Death of the salesmen

Every morning, I would walk into the sales bullpen with the Glengarry leads. A dozen sales people would jump on the phone supported by another crew beating the street, all looking for revenue. That business spent more than 20 cents of every dollar it earned on a sales team. Fast-forward a decade: At Woden, we’ve grown with a cost of sales around 3 percent; no sales team, and no boiler room.

Where did all the customers come from? We made them come to us.

Building a demand funnel
Scaling a business on cold calls alone is not possible. And if your business can’t scale efficiently, well: You’re crippled before you even enter the market. 

First you need to capture the attention of your prospects. Woden does this through content marketing that is promoted to our audiences, active social feeds, and landing pages that convert. Each of those approaches brings people to us and compels them to provide an email address.

Once a prospect provides an email address as an initial signal of interest, you can send them a series of emails that are designed to inform and engage them. Great funnels are informative, not overtly sales, and introduce prospects to your brand, its offering, and your personality. 

Each email you send should have some kind of link or call to action that allows you to measure its resonance with your audience. The best rule of thumb is to always craft emails that would be of value to the reader whether or not they ever do business with you.

Depending on your vertical, you might get a quarter of people to open your emails and another three or four percent to click on your message.

The real secret
Nothing about building a demand funnel is revelatory. Entire businesses have been built around simply automating that process, and any marketing blog devotes space to inbound efforts. Except Woden doubles those averages mentioned above: 49.12 percent open rate and 7.44 percent click rate through our entire funnel. On top of that, north of 4 percent of our emails each week earn a direct reply requesting a conversation with us.

When you add 250+ people to the funnel every week it adds up to a lot of new clients quickly. So why is Woden overwhelmed just getting back to the people who want to know more when many businesses can’t generate a proposal in hours of cold calling?

Narrative.

Woden applies the same principles internally that we do for our clients. We have invested the time in developing a unique narrative that follows the methodology proven over centuries to generate engagement with an audience. Our audience hears about how great they could be, not how great we are. The science of our approach can be honed by anyone, but the art of compelling and engaging narratives is what makes our campaigns — and our clients’ — beyond pale.

The same goes for any business. Allow your prospects to imagine greatness in themselves and you’ll find them seeking you out, not avoiding endless voicemails from a sales rep.

This is not about a triumph of automation over human contact. I’m not condemning the value of people in managing or relating to customers. In fact, Woden just hired a new associate to support business development (welcome aboard, Joe!). With a great demand funnel, though, you hire to support revenue growth, not in advance of it. When you have precious few dollars and hours to share across a young business, that could be the difference between success and failure