Every business owner, and sales manager, wants to know how to close more leads, more quickly.
Today, I'm hearing more stories about prospective customers no longer engaging with a potential supplier they had been considering due to lack of follow-up or, just as bad, over-zealous pursuit of the prospect.
You must understand customers' needs and wants in order to sell to them in the way in which they want to be sold to. NOT the way you want to sell to them.
Following are seven steps you can take to ensure you're closing a higher percentage of your leads over time:
- Know and map the customer's journey.
The more you know about how the customer is researching your product or service, and the key criteria they are using to evaluate alternatives, the better you'll be able to provide the information they need to make a well-informed and confident decision or recommendation.
Don't assume you know what the customer's journey is. Once you've mapped it out, share it with some of your customers and make sure you've got it right.
- Differentiate between marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Marketing and sales need to sit down and identify the difference between the two and decide at what point a marketing qualified lead becomes a sales qualified lead.
Doing so will ensure that no lead is wasted and sales people don't waste their time following up with leads before they're ready to meet with a sales person or make a decision.
- Nurture marketing qualified leads until they become sales qualified leads.
Continue to provide information of value, answer unasked questions, provide samples, case studies, testimonials until the marketing qualified lead says they're ready to engage with a sales person.
Over time, you'll develop a lead nurturing program that can be automated and ongoing until a marketing qualified lead becomes a sales qualified lead.
- Track and score your leads. Know what your leads are doing.
Invest in a marketing automation software, that integrates with your CRM, that lets you know how your prospects are engaging with your website, the content you provide the communications you send.
Over time, the software will help you know more about your prospects and customers, as well as their buying journey.
- Have a well-defined, valid and written sales process that everyone in the firm understands and follows.
This sales process should be informed by the buying journey and the learning you get from every customer once the process is in place.
- Determine the needs of sales qualified leads and continue to follow-up and develop a relationship.
Every prospect is a unique opportunity with different needs and buying criteria.
Don't forget it can take 15, or more, touches to close a sale.
- Identify what information a prospect wants so you know what to provide them before they even ask for it.
Anything you can do to make your prospects' life easier will earn you invaluable trust that will pay off over the long term.
Differentiate between top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel content and initiatives based on what you know and learn about the customer journey.
Sales and marketing need to be having an ongoing dialog about what's working and what isn't.
Always be learning and testing different ways in which you can enhance the customers' buying experience.
Once a customer comes on board, ask them what you, or your firm, could have done to make the evaluation and buying process easier for them.
The better the buying experience, the greater the likelihood of a satisfied customer providing referrals to family, friends and colleagues.
Also, the greater the likelihood that you'll earn a customer for life.
What are you and your firm doing to close more leads?