We are here in Europe enjoying a beautiful summer, but we aren’t seeing the usual slump in business. Today we will be offering you ways to overcome that supposed slump to find that Summer Sales aren’t just the blissful discounts we get all over retail in July and August.
Beat the heat, then beat that sales slump!
- Don’t assume you’re in a slump before you are. We aren’t saying the Summer European Sales Slump is a myth, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a reality for you. Loads of companies — especially European ones — see the majority of staff go on holiday in August, but that’s a mistake because then they can’t service their clients as well. The employees left behind to run the business are often working to improve admin processes, making late summer the perfect time for business software sales and implementation. August is a particularly great time for building long-term sales and marketing strategies, like lining up your international sales team.
- Prospect. Prospect. Then prospect some more. Summer is a great time to fill the top of your funnel through advertising — try Facebook Retargeting to stay on top of mind where your prospects are most relaxed — and through networking. It’s also a great time to test out and consider new markets, including new vertical audiences and new geographical targets. A little legwork now can go miles in Autumn.
- Reconnect with your current happy customers. Summer is a perfect time to catch up with some of your favorite fans. Ask customers for referrals that can be turned into convincing testimonials. Ask them if they know anyone that could also benefit from your product. And don’t forget to ask them what they are still struggling with — it may lead you to an upsell or it may give you an idea of your next feature, integration or strategic partnership.
How do you increase sales instead of letting them slow? Tweet your tricks to @SalesForceEurop!
We are seeing a lot of demand lately for Sales Force Europe’s lead generation services. We think it’s because lead generation is harder than ever. What used to be a knock on someone’s door or a phone call or two is now on average 12 points of direct and indirect contact. Instead of one ‘salesy’ role, business development has become a blend of about three roles. And then if you are trying to expand your home-grown company abroad, the pain is extra.
Today we talk about what you can do to maximise your lead generation strategically without gambling a big investment.
Three’s Company for Modern Lead Generation
Come and knock on our door. We’ve been waiting for you… It’s not the 1970s anymore, so why are so many companies going about an old-school way of approaching leads? Three is still company, however, with at least three different roles combining for successful lead generation.
The first is the researcher or administrative person, who creates and maintains lists of qualified leads. The maintenance part is important because, especially if your target audience is in marketing or development, there’s a hugely high turnover, with key contacts changing annually. Lead qualification lists have to be reviewed regularly, lest they go stale.
Next, is the marketer who creates a content strategy and creates those 12 unique touchpoints. This person works closely with the researcher to understand who to create content for, and then feeds this content to the last role to leverage.
Finally, you have the more traditional sales role that makes qualifying calls and negotiates deals. While there are three personalities on a modern lead gen team, perhaps only this last one is known to the customer, acting as their face of the business.
When they are ready to expand to new markets, a lot of companies will hire a single business development lead that usually fits this last profile. It’s definitely an important role — you need someone on-message and ready to close — but they’re not always effective without support of the other two jobs. Leads need to be first qualified and then “pre-educated” on your brand before this salesy-er role steps in.
‘I want a bespoke Oompa Loompa now!’
Let’s face it. Online advertising is freakily customised to our incredibly specific consumer profiles, down to our geographic location, relationship status, and buying habits. But we kind of like it that way. It’s no longer OK to send the same generic salesy message to your entire mailing list. (And if you are contacting prospects in areas of greater privacy regulations like Europe and California, you may not be able to do that anyway.) We want every LinkedIn message, each Facebook retargeting ad, and every newsletter to offer particular solutions to our particular needs, to acknowledge to our ‘incredibly unique’ lives.
For example with our own lead gen at Sales Force Europe, we use SEO and online advertising to source a lot of our leads. Then, we find a lot of success with our CEO Rick cultivating relationships over LinkedIn and from him answering relevant questions on Quora. And we can’t diminish the effect of networking at industry-leader events. This past Autumn, Rick really enjoyed Amsterdam’s IBC Show and Lisbon’s Web Summit, and, of course, he won’t miss the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next year. All of our sales processes are closed only after many points of contact, personal phone calls, and even in-person meetings.
