In sales, as in life, there are a few truisms that everyone should try to live by. One of these is: there’s a time to talk, and there’s a time to listen. Often, salespeople find themselves carrying the conversation. Some of them are genuinely excited about their products, and like to talk about them. Other salespeople find themselves forced to talk a lot, since it seems like the prospect has nothing to say. When this happens, it can signal a lack of engagement with the company. Engaged prospects will have more than enough questions to hold up their end of the conversation.
Give Them Something to Talk About
A well-seasoned sales vet will often say a prospect should be accounting for about two-thirds of the conversation. If prospects have found value in a company’s marketing material, then there should be no shortage of lead-ins when the sales process begins. A sales strategy is much easier to implement when prospects feel they’ve already received something of value from the company.
Where CRM fits into the equation is by capturing and providing quick access to information prospects have provided either verbally or that has been captured via website or other channels the company is employing in it’s marketing efforts.
Build Your Assets
Content, whether on the web, in traditional media, or anywhere else, is still king. When a business makes a real effort to provide valuable information … people will find that information and react positively to both it and it’s provider.
If prospects aren’t properly nurtured before moving to sales, the sales strategy can collapse under the weight of unqualified and uninterested prospects. Where businesses often struggle is in providing worthwhile, valuable information that is useful outside of the company itself. Too often a company will offer material that is simply their sales pitch repackaged in a different format. Rarely does that approach yield meaningful results.
Content, whether on the web, in traditional media, or anywhere else, is still king. When a business makes a real effort to provide valuable information, which can takes many forms, including pure entertainment, people will find that information and react positively to both it and it’s provider.
Connecting the Dots
For the sales strategy to work, the sales and marketing departments need to be on the same page. Miscommunication between these departments can derail campaigns, and won’t make life any easier for other departments, either. Keeping the sales and marketing departments on the right track requires accurate, real-time data sharing. This means that everyone dealing with prospects, on any level, needs to be using the company’s CRM system.
Failing to use CRM consistently leaves gaps in the prospect data. The first thing to fall through these gaps will be customer service, quickly followed by sales numbers. Every interaction with a prospect is another chance to collect and share useful, timely information. If that information isn’t in the CRM system, it’s like it never existed in the first place. Customer concerns can get lost in the ether and previous interactions can be forgotten, leading to embarrassing duplicate communications. In practice, if it’s not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist.
Conversion Before Contact
Converting prospects into customers is much easier if they’re allowed to do most of the work themselves. A properly executed marketing strategy will engage them, and help them move naturally from interested to invested. Once this happens, the sales strategy becomes much easier to execute. An attentive, knowledgeable salesperson can address any remaining issues, and move the prospect into the customer category. If a company’s CRM system has been properly implemented, then the entire process will be seamlessly facilitated and documented within it.