Time has shrunk, and changes that would have taken months earlier are happening now in a week. Businesses have to make decisions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at lightning speed. How to sell large projects in such conditions? How can marketers interact with sales in order to turn companies from their wish list into new customers? This was sorted out by Dmitry Lisitsky, Influ2 CEO, a company specializing in account-based marketing and sales.

His ABM platform is used by companies such as Cisco, Genesis, Frame.ie, and Paddle. Dmitry knows how to control and manage the future and how to help businesses attract large customers using account-based sales tools.

Next comes direct speech on how Dmitry Lisitsky’s marketing universe looks like and what steps a business should take to establish online sales and get deals for more than $ 100,000. The conversation was held by Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO) at Olshansky & Partners Alexandr Fedotov.

Интервью Лисицкий и Федотов Ольшанский и Партнеры

What should do companies that were selling offline, and now switching to online sales

Marketing universe that aims to sell to large companies – is a universe of solutions. And they (solutions) are very different from those that our marketers are used to. Step-by-step transition of business to online sales should look as following.

1st step. Such companies should have a list of customers that they are willing to get. But in order to attract these customers, you must first implement an account-based sales tools. It’s great when, thanks to marketing, leads actively entering the site through the sales funnel and are being processed. But getting large contracts in this way is very difficult because such leads never appear out of thin air.

2nd step. Super personalization is a key tool in account-based development. This is primarily the personalization of letters and contacts. That is before you send someone an offer, you need to understand what kind of person you are sending it to, why this person should be interesting to talk to you. And you need to start the conversation with the fact that you know who he is and how you feel about the space he lives in. For some reason, many people think that they can do mechanical mailing from personal mailboxes, send some standard templates and everything will be converted. Sometimes it is converted, and it seems that you just need to have a more extensive database – and everything will be fine. But this option does not work.

3rd step. More contacts – more likely to finish the deal. You should understand that in large companies, the decision is never made by one person. If you have two or three people’s contact who works in the same company, the chances to finish a deal will increase dramatically because they sharing with each other.

What should marketing do at this time

Marketing provides support for the process, and its task is to build additional communication with the same contacts. If you want to get Microsoft as a customer, you need to let people at Microsoft know about your company. The task of the marketer is to form this knowledge and build strong brand awareness.

Personal experience implementing account-based sales

When we implemented account-based sales for us, it took more than a year. It could have been done faster, but that’s how we checked all the traps and challenged ourselves. We do not deal with the implementation of account-based sales for clients. This requires not only a great transformation within but also tremendous patience on the part of management and all participants of the process.

Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin’s book “From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue” helped us to jump into this sales method. Therefore, I advise everyone to read it before implementing account-based sales. Step by step, this book describes in detail all the processes. If you do as it’s said in the book, you can get good results.

How to hook a client: role of marketing

Many people think that a well-functioning sales department can cope without marketing. But marketing is not just about business cards and presentations. When we explain what the role marketing plays in account-based sales, we give a simple example. You are going to meet a person who does not know anything about you, he has never seen you or heard about you. Most likely, he will refuse from collaboration. But if a person reads your articles, watched your videos, then it will be easier for you to arouse his interest. The task of marketing is to provide a potential customer with info and knowledge about you and your company before the sales department begins to contact him actively. Ideally, when you already have a general picture of relations with a person. You understand what was in the correspondence, what sales manager did or said, what the client saw in the advertisement. This provides a common understanding of how “warm” the client is and when it’s time to contact him.

Difference between outbound and inbound marketing

The basis of both directions is content. But here come some pitfalls. Where to get this content and how to deliver it to the client?

Considered that it is enough to hire a highly paid content manager or marketer, and he will provide you with good content. But for B2B, this is extremely difficult. From personal experience, I can say that only  few people succeeded in it.

The second problem is that CEOs of large companies no longer looking for information at Google. That’s why we need solutions on how to deliver this content to them.