Each company and each target audience is different. And each culture is unique, potentially with touchpoints in various languages. Add to all this a bit of experimentation and a lot of analytics to understand what’s working, followed by constant tweaking per target audience.
Outsourcing Lead Gen Lowers Your Risks
Now, your still growing company may not have the budget for three full-time roles. Outsourcing lead generation becomes a great option because these roles don’t need to be full-time. Instead, you could contract the cost of one full-timer, but your account could be served by three part-timers. This is a recipe for a shorter sales cycle because this mini outsourced team would normally have loads of experience selling to and creating materials for that market and they maintain much cleaner, much more up-to-date, and highly qualified lead lists.
Scaling your business through lead generation isn’t just about throwing resources at something. It’s about scaling up and down services in response to the market, whether you’re expanding to a new country or a new vertical. Outsourced lead generation works because it can react to different stages in your sales cycle. Sometimes you have many qualified leads and need more hands-on account rep time to nurture those leads into sales. Other times, like when entering a new marketplace, like a new country or vertical, you need to focus most of your resources on creating that pool of qualified contacts to reach out to. And, of course, you need a content strategy to appeal to them.
Curate Public Opinion about Your Product or Service
There’s one more part of the lead generation that you can’t neglect — ratings and reviews. (Queue doomsday movie score.)
We have never been more influenced by the opinions of others. Do you offer a product or service? Before they click “Buy” or “Sign Up Now”, they’re going to Google you. And, try as you might to make your own website show above all else, often you’ll be outranked by ads from your competitor and comparison and review sites.
It’s your job to curate and cultivate your digital footprint as much as possible. This means accepting profiles on your industry directories and then asking your favorite customers to add their voices to the mix. Work in recruitment? Ask your happier employees to post on Glassdoor. An American organisation? Get a rating on the Better Business Bureau. Business software? Claim your profiles on GetApp, Capterra and SoftwareAdvice. Consumer product? You better encourage your happy customers to review you on Google and Amazon. And, no matter what you do, no matter how B2B, if you choose to have a Facebook Page, make sure to ask for reviews on there — and to have someone checking it daily because the worst publicity you can get is an unanswered support question.
What creative lead gen tactics have made your team successful? Share in the comments below!
Sales Force Europe has spent the last 15 years helping tech companies expand to Europe by providing on-demand market strategy, lead generation, and sales team outsourcing services. Learn more about our lead generations services here.
ACCELERATE – from Latin for ad meaning towards + celer meaning swift
- begin to move more quickly
- Increase in rate, amount, or extent
- undergo a change in velocity
- venture or scheme that promotes and aids the rapid growth of selected new small businesses
- device, typically a foot pedal, which controls the speed of a vehicle’s engine
We like to refer to Sales Force Europe as the #1 European Sales Accelerator. But what does that even mean? Like its definitions, we help you leverage sales team outsourcing and lead generation as a way to control the speed at which you grow internationally allowing you, with already in-place experts and sales execs, to move more quickly.
We have three pieces to our International Sales Accelerator
You can sign up for just one of our local expert services or all three for what we call our Sales Acceleration Pod. We are seeing a lot of demand lately for our lead gen, but our true bread and butter is in the success of our sales team outsourcing. Last issue of our monthly newsletter talked about that lead gen, so let’s focus some time on closing deals within new markets.
We have a team of more than 75 hand-picked, embedded field reps already selling tech successfully to enterprises in their local markets. Each of our sales execs has been selling in her or his niche — SaaS, security, mobile, and/or the Internet of Things devices — for at least ten years.
We can also help you close smaller deals over the phone and email with our inside sales team, still with the local cultural and language touch.
Finally, for devices, networking tech, consumer electronics and OEM (original equipment manufacturers) we have proven channel sales. Our local reps have existing partnerships with distribution dealers, retailers, e-tailers affiliates, and direct marketing agencies, making new market distribution so much easier.
This outsourced team becomes an immediate extension of your team, selling in your team,
Each of these outsourced closers completely represents your brand, with a seamless customer experience.
Interested in scaling your tech company? Just reply to this email and start a conversation with our CEO Rick.
Seven Reasons Sales Team Outsourcing is a GreatWay to Reach International Markets
- You minimize the risks and costs that come with recruitment and long-term employee contracts in a foreign country. Instead you have one flexible contract with us.
