Definition of Bottom-Up Sales
To talk about bottom-up sales, it helps to also talk about top-down sales.
Top-down sales marketing is all about using highly targeted outreach strategies to speak to specific decision-makers. For example, you might target the CEO or the Head of Marketing and focus on specific companies that you’ve dealt with before.
This approach is one of the oldest and most established ways to approach sales, and it’s often called account-based marketing. The idea is that you target specific accounts that you think would be a good fit for your company.
The bottom-up sales model works the other way round, involving a company generating as many leads as they can and following up with all of them. The goal is to allow your product to speak for itself so that you can turn people into advocates.
The hope is that these advocates will help to spread the word about your product within their companies. You’re effectively taking your potential customers and turning them into salespeople that act on your behalf and try to encourage their managers to purchase your product or service.
Bottom-up sales requires companies to reach out to a huge crowd of potential users, mostly targeting the people who are in more junior positions. The hope is that even if you do eventually try to target the C-suite, by that point, they’ll already know all about your service thanks to the advocates you’ve created.
This method is more successful because it allows the actual end users of your service to try it out before they buy, which is why many companies using bottom-up sales offer free trials. The goal is to target the people who will actually use the software, rather than the people who make the buying decisions but who don’t necessarily use the software themselves.
What are the benefits of bottom-up sales?
There are a number of benefits to going with the bottom-up sales model, including that you can reach out to a larger pool of people, you can develop brand advocates at potential clients’ companies and you’re speaking to the people who will be the end users of the product, rather than executives who are less likely to see the benefits.
What are the drawbacks of bottom-up sales?
The biggest drawback of bottom-up sales is that it takes more resources and bandwidth and there’s a risk that you’ll spend a lot of time working on prospects that are never going to convert into customers. It can also lead to smaller deals, involve longer sales cycles and run the risk of you losing the account once your brand advocate leaves the company. However, this last point can also be a potential advantage as they may then move to another company and provide you with an entry point for a new client.
Are bottom-up and top-down sales mutually exclusive?
No. In fact, it’s not uncommon for companies to use both bottom-up and top-down sales to target different types of prospects. It’s also possible to use a hybrid approach that combines the best of both.