Sales funnel expansion – share the burden

Guy Littlejohn By Guy Littlejohn -

The most frustrating conversations I have had are around ‘leads’ when there’s no demand gen, marketing and credibility proving ‘air cover’.

Accessible data and technology has changed the way everyone does sales, but arguably not for the better – lazy sales consultants are everywhere now.

Gone are the days of your mates getting the money. Buying teams need to justify everything even when there isn’t an official procurement process in place. Wrong decisions are bad PR and results are everything.

We’ve all seen the ‘you find your ideal customer’s email address and email them about how you’ve worked with businesses similar to them in a vague way’ approach. The ‘find them on LinkedIn, connect, and send them a generic – “I thought you would be interested in this” – message’. Research shows cold calling has the highest rate of no shows on meetings.

The challenge is most sales people don’t join them all together, a triple pronged approach is needed for each individual and if you can dovetail with a sales colleague and bring marketing in then you’re onto a winner .

So, how do we create a honeypot for buyers?

1) Content to a listening audience. Written content you can reference verbally.

Speaking, events, audio, video, zoom, phone. Those are your weapons, content – the bullets.

Not many people are going to (really) read your blogs, they’re for SEO purposes so skill up for the listening and watching buyers.

Expanding your sales funnel is important, but using written content only is so “Web2”, whilst at the same time expecting people who don’t know you or your business to read what you’ve put in front of them is ignorant bordering on arrogant.

Create a 12 month content deployment plan – planning that far in advance is only really good as a guide, it needs to be reactive too (some EU countries banning Google Analytics)

Post regularly on LinkedIn, but insert videos.

Put text to speech players on your website for accessibility, too.

2) Work with a sales colleague

When I started out in sales I had a ‘patch’. My responsibility and accountability.

I always struggled with this, why was I doing this alone, validating this cold patch by myself, why can’t we team up? I’m not precious, commissions can be divided (because I’ll be across their patch too), we’d learn from each other and surely many hands make light work? What if they don’t like me but like my colleague? The business is win – win.

It was the beginning of a frustration in working for other people, having their outdated (even in 2012) views of sales and brand (personal and business) building dictated to me.

If two people have a patch, you can formulate a dovetail strategy that captures multiple buyers in different ways. They don’t buy from people so much anymore, they buy the business so you as a salessolo are irrelevant.

We have data that shows ‘My colleague XXX has been getting in touch with you YYY……’ works very well and my presumption is because they feel eyes are on them in a positive way – this really is researched, they really do want to show me something and because there are two of them, it could be right….

There is strength in numbers.

3) Marketing air cover.

This could be in the form of content, you need to appear you know what you’re talking about more than the buyer but also in CRM support or website A/B testing.

Marketing is also a buyer. So why not work closely with the exact people you’re trying to sell to?

Don’t go immediately asking for PPC budget, so you can sit in on inbound leads (this will happen but not before you’ve worked well in other areas, remember Paid has a budget they have to justify to their – and your – boss, so a conversion rate target will come with it you might not like). Go ask them how to sell to them, what consideration process they go through, what they recently bought and how. Ask them to help with your sales process.

How to expand your sales funnel? Ask for some support that doesn’t cost your business much money.

Begin planning your journey

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