In an article in the June 2012 issue of Entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Galactic, and much more, was quoted as saying, “‘All startups should be thinking, What frustrates me and how can I make it better?’" He continued, "‘It might be a small thing or it might be a big thing, but that's the best way for them to think. If they think like that, they're likely to build a very successful business.’"
Branson’s advice can apply to B2B companies as well. After all, most B2B companies are born out of someone’s vision of ways to fulfill the needs of others. Unfortunately, not all B2B entrepreneurs who see problems can actually build businesses that deliver solutions successfully.
When a B2B company fails, it’s usually either because there were flaws in its solutions or because something impeded the delivery of its solutions.
If you’re confident in your solutions, but have concerns about your delivery of them, ask yourself the questions below to determine whether or not your solutions are reaching the right customers and giving you a real opportunity to grow your business.
1. What obstacles are impeding the delivery of my solutions?
2. What’s stopping me from reaching the sales and revenue numbers I could and should be getting?
3. Is my sales team setting the number of qualified sales appointments I need it to be setting?
4. Am I hosting regular sales events? If not, should I be? If so, am I bringing in enough event attendees to get the kind of ROI I need to be getting in order to make the events worth my company’s while?
5. Is my sales team targeting the right audiences by qualifying prospects and scoring the interest levels of qualified leads throughout every single step of the sales cycle?
6. Are there gaps between my sales and marketing efforts that are causing me to lose money unnecessarily? Do I need to do a better job of converging sales and marketing?
7. Are my sales processes working for me, or do I need to seriously rethink my go-to-market strategy?
8. How might I benefit from outsourcing certain sales functions? Which sales functions should I outsource?
Before you develop your answer for question number eight, reread your answers to prior questions and pay special attention to the responses that don’t ignite your passions for your business, but diffuse it. Chances are that many of the things that are diffusing your passions for your business are things that are leading your company too far outside of its core competencies and ought to be outsourced. Question number eight should then become relatively easy for you to answer.