Once you identify prospects it’s time to convert them into customers, also known as acquiring them. Time to call in the sales team!
Your hypothetical prospect, Engineer Ernie, has engaged with your content online and you have a sense of the topics and products he’s interested in. The next step is researching his organization and his role within it.
A great starting point is the web, including LinkedIn or LinkedIn Navigator, company websites, and Google. But sales can also gather detailed business intelligence by asking Ernie questions directly. Asking the right questions helps sales uncover the context of their business, determine if they are truly qualified and ready to act, and plan next steps. Sales should try to learn:
Specific problems, inefficiencies, pain points, etc.
Current solutions or workarounds, if any
Impact of the problem and if no change is made
Time, money, or other resources spent on workarounds
Other costs to the business due to the problem (e.g. lost revenue, reputation, marketability)
Roadblocks to implementing a solution (e.g. budget, physical space, corporate structure)
Timeline for implementing a solution
Their evaluation and buying process
The prospect’s role in the process and who the decision makers are
Try to use open-ended questions (i.e. questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer) and be sure to take notes and add them to your CRM and/or marketing automation software for future reference!
Your Value Proposition
The next step is creating a value proposition. This is how you’ll show Ernie exactly what your product/service and your company can do for him and demonstrating the fit between your two companies.
To do that, you must be able to clearly define your capabilities, how they will impact Ernie’s organization, and the potential results that will be produced. And it should be tailored to Ernie specifically in clear and concrete language.
There are several ways the sales team can do this, drawing on what they learned by asking discovery questions:
Site visit or virtual walk-through with cameras
Video conference with buying team
And remember all that carefully developed content on your website? Now’s the time to point Ernie toward detailed resources he may not have seen yet:
Blogs and resources packaged into a “learning center”
eBooks and white papers
Videos of products, testimonials, etc.
Calculators and planning tools
Data and spec sheets
Crafting a value proposition is all about helping prospects connect the dots so the decision is easy to make.
The next step is a seamless onboarding process, so stay tuned! In the meantime, why not get in touch to see how we can help you with customer acquisition?
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in 2014. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.