As a small business, you measure your sales performance in a number of ways:
- Number of sales in X period
- %age of leads closed
- Value of sales
- %age growth of the business
All are valid ways to measure sales performance, but poor results may not be all the fault of the sales team. As someone who has spent most of my sales and marketing career on the marketing side, this isn’t the easiest thing to admit, but some of the issue may lay with how/if Marketing & Sales are working together. Let’s look at the sales process to show you what I mean…
If the Sales team are calling outbound, they need to ensure they are calling the right people so, for now at least, let’s assume the first contact is an inbound enquiry…
Someone calls in and they are logged into your CRM (or other sales tracking tool), including a record of how they found you (absolutely needed to assess marketing performance). They talk about why they’re calling and two things can happen:
- Qualified out. It may soon become clear to one party, or the other, that you cannot help them.
- Move further down the sales pipeline. It’s a good conversation and you both agree to at least a next step.
If this lead is qualified out, it is most likely to be Marketing’s fault (we’re assuming that the sales person isn’t brand new and not making rookie mistakes). Whether they found you via a natural search, a paid click or social media, the messages they read on your website did not accurately communicate how you help, what you do and they type of clients you work with.
In the middle of the pipeline
Some companies believe that Marketing’s role ends once the lead is created; we believe differently. Marketing’s role continues through the pipeline. It has a role in supporting the sales process:
· Case studies need to be produced regularly to prove you deliver a consistent service/product to your clients.
· Knowledge articles show the depth of knowledge and expertise within the business. These should be being shared with prospects, either via the sales person or through email automations triggered by new leads reaching a certain point in the pipeline.
· Having a set of advocate clients, who are happy to talk to prospects during the latter stages of the sales process, is a joint Sales, Marketing and Account Management function. If you can get them to provide public reviews (Google, Feefo etc.), all the better.
Asking for the sale
At this point, it does become a Sales function. Marketing cannot ask for the sale, so if Sales doesn’t, there is a risk of losing the sale.
How to Maximise the Sales rate
1. Define your Ideal Client and Target Audiences
If your description of an ideal client includes the words anyone or everyone, you’re on a hiding to nothing and a lot of duff sales leads (or none at all). In the beginning, this is a conversation between the business owner and the marketing function.
Over time, the definition of an ideal client will change. Using what happened in your sales pipeline, you can fine-tune the Ideal Client definition. A teamwork approach from Marketing & Sales will ensure you are both working towards attracting the right audience.
2. Identify their pains, needs and priorities
No matter how you argue, your target audience cares not a jot about what you do. They care about how you can help them. They want what you do to help them with their priorities, deal with their needs and make their pains go away. If your marketing messages and content show how you can help them, they are far more likely to engage than if you simply talk about what you do.
3. Identify what you believe to be the best marketing channels to communicate these key messages to your target audience.
It doesn’t matter whether you really like using Facebook or Twitter, if your target audience doesn’t use them, there is no point in using those social media channels. If you are struggling to work out the right channels, we can help, or talk to your peers.
By collecting information on what marketing channels are working, you can fine-tune your choices.
4. Keep Talking to your prospects
Just because they didn’t buy from you this time doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you in the future. Even if they buy from someone else, they may want to talk again in the future, if their original choice proves to be unsuitable.
5. Get Sales & Marketing working together
If Sales are moaning about the quality of the leads, and aren’t talking to Marketing about it, they only have themselves to blame. When the Marketing team is just blaming Sales for not handling them properly, banging their heads together should help. If the leads coming in meet the definition of your Ideal Client, there are two possibilities:
- The Ideal Client needs to be re-defined as it isn’t quite right
- Sales are not following through correctly
Working together, Sales and Marketing can define and develop the right sales support materials, including timings and choice of transmission channel – digital or physical. Failure to do this weakens the ability of the Sales team to close the deal.
Everything we do is about marketing support for small businesses. If you are a small business and looking for some marketing support, simply call us on 020 8634 5911 or email us by clicking here.