Kevin Hall, National Sales and Marketing Manager at ICT services and solutions firm Elingo explains that slow economic growth means companies take time to make decisions, and a high staff turnover within the sales force results in inconsistency.
These factors are contributing to more companies struggling to transform leads into real sales opportunities says Hall.
This is the reality facing many businesses competing within emerging markets, and the reason why targeted sales strategies are pivotal – and why their efficiency is entirely dependent on understanding market segments and prospective clients.
“Sales teams and sales people do not operate in silos, the effect of quality marketing materials, and specific case studies and white papers on specific verticals, should never be underestimated. The client would like to feel they are dealing with somebody that understands their unique industry and the challenges they face, not just a blanket approach,” says Hall.
While some firms may scoff at the idea of having to enforce individualised, focused communication to clients, the fact is that this can make or break business relationships, according to Hall.
“The client has already told you what they want to read about, what they understand, and how they want to be marketed to. By not sending them individualised newsletters, and quality social media campaigns, you are just saying, ‘thank you for answering the questions on the marketing we sent you last year– we simply did not listen, and we just did it to sort out our POPI requirements, we don’t really care about you, and we are not intending to listen to you’ This is not the best start to any business relationship,” he says.
Understanding and communicating effectively will lead to sales success, not just fast talking and flashy presentations.
The Elingo executive stresses that the success of personalised, focused communication (in other words generating and capitalising on leads) is also dependent on using the right platform at the right time for the right reason.
“We live in a world where information is just a click away, the client is not looking for you to share what he could have already understood on your website. Learn to find leads from Social Media, having a strategy on LinkedIn, does not mean, just open an account and have a nice Bio and Profile picture. Lead generation should be a strategic focus, and understanding the interaction below the line will become even more important,” says Hall.
Another reality of the market today is that time is a premium commodity and few decision makers in business have the opportunity to engage traditional marketing models, including exhibitions and trade shows.
“clients have less time to trawl through all the vendor marketing on line, they just want to find the solution to their problem, compare the price and speak to the right person the first time they contact you. Solid leads that sustain themselves on social media, and business networks will be based on apparent value propositions, not complicated mission statements,” Hall continues.
Technology is used to boost presentations, capture attention and help in the hunt for leads. Like any art, the ability to secure leads and really gain business requires practice and commitment.
As Hall explains, the challenge has become a lot more pronounced and Exco level decision makers are too busy to delve into various value propositions.
“One should ask some very difficult questions when dealing with sales teams, like how many people are we seeing per month actually wanted the information we are providing, or the solutions we offer. In some ways technology is making the distance from the sales person to the decision maker shorter, because it’s easy to find who the decision makers are,” says Hall.