Monday, 23 June 2008

Expanding Your Sales Outside of Core Clients

If you want to grow your business, you either need to sell more to people who've bought from you previously, or identify more people to buy from you. I think that's obvious.

Equally obvious is the requirement to identify growth markets and invest in those.

But if you're the marketing exec responsible for an existing mature market, and your sales force would rather just develop opportunities from within their existing clients. You're already struggling to get someone in sales to pick up the leads that you're generating outside of the core clients.

Sound familiar? Have you got experience with these challenges? What did you do? What were some of the challenges?

1 comment:

Simon Taylor said...

Hi Pete,

Interesting question. In my experience there's two ways to tackle this. Sales people are driven very much by the balance point between Risk and Reward. If the commission for one kind of deal is sufficiently high they will go after it but only if it doesn't put them at risk in some other part of the balance point. They might get double commission for a particular deal type but if it means it consumes all of their time and then they don't win it then the risk to their run-rate business is enough to scare them off. So, in this kind of scenario you need to either give them enough support with their installed base that they don't mind leaving it alone for a bit or you need to make the reward for pursuing new business sufficiently high that they'll take the risk. A balance between the two, as always, is the best approach. You could take the view that says "carrot and stick" is a better response - i.e. set targets for both installed base and new business with suitable rewards but this isn't as successful as the more balanced approach outlined above.

From a marketing perspective there may be little you can directly influence here but it may be possible for example to set up a programme to help the account managers manage their installed base more effectively by keeping them in touch with new initiatives, projects, etc. The installed base so often gets neglected by marketing and this extra support might be all they need to release them to pursue new business opportunities.

The other obvious area, and this is where somebody like us comes into play, is to build a closed loop nurturing programme for your leads. Don't pass over leads that are 'interested'. Pass them over when they're ready to engage. As you know, because you and I have discussed it before, we offer a very well developed programme for delivering exactly that kind of service across a range of skill sets. We run some hugely successful programmes who's secret is the fact that we only deliver the leads to the sales people when the prospect is ready to engage. This frees up the sales people from the bit that most of them find excuses not to do - i.e. the nurturing.

There's nothing new above I don't think but your post got me thinking and I felt the urge to respond! Putting my own sales hat on, if you wanted to discuss any of the approaches outlined above in more detail to see if we could help I'd be more than happy to pop down and have a chat.