customer acquisition journey. The key here is to remember that you’re not selling to leads anymore but to Target Accounts who deserve and appreciate genuine human communication that solves their problems and makes their jobs more productive.

Stay tuned, you’ll hear from us soon with more fun stuff on customer acquisition in the highly competitive B2B industry. Keep in touch with any questions!


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