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Close more sales: 4 key questions you must address

27th Jul 2015
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How ot close more leads

There are countless ways to engage customers and make sales in the age of digital communications and Big Data. The trouble is, sometimes companies neglect to make sure they have all the necessary elements in place to close sales to modern, digital-savvy consumers. Whether you are winning new customers or upselling/cross-selling to existing ones, you have to make sure you address a few fundamental questions if you hope to make the most of your opportunities, efficiently manage your sales pipeline and boost revenues and profits. Here are four key questions:

1. Are you using your data properly?

As with so many things in life, knowledge is power when it comes to capitalising on sales opportunities. Making new sales to both prospects and customers requires the analysis of data and the use of this information to more effectively target these buyers with offers and communications that resonate with your target audience.

In today’s marketing environment, which is largely driven by content-led inbound activities, a lot of crucial information on the circumstances, needs, interests, preferences and pain points of prospects and customers can be captured and applied via marketing automation. Eventually, when data analysis indicates the time is right, this intelligence can be used to inform the first direct sales conversation.

To aid the process of collating and interpreting the data that results from marketing activities, you need to create a Single Customer View (SCV), which incorporates all available information on each buyer. An SCV database provides a comprehensive and consistent view of the data collected on each of your customers and it enables you to analyse past behaviour, which gives you a clearer idea of who to target and how best to personalise interactions. The SCV reveals what the best approach is for existing customers who might buy new products and services and it indicates how to map out the most effective buyer journey for prospects with similar characteristics and needs.

The easiest way for you to implement and manage an SCV is to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to capture and access this data. A CRM solution provides a visual representation of your SVC, with the applicable customer data readily accessible to all teams across your company. This enables both marketing and sales to identify what activity has worked or is working, and what is failing to do the job.

- See more at: http://www.max.co.uk/resources/max-news/read-our-blog/closing-more-sales...

There are countless ways to engage customers and make sales in the age of digital communications and Big Data. The trouble is, sometimes companies neglect to make sure they have all the necessary elements in place to close sales to modern, digital-savvy consumers. Whether you are winning new customers or upselling/cross-selling to existing ones, you have to make sure you address a few fundamental questions if you hope to make the most of your opportunities, efficiently manage your sales pipeline and boost revenues and profits. Here are four key questions:

1. Are you using your data properly?

As with so many things in life, knowledge is power when it comes to capitalising on sales opportunities. Making new sales to both prospects and customers requires the analysis of data and the use of this information to more effectively target these buyers with offers and communications that resonate with your target audience.

In today’s marketing environment, which is largely driven by content-led inbound activities, a lot of crucial information on the circumstances, needs, interests, preferences and pain points of prospects and customers can be captured and applied via marketing automation. Eventually, when data analysis indicates the time is right, this intelligence can be used to inform the first direct sales conversation.

To aid the process of collating and interpreting the data that results from marketing activities, you need to create a Single Customer View (SCV), which incorporates all available information on each buyer. An SCV database provides a comprehensive and consistent view of the data collected on each of your customers and it enables you to analyse past behaviour, which gives you a clearer idea of who to target and how best to personalise interactions. The SCV reveals what the best approach is for existing customers who might buy new products and services and it indicates how to map out the most effective buyer journey for prospects with similar characteristics and needs.

The easiest way for you to implement and manage an SCV is to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to capture and access this data. A CRM solution provides a visual representation of your SVC, with the applicable customer data readily accessible to all teams across your company. This enables both marketing and sales to identify what activity has worked or is working, and what is failing to do the job.

How to Set Meaningful Sales Targets  2. Are you setting meaningful targets and using metrics effectively?

Once you established who you are aiming to sell to, you need to ensure that your sales and marketing departments have meaningful targets in place. All companies need to know whether their marketing and sales strategies are effective, and just how well they are working. This involves measuring the outcome with key metrics in order for marketing to know what its success rate is, and for sales to know exactly what is required for reps to hit their targets.

To know this, you need to determine what your leads-to-revenue ratio is, looking at:

  • How many customers you need to hit your sales target
  • How many leads you need to create one customer
  • How many visitors you need to create one lead.

Once you know your conversion rates and what you need to achieve in terms of volumes, you can then set targets that accurately guide and motivate your sales and marketing teams.

Equally critical is the use of metrics to manage leads effectively. CRM is essential to this task, providing a platform for generating and analysing key metrics such as where your best and worst leads are coming from and where leads are getting stuck. You can then take action on this information to address challenges, streamline processes and improve effectiveness.

3. Are your sales and marketing departments aligned?

To maximize efficiency, you need to take a unified approach to lead generation. It’s not just a Marketing task that ends when a lead is dropped at Sales’ door. Sales needs to be involved in the process from the start, as salespeople receive much of the feedback necessary to guide the process; what customers are looking for, what questions they ask, what their pain points are, etc. and this can provide valuable input into the marketing approach and messaging.

It is imperative that your marketing and sales teams are aligned to ensure that the inbound-led processes are as effective as possible. CRM is critical to achieving this level of coordination. Again, it provides a platform for seamlessly capturing and sharing information. The two departments each need to know what the other is aiming to achieve, how it is proceeding and how they can complement one another. For instance, both teams need to be aware when a prospect that has been passed to Sales, is not yet ready for a selling conversation and needs to be further nurtured by marketing. This level of coordination is critical for any organisation aiming to more efficiently close deals.

Tools to fill your sales pipeline   4. Are you using CRM to manage your sales pipeline?

Many companies see a sales ‘pipeline’as a list of potential deals but it is much more than that. A sales pipeline consists of the individual steps your team needs to take to get from the initial point of contact with a prospect or a returning customer, through to various stages in the sales process, to the close of each deal. Companies tracking sales progress via a pipeline can assess where there business is in terms of generating further revenues and more accurately project results. CRM is critical to managing this process.

Using a CRM solution to manage your sales pipeline enables you to more effectively handle each prospect or returning customer simply by putting more information in the hands of your marketing and sales people. CRM allows you to see where every buyer is in the pipeline and can be used to automate each action that moves a prospect or customer closer to a sale, such as a welcome message, a follow-up email, an eBook addressing a query, or any other action that gets an individual ready for a sales conversation. CRM enables you to understand where the leads are flowing through the pipeline and where action needs to be taken to maintain the flow of leads.

For a more detailed look at what it takes to close new customers and boost upsell and cross-sell opportunities, download our complimentary whitepaper.
 

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