How to increase sales effectiveness
While your sales team may not have any problems with Internet lead generation, closing the deal is an entirely different matter. Especially for sales teams at small business-to-business firms, it may be difficult to move prospects from the initial stages of the sales cycle to the end. A lot goes on behind the scenes during the decision-making process, and unless your team has a firm understanding of this, it may be challenging to close the deal in the end. There are a number of issues your sales representatives need to overcome to win a higher percentage of potential business.
There are three main issues that cause problems with closing:
- Not creating enough opportunities: Prospecting is a largely outdated process, and sales employees do not enjoy it, according to a blog post for Salesforce written by Joe Galvin. Additionally, leads are less trusting of cold calls, so it can be difficult to build meaningful relationships through this channel. However, creating opportunities is important because it translates to revenue growth, so prospecting is often a necessary evil. But finding the right leads can be challenging, especially when sales teams don’t have the right resources in place.
- A lot of interest but no follow-through from prospects: Alternatively, some companies may find themselves with an abundance of leads who have expressed interest in the product or service, Oliver Raynor wrote in a column for Tech City News. While some of these prospects may just not be ready to buy at that time, others may not be a good fit for your organization. Lack of fit can be the result of insufficient budget, and this can cause leads to hit the brakes on the deal on their own.
- Completely inactive leads: Sales employees may get excited when they believe they have sales-ready leads, but then suddenly they face silence. Prospects who once showed a lot of interest can disappear without warning, whether they choose a competitor or lack the budget or approval to move the sale along.
How to streamline the pipeline to boost sales effectiveness
Not enough leads, prospects who aren’t a good fit and buyers who drop out mid-funnel are all detrimental to a growing business. Missed opportunities mean lost revenue. You need to identify your sales team’s particular issues and determine whether you’re utilizing the most effective lead generation techniques. Here are some ways to cope with the challenges listed above:
- Create more opportunities with the right kinds of marketing materials: If you have a separate sales and marketing team, a lack of alignment between the two can throw a wrench in many of your lead generation campaigns. As B2B sales become more complex, collaboration between these two groups is more important than ever, Galvin wrote. Sales and marketing alignment allows you to create more relevant content, which improves lead generation efforts. You can set yourself up for success when you attract better quality leads. While sales employees still need to deal with quotas, this can ease some of the stress of prospecting through cold calling. Even though sales reps are still responsible for generating contracts, some of the pressure is reduced when marketing takes a more active role in the process.
- Close deals at the end of the sales cycle: Much has been made about the changing nature of the B2B sales cycle. Prospects typically are more than halfway through the decision-making process before they reach out to a sales rep, according to a separate article for Salesforce written by Donal Daly. The way to win business at the last minute during the sales cycle is to hone in on what’s important to the potential customer and highlight another issue they may have in their business, a problem that your product could solve. This approach may allow you to beat out a competitor that follows a more traditional sales strategy.
- Score leads as they enter the funnel: Pursuing leads that aren’t a good fit is a waste of time for your sales reps. With an integrated marketing platform, you can easily assign a ranking to leads as they enter the pipeline. You can nurture prospects who need more time to make a decision and follow up with potential buyers who are the best fit for your business. Implementing lead scoring can redefine your sales process and allow your team to win more business. This can also help ease the issue of inactive leads in the funnel because it gives you better insight into what types of lead nurturing campaigns are needed to convert prospects.
An integrated marketing environment can streamline many of these issues and lead to increased sales success. Raising sales effectiveness can help grow your company over time in a scalable way.