Sales Enablement

What Can Animal Farm Teach You About Sales?

July 20, 2021
7 minutes

What Can Animal Farm Teach You About Sales?

The premise behind George Orwell's ‘Animal Farm’, is that the animals believe in the equality of all creatures, captured in the catch-cry “All Animals Are Created Equal”.

Similarly, many sales organisations would have us believe that all leads are created equal. But, in the current tight business environment, if  you truly want to increase sales conversion rates, it's time to embrace a new philosophy: "All leads may be created equal, but some leads are definitely more equal than others."

Let’s dig into 4 x Strategies to fill your sales funnel with (unequal) leads that will significantly improve your sales conversion rates:

  1. The Power of Referrals: Your secret weapon for incredible leads,
  2. The ATM Model: Not the machine that gives money, but not too far off
  3. The Recurring Revenue model: Not just for SaaS businesses, everyone is doing it now
  4. Land-and-expand: An oft quoted, but hugely misunderstood strategy

#1: The power of referrals: Your secret weapon for incredible leads

If you agree with me that not all leads are created equal, that must mean there’s a hierarchy of leads right? I don’t know about you, but having run my own business for more than a decade, warm referrals and introductions have been the absolutely best source of business every single year without fail.

Picture this: A prospect hears about your business through someone they know, like and trust. Instantly the trust and credibility transfers from your connection to you, significantly increasing the chances of this lead converting into a paid customer and harnessing the power of what Dr Robert Cialdini calls Presuasion.

That's what referral-based leads bring to the table. But how do you get those golden referrals flowing in?

Here's the scoop: develop a language and mechanism for you or your sales team to request referrals. Encourage them to ask happy customers, colleagues, and even friends and family to send potential leads your way. It's like having a secret weapon that brings you a steady stream of top-notch leads.

Why are referral-based leads so awesome? Well, they're pre-qualified, meaning they're more likely to be a perfect fit for what you offer. And guess what? These leads are less likely to shop around for other vendors or haggle over pricing. That's music to your ears, isn't it?

Not only that, but when you reach out to these referrals, you're having the right conversations with the right people at the right time. Talk about maximising your chances of nailing that conversion. So, gear up, and unleash the power of referrals to supercharge your sales success.

Pro Tip - You never have to use the word referrals, because it makes people feel icky and uncomfortable…work out the language that best aligns with your industry… “warm introduction, connect the dots, coffee catch-up”. Also check out the work of Joanne Black, a global expert on this topic. 

#2: Get started with the ascending transaction model (ATM).

Are you ready to reinvent your sales game with a content strategy that actually delivers leads? Let me introduce you to the ascending transaction model, or ATM for short.

Here's the secret: Instead of bombarding prospects with a sales pitch right off the bat, give them a taste of what you have to offer first. It could be a trial of your product, some valuable content, or an opportunity to experience your service firsthand. This approach allows prospects to get familiar with your brand, build trust, and see the value you bring to the table.

Nothing revolutionary in that strategy you might say and you’d be right. But here’s the problem, the vast majority of b2b marketing content is bland, vanilla and uninspiring... which doesn’t encourage your prospect to go deeper.

By providing genuine value without expecting an immediate purchase, you earn the right to take the relationship to the next level. Some prospects will become more engaged and excited about what you offer, while others may decide it's not the right fit – and that's okay. The key is to build a larger pool of qualified leads that will help you scale your business to new heights.

Pro Tip: To build a really successful ATM model, you need to create great content for every step of the customer's buying journey. The further down the path they go, the more valuable this content should become.

My guidance is that if it hurts a little to give away some of your secret sauce, it's probably valuable. The DIY Win/Loss Framework that many of you requested after my recent email, is an example of one part of Trinity’s Ascending Transaction Model. Consider creating at least 2-3 separate pieces of high value content for each step of your customers buying journey. 

That way you will trigger reciprocity (i.e. they want to return value back to you) plus establish yourself or your business, as credible, knowledgeable experts. 

#3: Increase momentum with a recurring revenue model

A third proven strategy to boosting  B2B sales conversion rates is the recurring revenue model, that we’ve all come to know and love in recent years.

A friend of mine got an automated message from his barber the other day, telling him it was time for a haircut. In that message was a link to the barber's diary, where he could book in a convenient time…once the time was booked in, he prepaid for the haircut, to avoid any issues on the day.

Not that long ago, as-a-service revenue was seen as the domain of SaaS companies, but nowadays it's commonplace. Mechanics, dentists, barbers…they are all getting in on the action. 

Sure, it's great to find a new customer, but why stop there? By incorporating a recurring revenue model, you can turn those one-time customers into devoted regulars. It's like having a VIP guest list of loyal clients who keep coming back for more, boosting your sales without breaking a sweat.

Now, you can apply the same concept to your B2B sales game.

Pro Tip: How do you do it? Create a compelling reason for your customers to keep engaging with you. Whether it's through SaaS subscriptions, annual maintenance and support contracts, or time-based discounts, find a way to keep the party going. The best part? This strategy doesn't require a ton of additional effort or expenses on your end. It’s low-hanging fruit, and you’d be surprised how many B2B businesses miss this trick.

A recurring revenue model is the ticket to long-term customer relationships, increased sales, and a business that knows how to keep the good times rolling. 

#4: The Land-and-expand strategy

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard a sales leader tell me that their strategy for growth was land and expand, I’d be slightly better off than I am now!

The concept is sound of course. You're exploring uncharted territory, searching for new opportunities to grow your business. Instead of aiming for the big win right away, you understand that sometimes it's better to start small and gradually conquer new frontiers.

Think about your own sales history. Take a moment to analyse the data, and you'll notice something fascinating. A significant chunk of your larger transactions comes from existing customers who already know and trust your brand. These are the brave souls who have experienced the value you provide and are willing to increase their commitment to your offerings.

The challenge with this strategy is most sellers are pretty good at the land part and not quite so adept at the expansion piece. In my experience, a customer is only a customer when they buy from us for the 2nd time. The first time they buy they are just dipping their toe in the water…how we deliver on this first engagement will often determine if the invisible gates swing open, to reveal the real prize inside.

Pro tip: For land and expand to really work, you need to put as much focus on the downstream engagement, as you do on the initial sale. This means really good account management and after sales support, it means creating marketing content and events for existing customers, not just net new prospects. It means proactively suggesting ideas to your existing customers, to help them extract more value from their current investment.

Land and expand is a proven strategy, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. You need to plan for the downstream business opportunities and ideally your customer needs to be part of that planning process

To increase your win rate in a down economy, it's crucial to recognise that not all leads are created equal. Finding ways to unlock new leads for your business, like the ones I’ve shared above, will be critical to sustain sales teams and fight for quota attainment over the next few quarters at least…

Happy Selling


What our customers are saying...
“The Trinity Portal has given our business the opportunity to obtain, honest, unbiased and actionable feedback from the many prospects and customers we prospect too. Since we implemented the portal as part of our process, some of the actionable feedback we’ve taken onboard has been around the quality of our marketing material, proposals and clarity of value propositions. Here, we had scored average across many of the completed reviews, and we’re now engaged in a project to improve our marketing, proposals and value propositions. We hope we will be able to turn some of the losses into wins in the future as a result of the improvements we make all thanks to actionable insights.”
Donncha, General Manager - Programmed

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