Lewis Hamilton is the new Formula One world champion. Across the racing season, he has been the best and most consistent driver, winning 11 Grand Prix.
There is no doubt that winning a world championship, or any major event or trophy, isn’t about one man. Inevitably it’s a team effort. For Formula One, that means having a driver with huge talent plus a high performance car. But it’s also having a back-up team to take care of the minutiae and the huge level of detail that’s required to deliver successful performance and competitive season.
So, what can Lewis Hamilton teach us about lead generation? Below are the 5 lessons that we can all learn from our new world champion.
1. Make sure you’re set up for maximum performance. Like the drivers of Formula One racing cars, the person responsible for business development in your organisations needs to have drive and motivation and the skills to do the job. They need to devote time to that role to be the best they can be. Average drivers don’t win. Drivers that give up too soon don’t finish the course. Average business developers don’t generate enough leads and don’t convert business. Communication skills, the ability to listen, rapport building, objection handling techniques and knowing how and when to close the business are all essential components to help sales people reach the finishing line. So make sure that your business driver has the necessary skills or you’re likely to fail to get onto the podium or even finish the race.
2. Set ambitious but achievable goals and make a plan. Every Formula One team has a goal. Not everyone can win the ultimate prize but every successful individual and team sets goals at the start of the season. That’s the same in football and all team sports. Elite athletes set milestones. What are your goals for new business? And what’s your ‘training’ programme to achieve those goals. Have you studied the track (the commercial landscape)? What do you know about your competitors? What do you know about customer needs? What training is required? What is viable given where you are today as a business?
3. Build a competitive proposition. Formula One is the combination of man and machine working in harmony. It’s about a driver and a well-honed machine. Lead generation is also about a combination between a business developer and the tools he or she has to deliver results. It’s about providing the appropriate tools for your sales people to do the business. Have you clearly defined your target sectors? Is the database clean from which you’re working? How is your proposition differentiated? Formula One drivers don’t drive on dry tyres in wet conditions. Lewis Hamilton has the right tyres for the relevant weather conditions so he can deliver the best performance on the track. Does your business developer have the right tools for the audiences they’re targeting? That could mean a good list but it could also mean provision of a PDF to send out with case studies, a strong proposal template, clear understanding of how your solution differs from the others on the market or some other important aspect of support.
4. Tenacity, determination and perseverance. Without these attributes, competitors in any race or tournament will rarely succeed. Participants have to deal with a lot of disappointment. The car that Lewis Hamilton drove in the early part of this season had occasional faults that ended some of his races. Those setbacks are inevitable. In business development, periodic failure and rejection are par for the course. You win some, you lose some. If you’re making Cold calls, you’ll receive more ‘no’ responses than yes responses. You will probably lose more pitches than you win unless you have something really strongly differentiated and a brand that attracts potential customers. You just have to get used to it since rejection and the occasional failure are part of the sales process. You need to look at how you can improve and truly top competitors learn from failure to build the platform for success.
5. Test and use all of your resources. Do you think that Ferrari, Mercedes or Williams test their cars? With Formula One, every aspect of the car and technology is rigorously evaluated to see how it can deliver better performance. Each element is optimised to perfection. Whilst it’s unlikely you can hone all of your marketing and lead generation to perfection, understanding the merits of different marketing tools and sales approaches is essential. Testing different options to reach your audience may deliver the best approach over time. It could be that a number of activities may be required. Perhaps email marketing to reach a wide audience and telemarketing to follow up and target specific sectors or organisations may be effective. Maybe inbound marketing through publishing interesting content such as tips or research may be a good solution. Possibly a breakfast event with an interesting speaker would do the job. Success generally comes from testing and optimising what you do over time to determine the best and most cost-efficient approach.
The key to success in any environment is to pull together a plan based on your knowledge of the terrain and of the competitive landscape. How can you stand out? What will push you ahead of your direct competitors? How will you be better prepared? What assets do you have that gives you impetus and competitive advantage? You need great people but it’s not just about the guy at the front. He needs the right support. Has your business got what it takes to win?
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business or book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.