We’re going to let you into a little secret.
We’ve been building sales engines for quite some time now, and we’ve always said: Build It, Don’t Buy It. Those that know us well will have heard that before, but this is the first time we’ve written about it in depth – shocking, isn’t it?
Surely we should have covered this off years ago, right?
Well, the market has changed. We’re seeing an increase in businesses coming to us having had their fingers burnt by paid-for sales engine solutions. We’re trying to change that.
Here’s our take on why outsourcing your sales problems won’t fix the pipeline, and the required components to do it yourself.
Outsourcing your problems won’t fix the pipeline
Here’s the thing. Sticking a bandaid on a leaking water mains pipe won’t work. So if your sales pipeline is drying up or leads are making it to the close, why stick a plaster on the problem?
And that’s just it. Outsourcing, say, a website or content creation is perfectly normal. However, outsourcing your sales problems isn’t the quick fix you think it is. I know that sounds odd coming from a sales-focused consultancy that specialises in fixing sales pipelines – but hear us out.
It’s one thing to bring an expert in to help you build your pipeline and sales engine whilst equipping you with the skills you need to operate under your own steam, but outsourcing it to a lead generation agency doesn’t have the same impact.
You need to know your value better than anyone else, and a lead generation agency just can’t match that. But, that means having your proposition on point and ready to go – the position you hold needs to shine through.
You need to take control of your own destiny, meaning outbound marketing efforts. And that doesn’t mean picking up the phone, it means:
- Taking ownership of the goal and sales process
- Making use of the talent you already have – and ensuring they’re in the right places
- Building sales momentum
- Having a strategy with tactics that support it
- Taking control of your positioning, authority, channels, and tributaries
- Ensuring the vision you’ve set is communicated with your team
The problem is this: a BD agency just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the right BD agency can solve problems for you. But largely, you end up pumping poor quality leads into your business that don’t convert – or they do, but aren’t the clients you’re looking for.
And even if you do get some valuable leads from this form of outreach, it’s inherently harder to scale this kind of operation.
An external agency isn’t embedded in your business. This means that they don’t know your organisation well enough to be properly invested, won’t put the right energy into the campaigns, and are far too sales-orientated.
That might sound backwards, as you’re striving for sales, but what you should be trying to achieve is buy-ability. Modern sales techniques are about building relationships – and lasting ones at that. So buy-ability is about building trust and the knowledge that you solve problems. You’re selling the thinking more than anything – what makes you stand out?
People buy from people and cold outreach from a company that’s not invested in your business is not the silver bullet many think it is.
For example, what are the chances of you contacting someone just as they have a fresh brief ready to go? Slim, to say the least.
Outbound efforts still exist and we should absolutely still be leaning into them as well as inbound marketing tactics. However, you can’t rely on inbound marketing alone. Sure, referrals, partnerships, and inbound leads are fantastic – but they can’t sustain your business in the long term.
So while you might generate business through inbound referrals and partnerships, building a sustainable sales engine has to come from within, whether you bring someone in to help you build it and equip you with the skills and processes needed or do it yourself.
Bring control back to your business
The beauty of building a solution to your sales problems rather than buying one is the control it gives you. It puts your fate in your own hands, and you scale up or down according to your needs.
But to bring control back to your business, you have to have all the components of a sales engine running like clockwork – more on that later.
The control you seek doesn’t come from a flow of leads supplied by an external agency, it comes from building a sales engine within your business and creating true accountability and ownership around it.
Someone has to be driving the engine, organising operations, and steering the ship.
Having someone embedded in your business at the wheel also means that you have more control over the audience you want to get in front of. You can control the content you publish to build authority, have sight of the outreach you’re conducting from within, and ladder all efforts to your positioning.
What does “build it, don’t buy it” even mean?
So, hopefully, you get the picture by now. For a long time now, businesses and organisations have been falling into the trap of buying a sales engine.
By that, we mean they’ve been going to business development agencies who simply buy leads and cold email prospects (amongst other tactics) without any form of relationship building.
That’s the ‘buy it’ element.
The build-it element means building your engine yourself. That means warm outbound to an audience that might actually want your product, building relationships, building authority through the power of content, and using personas along the pipeline to nurture the leads.
And there we have it – for now
Building your sales engine yourself is a surefire way to create and maintain sustainability within your business. No one wants their business to implode because they were too reliant on their reputation or a buoyant market, and that’s simply not sustainable for the industry.
Buying your sales engine, on the other hand, just isn’t sustainable.
Even if it works in the short term, you’ll be back to the drawing board before you know it.
If you build your engine in-house or bring a consultant in to equip you with the skills you need, you’ll be operating under your own steam for the long term.
It’s not just about sustainability, though. It’s about control of your business, ownership, and momentum.
Creating the structure of your sales engine is tough, we get that.
However, the long-term benefits are myriad, and once the leads start flowing in based on your outreach you’ll be far more comfortable doing it in the future.
Where to start though? Well, to begin with, you need to ensure that your proposition is on point. If the value of your business doesn’t shine through, then you’re going to struggle.
Secondly, there needs to be ownership. Who’s running the show? Who’s accountable for what? With real ownership and accountability comes momentum, so putting the right pieces of the puzzle in place is a great way to start the engine.
Then, it’s about ensuring that your content engine is in full swing. Without authority in your space, or even the first signs of authority, you’ll struggle to close the gaps and close deals.
This has just been a bite-size chunk of the full, in-depth white paper we’ve produced about building your own sales engine. If you’d like to learn more, drop us a line and we’d love to send you the full version.
Now, you probably guessed it, but we’re experts in building sales engines. If you’d rather an expert come into your business for a short period of time to help set up your engine and equip you with the skills you need to get the pipeline flowing, please give us a call and we’d love to roll up our sleeves and get into the trenches with you.