Growth is possible only by means of consistent new customer generation, continuous customer orientation, and direct communication. Read here how you get your team in shape for new customer acquisition.
Cold calling and canvassing by phone are tasks that sales employees like to avoid. Find out why and which possibilities you have to systematically build up your new customer base.
New customer acquisition – also called new customer development or simply customer acquisition – means all strategic measures that are used to increase sales with newly acquired customers. New customer acquisition can be “cold” or “warm.” This differentiation indicates whether or not you have already been in touch with the potential customer.
Even though businesses need new customers to grow sustainably, new customer acquisition is a task that many sales professionals like to avoid. This applies in particular to cold calling. Some escape into pretence activities: they need hours for research tasks or suddenly engage much more in the maintenance of customer data in the CRM system. Others seem tense. But what is the reason actually, for breaking a sweat, raising the pulse rate and frequent coughing before cold calls?
Even if your employees do not call it that: frequently, it is fear. The fear of rejection or failure. It is thoroughly understandable because who, after all, likes to get no as an answer countless times a day? Your sales staff can typically be confronted with a no at two junctures: with the “gatekeeper”, meaning the assistant or secretary, and with the decision-maker him or herself.
These challenges are best mastered by your team when you show understanding for your employees’ fears and reservations and help them overcome these. Training and coaching is just as important as your role model function and clearly defined goals and timeframes.
Rates of success or conversion rates in cold calling in the B2B sales organisation are dependent on various factors, e.g. the product or service, the price, industry and many more. In cold calling by telephone, it makes a difference of course whether the solution can be sold directly on the phone or if appointments for outside sales have to be scheduled first. In cold calling by telephone, the rate of success or the conversion rate equals the closing rate, i.e. the number of closings divided by the number of cold calls made. This applies analogously to direct mailings by post or email in which a product or service is sold.
The more complex the solutions are, the more complex is the acquisition process as well. Conversion, meaning the conversion of an initial contact into a prospect and finally into a customer, often takes place over several stages. These can be described fittingly as a sales funnel:
At the top, many initial contacts are fed into the funnel. These are then qualified and worked from one stage to the next. For example, all qualified initial contacts are called. Your team schedules appointments for your outside sales force with a certain percentage rate of them. With a certain percentage rate of these, in turn, your outside sales staff can close contracts. What comes out of the funnel, therefore, are the contacts that you could acquire as customers.
It is important for the planning and sensible definition of goals for your employees that you know your conversion rate and that you are also oriented on what is customary or possible in your market. Often, you can read about usual conversion rates of 1-3% in cold calling for all addressed target groups. However, this is only the lowest value to be reached according to our experience. From our perspective, it indicates a poor process, poor pre-qualification of the customer potential list and a poor briefing of the sales employees.
In comparison, our practice shows that with a good preparation of the overall process, conversion rates of up to 15% are attainable.
However, you may also only expect high conversion rates from employees, who have corresponding experience and fun selling, especially on the phone, who have a “sales gene” and who are well trained in it. If you approach an inexperienced and untrained team with expectations that are too high, you will ask too much of your employees and frustrate them quickly. You will then confirm the often existing fears of failure of your team. And cold calling becomes a “red rag.”
In the following practical example we will show you how to proceed step-by-step in the new customer acquisition in your B2B sales. Try out these tips with your team and adjust them so that they return the biggest success for your company.
These data fields must be filled out:
These points are furthermore helpful and should be entered:
The website, email address, locations, number of employees, potential in euro or units, company sales and corporate structure/organisational chart.
Tip: External tools can also be useful for this. For example, Echobot Connect delivers a good data analysis, especially for the buying centre, sometimes even with phone number and title of the contacts.
All persons involved in the procurement process form the buying centre. The composition varies with purchase classes and purchase phases.
Analysis criteria of the buying centre:
Source: Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon; Prof. Dr. Manfred Kirchgeorg, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management,Lehrstuhl für Marketingmanagement; https://wirtschaftslexikon.gabler.de/definition/buying-center-29360/version-252970, Revision of Buying Center of 15.02.2018 - 15:05
Transparency and measuring of success are usually only possible with a CRM database
Systematic new customer acquisition can generally be operated both internally as well as externally:
For an internal model, you should pay attention that your team actually adheres to the procedure that you have defined jointly with them. Your employees will need training. Moreover, there has to be a person responsible for the project, who supports the employees and also leads by example in all facets of new customer acquisition.
If there is an external sales service provider involved, the training effort for your product or your solution is initially somewhat higher externally at first. But the advantages are overriding: For example, the service provider is strongly focused on the activity of “new customer acquisition.” This means: the external employees “do not do this for the first time.” They have vast experience from similar acquisition projects. In addition, measuring success is significantly simpler if there is an external partner than in an internal setup. This is ideal for you to make the new customer acquisition plannable and scalable.
We will be happy to advise you on the subject of new customer acquisition for your particular sales situation.