How to boost your B2B sales pipeline ahead of 2018.

For many small-to-medium sized B2B companies, September is a crucial time with regards to planning for the new year ahead. In many cases, what happens over the next few months will determine how things will develop throughout 2018.

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT often plays a key part in any growth strategy, and for many business owners, a big decision will need to be made around how they progress their company and sell themselves. For a Managing Director or Founder, to pass this function on to another individual (however well-qualified) can be a big leap of faith.

High quality recruitment is expensive and the sometimes ‘invisible’ costs of training and managing a new employee can be time-intensive (and not always successful).

So, before you go down this route, it might be worth considering outsourcing to Bluestone B2B as an alternative solution.

At Bluestone, we believe that with the right process and team in place, any small B2B business (especially those that have a ‘niche’ offering) can engage with their aspirational prospect base.

For more than 5 years, we have been putting our clients in front of hard-to-reach decision makers, generating opportunities and helping them convert them into revenue.

We have helped companies where business owners have had to take on the sales role and found it much harder work than they had envisaged – first meetings proving difficult to attain, proposals sent but prospects not getting back to them, lack of responses, little or no feedback. Add all the other duties of running a business into the mix and not surprisingly, the sales engine quickly grinds to a halt.

Sound familiar?

Bluestone is here to tell you that this is the norm: sales in the modern world, where decision makers are too busy to thank you for a proposal you spent hours putting together. The clients that come to us are often disillusioned. ‘I had a great two-hour meeting then no answer to my proposal for over a month.’ Trust us, this really is commonplace. It’s annoying and it happens to us too!

At Bluestone, we take all the aggravation away for you. We set the meetings up, give you a full opportunity report that provides you with an extensive background, not only on the company but the individual(s) you will be meeting, as well as the reason you will be meeting them. Then after you have met with them, we work with you to chase those proposals up and help you nudge new customers over the line.

We use social media to glean as much information about the individual(s) as possible, which might include extracurricular interests that can act as great icebreakers when meeting for the first time. For example, if people have done charity work, or perhaps their favourite sports team has had success, they like to talk about it!

There will, of course, be specific questions you’ll need us to ask decision makers, but the engagement process we use to generate results is based on a traditional B.A.N.T system.

Budget. Authority. Need. Timescale.

B – Prospects MUST have Budgetavailable within a specific time frame; e.g. if you are a small video production company charging £7,000 per video, you might need budget to be available immediately. Whereas if you are a larger agency, you might be able to wait 6 months (or even longer) for a larger prospect’s budget to arrive, if the convertible value is say £500k plus. We have delivered successful ROI’s for clients in both scenarios.

– The prospects Bluestone source for you will all have the Authority needed to make a purchasing decision. Bluestone knows the difference between introducers, influencers and real decision makers. This is not to say that building relationships with the former is not useful, and it often plays a vital part in generating introductions / referrals to the right people.

N – There must always be a Need. Whilst this is obvious to most, there are those that will meet with an agency or consultancy (for example) ‘just to see what is out there.’ However, our clients are always informed exactly what a prospect’s need level is. There are times when a multinational may want to see a few agencies to spark some ideas within themselves; if this is the case Bluestone’s clients are made aware exactly where the prospect is in terms of need. We do this by giving each and every new business opportunity a BANT rating.

T – Timescale is often determined by access to Budget. Again, this is always agreed with clients at the outset and having a clear and realistic understanding of your sales cycle is better for us and easier for you, in terms of managing your investment with us. We often get responses like ‘I don’t get any budget until next April’. If we have agreed with our clients what timescale they will work around then we can decide how to approach and nurture the prospect.

Drive for show, putt for dough.

To use an old golf analogy, if ‘driving’ is the front-end lead generation and engagement, then ‘putting’ is the POST-OPPORTUNITY follow-up, and probably the one part of our work that is under-estimated the most by business owners.

Anyone that thinks this is a simple phone call is deluding themselves. Senior decision makers don’t care that you are waiting, they will get back to you unapologetically in their own sweet time. Sometimes this maddens business owners, particularly when they have had such a good initial face-to-face meeting.

That is why Bluestone offers a sales incubation programme of gentle post-opportunity nurturing. This is a combination of polite calling, clever little bits of social media and email touches, always light, never overbearing. Just enough to help nudge prospects over the line. Of course, Bluestone often works with Sales Directors and Managers, and they are the ones that reap the rewards of our work in the main. But whilst filling the sales funnel for hungry salespeople is a large part of what we do, helping them win the business is crucial to making any campaign a success.

A sales ‘bolt-on’ for your business.

If you are a business owner thinking about hiring someone to take over business development, you may think about bolting on Bluestone to the sales function of your business. If you are confident that you can present your business well and are happy to maintain control by attending the meetings yourself, then this could be a highly effective alternative solution to recruitment.

Hiring someone full-time is not always as straight-forward as it seems. Finding the right candidate can be time consuming, with job postings often lasting months. We have heard stories of businesses finding the ‘perfect candidate’, and then hearing they pulled out at the last minute when something better came along. Business development people are also expensive; we have seen salaries upwards of £60-80k plus commissions, expenses and overheads.

Bluestone’s entry-level monthly retainer is usually considerably lower than that of the average BDM wage. We need about a week to mobilise (subject to our clients moving as quickly as we can) and we handhold you through the entire process.

4 good reasons to partner with Bluestone B2B.

  1. Bluestone provides a business development ‘team’ rather than one individual. A team with many years of consultative B2B selling experience, pitching to ‘big brand’, C-Level decision makers.
  2. Whilst, Bluestone’s contracts start at 90 days, most of our clients keep us on board as long-term business development partners. Our focus is on building lasting relationships with our clients and becoming an integral part of their business growth strategy.
  3. We have become experts at generating warm referrals within organisations, which lead to higher levels of engagement than stand-alone, traditional B2B telemarketing.
  4. Bluestone provides a highly effective mix of consultative telemarketing, email and social media marketing, and uses the best channel-blend for your value proposition.

We’d love to find out more about your business development plans.

If you want to try us out in September or later in the year, get in touch now to arrange an introductory call or a meeting.

Tim Heronneau | Business Development

Bluestone B2B Ltd.

+44 203 727 6201

www.bluestoneb2b.co.uk

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