So let's start off with a few indisputable facts regarding B2B selling in the technology space:
It is becoming more and more difficult to get prospects to answer the phone
The methods of prospecting that worked flawlessly 20 years ago are not getting you enough opportunities to sustain your business today
The B2B technology sale is becoming more and more complex, which means the calibre of your salespeople and their supporting team is increasing
The smarter the pre-sales team is, the more they cost you in salary
Your expensive sales team is spending more time prospecting and less time selling.
So what is the answer? Where do we go from here? This, my friends, is where your website needs to play an active role. It needs to be your best Business Development Representative. It needs to be a machine that feeds leads to your sales team. Now I can already hear a lot of you saying to yourselves "That's what I'm paying my sales team to do! That's their job!" And you're right, that is a responsibility of a salesperson, but I want to encourage you to look at it in a different light.
Most sales opportunities fall into one of two categories.
The large enterprise projects. These typically result in a large scale change for your client and are the core focus of your business. These are big-ticket deals that typically take 9-18 months to close and involve teams of people from both sides.
The "filler" work. For your client, these are typically smaller projects in terms of change and budget; however, they still need to get done. The timeline to buy and the number of people involved in the process are drastically lower. If an enterprise deal is $100,000+ these would be $20,000 - $50,000 projects. They generate revenue, they help with the overhead, but they are not your core focus.
Next, let's think about how we compensate and measure our salespeople. Most salespeople carry a quota. This number is what they are measured against and compensated on, and here is where we begin to unveil the challenge in the modern B2B technical sales process. Enterprise projects are what we push our salespeople to focus on, but they take a considerable amount of time to develop and close, so they begin to miss their sales goals. When they miss their goals, they fail to make the commission they want, your support team sits idle, and you become frustrated with them. So what do they do? Well most of them starting going after those filler projects. There are more of these opportunities out there, the deals close quicker, they begin to hit their numbers, and they get compensated. Essentially, they find a way around selling the enterprise opportunities and focus all their time and effort on smaller projects.
You need your sales team focused on enterprise opportunities but the team still needs to be paid, and the lights need to stay on. This is where your website needs to come in.
Let's be honest with each other for a moment; most enterprise opportunities still happen in the trenches, they don't typically originate from your website. The reason for this is because of all the complexities I mentioned above; this is why you've built a pre-sales support team. However, filler projects originate from online leads - almost exclusively.
So why do your best salespeople need a steady flow of leads from your website? It's simple. Website leads help to fill their funnel, keep your bills paid, and with a proper nurturing program in place, it takes a lot of the pre-sales activities off their shoulders. When they don't have to worry about missing quota and missing their compensation goals, they can focus more of their energy on enterprise opportunities. Furthermore, these smaller opportunities often come from companies who will soon grow to become your enterprise clients.
In one particular example, our client was able to have their salespeople increase their average annual revenue per sales rep from $800,000 to $2,000,000 through this methodology simply because they could focus more time on enterprise sales while the lead generation and marketing automation did much of the heavy lifting on the filler projects.
It's incredible what we can do with a little extra time.