Author: Mark Kusionowicz
I can't say I wasn't warned - "The bit you'll find most difficult is trying to get new business leads".
In 2013, after 35 years of corporate life in companies that ranged from the largest down to small startups, I decided to go it alone. I felt that the depth of experience I had built up across the disciplines of technology marketing, product management, sales and business development in a variety of organisations, would be invaluable if made available on a consultancy basis to companies who couldn't afford to hire that experience as a permanent employee. I also expected to greatly enjoy being my own boss and working with a set of clients rather than a single employer. Everyone I spoke to, especially those who had taken similar career paths, agreed with my predictions of personal fulfilment, but they did so with that one warning.
Surely, as someone who is selling B2B marketing consultancy, I should be able to take my own medicine and carry out my awareness and lead generation activities in an effective professional manner? At the risk of mixing my metaphors, it's a bit like the story of the cobbler's children going without shoes. I do know what I should do, and the time that I should put into it, but somehow the enjoyment of doing paid work means I seem to gladly put an extra few hours into the latest project for a client rather than doing the same for myself.
Perhaps I should make, a somewhat belated, New Year's resolution to do exactly what I advise my clients to do, i.e.
- Select my target market
- Understand my target buyer, their buying process and where they go for advice & guidance
- Define my value proposition for those target buyers
- Create and execute inbound and outbound activity plans to engage with the target buyers at the requisite times in their buying cycle.
It's that last point that seems to take the most time and effort - and I am sure that this is the case for the majority of consultancy service suppliers. When you couple this with the fact that around 9% of most companies' sales revenue is taken up by the costs of selling then is there an opportunity with new technology to benefit the supplier and also the buyer?
Well INNOVO certainly think so! With a rapidly growing commercial network of blue chips exchanging requirements for buying and selling, INNOVO is also generating a very large number of requirements for consultancy services - members are looking for a variety of procurement, business development and management consultancies. INNOVO is now offering opportunities for large and small consultancy companies, even individuals, to become Accredited Partners. These partners get guaranteed leads as well as incremental revenue opportunities meaning they can spend less than the 2 days a week they currently have to use for prospecting and do more of the fun, revenue earning stuff.
In early discussions with consulting companies this novel new way of generating new business is getting a lot of interest and take-up. Perhaps I can reduce the time I spend on my New Year's resolution after all!