Sales, sales, sales. This is the one thing every business has in common. Every business needs a steady flow of sales closing in order to stay viable.
If you are in B2B sales, do you ever find yourself focusing too much on the sale reaching a close? This is where you need to shift your focus from a closer mentality to a conversationalist mentality.
Every sale starts with a process and that process generally starts with a potential customer reaching out to you, or you reaching out to the potential customer. Too often companies put their focus on quote generation when really these companies should be looking at building opportunities with potential customers. Proper lead nurturing allows your team to focus on high quality leads rather than every lead that comes through the door.
Makes Sense. But How Do I Weed Out Bad Leads?
There are a number of things that every business should look at doing when they are reviewing their sales process. One of the first things that every team should do is map out their buyer personas.
"A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals."
With your buyer personas in place you know who your ideal customer is; use this information to generate a clear path on what your ideal buyer journey looks like. An example could look something like this:
A potential customer clicks on a targeted Facebook Ad, from here they are directed to a landing page with a bottom-of-the-funnel content offer. This content offer could be the answer to a common question they deal with daily. In order to gain this content offer, we ask simply for their name and email. As time passes an email campaign is triggered with regularly sending emails to this lead to find out more information from them; pushing them further down the sales pipeline to determine if they are a good fit. If they are, an automated email with an option to book a meeting with your sales team can be triggered. This is great because your sales team doesn't spend time focusing on closing a sale that doesn't actually make sense for them or the company. Your sales team knows when that meeting is booked, that they are already qualified and ready to start having impactful conversations with the customer and help solve the problem they are having.
Important to note - Remember, just because the lead wasn't qualified after that initial content offer, that doesn't mean they won't be in the future. Continuing to provide value through effective content marketing will not only show them that you are the expert in the area but you're building trust.
Okay. I Have A Qualified Lead, Now What?
This is the fun part. You have a lead who you know is qualified, so what do you do from here? Learning as much about the customers problem and how to solve it should be your mission in sales.
"How can I help X reach their goal of Y so they stop suffering from Z?"
Helping is and always should be the primary goal. When you focus on this instead of closing a deal and moving to the next is when you will really start to see success in sales. Sales generally don't occur overnight, so recognizing your sales cycle is an important starting point for any business. Often times the bigger the sale value, the longer the sales cycle.
Example: If you are a retail store, you know that the sales cycle could be instant or a short term where if you are a manufacturer of processing equipment, the sales cycle could be months or years.
Patience is everything.
Looking at your overall process is the difference between moving that qualified lead to a customer. By setting your parameters of what makes an ideal customer based on your newly created buyer personas, you should be able to move them down your sales pipeline to lead to a closed deal.