You know the feeling: you’ve been nurturing a lead for a while now, your contact seemed real interested but he was hesitant to introduce your solution up the chain. Well, now emails have bounced and he doesn’t answer his line. It looks like he’s left, and he was your only contact. This kind of prospecting setback costs sales organizations millions of dollars every year in missed opportunities and drives up average customer acquisition cost.
Having a solid strategy for choosing the right prospects, identifying the decision makers and delivering solutions when they need them most will dramatically reduce your overall sales cycle and lower customer acquisition cost.
No organization wants to talk to you if you approach blind. Before your initial call you need to invest the time to understand their organization and goals. Your success rate will dramatically improve if you can show that you already understand what projects they have open and where your solution would fit in those projects. This type of insight takes time to develop. But what if it didn’t? By utilizing data intelligence, organizations are able to quickly gain a detailed understanding of each prospect organization’s reporting structure, installed technologies and active initiatives.
If you want to cut customer acquisition time and cost – if you are offering a great solution and just need to identify the right targets – if you are interested in how your business can skip right to engagement, having conversations with IT decision makers – you will want to read on.
1. Don’t do Your Homework
Employ a data intelligence solution and the homework needed for a successful sales team is already done for you. Public and traditional data sources can give you glimpses of the information you need. With good data you can enter the scene when a prospect is facing a problem you can solve. Data intelligence will give your sales teams visibility deep into target organizations, the ability to understand reporting structures, specific responsibilities and alerts to open projects. Typical sales people spend less than 45% of their time actually selling. The remainder of their time is spent researching and doing administrative tasks. Good data enables sales teams to spend more time engaged with the right contacts, with solutions that meet the organization’s current needs. Already, your sales guy is a step ahead.
2. Cut to the Action Scene
Because you will already have insight into target organizations, your sales guys will be able to start at the good part. Rather than spending all of their time researching to find “anyone” in the IT department, you will start the sales process by building a call list of ideal targets and ideal contacts within those targets. These are people who have responsibility for your specific technology within their organization, and your sales guys need to be dialing them directly. This like starting at the action scene: your sales reps will spend their time having conversations with real prospects, not with gatekeepers and middle men.
3. Get There First
If you want to cut months off your sales cycle and reduce customer acquisition costs, never approach prospects cold. Approach them at the moment that they are seeking a solution to a current problem. Sales triggers can give you that first mover advantage. Buying signals like key leadership changes, open projects or internal initiatives are the kinds of triggers that signal IT purchases will follow. These triggers are the perfect way to get you in the door faster. Scheduling alerts to this kind of trigger in your CRM using an integrated data intelligence solution will give your sales teams an unfair advantage because when the door opens, they will be there.
4. Keep it Simple, Silly.
Sales teams perform at the highest level when they are able to work efficiently with familiar tools. Working with reliably accurate data, without the burden of keeping data clean and worrying about platform integration, leaves your sales team with more time to focus on what they do best. Make sure that your data intelligence solution provides native integration to the CRM you are using, like SalesForce.com. Integrated data liberates sales and marketing from the weight of cleaning, and organizing their data, and it speeds up sales cycles and reduces customer acquisition costs by streamlining the workflow. Marketing and account teams can build campaigns and constantly refresh with the latest updated information, without any additional steps. These integrations simplify, and speed up, the process so your teams can focus fully on selling and closing deals.
The technology sector is highly competitive, so getting there first and best prepared is the best approach to reducing customer acquisition cost.
Bio: Henry Schuck
Founder and CEO at DiscoverOrg winner of G2Crowd’s Customer Satisfaction Award for 2014