- Your sales force is locally based, on the ground ready to go, experienced in selling your sort of product or service (for us, our reps only sell technology.) These bespoke, on-demand sales teams already have customer networks in place.
- Europe alone is about 50 cultures and countries. You may be able to have an American Sales Director cover the US,, but it’d be impossible for a European Sales Director to be able to manage all of Europe. We provide full or You need often part-time, highly targeted sales execs integrated in the local business communities.
- Sales outsourcing contracts can adapt as needed. As you test out different new markets, you want the ability to reallocate your efforts to different areas in response to customer demand, without having to worry about hiring, firing, and training new staff.
- Buy local, sell local. Our CEO Rick Pizzoli said: “Sales outsourcing in Europe benefits the dynamics — the small countries, the verticals within those places, the localization of the strategy and the content with the outsource model.”
- You don’t want to risk your existing sales talent. You don’t want to transplant her in a new location where she may be unsuccessful. Sales team outsourcing will allow you to get access to highly skilled, motivated, and experienced sales reps, who’ve already found local success.
- IT’S HYPERLOOP FAST! (Well, nearly.) At least if you try Sales Force Europe, you will find you’ll have an international team set up in about a month, not the normal six months when recruiting!
This is an extract from blog we wrote for one of our Partners FullFunnel. FullFunnel is similar to our business model, but they provide sales outsourcing if you are looking to expand to North America. Just reply to this email if you would like our CEO Rick to make an introduction for you.
This post was first sent out via our newsletter a couple months ago. Sign up for our newsletter to be always be the first to know!
Here’s a quick test to know if you might be ready for expansion.
You could be ready to take your tech business abroad if…
You know your niche.
Europe is about 50 different countries with almost as many languages and probably more cultures. Europe is not a singular target. Perhaps your CRM is doing amazing things for recruitment and HR or maybe your middleware is rocking American telecoms. These use cases and testimonials provide you will compelling reasons to target similar verticals in one or two countries.
You know where you’re headed.
London is big and has the same language, so that’s an obvious choice, right? Nope. These are one of the reasons London is an oversaturated market. As you consider making a push for another country or continent, really get to know your current user base, and then where are your website and app traffic coming from. Then get to know your competition. Where are they? Where are they not? Is there an app just like yours with a 90 percent market share in South Africa? You want to skip launching there next.
You know the local business culture.
Finally escaping the financial crisis, the Southern European countries are ripe for more tool adoption, however they aren’t the best at English. And the language barriers go beyond that. Mediterranean countries find “least expensive” and “saves money” excellent selling points, while the lands of Volvo and BMW aren’t looking for the cheapest route to anything; they want proven track records, security and stability, so lead with your testimonials and big-name brands in marketing to them.
Now you can hire full-time boots on the ground, but that takes money, local recruiters, and so much time to get up and running. If you use a service like Sales Force Europe, you get experienced locals that are already selling SaaS in the area, who can accomplish a lot more out of their cultural knowledge and professional network in just a couple days a week.
Want to know more? We’ve literally written the book on it! Sign up here for a free ebook to help you answer: Is your tech company ready for global expansion?
Or you can contact us directly and set up a conversation with our CEO Rick Pizolli to talk about if your tech company is ready for its global takeover.
You’re planning to attend a conference. This means you’re taking at least one day off work, plus expenses like travel and often tickets. You want to make the most of your time and money, but how?
As a team we have attended hundreds of events so we sat down with Gavin Page, our VP of business development, to offer you ways to not only make the most of any tech event you attend, but to use it as a way to position you and your brand as a thought leader in your tech niche.
Step One: Try to Speak at It.
Yes, this takes planning ahead, but you definitely get the most out of any event by being on stage, participating in a panel or a talk. You can always do a sponsored talk, but it’s good to try to reply to Calls for Speakers, which comes with notoriety and a free ticket or two.
What should you talk about? So long as you wear your logo-ed tee, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s interesting. Nobody likes a product pitch or demo, so tell your story — or better yet, invite a satisfied customer or user and have them tell their story! Applying this proof of work and use cases gives you more credibility.
