Our economy is on the upswing in most parts of the U.S. That does not mean the phrase used by John F Kennedy in 1963 will apply. He said, “A rising tide lifts all boats”. In this recovery period, the rising tide could sink your boat if you make the mistake of selling like you did in pre-recession years.
The money crunch caused individuals, large corporations and organizations sandwiched in the middle to reconsider the way they make buying decisions. Almost every sales prospect your company encounters is skeptical about what you offer. Focusing on providing a solution to their pain can send them running away. If you use the old sales pro techniques of closing, the buyer may call you ugly names. The buyer of today is EMPOWERED by the internet.
The past five years has brought a lot of change in a successful sales process. Technology has enabled a total revamp of sales techniques to respond to a totally transformed buyer persona.
The good news – at the same time when buyers have been developing a surly, demanding stance toward the buying process – the technology of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and email marketing have been responding to those demands. If you are not taking full advantage of an online CRM and email automation software, you are probably making some huge mistakes.
Here are the three primary mistakes that prevent you from having a predictable revenue stream:
- Expect sales people to prospect for buyers. What a waste of time!!! Your professional sales staff needs to guard their sales time and invest only in the sales leads that are proven to be ready for a decision.
We can talk about sources of sales leads in another article. Whether the sales team is following up on a trade show, responding to a web inquiry, or answering questions from someone calling your company – they only have one role. The primary role of the sales person on initial contact with a sales lead should be to disqualify as many sales leads as possible.
2. Assuming all sales leads are equal. The qualifying questions you set up in your CRM will identify the ones who should be placed on a lead nurturing email campaign. The lead nurturing phase is designed to inform and educate the prospect whether they eventually buy from you or not.
As you lead the prospect in learning about your industry, you become a trusted resource. Often the sales prospect will actually contact you when they are ready to purchase.
3. Selling to the wrong people. Time is limited and precious. Salespeople need to be decision makers. During today’s longer sales cycle, a salesperson must determine if the sales lead is worth the time invested. Clarity and decisive action is necessary to shorten the sales cycle or move on to other sales leads.
Prospective buyers have become information junkies. They will drag the sales process along, constantly asking for more information. Sales teams benefit from playing “Let’s Pretend” from Sandler’s Rules. Ask the sales lead if more information is provided and it fits what they want, will they purchase. If the prospect wiggles out from answering, it may be time to walk away.
Your company’s survival depends on your ability to adapt to the internet-influenced sales environment. Without a sales process that implements marketing automation you are in danger of extinction. Those that have learned to use an online CRM, email marketing and revised sales methods are experiencing huge increases in revenue. The competition is heating up. Don’t get burned.