For years I've been online pals with Rick Roberge. When he gives advice, he serves it straight up. Now Rick and Unbound Growth co-founder Carole Mahoney have posted a 10-page whitepaper, "The Unbound Growth Map", designed to help new or established businesses get customers and get sustainable. Here are my takeaways from it.
As they say in the intro, it's not everything you need to know, but it goes through some questions to ask, typical obstacles, and a list of strengths, skills, processes and behaviors that need to be developed.
It starts with eight questions to ask about a potential customer. The kicker here is that both the seller and the buyer must answer yes to each question. Otherwise there's no point in continuing. Here are the first four:
- Does this person have a problem that I can fix?
- Do they know it?
- Do they want it fixed?
- Can they tell me to fix it?
Then comes a short discussion on skills. Basically, they aren't enough by themselves. Your heart has to be in it too. There's a section on goal-setting too.
The meat of the white paper is how you get from here to there. The easiest part is figuring out how many customers you need to hit the goals you have set. But where will you find your buyers, and how long will it take to convert them to customers?
"You have to learn where your customers are and decide whether or not you want to be there. Once you figure out where your buyers are, you have to learn what they want to learn about you, and how they want to learn it," the authors advise. Some will want it in a podcast, others will want to see a 50 percent off sale, still others will want to see you at a trade show.
What you prefer doesn't matter. It's all about meeting the customer where the customer wants to be met, something we also mostly advocate here at B2B.
The white paper includes a good illustration of the sales funnel. It starts wide at the top, with hundreds of people searching for your product. But maybe only half will visit your website, and only half of those might see your call to action. Fewer still will go to your landing page, and only a fraction of those will fill out the form. The attrition continues through the sales call, the meeting, becoming a prospect and being qualified. You may end up with only one customer out of that huge starting group.
There are other obstacles to consider. For example, it's hard to be objective about your own business. There are things you don't know, and you may not even know that you don't know them. If you are the boss, who holds you accountable? And who helps you develop your skills?
If you are just getting a business off the ground, or you feel like it's time for a refresher course on the basics, give it a read.