If You Want To Close More Deals, Give Prospects More
With more and more people talking about, asking about and working on sales enablement, it’s good to know what’s at the heart of this new type of sales improvement technique.
Ultimately, any sales-related improvements should be designed to produce a higher close rate and a shorter sales cycle. Sales enablement work is no different.
But sales enablement (done right) isn’t directly about asking better questions. It’s not about any specific sales process. It doesn’t include reaching out on LinkedIn or using a secret email that everyone responds to.
Sales enablement should be about creating a sales process that is so remarkable prospects start recommending your company whether they hire you or not. Then the result will be the shorter sales cycle and higher close rate you’re looking for.
Here are some techniques to use in your sales enablement efforts.
Wear Your Prospect’s Shoes For A Day
At Square 2, we believe one of our superpowers is standing in the shoes of each client’s prospects to understand their pain, their challenges, their questions and their perspective. You have to be able to do the same.
Once you think like your prospects, you’ll gain a newfound perspective on your sales process and weaknesses will be uncovered.
One of the weak spots that we help clients uncover is the language in their contracts, agreements or proposals. You would be surprised to see how many clients have legal language in their docs that is suitable only for an attorney, yet they’re sending these to businesspeople.
Right there you have unnecessary friction that slows down deals, and in some cases kills deals.
When you start thinking like your prospects, you realize what response time feels like to them. You see what your content looks like to them when they might not fully understand everything in those docs. You evaluate your emails in a whole new light and you see that you’re probably not taking every advantage to educate them in a smart, creative and productive way.
All of these holes are easily filled.
Design Every Touch Point
Once you have all of the touch points identified, strategically designing all of them to impress your prospects is easy.
First, never send any “naked emails.” These are emails without additional educational content or supporting content.
Next, always send content in context. For example, if your prospect expresses concern over the investment level, make sure you have content that supports your requested level of investment and helps them understand the risks associated with lower-cost options. That’s content in context, and it makes a big difference with prospects.
Finally, let them know what to expect at every step of your newly designed sales process. Almost everyone feels less anxious when they know what to expect. This is easy to do when you have a process with every step mapped out and every rep is following that process in the same exact way.
When you look at these touch points, you’ll start to see how video helps prospects feel safe and how you can proactively provide client references before prospects even ask to talk to your current customers. This is all work that will pay off in days or weeks, not months or years. This is all work that will help you close more deals this month and for many months to come.
Track Deal Stage Conversion Rates To Track Progress
Of course, tracking the quantitative improvements over time and matching those improvements with the process upgrades is best practice.
The number and rate of sales-qualified leads that convert into sales opportunities is going to be an indicator of the quality of leads marketing generates and the process sales is using to qualify and move forward the best prospects.
The number and rate of sales opportunities that get proposals is also going to be a solid indicator of your process. The number and rate of people who get proposals and give you a verbal “yes” is another metric you want to track. Finally, track the number and rate at which people go from giving you a verbal “yes” to sending in signed paperwork.
These conversion rates should be benchmarked today and then tracked in a dashboard that gets updated, reviewed and discussed monthly. As these numbers go up month over month, your ability to consistently hit your revenue goals month over month will also improve.
Personalization And Customization Of Your Process And Their Experience
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. To do this right, you have to build a process that allows reps to personalize and customize the experience along the way.
Asking thoughtful questions, matching content to the challenges prospects are facing, personalizing emails (not just the name but the copy) and creating assets like business-specific assessments, graders or proposal docs that are all about your prospects (not templates that could be talking about any business) are all ways to personalize the experience and help prospects make that emotional connection to your team and your company.
Remember, that emotional connection is a requirement if you want the business. Prospects have to feel safe, and the sooner they feel safe, the faster that deal is going to close. The more personal the experience, the safer they’ll feel.
Alignment Of Marketing And Sales Is Not Optional
You’re probably thinking this is something sales can do on its own, right? Wrong. To do this correctly, you’re going to want to involve marketing, and you’re going to work closely with them to understand the full buyer journey and the specific touch points that are part of the sales process.
You want to work with marketing because the experience starts with marketing, transitions to sales and then transitions again to your delivery team. They should probably be involved too, but that’s an article for another day.
While we’ve been talking about the sales process, the prospect experience is actually much longer than what we’ve been discussing here and much longer than what any sales team would map out.
Here’s an example: Marketing is also delivering content. Your prospects might have downloaded marketing content before they arrived into the sales process. You want to know what they’ve already read and not suggest or send them something they’ve already digested.
It’s good to know that most marketing automation software shows reps exactly what pages your prospects have viewed, what emails they’ve received (from marketing) and what content they’ve downloaded or viewed.
When your CRM and marketing automation software are the same, you get the full prospect buyer journey insight you need to, as a sales rep, continue to create that exceptional prospect experience.
When marketing and sales are not aligned, managing and controlling the process is much more challenging and unnecessarily inconsistent.
Some sales reps think they’re limited to email and the phone when it comes to creating that remarkable experience we talked about earlier. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
But the key here is to articulate how you want to converse with your prospect and get their sign-off early. For example, a lot of people today might prefer a text message.
Today’s chat tools can actually identify which rep is assigned to a prospect and alert the rep when their prospect is chatting on the site. Now the assigned rep can chat with their prospect.
The list of tools available for a sales rep’s toolbox is extensive. Email, phone, chat and text are the ones we talked about here, but you also have Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn Messaging, direct Twitter messages, personal videos and of course in-person meetings.
Ask your prospects how they want to be communicated with when you have something to share or when you have key information for them. They might prefer the personal video and text message. Others might want an email followed with a Facebook message.
This means reps are going to need to be comfortable with all of these options, including the newest techniques like video, texting and social messaging platforms.
Great salespeople instinctively do all of what we’ve outlined here. However, you can make your sales team a group of top performers by creating a well-documented, strategically designed and technology supported sales process that gives your prospects the amazing experience they are all desperate for.
Think back to the last time you had an amazing experience with a company’s salespeople. Did you buy the product? Of course you did. Go back and ask a few of your newest customers why they chose your company, and it’s very likely they’ll tell you it was because of the sales team.
Sales enablement is the collection of touch points and tools orchestrated to be delivered in a way that makes your prospects say “wow!”
What’s even more interesting is this won’t cost your company any additional investment (unless you buy new software), just some time to think through your process, understand your prospects and map out every single touch point along the way to a new deal.
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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.