Business coaching can be powerful for entrepreneurs growing their businesses – willing to move away from strategic opportunism to strategic focus. We recently worked with two European small business partners willing to accelerate time to revenue from key accounts from their innovation for industry 4.0 that is bringing machine learning to the supply chain.
Any sales cycle with corporates is convoluted and typically takes many months. The partners had thoroughly documented the B2B key accounts corporate goals, some decision makers' personal goals, pain points and needs through interviews during software demos, proof of saving pilots and various events. They felt there was still room to accelerate time-to-money as Software as a Service (SaaS) business model is based on optimising the sales velocity.
All coaching starts with a situation analysis and, in this case, understanding the key account marketing practices, mapping all routes to market and decision makers involved in the purchase. Whilst analysing the key account insight collected by the partners, the coach proposed to identify groups of people with similar needs (segments) and to pick those where there is a good fit for the SaaS business model so all sales efforts would proactively focus on them. She also offered to review all steps of the demand generation and sales processes to identify opportunities to engage earlier with all decision-makers, develop deep relationships at all levels, to be able to deliver value to every decision maker that matters.
Helped by the coach, the team is now delivering personalised benefits to each decision maker and visualising the SME step-by-step approach to cost reduction - whilst systematically stating the call to action at each meeting. This new approach reduced the time from "first meeting to pilot start" from 6 months to approximately 2 months, and the entire sales process from "1st meeting to deal closure" from 1 year to 7 months. In addition, with a clearer focus on specific market segments, their sales agents are now more efficient when prospecting; briefing the new marketing recruits will be easier and pitching to investors a lot more convincing.