Turning leads into customers

Sales of business software has become less straight forward than at any time in the past because prospective clients are more knowledgeable than ever before. To attract new customers the sales team is forced to adapt to a new buyer mentality. Emily Vas wrote a recent Business 2 Community article and described how companies can begin to tap into this mindset by using some common sense approaches to turn prospective clients into hard leads and to create Internet lead generation for the sales team.

Automated marketing can be a huge asset

Tracking prospects and responding to them is a time-consuming project. Having workers manually contacting and collating prospect information also takes up valuable resources, the staff, that could be better utilized turning prospects into customers. An integrated marketing platform can eliminate sales rep downtime and streamline the company’s efforts to attract those prospects efficiently and effectively.

Maintain contact with prospects

The new buyer mentality requires that companies remain in contact with prospective clients and that they offer customized solutions to ease them into the buying cycle. Providing what the prospect expects from a sales agent is critical to having them take the next step to becoming a customer. Once they are on board it’s imperative, said the Business 2 Community report, to establish and maintain constant contact with them to address any concerns or needs they may have. Asking yes or no questions of the client could get direct and timely answers that help to acquire future software sales.

Product trials are a great marketing tool

Software development is laden with trial opportunities for new products. Turning those trial events into an information session for a prospect is one way to inform and network with them to answer any questions they have about the software, it’s team or how it will apply to their operations. Being alert to their ideas and wish list is a huge asset in getting the sale.

How content can drive sales

Internet advertising can be a big help but what the content says is critical to the success of any effective marketing strategy. If no leads are being generated, suggested a Zerys report, sales managers may want to rethink their method of gaining new customers. Identifying the prospects’ buyer persona and grouping them into who’s most likely to purchase something and those who are not that far along in the process can help sales staff streamline their efforts. It also allows sales representatives to address specific questions and concerns from people in various spots across the purchasing chain.

Marketing on social media works

How about social media? Does it have any benefits for software sales and marketing professionals? Russ Carpenter at Digital Current said the answer is a resounding, Yes. Social media like Twitter and Facebook have opened up a world of easy Internet marketing and savvy professionals are jumping on board in droves, offering content designed to attract the most discerning online shoppers.

Identifying what customers are looking for on social media sites is the first step in creating a marketing strategy. Making the product available authentically and in a trusted manner is critical to driving sales. Being proactive goes a long way toward instilling consumer confidence and trust in a company and its products. Consumers treat each offering on an individual basis, said Carpenter, a completely different paradigm from how businesses approach their online buying techniques.

Reaching out to consumers to engage them through contests on social media websites can also pay dividends by offering consumers brand information in a fun and entertaining manner. Carpenter added that companies that did not participate in those type of offerings did not share in the added benefits and sales garnered by the more proactive operations.

An added benefit that was unexpected by researchers showed that light-spending customers who used social media to return to a brand after a contest event showed the largest hike in how they spent and what they bought. That information could prove valuable for companies who have customers not totally engaged in the buying process.

According to Forbes Magazine’s Daniel Newman, a Forrester survey found the average consumer looks at 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase and that they are five times more reliant on content and information than five years ago. The new buyer mentality is something that B2C sales staffers need to understand and address and ensure the company’s content is strong and gets attention, said Forbes.

Influence marketing has three components. Expert content provided by a third, accredited party, brand content provided by the company and user content generated through online user reviews. Newman found that when it came to brand awareness, the expert-generated content had an 88 percent greater impact on prospects and consumers than the brand-generated content and 50 percent better than user  reviews.

Making certain that prospects get all the information they need and require can quickly lead to them becoming buyers and the strategic use of well-created content enhances that greatly.

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