Successful SMEs need to consistently overcome challenges to retain their spot in the market; from sourcing the best quality raw materials at the best price, to ensuring their cash flow remains at optimum levels. Probably the biggest challenge faced by SMEs, however, is the generation of demand for their products or services and the creation of qualified leads and prospects.
According to a 2013 global survey of over 2000 small and medium companies, over 75% of SMEs are currently transforming their product offerings, marketing strategy or technology framework to position themselves better within the global marketplace. And, as any company who has tried to expand into new locations or segments will know, creating demand, and ultimately sales, can be their biggest challenge yet. Without any qualified leads, or interest in your business, any expansion or growth plans will be short lived.
Key challenges faced by SMEs in lead generation:
- Creating good quality leads from genuine demand takes time, effort and money – often without quick ROI
- Often the business leader is not the best person to be in charge of attracting new leads, but a lack of resources means this is a common scenario
- With today’s range and variety of sales, marketing and media channels, it becomes overwhelming to work out which option is the best
- Interest in your product is high, but this does not translate to many sales
- It is cumbersome to manually track all interested parties, at all stages of their purchasing journey
- It takes time and effort to eliminate non-qualified leads and duplication of effort happens frequently
- Creating tangible brand value is difficult
Time to think differently…
With a targeted demand- and lead generation campaign underpinned with the right tools and technology, SMEs can take advantage of expanding locally and globally in a safe and supported way, with minimal risk.
Closing the loop on your campaigns can mean that the right prospects become qualified, followed up and closed as part of a successful sales funnel. Whilst this can be cumbersome when done manually, tools such as SAP Business One’s Campaign Management, enables you to:
- Set up automatic inbound/outbound sales and marketing campaigns where the results can be filtered to the appropriate segments and the people responsible
- Qualify leads quickly and accurately based on a range of criteria relevant for your organisation (e.g. global location, size of company, market share etc.)
- Improve inbound campaigns by capturing all relevant information about the target company, including if you have had any previous contact with them, what stage they are at in the sales process etc. This creates a coherent brand image that can help customers to make their sales choice.
- Identify and decrease duplicate leads to avoid unnecessary work
- Automate the repetitive pre-sales process and free up your sales team to focus on the most valuable prospects
- Improve response rates to customer / prospect enquiries – reinforcing a professional brand image
- Streamline the progress of leads in meaningful reports, enabling senior management to gain a macro or micro level of success rate, territory, industry, product preference etc.
- Gain complete customer oversight from lead identification to after-sales support and beyond; have real-time information on the loyalty and profitability of each customer for future sales discussions
- Have visibility of the full sales cycle, including the source of the lead, deal scope, closing date, competitors etc.; creating a global platform for business development teams to maximise their efforts
Instead of following a futile strategy of hoping that new business will find you; position yourself ahead of the competition by targeting (and achieving) the growth and profitability your company is capable of.
Note: This story has also been adapted for publication in Steemit.