POSTED BY JOSHUA FEINBERG
Mar 25, 2015 3:58:00 PM
Most data center firms, especially those in the colocation business, have a VP of sales that reports directly to the CEO. In most cases, the VP of sales is responsible for growing both the quantity of revenue, as well as the quality of revenue (profitability). But there’s a timing element too that comes into play where sales execs are always looking to accelerate the sales cycle.
In this post, which is excerpted from Lead Generation Best Practices for Colocation Data Centers, we’ll look at three data center best practices for accelerating the close of new business.
Now the data center colocation business definitely has a considered sales process. To help you get your mind around its length and key milestones, as a starting point analyze the length of your sales cycle.
In this context, lead generation is only half of the puzzle. The other part is lead nurturing, workflows, marketing automation, optimizing the sales funnel, and sales and marketing alignment.
(1) Segment Your Leads
Once we know the average sales cycle length (the number of days, weeks, months, or even years) that it can take a typical lead of yours to navigate the buyer’s journey for the first time, the question is, what can you do to speed up your sales cycle, so high-value, long-term sales close sooner? Or more bluntly, so potential clients don’t go elsewhere for their data center needs?
Now, the reason you need lead generation in the first place is that without effective lead generation, your data center’s website will only be capable of interacting with those who are ready to buy, on the spot, on their very first visit.
Here’s a simple analogy. Think about the last time you purchased or leased a car. What would’ve happened if upon entering the dealership’s showroom for the first time, the salesperson refused to talk with you because you didn’t have your checkbook out, ready to buy on the spot, on that first visit?
Not exactly the way to build trust and a long-term relationship!
So, there are two basic steps to this process that can speed up the sales cycle. To close sales faster:
- Segment your leads in two ways: via buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage.
- Develop lead generation offers for each buyer persona and each buyer’s journey stage.
(2) Develop the Right Offers for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
To be really successful with lead generation that powers the full sales funnel, you have to be able tocombine content with context.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re planning a conference session on designing and building mission critical IT facilities. In order for that session to be well-attended, you need to know (a) who the conference session is for (an experienced data center decision maker or someone new to data center planning) and (b) where that person is in their journey to acquire that skill.
So, to help ensure that the seats are all filled up for your conference session, you need to combine:
(a) lead generation offers (content) with the
(b) sales cycle stage (context).
What are the basic stages of the typical B2B technology buying process? This is crucial because lead generation offers need to address context:
- Decision making
If we don’t address context, your website visitors will assume you aren’t listening and hit the back button. Not kidding! Context is critical.
(3) Optimize Your Offers for Personas and Buyer’s Journey Stage
So, this is a pretty interesting diagram and a really important concept.
We’re essentially looking at how to pick the right lead generation offer for where a lead is at in the data center buyer’s journey.
At the top of the sales funnel (on the left hand side of the diagram), in the awareness stage, buyers are researching problems. During this part of the sales cycle, the lead generation offers that are usually most effective include white papers, eBooks, downloadable guides, downloadable checklists, videos, and informational resource kits.
At stage two of the sales cycle, the middle of the sales funnel -- also known as the consideration stage, your targeted decision makers look to establish their buying criteria. So, what does that mean if you have no lead generation offers for buyers in the middle of the sales funnel? It’s like not showing up at all. Your company’s completely invisible and absent from the consideration set. So, if you need to use lead generation to accelerate the sales cycle, use tools like webinars, case studies, calculators, data sheets, and planning guides to help your data center establish and strongly influence buying criteria.
Then, during stage three of the sales cycle, the bottom of the funnel -- also known as the decision-making stage, your leads are evaluating vendors so that they can make their final purchase decisions. If you have persona-specific lead generation offers for the bottom of the sales funnel leads, you’ll be in really good shape...definitely in the mix. If you don’t, no one’s going to look for you and no one’s going to find you. So, make sure that you take the time to build out lead generation offers for free trials, demos, tours, needs assessments, and custom quote requests.
The key best practice for your data center is to develop the right lead generation offers to always keep your sales funnel filled.
If you have a revenue gap -- meaning that you don’t have enough revenue to meet your goals -- it’s criticalthat you invest properly in the ideas introduced here:
- Segmenting your leads by buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage
- Developing lead generation offers for each buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage
In this post, you’ve been introduced to three data center best practices for accelerating the sales cycle for adding new clients.
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