Generating Revenue Is Complex, But Break It Down And You Get To Simple Moves
We talk a lot about how complicated revenue generation is and how many elements make up the machine that drives month-over-month revenue generation. But when you simplify it, you get two simple moves:
Make strangers into friends, and then make friends into fans.
While a lot of strategy, tactics, analytics and technology go into turning complete strangers into raving fans for your company, we found six specific moves that help you see results quickly when you lean into then.
How good are you at these moves? How good are your salespeople? Does your marketing support moves like these? If not, they’re easy to fix, and then the tactics fall right into place.
1) Know Their Questions And Have Answers Before They Ask
Everyone introduced to your company as part of your marketing efforts is a stranger. When people first meet your company, your goal is to get them to know, like and trust you and your company as fast as possible.
Almost everyone you meet is going to have questions. The early stages of the Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ are filled with questions that need answers. Awareness, Education, Consideration and even Evaluation — these stages are all stocked with questions that you’ll need to answer for all of your prospects.
One way to get strangers to be friends is to be prepared with answers to their questions. You can answer some questions before they even ask them. This shows your experience and the depth of your ability to understand your new friends.
Translating these answers into the marketing tactics you’ll need to execute means having content that answers questions, pages on your website that answer questions and events or educational material (like videos) that answer questions.
The better you do at answering their questions, the faster they’ll slide through the buyer journey, and the faster they’ll start getting to know, like and trust you.
2) Get Them Talking About Themselves
When you go to a party, do you prefer people who ask you about yourself, or people who like to talk to you about themselves? Think about it. The people you like the most are those that express an interest in you.
Your marketing and sales might be turning people off because it’s all about you and doesn’t include anything about your prospects.
Not sure? Take this quick test. Look at your website homepage. Count every time you use the word we, us and our or use your company name. Now count every time you use the word you or your. You should be using words like you and your about five times as often as words like we, us and our or your company name.
If these ratios are out of whack, you’re talking too much about you and not enough about your prospect. You can run this same test on every email, every piece of content, every website page, every proposal or agreement and every presentation deck.
Want to turn this around? Try building a step into your sales process where all you do is ask your prospects questions. Asking your prospects questions helps them get comfortable with you. People like talking about themselves and their business. They open up and share their challenges.
Armed with the right questions, you can get them to tell you everything you need to qualify them as an opportunity. But more importantly, you can personalize their experience with your company so that it’s remarkable, memorable and different than the other more traditional sales experiences they’re having with your competitors.
Remember, people buy emotionally, so this step in the process is important to get them feeling like they want to do business with you.
3) Make Them Feel Safe
Two elements must be present for a prospect to sign their paperwork and say “yes” to your company’s products or services: First, they need to have acute pain, and second, they need to feel safe with you. You only have limited influence over the pain aspect, but you have all of the tools to help them feel safe with you.
The sooner they feel safe, the faster they’ll sign, the shorter your sales cycle and the higher your close rate.
If you want to turn strangers into friends, you need a sales process that is designed strategically to do just that.
Feeling safe is usually made up of three components: They have to know you, like you and trust you. Your marketing, lead nurturing, website, content and events will do some of the heavy lifting around helping them get to know you. But liking you and trusting you will come primarily from your sales team and how they interact with your new prospects.
Build enough touch points and educational interactions into your sales process so that your team stands out versus the competition, and your prospects quickly find they like interacting and talking to your sales team. If your sales team follows through on any action steps, they should also learn to trust them along the way.
Sales execution is key here. If you make unrealistic promises, stretch the truth, fail to follow through on agreed-on action items, provide half answers or act evasive, you’ll run your sales process right into the ground from lack of trust.
It’s always better to honestly say, “I don’t know, let me find out,” than it is to try to answer a question and put doubt in the mind of your prospect.
These first three tips deal with turning strangers into customers. The next three tips are for turning customers into advocates or raving fans.
4) Agree On Exactly What Success Looks Like
No matter what you do, defining exactly what success looks like for your clients and customers is the secret to turning ordinary customers into raving fans.
For HubSpot, it’s not about buying software; success looks like using that software to produce better results for their companies.
For Casper Sleep, success is not selling a new mattress; it’s a new customer having a remarkably peaceful and restful night.
You have to understand what success looks like for your clients and then design your delivery to ensure that almost every single customer achieves their goal. If they don’t, you need to proactively work with them to either understand why they missed it or explain how to make sure they don’t miss it next time.
The goals or definitions of success have to be attainable, reasonable and measurable. There should be consequences if you miss those goals, and you should have active measures that kick in to ensure you don’t miss them again.
5) Define Your Advocacy Program
Creating fans today is great, but it’s not enough. You have to activate those fans to be your advocates. They have to want to tell your story to everyone.
In some situations, you might have to gamify their participation. In other situations, you might have to reward your customers for their advocacy or participation.
This includes understanding exactly how you’ll want them to participate. For example, do you want happy clients to be references? Do you want them to provide reviews? Do you want them to participate in case studies or videos? Do you want them to speak at conferences on panels?
One of the keys here is knowing what you want your fans to do before you start asking them to do it. Then, if you are planning on rewarding your happy customers, determine how to reward them and outline the communication associated with those rewards.
Thinking through and documenting your advocacy program is a critical step here.
6) Measure Their Satisfaction Frequently
If you want to know how happy your customers are, just ask. But ask them in a structured and consistent way.
Consider the options: You can use Net Promoter Score, you can use the three faces (unhappy, neutral or happy) or you can use a custom scale and take simple averages.
You can use more detailed surveys that are delivered at regular intervals (like every three months) or at key milestones in their customer life cycle (like post-delivery and 60 days after delivery).
A few considerations: Make sure you’re consistent and make sure you’re not asking for feedback too frequently. You need to strike the perfect balance that makes your customers know you care but doesn’t burden them with too many requests for feedback or data.
Make all of the interactions easy. Use simple questions and simple response tools. Ask only a few questions at a time and only ask them when you need to know. Some customer relationships might require more frequent check-ins, like we do with our clients. Other businesses might only require check-ins a few times a year.
Every business is going to be slightly different. The key is getting data on how your customers feel, tracking that data, looking for patterns in the data and being able to act based on that data and those trends.
Customer satisfaction up? You want to know why. Customer satisfaction down? You want know why. Is it up for only a few customer service reps, in only a few offices or with customers who only purchase specific products or services? You have many ways to slice and dice the data so that you gain the insights you need to work proactively to improve customer service and turn more customers into raving fans.
What gets measured gets done, and knowing how happy your customers are needs to be high on the list of performance metrics at your company.
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