Take a people-first approach to sales process and hone the follow up for better results
In the beginning of the year, you may be trying to figure out how you can get more sales in 2014. Whether your sales employees are hiding behind email or need to improve how and when they follow up with prospective clients, it may be a good time to reassess your procedures and make sure you’re taking a people-oriented approach.
In the past, many sales teams focused on their branding and product offerings, but the majority of B2B buyers are more skeptical of companies that are too self-promotional. You need to adopt sales processes that are centered around your employees to close deals, according to an article in Inc. Magazine by Eric Holtzclaw. Your target audience is most likely more motivated by personal connections than anonymous Internet marketing methods.
A basic content marketing strategy can help your sales team establish meaningful communication with prospects, which is especially important since leads will most likely check out your website before ever getting in touch. An online marketing system can help with this pursuit.
Simplify the sales process for better results
It may seem counterintuitive, but if your company sells a complex B2B product, you can achieve higher sales if you simplify the sales process as much as possible, Michael Boyette wrote for Salesforce. Most B2B buyers are college-educated, but this doesn’t mean they want to wade through a complicated sales process or confusing sales materials when trying to decide between vendors.
While buyers want to seek out information to make an educated decision, too much can cause them to fear the risks. If prospects over-think every detail of the product, it can delay a sale.
Simplifying the sales process means using terms that customers will understand and demonstrating knowledge of their pain points. Your sales team needs to provide the right kinds of information at the appropriate times to avoid overloading prospects. This is one of the ways marketing automation can help. These platforms nurture leads, which can ensure they are getting the content they need to make an informed decision.
In addition, your team members need to refine how they follow up with clients. Lead scoring can ensure that they aren’t spending all their time contacting prospects who aren’t far enough in the sales cycle to consider negotiations. In sales, persistence often pays off. Holtzclaw noted that most sales professionals follow up three times, but many deals are closed after the fifth contact. Technology has muddled the definition of following up. It isn’t just about reaching out by phone anymore. Staying in touch with warm prospects can include lead-nurturing email campaigns. Any touchpoint that clients can use to get in contact with your company can be considered a follow-up method. However, you need to be sure that you are tracking all these interactions to avoid missing any signals. This can help your sales staff follow up at exactly the right time.
Marketing automation can help streamline the sales process for a higher number of deals
Advanced marketing automation platforms can give your team more actionable insights, a separate blog post for Salesforce said. These tools can even place you one step ahead of your competitors, which is a major advantage in B2B sectors where a large number of companies is vying for a small group of prospects.
Though these tools are often mistakenly thought of as being exclusive to the marketing side of operations, they have a variety of applications for sales professionals. Salesforce listed a few of the benefits of using marketing automation for sales:
- Improved access to data: More information on what prospects are doing can help salespeople improve how they approach interactions with them. These tools provide an indication of what content leads are interacting with most, which allows reps to pitch only the most relevant solutions based on interests. It can even tell you where leads are in the sales funnel, enabling your team to follow up at the right time.
- Higher lead quality: Some of the disconnect between sales and marketing teams occurs because marketers are focused on lead quantity rather than quality, which can leave your reps with unqualified prospects. Marketing automation can score leads based on their interest in your products, as well as how they mesh with your customer profile. This allows your sales reps to follow up with the best leads and avoid wasting time on cold prospects.
- Better targeting: Marketing automation makes it much easier to split leads into separate groups and send relevant messages. Getting in touch at the right time can help sales employees build the relationship with prospects. This is more effective than sending out blanket email blasts to leads in different stages of the sales cycle.
Having better access to actionable data can help you simplify your sales processes and close a higher number of deals. Marketing automation bolsters the effectiveness of a sales team.