Initiating a "complex sales" funnel is not a matter of software tools,
but of relationship building.
and read how it works here below:
One of the first questions my Startups and SMBs clients often ask me is: "How do I get in contact with the right person within a Big Company, to start selling my innovative products and services?"
The real problem with this question is that it is misleading. For a Startup, a Spin-off or a SMBs, selling to Big Companies is not about “who to contact in big companies”, but “who to contact who has a contact in big companies”.
Selling innovation to Big Companies requires a Peer approach.
In this post I explain what elements are needed to start a Relationship with the Customer in a B2B environment.
This initial step is everyday more difficult in this world of iper-competition, disruptive technologies and tools of "mass-distraction".
Supply has by far excideed demand, decision makers are no more solitary eagles but bureaucreatic commitees and the only real thing forcing a company to adopt new solutions is the sudden aknowledgement that:
"the world has changed".
We just need to deliver the news...
in B2B nobody impulse-buys just because of your advertising like in B2C.
For this reasons the B2B sales funnel is made of 3 steps:
As Americans say, “business follows relationship”, or , better:
“Business follows Relationship … and Relationship follows Surprise”
Building the Relationship is the critical step of the B2B Sales Funnel and herebelow you find a few hints and a template to make it happen.
Note: this template is the result of collecting and assembling ideas and concepts from several Authors:
Al Ries, Neil Rackham, Goeffry Moore, Clayton Christensen, Tony Ulwick, Bob Apollo et al.
I would like to start this section with a tale:
The New Boy in Town
If, like me, you have been moved a few dozens of times, changing city, or even State, you have for sure experienced the “daylight dream” effect of showing up the first time in the public square, corner, pub of your new community.
You are there, dozen of person are busy talking on the other side and it seems you are watching through a windows. You should be able to talk with many persons but nobody seems to notice you.
What is missed? The hundreds of previous contacts that these people had among them and you do not have done. Or better...you have done, but in your previous city.
What you can do to “move” the situation? Well you can join a local association, throw a party, buy a sporty car and park in front of the pub… and many other things… It takes time but generally you work it out.
After a while you can even propose a deal to your new friends and make business.
But what is the rational of so doing? What is that makes the people slowly start to interact with you?
Let’s end the tale now. And move on the “Relationship” step of the Lead Generation funnel. What the tale shows is that:
Starting the relationship:
To reach your prospects you have to pass through a Peer, if you want to scale up fast your market entry.
A Peer is the channel, the medium through which you deliver yourself. It should be a Peer of your Prospect, not your Peer. Someone who is somehow already accredited by your prospect. It’s should be “disinterested” and even better: willing to actively introduce you.
Furthermore it should be “industry focused”. Your Clients do not want to waste their time with people that are not tuned, alerted , activated to their business.
The right Peer depends on the industry, but we can set at least a couple of categories:
A surprise is an information that highlights a difference in the status quo.
The rational is that any Prospect wants to know how they stand compared to their industry peers: if they are lagging behind the pack, if they are going to be in a Status quo that will differ from the present one for any reason.
A Surprise is an “un-expected comparison”
A Surprise ( un-expected Comparison) is that aha! moment that associates You to a Customer’s problem.
It’s the moment when you create the Relationship in the Customer Brain.
I have always in mind the reaction of my 2 years old kid when he saw for the first time a balloon going up, instead than falling on the floor when I released it.
Now “balloons” are forever associated with “new” unexpected and fantastic surprise. The fact that I have introduced him to the fantastic world of “balloons”, it’s probably a bonus that I will leverage for some time.
This examples teaches also a further observations:
If the Surprise comes from an “industry expert, it’s even better. People value specialists the most, even if what you say has an horizontal applicability.
If you belong to the industry, you eat like the industry, you breath like the industry, then you can describe the “status quo” with the right key words, the ones that resonate with your Customer’s brain.
There are at least 4 kinds of surprise that make your prospect feel a change in the status quo:
Any kind of issue or problem your prospect’s peers have suffered, are suffering or going to suffer and that most probably your prospect will have to deal with soon.
Un-anticipated market drivers’ changes
Here you can refer to classic Porter’s
Some big surprise comes from comparing the final results with the expected ones.
In general any discordance among imagined / planned / desired results and actual facts capture prospects attention.
A further source of surprise comes again from failing of considering a company as an evolutionary system, instead of a steady system.
A system may fail not because of a part crash, but because the supporting functions are given for granted:
A Surprise signals to your Prospect that “the World has changed”
A Surprise says to your Customer:
If you can play out with the consequences of inaction via a SWOT analysis, you may end inviting your prospect to re-think the alternatives, and fight the costs of inaction, and her resistances to Loss, making do-nothing : not an option
Now that you have a better sense of what is a surprise and a peer, you can use the B2B sales Funnel and decline this concept taking into consideration:
The B2B Sales Funnel is the just one of the steps of our "Roadmap to Market" 8 days coaching program, that is helping industrial SMBs, high-tech Startups and University Spin-offs bring Engineered solutions to market since 2009.
To talk about this, contact me at the numbers below.
Flavio Tosi is an expert in designing marketing plans targeting the Oil & Gas, Energy and Aerospace industries. His ideas about innovation go to market have been featured on "Impiantistica Italiana" -the ANIMP official organ - and adopted by SMBs, Startups and Spin-offs in Italy, Austria, France and U.A.E.
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