According to the 2016 State of Inbound Report Lead Generation is the #1 challenge owners and marketers face today. Most agree finding quality leads without breaking the bank, that turn to loyal customers is amongst the hardest things to master. Over the years, meeting with business owners and marketers alike, I have identified a list of questions to ask when building a road map that both the marketing and sales departments will follow to get the desired results. As mentioned previously, this post will focus on "Sales"to close the loop on a lead journey.
Being a sales rep in various capacities for the 15 years, the questions below were ones I often asked of myself and organizations to ensure I had the best chance of closing new business. Seeing as every internal process is different, minor tweaks in the way you follow up will get you where you need to be. So, where does sales pick up with a lead?
1. Does the sales team know the offer? This may sound silly, but most marketing and sales departments report lack of communication as a big internal issue. For companies with a small group of employees, this isn't really an issue, but when you have 15-20 or more reps, often times marketing puts out campaigns, but doesn't fill the sales team in. This is the easiest place to see the a breakdown in the lead to customer conversion metric. Not to mention, you have marketing saying they are delivering X amount of leads, and then blaming sales for not closing them; meanwhile sales is saying the leads are poor quality and not closeable. This cycle breeds bad culture. Your sales team should be briefed on every offer so they can do their best when following up to position that conversation for a close. Marketing should also make sure the offers will give the sales team a chance to meet their revenue goals so everyone can be successful at the end of the day.
2. Where is the lead in the sales cycle? As a sales rep, you should have deals in every stage of the funnel-thus allowing you enough "at bats" each month to move the new business needle and hit your goals easily. Marketing will help to a certain degree with offering leads based on conversion, but all sales reps should make solid prospecting efforts each day to fill in the gaps. A mix ofwarm and coldleads will offer a sales team a variety to work, all while maintaining a positive sales cycle for both parties. Prospects sense a desperate rep, and many prospects feel like they aren't getting the best deal when they are being "sold." People want to work with people that understand their needs, so listening and understanding where the prospect is in the sales cycle is very important.
3. Crafting client email follow up: By offering a couple choices via an email follow up its a great way to learn where a lead is in the buying cycle. If a lead doesn't want to talk to someone yet, keep them in the marketing funnel and let marketing nurture them a little longer until they are ready to speak to sales. If they want to buy today-strike while the iron's hot and connect immediately. Time kills deals, so getting that right means winning, or losing the deal.
4. Making the Close: You can't win them all, but the ones you do close will move to a "customer" bucket; the ones that don't close, should be moved back to marketing and they will get reengaged semi annually, or as needed (i.e. for a major event, pricing sale, product release, etc). As a closing best practice follow up-a handwritten note of thanks to the new client goes a long way. This gesture will often lead to referral business in the future-which is the best kind.
BONUS: How to lower customer churn?: Whether it's sales, or an account management role, that is responsible to manage client happiness, ensure there is a set process to follow. Set up routine meetings, routine upgrade offer campaigns, survey's of happiness, R & D opportunities, customer appreciation programs, ambassador program opportunities, thank you events, and more so clients feel like they are part of your companies culture. This type of environment will keep existing money on the books for years to come, while building new revenue with each marketing effort.
The above are some basic steps to follow to ensure the sales department is set up for closing success post marketing lead generation program. Need help getting quality leads for your sales team? LET'S TALK!