Recently Updated - No company is exempt from sales challenges. Even the most high-performing sales teams face obstacles in developing buyer relationships and effectively communicating with prospects and customers.
What sets successful companies apart is their ability to strategically overcome these sales challenges. They have marketing and sales teams who work together, and they have shared goals, KPIs and metrics.
Here’s how you can achieve something similar at your company.1. Finding Qualified Leads
Attracting tons of new leads isn’t always a good thing. It should be about quality over quantity — you want to ensure you attract qualified leads. It doesn’t make sense for a rep to spend time talking to someone who isn’t ready to buy. To understand this better, consider spending some time learning about the new Cyclonic Buyer Journey.
This will help you segment the people who are researching versus those people who are ready to talk to sales. You should be treating those in the early stages of their buyer journey differently than those people in the late stages of their buyer journey.
Inbound marketing typically works better to put more qualified leads into your sales process when they are deeper in their buyer journey while demand generation introduces your company to people who might be early in their buyer journey.
This is especially important when you talk about needing to nurture leads that are early buyer journey leads when compared to leads who are late stage.
Creating proactive lead nurture email campaigns can actually pull prospects through the buyer journey and signal to reps when leads are ready to buy.
2. Getting A Response from Prospects
No matter how you’re communicating with prospects, your message needs to be compelling. To move your prospects to respond, you first need to develop a disruptive, compelling and emotional message.
One single email or phone call won’t be enough to grab their attention. Rather, send out a series of communications that address the challenges your prospects are facing.
According to Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research, it takes an average of eight touches to get an initial meeting (or other conversion) with a new prospect.
Today, many of these can be automated with tools like HubSpot, Conversica and Salesforce. Reps can concentrate on talking with prospects who are ready to buy while the workflow automation sends email and nurtures prospects who are NOT ready in the background.
Don’t tell them how awesome your company is. Instead, provide your prospects with valuable and relevant information. Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time will dramatically increase your response rates.
Having the right content is also important at this point. Marketing needs to know what content sales needs to help prospects feel safe and sign. Delivering content in context to your sales conversations helps shorten the sales cycle and increases close rates.
3. Standing Apart From Competitors
How can your sales reps help set your company apart from the competition? By building meaningful relationships with prospects and customers. Remember that every customer touchpoint represents your brand. Great customer service will turn your customers into brand evangelists.
Demonstrate your passion to help them by being selfless and offering expert knowledge. If your business isn’t the best solution for them, offer suggestions for better options. While it may seem crazy not to push for that sale, this is a great way to build trust.
A contact may refer someone else to your business based on your honesty. Or if their situation changes in the future, they’ll come back to you.
Showing you have your prospects’ best interests at heart is one of the best ways to stand apart from your competitors. If you want to formalize this more, and you should, consider a revamped sales process.
The best way to stand out from your competitors is to give your prospects a more remarkable sales experience. The more you guide them instead of sell them, the more you advise them instead of push them and the more you help them instead of trying to convince them, the more you'll close.
Also understand, if you have a process and even one person doesn’t follow it, you don’t have a process. If you have a process and it’s not documented, you don’t have a process. If you have a process but you don’t measure against it, you don’t have a process.
For your sales to be scalable, repeatable and predictable--you need a documented, measured and trained sales process that everyone follows, every day. You can read more about that here.
4. Asking The Right Questions
Asking prospects the right questions is the best way to understand their wants, needs, and pain points.
While you might be tempted to make a pitch right away, don’t. Rushing the process won’t get you far. Instead, ask insightful questions to determine whether you can help your prospects and in what ways.
To ask the right questions, your sales team needs to be well-prepared. Avoid asking yes or no questions—there’s not much you can do with a one-word response. Don’t ask three questions at the same time without giving your prospect a chance to respond. Be patient and give them time to consider one question at a time.
Don't wing it either. Consider creating a document with all the relevant questions and use them as needed. This is an excellent way to match content to the questions you're asking.
For example, many people come to us asking about a new website. But after our discussions and thoughtful questions, it's not the website they want but more leads, better leads and more sales-ready leads.
Now we can help them and we provide even additional content that helps them understand how, why and what we'll do for them.
5. Staying Motivated
Your sales reps’ motivation affects their productivity, your company culture, and your bottom line. To effectively motivate your reps, you first need to know what drives them.
Salespeople aren’t all the same; every person requires different incentives and motivational tactics. Work with each individual sales rep to determine what will work best for them. Set tangible goals that your reps can work to accomplish. Without goals, they won’t know what success looks like. Then, celebrate your team’s wins to boost morale.
Another important way to keep your team motivated is to invest in sales coaching. When you empower sales managers to be better coaches, you’ll help boost motivation and sales performance for the entire team.
6. Spending Too Much Time On Administrative Tasks
Today’s sales reps spend less than 36% of their time selling. Administrative tasks like inputting data and generating reports eat up most of your sales reps’ precious time.
Fortunately, sales enablement tools and sales technology can automate most non-revenue-generating tasks. With the right tools at their disposal, your reps will have more time to devote to core sales activities.
Meetings scheduler tools, for example, allow prospects to instantly book time in your reps’ calendars and avoid long email chains.
Email templates will also save your reps time. While they’ll still need to tailor their messages, having a template to work with for following up, recapping calls, and more will help boost efficiency.
Today, if traveling to see prospects is problematic using video tools like Zoom allows for the face-to-face interactions reps and customer love. If you need help taking your face-to-face reps to video, let us know.
We can get you set you up on Zoom in a single day, train your reps and get them talking to prospects within days, not weeks or months.
7. Maintaining Customer Relationships Post-Sale
The deal might be signed, but that doesn’t mean your sales rep’s job is over. Once your prospect becomes a customer, your salespeople still have to work on maintaining and building their trust. Otherwise, they risk losing their hard-won business.
Regularly check in with your customers to discuss their experiences so far and to ensure they’re happy. Take advantage of marketing automation to keep track of your customers’ engagement levels, and send them personalized emails.
Nurturing your current clients will keep them invested in your brand. And it’s a lot easier to upsell a happy client. Upselling can actually bring in more revenue than signing new customers—and with less effort.
Don’t leave money on the table—maintain strong relationships with all your current customers.
8. How To Effectively Team Sell
The sales process works best as a team sport. Working as a team helps you develop innovative solutions to obstacles and allows everyone to benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience.
But an effective team is not just made up of strong individuals. Your sales reps are probably used to being lone wolves and will need help to develop their team selling skills. To support team selling, you need to foster a culture of collaboration.
Regular communication is crucial to avoid a disjointed selling process. Define each individual person’s role and decide on one central person to lead.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.