the great sales conundrum

THE GREAT SALES CONUNDRUM

So your sales team is struggling to get appointments with the influencers that really matter to your business. Getting time in front of these people is a fundamental requirement for your business, its future and its long-term strategic goals. Surprisingly, this is one of the most common dilemmas that companies within the construction and built environment face.

 Every business has a need to proactively drive demand, raise awareness, educate their customers and create new opportunities. Having a dedicated sales team is essential but you have to ask yourself where do your sales teams’ skills lie? Did your company hire them to spend exhaustive hours researching opportunities, sprawling through endless reams of information, attempting to create leads? Most likely, they receive significant salaries to close significant deals? Therefore, setting lines of demarcation between these tasks and providing your sales team with cohesive support is vital. So what’s the solution?

The first choice is to do nothing. Sit on your hands; turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to legitimate complaints from your beleaguered sales team that they don’t have the time, resources or tools to prospect for leads. But let’s face it; if you are a professional operation, stagnation in such a competitive environment is just not an option.

Alternatively, you could set up an internal lead generation and business development mechanism. Undoubtedly, this will alleviate some pressure on your sales team and eventually create some leads. However, between the recruitment process and agency fees, it can prove both time-consuming and expensive.

The person/people you hire will inevitably have to undergo some form of training and will take time to learn the processes and culture of your workplace. What’s more, they will need to be managed. Structures, such as a comprehensive call management system, will have to put in place to evaluate and analyse their performance. A contingency plan will have to be considered for when an employee is sick or on annual leave and what if they quit unexpectedly?

Not really a straightforward or foolproof plan is it? Don’t panic, there are some options left on the table.

How about outsourcing? Traditionally most medium or large organisations have little problem with outsourcing elements of their operations to specialist companies and agencies. Investing in the services of dedicated advertising or public relations agencies that have in-depth industry knowledge and a track record of delivering is usually a no-brainer and widely seen as an accepted cost.

Despite this, when it comes to elements of business development, there is often internal resistance to outsourcing. Nonetheless, under the right circumstances, it can be an attractive and effective option.

There are a multitude of B2B market intelligence and telemarketing agencies that can provide outsourced support for your lead generation efforts but how do you identify the one that is right for your business? Hiring a generic B2B telemarketing agency is no guarantee of success. In fact, it may even be counterproductive. This is especially true if they have been trained in the regressively, out-dated Always Be Closing (ABC) philosophy or rely heavily on following generic scripts.

Probably the most vital consideration and most significant deterrent to employing the services of a generic B2B telemarketing agency is the inherent lack of specialised industry knowledge. Every sector operates in a nuanced manner that may not be obvious or rational to those on the outside and this is especially true within the construction industry. Generic B2B telemarketers will not understand the subtleties of the industry; who the influencers are, what the drivers are, what the route to market is for each sub-sector or given situation.

These variables are not static; they constantly shift depending on the context of the project, company and sub-sector. For example, it is worthless securing an appointment with a contractor if the person with the real sway is the architect. What is needed is genuine market intelligence, knowledge and understanding.

This is where the merit of hiring a strategic, intelligent, industry-specific telemarketing agency lies. You are not hiring someone to bash phones and they are not starting at ‘ground zero’ when it comes to understanding the markets you operate in. Rather, you are investing in vast expertise, consultancy on routes to market, valuable data and resources that cannot be replicated by generic agencies.

Such agencies can formulate bespoke and tightly focused, strategic plans with predefined parameters and targets, offer your company a motivated, stimulated workforce, as well as vast experience and sector specific expertise that can deliver tangible opportunities.

In today’s fast-paced society, there is no longer scope for a 360-degree salesperson. Companies invest heavily in their sales team but many ignore or seem ignorant of the definite delineation of specialised sales and business development functions. They exhaust, frustrate and demotivate their salesforce by channeling their energy into prospecting and bureaucratic box-ticking tasks that are aimed at meeting empty KPIs and targets. By outsourcing specialised aspects of business development, you can truly harness the talent of your sales team and get them back in front of people that really matter to your business