In recent years I have met many VC-funded services companies selling a service that delivers Monthly Recurring Revenue — MRR — the mana Venture Capitalists are looking for these days. The usual revenue scenario: go from $10 million to $50 million in 3-5 years.
And like every prospect I meet — VC funded or not — they say the same thing, “this is our goal, but we do not have a lot of money.” TRANSLATION: I want the sun, the moon and the stars and I want to be on the first landing of the stairway to heaven within six months.
I am a marketer, but I have discovered a middle ground between marketing and sales. I call it Stra-tactics. That is, powerful lead-acquisition tactics informed by high-level marketing branding strategy that is only partially or never implemented. It is the solution for when the client cannot afford strategy in money OR in time. That’s Stra-tactics. And man, does it pay off. I get my clients well up that stairway.
And, I’ve also discovered this is a great approach for older middle-market companies who tell me they “want to build a brand” but will only spend the money it takes to build a brand when they, “see results.” As a marketer I could just blow them off, but as a business person I know there is a way to get those leads in the pipeline while working with ownership to explain what branding really means, branding’s extraordinary benefits (it can lift you out of commoditization) and how much it takes in time and money.
Here are the Elements of a Stra-tactical Plan
Fast and Deep Pre-Launch Set-up — Being Stra-tactical demands setting up as if you are going to launch a brand, that is, fully understanding the market, the competition, the customer desires vs the customer needs, creating a message-map, designing a brand but not launching it.
REALLY? yes really. This groundwork will inform a robust tactical lead-generation plan. Unlike just diving into a lead-generation program without this groundwork, our clients have an immediate leg up on their competition.
1. We work closely with the salesforce to build this program. They will cary it forward through their communications, be it conversations, emails or social media engagement.
2. The branding groundwork informs all messaging via tactical lead generation platforms making selling points consistent with sales communications.
3. And, it informs all tactical program decision making.
Determine KPIs We set up very clear KPIs from the get-go: what is an A lead? What is a B lead? What is our average sales value (ASV)? By how much do we want it to increase? What do we anticipate our close rate will be? These will be the numbers against which you will measure the program.
Speedy Program Launch — We ramp our programs up as fast as possible. Often we roll them out in stages. The stages are executed like planes landing at Newark Airport — in crisp, precise order.
Daily Engagement — Being Stra-tactical requires daily communication between sales and the Stra-tactical Program Manager as well as daily adjustments to the tactical lead generation program.
Monthly Reviews — Monthly reviews that feature a complete report compiled with data from the sales CRM system as well as the lead-generation platforms and any other relevant sources to determine what is, and what is not working and which step we’re on to the stairway to heaven.
Fast Failures, Sooner Successes — A bold willingness to look failure in the face and fix it fast, pivot on a dime and try something new.
Its really shameless isn’t it? But it is based on the reality that most companies are not prepared to invest what it truly takes to build a brand but requires sales anyway. Being “Stra-tactical” is the best way to achieve it.