Many marketing agencies make the mistake of putting too much stock into vanity numbers such as traffic and leads generated. While getting customers in the door is part of the process, it won’t matter much if your sales team is unable to close the deal.
According to studies, a staggering 80% of new leads never lead to a sale, which leads to wasted time, funds, and a frustrated sales team.
However, this is in no small part caused by the fact that countless marketing companies fail to utilize proven marketing and sales tactics that can help improve this percentage. More still never make the effort to analyze the data from their failures and improve.
Below, we’re going to provide you and your team with seven steps you can follow that are guaranteed to help turn marketing leads into closed deals.
Countless classes, textbooks, and webinars exist promising to convert you from a zero-sale representative into a master. The truth is that selling a product to a lead is not as complicated as you may believe. The problem is that you need to be spending far more time listening to your audience than you spend talking.
Leads come in a variety of types. Many are motivated enough to research the industry to find a reputable company and eventually make a purchase. This person already determined that your product or service could benefit their life or help solve a major problem.
Others may happen upon your business thanks to careful marketing but are not yet ready to take the leap just yet. In some cases, they may not even be aware that they are experiencing a problem that could be resolved with your services. These leads require some nurturing and follow-up.
Finally, some leads may not be interested at all, whether it’s due to financial means or general lack of interest. Your team should immediately filter these types of leads out and look to refine your demographic targeting strategies.
However, in all of these cases, you won’t know your buyer until you take the time to listen to their needs. Great marketing and sales are about forging a relationship. Your customers come first, and that comes with giving them the respect of treating them as more than a potential sale.
Make the effort to gather more data from the lead and allow them to give you the ammunition you need to close the deal. What is their biggest pain point? What are they struggling with and how might your product or service benefit them? What is their budget? Instead of walking into a sales encounter with a pre-planned speech, let them tell you how you can help them.
According to a lead response survey courtesy of Drift, a business is ten times less likely to make contact with a lead if they wait more than five minutes to make contact. Despite this alarming statistic, most companies don’t make the effort to contact their leads in even five days.
With that in mind, your team is likely losing sales daily by not enforcing a lead management system that takes advantage of lead freshness. Think of a lead that’s no more than five minutes old as hot. When your lead is hot, they’re motivated to learn more, they have a problem they want to solve, and they’re actively looking for you to sell them on your products or services.
A lead that’s even thirty minutes old or longer moved on with their day, found solutions with competitors, or simply forgot about your company altogether. If you’re one of those companies waiting more than five days, you’ve made your task of closing a sale that much more difficult.
While your company may not have the means to respond to every lead quickly, there are alternative solutions. The same study suggests that the top-performing companies are staying on top of trends by utilizing automated software such as chatbots to handle initial communications.
This artificial intelligence helps the lead remain engaged and can benefit you by acquiring some of the necessary information you’ll need as we discussed above in step one. Companies are also switching to dedicated lead management systems that allow you to automatically assign leads to key representatives for each marketing campaign. It will also hold your reps accountable to ensure they’re moving quickly to close the deal.
While managing your leads might already be a challenge, closing sales proves more complicated as 96% of visitors that click on your ads or landing pages aren’t ready to purchase. This means that your marketing team still has a long way to go after successfully obtaining that initial ad click.
The amount of time you need to spend nurturing a lead will vary greatly depending on your industry. Examples of lead nurturing can include targeted email campaigns, a friendly check-in phone call, content marketing, social media marketing, and more. Each strategy can prove effective as they allow you to target specific buyers at their stage of the buyer’s journey. Continued marketing also ensures that your brand stays fresh in their mind.
Even returning customers require nurturing. Brands that make the effort to satisfy customers with engaging content and compelling incentives produce 20% more sales opportunities with those leads as opposed to non-nurtured leads. Take the time to get to know your leads, even if it takes time and multiple follow-ups.
Nurturing the right types of leads also means identifying and releasing poor-quality leads. If leads do not respond to your nurturing efforts, then it’s likely time to target new audiences. You can also experiment with creating arbitrary deadlines that create urgency and push customers to follow up with you before their opportunity expires.
(Sources: Marketo, Invespcro)
While losing leads to poor marketing efforts or failure to close sales isn’t ideal, it also provides the most useful information you’ll receive to improve your strategies.
