I am often criticized for my policy of non-zero set-up/licensing fees. I am asked: why not? Our competition is charging zero set-up fees? Why not us?
I want to quote to them the bulls-eye story, and I begin to, too, then I hold back. The legacy of wanting and taking things for free – hocking up a competitor in your face, and the fear of losing your prospect to someone less capable – has come full circle for my sales and marketing peers.
What I am offering, and of what value it is or can be to the prospect, is often ignored.
What Sales usually forgets and don’t address deliberately is the “generation part” – and that is something that needs to be equally addressed: the nurturing part – and this is specifically for long and complex sales. I personally believe that a good client may take even a year to sign up, eventually; though this is all supposedly left to “marketing”, as if sales in the online niche is like a car sale in a car distribution outlet.
Also, Stay In Touch campaigns the Business Development/Sales team was supposed to do with help the of Graphics, and Graphics did help them out several times, but that was another thing that never saw the light of the day.
It needs to be understood that nurturing requires a Value Proposition; and Stay in touch campaigns are a part of the nurturing process. For a nurture strategy, it has to begin with a VP – value proposition. Why should anyone buy our products instead of any competitors who also offer the same products. The WHY is important? Try coming up with the whys? In one paragraph.
The VP has to be ramped up by credible support in the form of information: facts, figures, data, testimonials, from industry experts and existing clients – something which we had asked some of the team to do – they did nothing of that sort either. The facts, figures, data, Amey, Sunny and me had always put together…most of it; we still required more…but that is the thing here, everyone starts off with enthusiasm, and on the way lose it…learning is open-ended…it cannot just stop! Something that the BD team NEVER really got in their heads, ever: a valuable offer is so much important to offer to initiate any nurturing process. A great report, a product pdf file, a services presentation, a video, anything; SOMETHING of value, and built over every contact. Like a dating process. Give it some time. Give them something, every time. Something that has enough credibility and value for the inquirer to engage them.
THIS is what was taught to them, a universally accepted statistic:
2% of sales are made on the 1st contact.
3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact.
5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact.
10% of sales are made on the 4th contact.
80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact!
It would pay to remember this 🙂 Simple.
Those who don’t forget this kinda stuff last longer…the rest are 30 second one-night stands. Some smart alec had devised for a simple methodology for nurturing, based on an “Egometer” that simple proposed how many “i’s” and “we’s” one had in their last 10 emails instead of “you’s”. TRUST & CREDIBILITY – in the B2B scenario, this is all that works – to make a brand stand out and stay that way.
In my mind, when I talk to a prospect, or even send a mail, I see every time what difference I should make. Sometimes there is just no time, so there are stereo-typed copy-pasted emails. But once the prospect responds, it’s a whole new ball-game. Then, it becomes a series of “mini-yeses” from them, adjustments in the nurturing process every time. It sometimes takes months…years…don’t give it up.
Anything that takes more than 3 months is a “complex sale”, and then, it is very much worth it. The MORE organic nurturing is, the better; fine-tuning, adjustments, analyze and evaluate every single time – learning, every time. At the heart is ALWAYS the VP. It’s like a tree – a decision tree. YOU cannot CREATE somebody else’s desire; you can influence it, speed it up and promote it. Accelerate it. Space it out.
A VP, build everything around that: it’s common sense, you don’t have to have an MBA for it!