After my team’s visit to the latest HubSpot conference I got thinking about this post I wrote a while back. It still resonates, but I have three more reflections that I have compiled based on the work we’ve been doing at Acadia and what I learned at INBOUND17. The sales process does not have to be complicated, but it does need to be thorough and planned out.
1. Change your sales behavior. I heard lots of statistics at INBOUND17. For me, most notably:
- 60% of traditional sales behaviors actually hurt your chances of closing a sale - David Hoffeld of the Hoffeld Group.
- 80% of buyers (4 out of 5) feel that time with a sales person is time wasted – Deb Calvert of People First Productivity Solutions
- 86% of salespeople ask ineffective questions – Tim Wackel of The Wackel Group
See a trend? Selling behaviors need to change, especially in the B2B space. We have all heard that buyers control the sales journey today. The preponderance of data available to them about you and your competitors is virtually limitless. There's a strong likelihood that the prospect knows as much about you as you do about them. Your engagements must be meaningful and well prepared. Dig into the prospects problems, the implications of those problems and only discuss the solutions you have that match the need. Be armed with facts and case studies to discuss. Become that respected consultant. I can go on, but in short, it’s time to change.
2. Quit chasing leads that aren’t a good fit. Take the time to score your leads so you have more of a chance of converting them to a sale. Start by getting your sales team together to discuss your ideal customers. Highlight the companies and the contacts you are selling to so you can understand their buying habits, timing and key decision makers, and agree on criteria that moves a contact from a prospect to a sales qualified lead that needs pursuing. If you don’t have an automated way to manage this, set up a system to manually track your sales leads to drive the most return. Here is a link to a great blog that takes your through this process. Lastly, you can waste countless hours chasing leads that will never become customers if you don’t have good data and a good plan for reaching out to them.
3. Know Thy Funnel. Many companies I work with have no idea how to calculate the top of funnel requirements to ensure that sales goals are met. Fewer know the marketing and sales techniques to use at each phase of the funnel. If you need to convert “x” sales every year, then calculating the requirements at each step in the funnel ensures that you meet your goals. Start with your sales goals and work up to the top to know how many leads you need to touch with your marketing. There is a great eBook we compiled to teach yourself about the sales funnel and what marketing works at each phase to hone your efforts. You’ll know when to move the leads through the funnel based on the scoring you do above. The sales process is really marketing and sales planning and knowing when to hand-off sales qualified leads to your closers.
One last thing, consider automating your lead nurturing efforts. Coupling that with a targeted follow-up process will ensure you get the most out of your marketing dollar. Marketing automation tools integrated with your CRM like HubSpot will improve your team’s efficiency and help you convert more sales. The data you gather is invaluable and will provide you a much deeper understanding of what the prospect is looking for – before you get to that first sales call! As I stated earlier, your engagements must be meaningful and to be meaningful you must be well prepared.