Creating a connection with your prospect’s Business Decision Makers (CxOs)
Many Youd Andrews (YA) Small Medium Enterprises (SME) clients have started life from a technical background. As their business grew in the early days, the founder and the leaders used their own personal Network to secure meetings and gain customers. Usually the founder had spotted an opportunity in the market, or a way of solving a particular business issue, in an innovative fashion that is either a more cost effective solution or increases efficiency and productivity.
As we have all experienced in our working lives, the mix of technical solution, the finance package and the human chemistry, all need to come together to secure the agreement to move forward to all parties’ mutual benefit.
SME revenues start to climb and the traditional ‘hockey stick’ curve starts to plot its upwards climb on the sales graph on the company quarterly reports.
The issue of maintaining that growth often relies on the founder or CEO having the ability of driving a never-ending pipeline from his/her contact base, which of course will dry up over time. Often the warning signs are difficult to spot, as running the business day to day, starts to impede on the time spent marketing, as the leaders in the business then focus on delivery and the ‘hockey stick’ curve starts to plateau and even curve back the ‘wrong’ way down the chart!
Marketing your business requires discipline and more importantly money. But where to get best value for your hard earned marketing budget?
Well, remembering the techniques that the founder used when starting the business, i.e. going for the decision makers that he/she already knew, to get a quick and cost effective ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decision, means that he/she fully understood the relationship between the power of position and the relevance to the business issue that was being addressed. Combined with personal reputation of the founder or CEO closing the business seemed relatively straightforward.
The major issue for SMEs is when the business tries to approach prospects that have no previous knowledge of the founder or have not heard of the SME brand. Quite often these companies will spend their hard earned marketing pounds on traditional lead generation, e.g. cold calling telephoning using bought in lists, events, social marketing, hiring a new sales person. All these activities have their place and lead to varying results, from enquires to a real sales lead, with money authority and need all neatly defined.
Making sure that your business value proposition message is easily understood by your target prospect, with whom you have had no previous contact, is a real art. The preparation in defining and understanding your prospect’s language and sector, is the difference that successful YA clients can show as subject matter experts.
The one discipline that is often over looked is the one that drove the initial growth curve in the first place – Networking. Getting your message to the right person from a business development standpoint, allows the chemistry to build with your target CXO decision maker. Even if there is not an immediate opportunity, ‘pound for pound’ managing that relationship over time, is more cost effective than the general marketing techniques already described. We would argue that even qualifying out early because the real decision maker has said so, means that you save the ‘sunk’ cost of sale of chasing ‘a no hoper’, before the sales cycle costs ramp up and therefore your scarce resources can be deployed chasing real closable business.
If you would like to discuss this further, please email Paul Sheridan firstname.lastname@example.org.