If your business uses a traditional selling format, your marketing department is in charge of attracting qualified leads and providing them to your sales department. They go through the work of finding a prospect and qualifying them for a potential sale and then pass the baton to your sales team.
This transitory part of the selling process is a real challenge for a lot of companies. We’ve even seen it with some of our Client-Partners. These organizations allocate large portions of their budgets to marketing to acquire a sizable number of leads and opportunities. However, once these leads get passed on to sales, they don’t get nurtured in the way they need to in order to convert, and the opportunity is lost. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to nurture those leads once marketing delivers them and increase your chance of securing the sale.
For many of us, particularly in a business-to-business model, the process of moving leads from marketing to sales is the manual component of your business development assembly line. In our book, Double Sales / Zero Salespeople: Optimize Your Sales and Marketing into One Business Development Strategy That Works, Tulip Media Group’s Creative Director, Jessica Embree, and I talk about building your business development assembly line with different stations at every step of the marketing and sales process. When a prospect self-qualifies and moves from the automated portion of your assembly line into the manual portion, that’s when you start to actually use your team power to engage with them. At this stage, there are three critical steps for ensuring a smooth transition.
#1 – Deliver Consistent Messaging
One of the great disconnects—which I discussed in my first book, How to Win Clients and Influence People: Create Instant Credibility and Gain an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition—is that the interactive marketing component is amiss in a lot of companies. In these organizations, the language and terms that the salespeople use when interacting with prospects doesn’t line up with what the organization used in its digital and print marketing campaigns. This causes the prospects to lose confidence in what the organization is saying.
All of the messaging you use in your digital, print, and interactive marketing strategies needs to be consistent. If the messaging your customer receives when they interact with your sales team isn’t consistent with the messaging they received during the automated portion of your selling process or what they read in your magazine, they are going to get confused. When a customer becomes confused, they are far more likely to walk away from the sale than attempt to reconcile the differences in messaging.
#2 – Have a Process
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Zoho is key to maintaining smooth and consistent relationships with your customers. When someone raises their hand because they’re interested in what you’re selling, you want to ease them into that sales conversation and start with a very small commitment.
For us at Tulip Media Group, we start with a 30-minute introductory call focused on learning about the prospect’s company and objectives. This helps us determine if our programs would be a good fit for their organization. If we decide we can help them, then we’ve already obtained all of the information we need to design a program and prepare a demonstration tailored for them.
We use the information obtained in the automated portion of our selling process and in the introductory call to nurture the lead as we move the potential Client-Partner through the manual component of our selling process. In the second call, we share the customized program with them and receive their feedback so we can refine it even further to meet their needs. By the end of the process, we’ve arrived at a solution that is optimized for them and use that to ease them into a strategy call to develop the recommended strategy and direct them into the final confirmation call where we ask for the sale.
You don’t want to run into any speed bumps as you are bringing your sale to a close. When a prospect gives you a verbal YES, you want them to become a formal client as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why it’s important to have a seamless selling process designed to guide them over the finish line.
#3 – Role Practice
A little tip I learned from my good friend and sales guru Jack Daly is to role practice with your sales team. Note that role practicing is not the same as role playing. Jack is always careful to make that distinction. The idea behind role practicing is the same as preparing a sports team to play in a professional sport. You wouldn’t expect an NBA coach to send his team out without countless hours of practice. The same goes for your sales team. When you role practice internally with your salespeople, they learn your messaging and how to make their interactive marketing consistent with your digital and print marketing strategies. By doing this, you ensure your team is ready to win the sale when the time comes.
My coauthor, Jessica Embree, and I cover this topic in-depth in chapter 14 of our book. In this chapter, we talk exclusively about the steps you need to take to get your customers to YES after those leads come in from marketing. You can pick up your copy on Amazon at www.TM.Media/DoubleSalesUS.
Don’t waste your marketing dollars. Make sure you bring your leads across the line as sales for your company through consistent messaging, smooth processes, and continuous role practice.