Especially if you are selling to developers, you speaking is brand awareness enough, so instead of trying to push your product down them, do something interesting — I’ve a friend who does crazy Alexa hacks — and then just at the end remind the engaged audience what your product is and where to find your stand.
Nervous to talk the first time? A Meetup is a great way to practice your talk and potentially recruit local developers.
- How to speak at more conferences
- Crafting a conference proposal
- How to get over your fears to become a conference speaker
Step Two: Get a Stand.
Or a specific location that’s easy to find with seats. Preferably both. And have a team member stay there, the whole time.
Take photos of that location — with humans, preferably a mix of your team and interested others — and share it everywhere with specifics, especially on your company Twitter (then retweet as individuals) and on your individual LinkedIn profiles. Some conferences like Mobile World Congress are ginormous so any detail, like next to X eatery is key. Add to that, being near to food or coffee makes for a more fun location.
Gavin reminds us that you don’t need to spend your whole marketing budget on swag — who needs another stress ball, anyway? You just need A5 fliers that simply highlight your unique value proposition, your product fit within sectors and address the challenges of your prospects. Make sure to include an easy-to-type, custom URL (using a tool like bit.ly) that you can use to track your effort
You still want to gain prospects’ permission to continue marketing to them. Gavin recommends offering something that’s of great value but doesn’t cost you ahead of the conference, like performing the service of scoping or status assessment or a digital environment analysis, as a valuable prize draw.
Step Three: Become a Sponsor.
This is a great step for brand awareness and recruitment. It also helps with achieving Steps One and Two, and usually includes all-access tickets that give you places to conduct small meetings.
Remember to be cautious in deciding which events to sponsor because you will probably only have budget for a few a year. Decide which conferences attract the most of your prospective users or employees, and invest wisely in them.
Step Four: Promote. Promote. Promote!
Two weeks before any event (or longer for the big ones), start promoting how you’re attending. Use the conference hashtag. Post on individual LinkedIn profiles. Send a newsletter out to your prospect and customer lists, and then a follow-up a few days ahead.
“Your whole team should be sending out to your community,” even if you can’t attend. Gavin says it’s easily explainable like “Actually I can’t make it but my CEO is there.”
“Just push out the message that we are going to be there,” he continues.
Speaking at the event? That’s your hook. Want to cross-promote partners? Talk about them too.
Try to plan meetings as far in advance as possible to make the most of your time. Gavin says that anyone who is performing any lead generation for you should be ending calls, asking if the prospect is attending the event and try to close a meeting. And why not put a banner in everyone’s email signature.
Step Five: Network. Network. Network!
Besides your time on stage or perhaps learning from other speakers (whose findings you share amply on Twitter with the conference hashtag), your conference time should be spent talking to your current customers — see if you can grab video testimonials! —, your potential customers, and your prospective integration and strategic partners.
It’s rare to get a list ahead of who is attending an event, but hashtags are free. Who is tweeting about attending the event ahead? Which key partners are sponsoring and who is speaking?
Add people on LinkedIn and try to schedule ahead.
Don’t forget that press attends conferences too. If you have anything exciting to announce, make sure to contact the main names in your field again.
Step Six: Plan your follow-up game.
Tech startup mentor and our CEO Rick Pizzoli reminds us that right after you meet a lead, pause a minute to take notes about your discussion.
“This will be critical for your memory, and showing the lead that you listened and care about what they have to say,” Rick says.
Then, have a clear company policy for capturing those leads and business cards in a CRM.
Plan to start your follow-up starting the week following the event, prioritizing your leads and setting tasks for additional follow-up if they don’t respond to the first.
Rick also reminds us that “If your company receives hundreds of leads and you don’t have the resources to process, we [at Sales Force Europe] can help with event-focused callers to work this list.”
And don’t forget to add everyone you meet on LinkedIn, via a computer not mobile app so you can add a friendly but copy-pastable note like “Nice to meet you at MWC!” before hitting Connect.
Any other tricks for making the most out of working the conference circuit? Tell us in the comments below. And will you be at this year’s Mobile World Congress or any other awesome tech event we should be at? Let us know, we’d love to meet up!