If You Can’t Close The Leads From Inbound Marketing, What’s The Point?
Most of the people we meet are looking for help with their marketing. It’s easy to identify if you need better marketing. It usually looks like you’re not getting enough leads to feed your salespeople or to hit your revenue goals. The first move by most CEOs, business owners or even VPs of marketing is to look for help with lead generation.
But what most people don’t know is that in most cases, improving your sales processes, sales tactics and sales systems is more important than the number of leads you get. In most cases, making improvements to the experience your prospects get during your sales efforts produces a much higher return on investment than the investment you make in marketing.
Here are some key insights to consider while you decide whether to focus on inbound marketing or inbound sales, or to focus on both.
Generating More Leads Might Take Months, While Improving Close Rates Takes Days
Inbound marketing works, but it takes time to get found, time to generate leads, time to nurture those leads, time to craft a better message and time to turn that message into website pages. But an improved sales process can be applied immediately to take your current close rate and improve it by up to 50% in days instead of months.
You already have active leads in your sales process right now. By giving them an upgraded experience you can move them through the sales process more quickly and move more of them from sales opportunities into new customers simply by taking an objective look at the process from beginning to end. Produce a piece of educational content here and a well-crafted email there, and before you know it you’ll be doing more proposals and closing more new customers.
Shortening The Sales Cycle Pays Off For Years
What if you could cut a week off your four-week sales cycle? What would that mean to your business? It means you’ll get 25% more new customers — forever. By looking at your current sales process and improving it, reducing your sales cycle by 25% is very doable. Here’s an example of how we’ve done this at other companies.
Do your prospects ask for references? Of course they do, and when you provide them with references that adds time, work and cycles to the sales process. Prospects check in on clients. Clients get back to prospects. You might have to facilitate the conversation. It’s at best a couple of days and at worst a couple of weeks.
But if you offered a reference reel of clients talking about their experiences with your company, would that suffice for some of your prospects? Yes, you know it would. It won’t remove reference checks altogether, but in 50% of the opportunities you’ll skip right to paperwork and close the deal a week early.
Do that repeatedly and you’ll fly by your current revenue goals.
A Remarkable Sales Process Generates Referrals
No matter how good you are at screening out bad prospects, some of them slip through. These are unqualified prospects that you’ll spend time trying to convince why they should hire you. If you create a remarkable sales process, then even the unqualified prospects will have such an amazing experience that they’ll talk about you and your company to everyone they know. Chances are they’ll end up talking to someone who might need you, might be a qualified prospect and might one day turn into your biggest client.
It’s wonderful when you get referrals from people who haven’t even hired you yet. An experiential sales process that’s designed to create a remarkable buyer journey does just that and the ability to replicate this process so that everyone gets the same amazing experience creates a steady flow of referrals from people even when they don’t decide to go with your company.
Turning Sales Into A Science Applies Data And Impacts Results
Sales can be tricky. Different sales reps have different opinions and perspectives on opportunities. Everyone is constantly overly optimistic. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone used the same vocabulary and looked at opportunities in the same way? Then projections, staffing and expense planning could be better aligned and the company would be more profitable.
This is possible. Today, sales can be more of a predictable science. Lead scoring, opportunity scoring and projection-based lead management make almost every aspect of sales more of a science and less of an art. This means you can look at conversion rates up and down the funnel, month over month. You can run experiments on the process to improve those conversion rates and in just a few months you’re looking at more leads, better-quality leads and more new customers for bigger dollars. This is all possible with the application of inbound sales and the science of sales and marketing.
I know it might be risky to mess around with your existing sales process. I know you’ve been using the same approach to sales for years and it’s been fine. I know you don’t want to have to teach your salespeople a whole new way to sell. I know salespeople can be especially persnickety when it comes to change and especially outside influencers. I know it’s easier to do nothing than it is to work hard and make a change that’s going to impact your top-line revenue.
But the reality of sales today is that what got you here won’t get you to the next level. Sales and marketing are dramatically different today. There are different techniques, tools, processes and metrics to measure success. It’s no longer good enough to make the most calls or send the most emails. Today, you want salespeople to be smart, efficient and responsive to the needs of your prospects, and you do that by arming them with the latest technology, processes and strategic thinking — inbound sales.
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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.