15 Jun How to Quickly Scale-up Your Organic Leads and Shorten the Sales Cycle
As the CEO of a machine learning company, I get a lot of messages from business owners struggling to scale up and gain more BtoB clients. Here is one of the messages I received in my inbox, email@example.com:
“We are a software company providing services for larger BtoB clients. We mainly work with referrals, so someone would have to recommend us, it’s usually our own clients who do so. Our service is very good and our clients are extremely satisfied, most of them have been with us already for quite some time, we started out about 5 years ago. However, when we ask them to refer us to clients, although they promise to do so, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough.
Also, our sales cycle is very long, sometimes it takes us up to six months to a year from the moment we first get in contact with the prospective lead. It seems like this situation is stagnating and there is no way for us to scale up?”
Although they didn’t mention which industry this company is, I think a lot of companies can very much relate to this question. You know your company is good, your pricing model works, the majority of your BtoB clients are quite happy too, but how can you scale up? Here are four ways you can magnify your business and shorten your sales cycle at the same time:
1- Retarget Your Visitors
I assume your website already has a very clear value proposition, clean design, and enough information about your BtoB product or service. Let’s say I’m visiting your website referred to me by an existing client as a prospective customer, as a decision-maker with buying power in my company, as a CFO, an accountant, or a head of HR.
I have somehow already made an opinion about your website and have a mutual connection by default because someone I trust introduced me to it. Now what you ought to do is to retarget me with visually appealing ads, which will remind me of your company next time I go to Google, to search for a kitchen table, or on my Facebook newsfeed.
If you don’t retarget me, how will I be reminded about your services or product? Otherwise, you’ll have to pick up the phone, call your existing client who referred you to me and ask them if they can recommend me to you once again.
This retargeting effort needs to be an ongoing daily and monthly process, as you need to remind the prospective client you exist – through online advertising. You can start with a small budget of $150-300 monthly, which can be easily set up through Nanos or by going directly to Google and Facebook.
2- Brand Your Company
I imagine that you have a great name for your company and there is no other company which has a similar name that sounds like yours. Now consider running another long-term campaign on Google, for just one keyword – the name of your company, but in multiple countries where you think you might have potential clients.
This is the case for someone who has heard about your company and who should be able to quickly locate your website in the sea of other similar-sounding companies. Depending on the number of countries you’d like to cover, count on another $100-500 a month to spend on it. Again, it can be done through Nanos or by going to Google or other search engines directly.
These two tips above will help you shorten the sales cycle of your existing leads surprisingly well.
Now, how can you scale up and get new clients, without relying on personal referrals only? How about you develop a new way of acquiring more clients – now through organic reach?
The next two tricks below will help you significantly in reaching that goal, but only if done consistently for a period of at least 4-5 months before you start seeing the first results.
3- Build Your Story Toolbox
Pick a few topics that you are personally interested and invested in and where you have a lot to say. If you think there is none, just start documenting what you do on a daily basis, for example, a phone call topic or a conversation with your employee.
You’d be amazed at how many topics will suddenly arise. Now write a few bullets for each topic and create a 1-page text. Here is your first article, which you post, ATTENTION: not on behalf of your company, but from your personal profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter.
There is one simple truth element, an axiom, which you should accept – people don’t follow companies, they follow people. All the people who follow you personally are interested in what you have to say.
As a result, they may also be interested in your product, because you are the person who stands behind it and eventually sells it to them in a most natural way, without actually “selling” it.
Here is a key piece of advice: none of your stories should be a direct sales pitch, no one wants to read it as the Internet is full of those. No one wants to receive direct in-Mail messages either:
‘“Hi, I am such and such, I think your company is great and you are great, please buy this from me…because we are the best.”
LinkedIn social selling through direct messaging IS DEAD, so is direct cold email selling.
Instead, tell your followers about topics you know and wonder about, and do it consistently and do not be afraid of being repetitive, so in the case someone important might have missed your story, they can stumble upon it somehow sometime later.
Once you’ve created your first article, divide it into a few smaller messages (posts), then make a short and visual deck out of it, or turn this article into a “talking head” video. And post all of these, every day, day by day. Never let your audience forget about you, always remind them of who you are, what you do and why you do it.
Are you camera shy? No problem! Just write, write, and write. If you cannot write, then “speak” with images or scribble your ideas and give it to someone else who can quickly turn your notes into something your friend or your classmate from college actually wants to read in their free time.
Define your personal social media profile to start with – if you run a BtoB company, you personally ought to be on LinkedIn, because this is where your clients are present. You might consider using Twitter in addition and you should definitely post on other platforms too.
4- Create an Animated Video on What Your Product Is All About
Create a simple and straightforward animation video (or a live-action video or act yourself) where you explain in the most natural and comprehensive way what it is exactly that you do as a product or a service. Imagine you are talking to your 8-year-old daughter or your grandfather, would they understand what you are saying here?
If you can’t come up with anything useful, try to look at it as a role play video – here is Mike, who has this problem. Mike comes to you as a company and you solve his problem faster, cheaper and better than anyone else. In this video, explain how you solved it and what Mike gets as a result, thanks to your awesome product. This might sound like an easy task, but be sure to test the video several times with your grandparents or your hairdresser before pushing it to live.
Ask as many of your friends as possible, who still don’t know what your BtoB tech company does, to see if they finally get it or have any questions.
The video doesn’t need to be expensive, use freelancers from Fiverr or outsource it to a cheaper country or to a friend. If not convinced of the investment, draw it yourself, take pictures of each drawing with your smartphone.
Create a Powerpoint or a Keynote presentation from it, which you can then save as a video. Make sure the video has subtitles running by default. Have a voiceover baked in as well and make sure the overall length is no longer than 2 minutes. Place this video on your main landing page and shorter versions of it throughout your website too.
Post this video from your personal accounts and repost it on all your company’s social media accounts. This is to make sure that the message comes across multiple times and is clear: what is the product or service and who is it for.
Both referrals and new organic leads will have a clear understanding of your business. For BtoB sales in general, I recommend for your company to have a very strong presence on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Make this video in a language most of your clients speak and add more languages down the road if needed. Use speech bubbles instead of subtitles to increase the interactiveness and find a friendly sounding voice actor for a stronger effect.
A quick reminder – this video is different from your product-walkthrough video, which is targeted at clients who are already interested and maybe even fully convinced and want to check out your product further in-depth.
Obviously, all 4 strategies work particularly well if done altogether and as ongoing practices. This means doing it continuously: day by day, over a course of several months, without a single break.
If you have any questions or are experiencing challenges in your company, please write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to answer your questions and give you advice on how to scale-up and gain more clients for your business.