Marketing continues to evolve rapidly and companies that stay on top of the latest advances and trends are the ones that benefit the most. Advertising platforms on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and so on provide campaign-tracking algorithms that constantly analyze marketing performance. They are also constantly gathering data from your target audience.
These tools provide your company with a significant advantage by eliminating the time-consuming tedium of sorting through the data. However, your campaign managers need to utilize this information to fine-tune your campaigns and improve the overall quality of your leads. When your marketing team supplies better leads, your sales team should have a much easier time closing the deal.
All of the pressure is not just on your paid search and social experts. The internet provides a variety of high-quality software that can help you manage and track the performance of your sales team.
An example of this includes call-tracking software such as CallRail, which you can seamlessly integrate into your website or ad campaigns. You’ll be able to listen in on sales calls, understand how your team can improve, and implement that feedback into future negotiations. Utilizing the same CRM software across the entire company will also ensure that each team member is on the same page.
Utilizing the information provided and joining your sales and marketing efforts could lead to a 38% higher likelihood of closing sales.
(Source: Sujan Patel)
An issue you may be facing now is the fact that virtually all of your competitors are reading tips like these and doing their best to implement them into daily strategy. When competing companies are vying for the same leads with the same tactics, what can you do to differentiate from the competitor?
According to some of the top sales experts, it largely comes down to customer focus. Consider how many sales interactions you partake in without receiving as much as simple eye contact or a personable greeting. It’s a common feeling for the customer to feel like they’re just part of another sales and marketing machine.
While this step is similar to the ones mentioned above, it is necessary to stress how important it is to avoid an overly ‘sales-y’ approach and ask questions that cut to the core issues. Some of the most successful sales representatives frequently make contact with leads long before broaching the subject of the sale. All the while, they’re making the customer feel heard, valued, and important.
Additionally, the best salespeople not only know their industry but know how to use it effectively with customers. They identify with the customer’s experiences and essentially visualize themselves as someone on their team. When both parties are on the same side of an issue, it becomes us versus the objective, not a company peddling an item that may or may not work.
While other strategies can help you differentiate your company such as discounts or free incentives, going the extra mile to forge relationships is all you truly need to jump to the front of the line. Customers will recognize it, and not only will they buy, but they’ll also stay loyal to you for it.
This step encourages you to turn the focus inward and find ways to motivate your sales team. Many companies will utilize traditional incentive programs such as providing rewards to each months’ top earner. However, newer companies are creating specific incentives that work to get the best out of each of your sales representatives.
One of the best motivators for an employee will always be cash. It’s one of the biggest reasons why many sales companies still rely on commission to pay or supplement the pay for their teams. Companies that can provide unlimited commissions can motivate individuals that are driven to earn as much as possible each workday.
However, additional incentives such as paid time off, travel on the company budget, or a meal for the family can provide temporary motivational boosts. While your team is pursuing these incentives, they’ll be taking the initiative to improve their skills on their own. With enough time, study, and hard work, your sales team will improve overall for all future interactions long after the incentive expires.
While all of the previous steps focus on listening, observing, and establishing a relationship with the customer, it’s important to know when it’s time to stick the landing. Not every lead operates the same way, and many require that final push to recognize that it’s time to commit to the deal. Still, many sales reps will lose countless leads every month by not completing this simple step.
If you’re concerned as to whether or not it’s time to ask, go down this list and ask yourself if you’ve satisfied the lead’s needs. If you made prompt contact, made the effort to follow up, explained how your company can help with their objectives, and explained the deal, they will know if they intend to purchase.
While a “yes” answer is ideal, a “no” does not mean the deal is over. Use this opportunity to ask more follow-up questions to determine if there are any concerns left for you to alleviate. If you ultimately lose the deal, thank them for their time, and promise to check back in at a later date to see if they were able to find a better solution. You may lose out on this deal, but maintaining the relationship can sow seeds for an opportunity down the line.
With these steps in mind, your team knows what it needs to do to improve your marketing and sales processes. You can’t win every deal, but listening to your audience and investing the time in the relationship will differentiate your company, bestow value to the individual and to what you’re selling, and create loyal, returning customers for long-term success.
Follow these steps with every lead, and always continue to make the effort to analyze your efforts and improve with each sales interaction.