Technology companies are facing significant challenges when trying to deliver on their growth aspirations.
Delivering Predictable and Consistent Revenue Growth
Technology companies are under incredible pressure to grow. Not only grow, but do so in a manner that is predictable and sustainable. Predictable, so that companies can forecast accurately to manage owners’ or shareholders’ expectations. Sustainable, quarter on quarter, year on year, to meet and exceed growth expectations too.
The War for Talent
It has always been difficult to attract and retain the right employees, but things are getting increasingly challenging. Finding people that are highly skilled and experienced, but also hungry and driven, is a constant struggle. With the borders closed it is no longer possible to access skilled migrant talent. Also, the “great resignation” is underway – how are you going attract and retain high performers?
Your future clients are bombarded with sales messages throughout their working day. With this explosion of readily available information, buyers can complete a significant part of their due diligence without having to speak to a sales executive. That is assuming they realise they have a problem that needs to be solved in the first place. Many potential buyers are blissfully unaware of their problems, and that is the biggest opportunity for the sales professional to make a significant impact on a buyer’s business.
In addition to this information explosion, the number of channels that buyers digest information from has tripled in the past 10 years, and now includes SMS, WhatsApp, Signal, Viber, Phone, Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, other social channels, traditional news sources like the AFR, SMH or the Harvard Business Review, and Trade Publications, etc.
Is it any wonder that buyers need to “switch off” from the noise to get through their working day? Buyers are spending their days being bombarded with sales messages, on back-to-back online conference calls, buried in a tsunami of emails, and still need time to think, problem solve, plan, and collaborate with colleagues.
Sales Executives Willing and Able to Self-Generate their own Leads
Too often, sales executives are expected to self-generate their own leads by cold calling. After a cursory view of Sales Executive job advertisements, 7 out 8 Sales Directors (or Hiring Managers) expect a Sales Executive to have the ability to pick up the phone and generate their own client sales-ready appointments.
The reality is very few Sales Executives want to cold call or are good it. We have watched Sales Executives with great amusement try and exhaust every prospecting channel that does not involve picking up the phone and prospecting cold. There are good reasons for that, prospecting over the phone is super hard. So, sales executives try to bolster their prospecting efforts by:
- Leveraging their first level network.
- Building a new second level network (from their first level network) to find referrals.
- Going to the “opening of an envelope” (attending random networking events) in the hope of meeting someone that could form part of their network or be a potential buyer.
- Focusing on growing existing clients.
- Social Selling. Sales Executives are often tasked with creating their own online brand, to be a company brand ambassador and establish themselves as a subject matter expert in their field of expertise. Social selling by building their online network, engaging online, and producing relevant content for their audience is a significant undertaking. LinkedIn has been around since 2002. Yes, you can attract and generate good quality sales ready opportunities from Social Selling. However, if you only rely on Social Selling to acquire new customers you are missing a significant opportunity. Also, the old “copy and paste” sales messages used with LinkedIn connection requests and LinkedIn InMails are annoying at best. It is too easy for Senior Executives to ignore them.
- Attending expensive industry events.
- The list goes on.
Gone are the days of trying to hire a “superstar” sales executive. The tech industry has created the Sales Development Representative (SDR) role. A junior role, tasked with supporting Sales Executives with sales-ready leads. If you think you can hire a highly experienced SDR and expect them to start generating results you are sadly mistaken. Many sales and marketing professionals grossly underestimate the investment, time and energy required to build an SDR capability let alone sustain one.
If you’re interested to learn how to build a sales development capability to support your sales executives with sales ready leads please do not hestate to make contact.
David Barlow, Founder & CEO, Ascendia Works, is passion about our clients experiencing outrageous success with their outsourced sales development program.