Growing your business is an ongoing and ever-evolving challenge. You want to make sure you have the right tools at your disposal – but does a sales team have to be one of them? While you may consider sales staff to be the lynchpin to scaling your company, the truth is, you can make a huge impact on revenue without one. Atlassian, for example, totaled over $320 million in sales in 2015 without a sales team.
If you want to hold off on hiring sales staff but don’t want to compromise your revenue goals, you have options. In this article, we’ll go over three strategies you can use to grow your business without having to have an extensive sales team–or even without one at all.
Utilize Your Employees and Your Clients
Your employees and your clients–people who already interact with your business and who know your brand and your values–are one of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal. According to research conducted by Salesforce, around 3.6% of employee and customer referrals convert into deals, which was a higher conversion rate than any other channel in the study. Referrals can add massive value to your business and the pool of warm leads is always expanding.
While having a referral program in place can help you to win new clients, the real process starts with treating your employees right. When you treat your employees with care, they become more than just cogs in a wheel. As they feel appreciated, they pour their passions and their determination into their jobs–and that dedication passes down the line to your customers. “Employees come first, and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works, and it’s not a conundrum at all,” points out Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines.
The more support you offer your employees and the better you treat them, the greater the likelihood that they, in turn, will treat their customers well, resulting in satisfied customers who will use your business in the future. Word of mouth can be a powerful advertisement, especially as word gets out that your business is committed to its employees and its customers.
Have Solid Brand Awareness and Content
If you do not have a sales team, you must rely on other resources to educate, nurture, and compel your prospects. Your content strategy will need to do the heavy lifting of connecting with your prospects, while effectively taking them through your sales funnel. Take your time to develop a strategic approach to your website, blog, and social media presence that reflects your prospects’ pain points, concerns, and common objections.
Keep in mind that the first step to creating a strong online presence is knowledge of your prospects. With a solid concept of who they are, what they do, and what challenges they face, you’ll be able to address their needs through content. As a result, you’ll quickly build trust with prospects as they move through the buyer’s journey. In many cases, they can move through that journey without ever having to connect directly with a member of your team.
Your goal is to make your website the go-to place for consumers seeking a product or service within your industry. If they have questions about the best solution for their organization or need more info on how to overcome common obstacles, they should trust that you have the answers. Your website should be set up not only to sell your product but to truly be a resource for your prospects.
Your social media platforms are just as important. From featuring thought leadership on LinkedIn, to sharing blog posts on Facebook, you need a solid platform that will allow you to connect with decision-makers, become part of the conversation, and share everything your business has to offer.
As you’re developing your content strategy, consider what topics will be valuable for your audience at each stage in the funnel and which mediums will be most appreciated by your specific prospects. How do they most prefer to take in that content? Do they need blog posts? Long-form content, including whitepapers and ebooks, that can help them better understand the options you can provide? Infographics? Video? The type of content you produce should depend heavily on what your prospects respond to; keep in mind that you will always be gaining new information on your consumers and you can optimize your content strategy as you go.
Remember, your leads need nurturing with content specifically relevant to them. Whether you do this through segmented email marketing or social media, show prospective customers what you have to offer and why they should trust your brand at each phase of their buying journey. Your content is vital to creating a relationship with consumers, particularly when you aren’t using a sales team to nurture those relationships.
Be a Storyteller, Not a Seller
How does your team sell when they aren’t salespeople? Become a storyteller.
A compelling story is often far more effective and impactful than a sales team pushing your product or service. Your existing inbound funnel should include more than just raw statistics or flat answers (while those are also important). Instead, tell your business’s unique story and how it has impacted your industry or your customers.
How you share your story is up to you. Whether it be a landing page, the voice of your social media feed, or the call script for warm leads, use your story to explain your ‘why’ and humanize your approach to marketing.
Within your story, reflect on how your business is genuinely able to offer value to your clients. Your story should show that you understand the challenges your customers face and that you have first-hand experience overcoming them. Through this process, your brand becomes more relatable as you share behind-the-scenes information about who you are and why you’re the ideal solution for your consumers. All the while, you’re stimulating an emotional response in your audience, helping prospects to feel authentically connected. The emotion elicited by your story–often a sense of familiarity as they recognize themselves and their struggles–will help create that vital sense of connection that can compel customer trust and appreciation for everything you have to offer.
If you humanize your communications, prospects will be more likely to respond. Personalize your marketing efforts. Let prospects see the real people behind the company–and why they should trust you.
Your business doesn’t have to have a winning sales team in order to grow your revenue. With these strategies, you may find that you can, in fact, develop a highly effective business plan that doesn’t rely on a dedicated sales team at all. Want to make operating without a sales team easier? Contact us today to learn about outsourcing your lead generation.