That’s why inbound marketing works mostly when the client already knows about you, he is interested, he is involved. However, it is difficult to get a big client in this way.

Outbound marketing is about taking your cool content and making sure that the client you want, will see it. This method is perfect for corporate sales. But the sales funnel does not work in this case. Because from your list of 500 companies you reach only one, and then you have to go back to the rest 499 companies and start all over again. You have no reason not to sell them, because in corporate sales the list of these companies is very limited.

What is personalization and how it works

Marketers often want to show that they understand the client, know his name. In fact, it is not as important to call him by his name (in most cases, on the contrary, you can scare him away) as to give him the content he is looking for. For example, if a person is engaged in procurement, you need to show him how he can save his money.

You need to learn how to personalize. For example, for a marketer to understand what it is and how it works, he needs to become an SDR for a month, which writes long letters all day. Believe me, he will quickly move away from long template letters and start to understand that people only read the first three paragraphs.

«You can have big deals if you find the answer to one simple question: why someone already bought your product from you?».

How to evaluate companies’ readiness for account-based marketing

To understand if a company is ready to implement account-based marketing, you need to look at the sales department. Is it ready for outbound marketing at all? After all, the marketer can perform a great job, warm up the person, as a result, the client will be interested, but what will they do with him in the sales department next?

For example, there are three people at Microsoft very interested in your product. They visited your website, read your content. But if you write to them: “You clicked on our ads, let’s chat,” they will most likely ignore you. Yes, they know the product, they are curious, but they’ve never expressed a desire to talk. You need to write to them something that they will respond.

I also recommend dividing the sales department into two parts: those who deal with the client from the first cold contact to the call, and those who pass it on from the call to the closing of the deal. Because it’s a waste of their time to make sales managers write cold letters. They have more valuable skills to use for their intended purpose.

And of course, you need to understand what you want to tell your clients and how you will do it. Seminars, offline events, books – any means are suitable here, but for each client, it must be in a different way, there is no universal one.

Find out why clients buy your product from you

You can have big deals if you find the answer to one simple question: why someone already bought your product from you?

Accordingly, if we are talking about a startup, the question will sound as follows: why do we think the customer will buy from us? This hypothesis needs to be tested on living people. Very unobvious things may pop up here, this will allow to sell the product better in the future.

«If your task is to earn not a billion, but at least 100 million, then in B2B it is possible. And in B2C you have either zero or a billion. »

How much is outbound marketing

When it comes to closing $100,000 deals, we should understand that outbound marketing cannot cost a little. At the very beginning, such contact can cost from a thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, you need to think seriously about outbound marketing only if you can earn more than 50 thousand dollars on the first contract with a client. All that is less than 50 thousand is the inbound marketing universe.


How to launch a new product

First tip. Ukraine is such a small country that it is necessary to launch global products from the very beginning. No need to be afraid to sell to overseas, e.g. to the USA. It may seem complicated, but you need to go after the largest market. If you learn to sell in the USA, you will be able to sell everywhere.

Second tip. Do business for business because B2B is not such a complicated niche as B2C. There are two or three social networks in the world, one large search system/ browser, and up to three taxi services known all over the world. There are thousands of B2Bs and in each segment, there is enough space for at least 20 large companies. If your task is to earn not a billion, but at least 100 million, then in B2B it is possible. And in B2C you have either zero or a billion.

Third tip. From strategic point of view, especially if we talk about B2B, it is very hard to take corporate sales at once. Usually, they start with some medium market. It is important to try to sell firstly to your friends, who have something similar to potential clients. There are always two or three friends who already work in companies that can buy your product.

Accordingly, you have the opportunity to finance further growth of the company. The key to success is not to try to come up with something and then sell it, but to sell it, at the same time inventing it. For six months we have been selling a product that hasn’t been even finished yet, but at the same time, we made 30 versions of different presentations.

View the full interview: Alexandr Fedotov and Dmitry Lisitsky: outbound or inbound marketing – how business can survive today?