How many times have you heard the phrase... "You work at a fun startup, so you don't have to deal with the stresses in sales that most businesses deal with," or "you're funded! what are you worrying about?"
These kinds of phrases, to me, are pure ignorance and sound like nails on a chalkboard. Oftentimes, it is insinuating that marketing your product or selling your concept is easy. WRONG!
Ironically, these types of personalities will more than likely never experience the stress, worry, and success that comes with the responsibility of being the [insert one of the twenty hats you are currently wearing] of a successful startup. They'll (likely) never experience the stress that comes with the position you're in first hand, racing a burn rate, chasing down investors, working non-stop for next-to-nothing, and the list goes on.
It is stressful knowing that while you're doing a million other things to build your brand, there's a beast lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the opportunity to jump; an enemy that sneaks up when you least expect it, and one that will tear your company apart, limb from limb, if left unaddressed. What is it?
A lack of leads.
Or, in other terms, a lacking of the consistent flow of potential customers converting into your product or sales funnel.
Once that lead flow dries up, or the press release your advisors shared about you loses it's value in "current" media distribution, what are you going to do? The last thing you want is to consistently throw advertising money at your company if you're not sure what return it has.
One of our clients (who will remain anonymous as to not embarrass them too much) said they were spending so much in advertising that they could save money by offering a $100 bill to people to come have a conversation with them because their CAC was so high. Editor's note - oddly enough this is an interesting strategy worth looking into if your profit margins are still there, but for the sake of my point, this is a horrible idea.
So in a world full of noise, with lots of lead generation issues, on top of conversion rate issues, advertising/marketing/etc. issues, how do you stand out?
Understand Your Buyer Persona
It is important to know your buyer personas. You have just as much leverage to be selective of your clientele as they do in choosing you for the solution they're after.
When creating content for inbound marketing, focus on your persona demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
Understand the goal or problem that your buyer persona is trying to solve or accomplish.
The key to this section is simple – If you understand who they are, you know what interests them. This, in turn, makes your job of reaching out to them much easier.
A great tool to use in understanding your buyer persona is utilizing surveys. Attach a simple and small survey to your website - assuming you have one.
Ask questions such as:
- What are your primary goals for your organization?
- What are the biggest challenges you face in your position?
- In what areas would you like to see improvement in your business?
Of course, you can add a few more questions. However, the point is to dig without digging too deep and to understand your buyer persona.
Your Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through that leads up to a purchase.
Each one of us is a buyer of something. Consumers are why businesses succeed or fail.
How can you gain clients if you do not acknowledge the journey a buyer takes in the selection process?
Just as a survey can help you understand specific needs of your personas, that same survey helps you understand their journey of selecting your business for solutions to their problem(s).
There are three important stages to remember in this journey of your personas:
At this stage, the persona is acknowledging and expressing problems, symptoms, and opportunities.
The persona’s mission is to find third party neutral content, not have sales people interrupting their day with useless sales pitches.
This is where you can relate to their needs, fix the problem, and gain opportunity.
The prospective client has now defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity.
At this stage, the mission for the buyer is to solve the problem or extend an opportunity. The buyer is committed now to solving this problem and you want to be the solution with content that educates.
Now you know the direction or path to help the buyer’s journey end up on your front door. Educate your audience; do not sell your product or services.
This is the final mission in the buyer’s journey, seeking validation in determining their short list and selection of a vendor.
The prospective client has now decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach.
Of course, this is where you want to be part of that decision. This is where the journey begins in your direction with much opportunity.
“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” ~Steve Jobs
Take some time to review your buyer persona and their journey. The time spent on doing this actively will increase your quality of leads, your ROI, and your business.
Collaborate with your team or partner. Decide on goals and reconnect with the marketing department. Find out what they are hearing from prospective clients as well as previous clients.
This is all useful and important knowledge when it comes down to choosing the right path to increase your leads. Make a map to success with the right personas leading the way, and you'll start finding successful quality leads in no time.