• Bryan Socransky

Want to improve your B2B lead generation and increase sales? Do this…

What causes B2B sales reps to waste the most time?

Checking email?

Reviewing their stock portfolio online every 2 hours?

Browsing through Facebook?

These are all definitely time sinks but they are not the worst offenders.

B2B salespeople waste the most time by chasing "opportunities" that they have no hope of winning.

Sales reps chase "dreams" instead of real opportunities for 2 main reasons;

1. Lack of a clear understanding of who the “Ideal Customer Profile” and “Buyer Persona” are. Who is going to buy their product? Not who they hope will buy their product but who has the potential pain, budget, and need for their product. There is no clear buyer persona so they don't know what the buyer looks like and who is not a potential buyer.

I know about this problem first hand. I remember wasting 6 months chasing a large prospect. I had lots of phone calls, meetings, and busy activity. But nothing ever came of this "opportunity". If I was honest and analyzed this carefully upfront I should have never got sucked into pursuing this prospect. They would never have bought from me because the software I was selling was a mid-market application. No way a Fortune 500 company was ever going to install this. 6 months of wasted effort. The opportunity cost was enormous. This was time that I could have spent prospecting for customers that had a real probability of buying.

2. The other main cause of B2B sales reps chasing "dreams" is they don't have enough activity or leads. When a sales rep starves for leads they will be happy to get any lead, RFP or anything with a pulse that comes along. No thought about whether the prospect fits the ideal customer profile. Been there, done that. The worst part is when the sales rep drags along corporate resources on these long shot opportunities. So not only is the sales rep wasting their time, now they end up wasting lots of other people's time as well.

Step # 1 for effective B2B lead generation. Establish a clear “Ideal Customer Profile” and “Buyer Persona”.

The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

is a description of the best types of COMPANIES who will likely buy the product or service. The ICP should specify company size (sales, number of employees), geographic locations, industry, etc. Base the profile on historical data. Ideally, Product Management creates the ICP. They should have referenced this when they created the product! If an ICP does not exist then it is incumbent on the sales rep to create this on their own based on their own research.

What type of company is going to buy your product? This should not be aspirational. Not who you hope will buy your product but what type of company has the potential pain, budget and need for your product. Develop a clear ICP so you know what a company looks like who is a potential buyer. This will help sales reps be laser focused on the realm of the possible.

I have seen so much time and money wasted in my career on pursuing vertical markets or accounts that are not winnable.

Note – list out who is not an ideal buyer. This might be companies with more than 5,000 employees or it could be a company that is already using a specific competitive product. Be clear about what a non-winnable customer profile looks like. No effort, time or marketing dollars should be spent on non-winnable customers.

Buyer Personas

are breakdowns of the types of PEOPLE who will make the decision to buy your product. They will have a certain personality type, gender, age, etc…

Beyond the basic buyer demographics, the next step is to look at the personality of the ideal buyer personas. There are different personality indicator methodologies that you can use to help you identify the personality of your buyer persona. Myers-Briggs and DiSC are two that are popular.

Think about it this way; If you are selling something innovative and new you are going to want to target buyers that are risk tolerant. Personality is important and should not be overlooked.

How do you know the personality profile of your buyer? If you already have existing customers it would be worthwhile profiling the key decision makers inside each account and look for common characteristics. You can glean a lot from their social profiles. On their LinkedIN profile you can see what groups they belong to and what causes they support. This is telling. Look at their Facebook posts. See what they Tweet about.

This should drive your lead scoring and lead generation activities. Allocate lead generation spend and effort on buyers that match your ideal personality fit.

Combine “Ideal Customer Profile” and “Buyer Persona” together to tailor your messaging and content

Finally, you need to develop content for each customer profile and buyer persona. Most companies usually skip this step and that is where things go wrong. Generic messaging and content that is used for all customer profiles and buyer personas will be ineffective. This one size fits all approach leads to sub-optimal results.

If you are using DiSC, then you would need four different groupings of content for each personality profile (DISC). If D,I and S personality types are all plausible for your buyer personas then you need to tailor your approach and content for each personality. If you are trying to sell to a personality D with the same messaging and content as a type I, your success rate will be lower. In fact, you should be using opposite approaches. For the type I personality you want to appeal to their emotions as much as possible. For the type D personality, you want to talk about big picture and focus on results. Emotions should not come into play at all. So, using the same messaging and content for a type D and type I personality is a bad approach.

Apply segmentation to your buyer personas based on personality. Once you start doing that you will see much better conversion rates in your lead generation efforts.

Know this - some kinds of companies and certain people will never buy your product.

They are going to buy the competitors product. No matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise. Spending time and money trying to persuade them is a waste. Effective lead generation starts by focusing on companies that are “winnable”.

About the Author: Bryan Socransky is the Principal Consultant of Disruptive Consulting Group. Bryan's experience spans over 25 years in some of the most competitive B2B sectors including enterprise software and SaaS. Now he is applying this experience to help B2B technology companies sell more, sell faster.