Lead Generation Is Key to Successfully Entering a New Market
Scaling your business can often seem a daunting task. While you have invaluable knowledge from growing your business in your home market, you have to be prepared to face the unknown as you look to expand.
But what do you do once you have decided to penetrate a new market? How do you maximise your chance of success? Below Mikael Johnsson of Oxx, explains.
We believe that one of the key questions you need to address first when entering a new market is: how are you going to generate the right sales leads?
Whilst it is tempting to use the same strategy that worked well in your home market and just hire five sales people to go out and hunt, it’s important to consider that you will likely have to evolve this strategy to fit the new environment. Sure, it’s important to remember the lessons you have learned along the way, but it’s critical that you adapt.
Take time to consider your new environment, reviewing potential customer types, direct as well as indirect competitors and any cultural differences. With this information, you can create hypotheses for reaching your target market segments. However, be wary of trying to reach too many different new segments at the same time – think “banks in Massachusetts” (or even just Boston), not financial services across the whole of the US, for example. Remember: You cannot sell to everyone right away!
Take time to consider your new environment, reviewing potential customer types, direct as well as indirect competitors and any cultural differences.
Now that you have developed your hypotheses for reaching your target customers, run lead generation micro-programmes to test them. In our experience, you will initially want around three months for these tests, before you refer to your metrics to decide which approach works best. Think MVP and fail fast! Once you know what really works, then you can implement it confidently. The last thing you want is to spread yourself thin running several fully fledged campaigns while you’re still identifying your key customer segments.
You can sometimes run into a tricky spot here if all the micro-programmes go okay, but none are outstanding enough to be the clear frontrunner. This is where a brilliant CMO or VP of Marketing is important – someone who is an experienced demand generator, who has grown new markets from the ground up before. This person will know how to look at the metrics and decide which programme to expand.
Don’t worry if it feels slow at first – it takes a while for demand generation to take effect. However, if after six months you haven’t started to see marketing qualified leads turning into sales qualified leads, something is wrong. This is where your entrepreneurial spirit will really have to come to the forefront. In many ways, launching in a new market is like going back into start-up mode: you will have to be flexible, responsive and prepared for change. If lead generation is not working, be ready to try another approach.
…if after six months you haven’t started to see marketing qualified leads turning into sales qualified leads, something is wrong.
Successfully scaling your business can be a long process that requires a lot of attention. You need to generate hypotheses, do desk research and make calls, then go out and start talking to customers. Then, you run test demand generation micro-programmes to understand if your hypotheses are correct. You may have to go back to the drawing board several times, but developing successful lead generation is the first critical step when entering a new market. Lead generation is the prerequisite for sales – and you need sales to survive and grow.
Take your time finding and implementing the right lead generation strategy for your business in the new market, don’t be afraid to adapt, learn from failure and keep an open mind. Do this and you’ll soon find that you have run out of sales capacity – then your next challenge will be hiring and expanding into a full sales team, which is a great problem to have!