Beginning with the release of the original iPhone, there’s been a dramatic shift in power from sellers to buyers. In most cases, today’s modern buyer has vastly different preferences compared to as recently as five years ago -- and now finds immediate answers to their questions using tools like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Siri, Alexa, and Cortana.
Mainstream adoption of search engines, social media, and mobile computing has severely disrupted traditional go-to-market playbooks. In the past, prospects would speak with your sales team when they were 10% - 20% of the way through their buyer’s journey. Today, as much as 70% or more of decision-making is already complete before your company is even aware of a potential opportunity. This is a huge problem for old-school small businesses. But it’s also a great opportunity for those that are able to get found early by the right people, in the right places, at the right time, and in the right context.
Is your company prepared? Or is it living in the past?
At SP Home Run, our clients have found the greatest success growing their revenue when they’ve integrated these five essential pillars for growth in their overall strategy and company culture:
1. Differentiation -- Many CEOs, small business owners, and sales directors usually have a preconceived idea of what sets them apart from the competition. The problem is: your idea -- or your boss's idea or your board of directors’ idea -- of what differentiation is, actually doesn't count. Differentiation is all about who your ideal clients see your company as. Once you figure out who your core buyer personas are, you’ll know exactly who the most important economic driver is for the growth of your business. It's their perception of your differentiation that counts, not yours.
2. Thought Leadership -- Thought leadership is what separates companies from the pack. It’s what allows companies to position their organizations and their team members as the be-all end-all experts on anything and everything specific to their industry. if you’re a subject matter expert and you’re providing education within your industry -- being the best that you can be in your space -- you’re a thought leader. Is your website the Wikipedia for your industry? It could be. Thought leaders spend a lot of time obsessing about who their buyer personas are, what motivates them, what drives them, and what kind of behavior they exhibit. Thought leaders want to know how they can be more relevant to their buyer persona’s questions and problems, helping them with their goals as early as possible in the buyer's journey. If you want to be a true thought leader, spend a ton of time learning more about your buyer personas.
3. Competitive Positioning -- What does it mean for your company to be competitively positioned? Most companies have an idea of how they stack up against their competition. However, in a digital-first world where modern buyer is in the driver’s seat, that perception may no longer be accurate. When assessing your company’s competition positioning, be sure to consider your Direct Competition, Indirect Competition, and Non-Business Model Competition.
4. Sales Cycle Acceleration -- Many companies find that their sales cycles are getting longer; it's simply taking them too long to close deals. General trends are moving towards buyer decisions being made more by committee, more people being involved, and purchase cycles being pushed out even longer. And people are becoming a lot more risk-averse. Much of it has to do with the new buyer's journey. To get your sales cycle length under control, it’s critical to understand your core buyer personas and their buyer’s journey, while applying more effective segmentation and personalization.
5. Revenue Growth -- Small business CEOs and sales directors often report challenges around visibility and brand awareness. However these generalities no longer cut it in a digital-first world and frankly cannot be measured or improved upon with the resources they have available. Instead, what most small business CEOs and their sales directors need is (a) leads, where a significant percentage progress to sales opportunities, (b) sales opportunities where a significant percentage progress to new clients, and (c) new clients that are their ideal, profitable clients. This approach is the key to unlocking scalable, predictable, revenue growth with the modern buyer.
If you’re a CEO, president, founder, or owner of a small business in South Florida, and you’re trying to position your company as the premier provider in your industry, differentiate from larger competitors, improve processes, and build trust among your prospects and clients, here are some recommended resources: