When I first started my business I thought that it was going to be easy. I was going to set up my website, do some search engine optimization, start blogging for my business and dominate social media. I was going to let the inbound marketing do the work for me. The one thing I forgot was my sales process.
Your sales process is a systematic approach involving a series of steps that enable a sales force to close more deals, increase margins and make more sales through referrals. I had no approach, I had no way of increasing anything.
Yes, inbound marketing is important to your overall marketing plan, but without a sales process in place, your inbound marketing goes to waste.
This was one of the hardest lessons we had to learn while building symple_. All the marketing in the world is not going to land your first sale. It will land you prospects, leads, and potential buyers, but potential does not pay the bills.
I guess what I am trying to say is, you need to have a great sales process in place that works with your great marketing strategy to be successful. Let marketing attract large amounts of potential and let sales bring home the bacon.
Define A Sales Process
Okay, you can see that your sales process is very important. There is a series of steps that your company should take in order to improve or in my case implement a sales process. Here is how a normal sales process will look.
The definition of sales prospecting is the process of reaching out to potential customers in hopes of finding new business. This has to be the first step. There are many ways to do this. Inbound marketing, tradeshows, networking, and partnerships have all helped us gain new prospects.
Now you have your prospect list and maybe you have even placed a phone call or email. Before you jump in and give a proposal, you need to make sure that these prospects have the right qualification and resources to purchase your product or service. We are big fans of market segmentation and use our segments to help us qualify leads.
Okay, you are in business. Your prospect has been qualified. It is now time to present a proposal. This can be done in a presentation, a conversation, or in an email. We prefer to give a presentation either in person or online. We try to customize the proposal for the client as best we can with information about the company and competitors.
The proposal is out, you have met with the potential client. What do you mean they have objections? Yes, even the best salespeople get objections from the potential clients. How you handle these objections is what makes or breaks the sale. Just be ready to answer questions and give honest feedback.
There are no objections, you are ready to rock and roll and close the sale. This is the final step in the sales process. The contract is in place and all parties have signed the dotted line.
Okay, the follow-up is really not part of the sales process, but it is one of the best ways to start the next process. Ask your new customers for referrals. It could help you close that next deal.
The sales process is pretty straightforward. However, once you have it down it will help close more deals and give direction to your sales staff.
How Marketing Automation Helps Your Sales Process
There are tons of benefits of marketing automation. However, we are going to talk about how marketing automation can help your sales process.
Aids In Prospecting
Okay, prospecting is hard. The days of walking up and down the street with a vacuum cleaner are gone. Inbound marketing is the best, most affordable way to prospect leads. Yes, here at symple_ we still do the traditional prospecting, but inbound is how we generate 70% of our prospects. Once we write a blog post, optimize a web page for search, it lives forever finding new prospects, just like you. You did not know you were a prospect, did you?
Now we are smart enough to know that not everyone that lands on our website are a prospect, but not everyone that you talk to is a prospect either. Well, unless you are a used car salesman or still selling vacuums door to door.
Now we use our content from inbound marketing to generate the lead through offers (ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, training videos, etc). Bam, prospect created and your sales staff did nothing. Lazy bums.
Qualifies Your Leads
We now have that prospect in our sales database and are ready to start qualifying these leads. Now we create strategic workflows that segment, engage, and move buyers through the buyer’s lifecycle.
We want to find prospects and leads that are interested in our products or services. If they are not, let’s not waste our time trying to convince them that they need our products or services. It just does not make sense to have our sales staff calling and emailing people that have no intention of buying.
Marketing automation gives us the ability to create campaigns that nurture these leads by providing the right message at the right time. Our campaigns are based on the prospects’ behaviors, not blasting a generic message to everyone.
One of the hardest things to get over is all the objections a potential client has. From price to features there is typically an objection or 20. We use marketing automation to help aid in this process. Again, by creating the right message at the right time, based on the prospect’s behavior, we are able to provide the information they are looking for. This will help your prospects overcome their objections.
For example, if a prospect comes back to your site and visits your features page, your automation can send messaging answering these questions. Maybe it is a video showing how your product works. Maybe it is a whitepaper with statistics about how your services increase revenue.
Let your marketing automation system take care of these objections for you. Not your sales staff.
Increase Your Close Rate
Okay, this is what it is all about. Closing the deal. We want our sales staff to be focused on closing the deals. Marketing automation helps sales close more sales in less time because the leads are qualified and have the information that they need to make the purchase.
Now, is it going to be easy to close that sale? No, of course not. There are still going to be objections and questions. However, you have been tracking the behaviors of the prospect, now you can add this info to your proposal and close the deal.
Delights Your Customers
Okay, this might be one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation. Delighting your customer is a great way to get those referrals and referrals are like gold nuggets. Once your prospect becomes a customer, set up a campaign that helps them get more out of your product or service, helps them do more with less, or aids in the onboarding process. The point is, you are not doing any of this, and your marketing automation software is doing it for you.
Sales Process Final Thoughts…
Your sales process is important to the success of your company. A great sales process will help you increase revenue and land more customers. Now, marketing automation should be the best friend of your sales staff. Align your marketing to aid in the sales process and generate the right leads.