Client – A global financial services client
This client enjoys a dominant position in its core market, they haven’t had to chase new business for years, business simply comes to them. Their commercial teams are highly skilled technically, when a proposal or request comes in, a response is given and the client either comes back to them or they don’t. No chasing and no negotiation.
The challenge came when the client set up a new division, selling to a completely different audience with a brand new and different product.
Although the product was excellent, it wasn’t essential (unlike its other products) and it was complex with a high ticket price. The target market knew the brand very well but never associated it with this new service.
In the UK and most of Europe the company was struggling to gain traction and get in front of their target audience. They had a small marketing team that had tried a number of tactics to get in front of CEOs of successful companies, but had limited success. They had used their extensive connections to build a flow of conversations, but that was not enough.
The initial gap we identified was the need to develop a strategy to get them in front of CEOs of exceptional mid-sized European businesses and spark meaningful conversations.
We developed a two-step solution.
- Accessing the European Business Awards, we aimed to get them in front of exactly this audience. It was a cost effective solution to build some awareness for them and gain valuable face-to-face time with their target audience.
- We devised a series of events throughout Europe allowing our team to make personal introductions to target CEOs.
- Our research team profiled relevant target companies and our sales team approached them directly to set up phone conversations for the client.
- We actively introduced our client to over 1,500 CEOs.
However, that did not produce the sales results that were expected and needed by the client. The problem was that the commercial team had other roles to play. There was no sales culture, no structured sales process and no support. This meant that most of the initial conversations and introductions just didn’t move to a second conversation.
- The business needed a consistent and structured sales funnel and process.
- We ran a test to take on the whole sales funnel, from lead generation all the way through to signing of contracts.
- We focused on one market to begin with.
- Our research team sourced relevant companies using financial data and other triggers. We then used data tools and manual research to find the contact details for the CEOs and CFOs.
- Our lead generation team developed and tested a number of outbound email marketing approaches. We selected the best performing sequence of emails and also tested selective telephone follow up.
- We devised a systematic approach to target these companies in small batches to generate 20 qualified leads a week.
- Our pre sales team handled the qualification of the lead by sending additional information and asking for an appointment. Those that continued to be interested became sales qualified leads and initial telephone and face to face meetings arranged. Over 90% of first meetings were arranged, on our request, as with phone calls.
- Our highly experienced sales specialists took the initial calls.
- Before the campaign started, we identified hurdles to convert interest into sales. We built a list of scenarios, showing what the underlying problem was, and what the cost of not fixing the problem would be financially and emotionally for the CEO. We designed a framework for the calls, questioning techniques and methods to describe how our client’s solution would solve the prospect’s problems.
- We mapped decisions and agreed follow ups.
- We established KPI’s to track conversion rates and recorded the outcomes and the steps in the sales process where a sale failed.
- Previously the client had recruited between 20 and 25 new customers a year. Those customers tended to be smaller businesses than their ideal target and often the customers had been given big discounts or big concessions.
- In the first 12 months, we brought on 48 new customers, with no discounts. The customers were much larger with far greater life time value to the customer.
The Gaps We Plugged
- Our research helped them define and build a dataset of their total addressable market. This included the company details and the contact details of all of the CEOs/CFOs they wanted to reach.
- Our lead generation activity had generated a positive response rate of 11% and we created a pool of prospects the client could nurture into future business over the next 12 to 24 months.
- Detailed data analysis of over 350 sales conversations highlighted where the product needed improving and what additional marketing support material was required improve the sales conversion rate.
- Coached the client to understand in detail what the exact cost per customer acquisition was, which informed their future pricing structure.
- Created a structure to give the client a predictable sales funnel and a road map to future improvements.
By outsourcing the sales process, it enabled the client’s commercial team to refocus on account management, helping to improve customer satisfaction and life-time value.
Much of our work is centred on commercially sensitive projects and our clients are uncomfortable sharing their challenges and more importantly the fixes they have worked on with us. Because of this, we have anonymised all of the cases studies.