Every organisation today which has a revenue stream puts various sales processes in place. This article highlights a generic sales approach and identifies various points used to leverage and optimise the sales processes. Sales teams thrive on – and perform only when there is a sense of agility/ownership/responsibility/delivery. “Hunting down” leads while they’re hot is the best, if not the only time you will be able to convert them into paid and eventually – happy customers.
The digital industry is growing rapidly. Every organisation has started banking on digital channels to scale revenue. Facebook plays a big role in digital marketing – however, it can turn out to be an expensive channel to scale. Facebook campaigns take time to stabilise and optimise, which could hinder revenue growth. Google Search is a great channel for sales since you have leads searching for your respective company/product and coming into the funnel with a strong interest level. LinkedIn has been tried/tested by multiple organisations and has been deemed to have various protocols in place which end up being very expensive to bring in your target group.
Since digital channels depend on algorithms and have various bids in place – which make them expensive or tough to scale, offline channels play a key role in bringing leads to chip in/make up for a bigger top funnel. Offline events/offline marketing/offline workshops tend to push interest towards the organisation website or help create a strong database. In some cases, organisations might have an Offline Sales Team which deals with leads face to face, especially.
Organic channels are always the most brilliant. Any branding activity/blogs/emailers/old customers drive organic leads to the top funnel. Since this channel tends to have the highest conversion at close to no marketing dollar spends – It is important to constantly have a content marketing strategy in place/branding activities on a regular basis/sending any other low cost or zero cost communication out frequently.
Landlines and mobile phones are the most widely used communication devices in sales. I have come across various challenges via a landline. In recent times, we probably ignore calls received from landlines thinking it’s a wrong number or someone random is calling to enlighten us about the latest product you’re losing out on. Mobile phones get a higher connect rate and are a good solution to this problem. It is also very important to ensure your call to connected or interacted rate is anywhere between 40%-60% to build a good funnel of interested leads.
Emailing is one of the most, if not the most important channels. Ability to track inbound emails, open rates of sent emails, links clicked within the emails – help the sales team prioritise leads and reach out to them at the earliest via mobile phone to capitalise on the fresh knowledge (Customer) and inbound knowledge (Sales) gained via email communication.
Close to 20% of the world’s population uses WhatsApp. It is a great channel which helps identify whether the lead is genuinely interested in the product. A good example is – Using a telephone/mobile to call a lead who has shown interest in your product. While following up with the prospect, he stops responding after multiple follow-ups. Sending a well crafted and drafted WhatsApp message to him increases your chances of getting through. It also gives you a good sense of whether the prospect is going to be moving forward in his product purchase. “Blue ticks” always play a key role!
Sending bulk SMS during a sales cycle to fresh leads as well as an existing lead base adds a big bonus to the top funnel. It tends to re-activate old/organic leads regularly.
Being from a Hospitality and Hotel Management background, I’ve come to realise that Turn Around Time (TAT) is one of the strongest methods used to impress your customer. It is imperative to respond to emails within a few minutes, especially during work hours. As I was taught at the The Grand Hyatt – An inbound call should always be answered within two rings. You should always respond to a chat or message at the earliest. The chances of developing a good/strong relationship with the customer via this “5 Star Service” is very high. Imagine calling your bank or network provider and having a human voice which is capable and powerful enough to sort out your queries – answers your call within 5 seconds, in turn giving you closure with a satisfying answer/solution.
A lead cycle can be anywhere between a few hours all the way to a few months. Data has given me a learning – most leads tend to convert within 2 weeks of coming into the funnel, maximum being within 7 days while they’re absolutely ‘hot’. It is hence, important to device an apt duration for the lead cycle which addresses the best methods to leverage high conversions.
It is important to constantly clean up data points and update them with the latest or most optimum knowledge areas. Data fields on a CRM can always be revamped/updated/cleaned/optimised to pull out the most accurate and convenient data there is – which you eventually share with your marketing counterpart to help drive a better funnel.
Revisiting old and dormant leads is always a must. If 60-70% of your lead base converts within 2 weeks. That also enlightens us about the fact that there is a vast chunk of leads who either take long to convert or don’t convert at all. Revisiting these old leads during a new sales cycle not only adds to the sales funnel but also makes up for any gap in the number of leads not being delivered by marketing due to various concerns. These leads add to the revenue and bring down the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) by a considerable percentage. Revisiting old leads also makes up for leads who will not convert in your fresh cycle and convert in the next. It’s a never-ending loop.
Nurturing leads is the most important sales activity. Offline workshops/events or blogs/information sessions/Facebook Live sessions to highlight the various strong points or offerings of your product helps develop some interest within a lead. The lead also gets to interact with the organisation and its employees which helps develop a stronger relationship with different stakeholders of the organisation. Nurturing via phone is always a good call, pun intended. You should make it a point to constantly be in touch with your customer to be able to develop a comfortable relationship which eventually leads to them converting. This nurturing period also might ignite a friendly relationship which is categorised between formal and informal – “Hi XYZ! Hope you’re feeling better now. I trust that your fever has settled and you’d be able to take a few minutes out of your chores to complete a transaction via the online gateway. It’s just like buying something on Amazon or Flipkart” – Always works.
There’s nothing better than a happy customer, or a customer who is impressed by his experience or interactions with your organisation. Referrals are the best form of increasing your footprint, not just digitally, but also word of mouth. The more your referral numbers are within a sales cycle – the more you know your organisation is making moves. Referrals come organically, but it is highly required of the sales teams to be able to push hard for leads/customers/users to be able to refer the product and bring in more interest at the top funnel. Conversions from referrals are always high – but converting anything below 50% of your referrals to a paid customer might give you a sense that your sales/marketing process might need a bit of a more aggressive approach.
Channel wise distribution/Conversion
Constantly adapting and revamping your sales process gives you a new outlook or perspective. Whenever sales numbers become stagnant or start to drop, this activity must be initiated to be able to add a new touch to build up a funnel or increase conversions – which, if done religiously, can help you reach your target. Channel wise lead assignment and tracking the conversions across your team can help you get a firm sense of which channel can perform best – and then scale. When historic data has proven to have Google Search as your highest converter, revisiting all the Google Search leads wouldn’t harm the best of you.
Carrots and sales tools which help convert leads are a plus. Discounts/info-sessions, even gifts like iPads/Vouchers/Company reimbursements/et al. always help convert leads. India, as a market – loves discounts. However, if you don’t have the advantage of offering discounts – the best way forward is to ensure every channel is targeted with a nurturing activity. Throwing in a couple of additional product offerings could give the lead an extra push.
A lot of manual tracking/analysis/data pulling is required during a sales cycle. To decrease the workload of your teams, it is imperative to identify any processes or policies which can be automated, to ensure a faster TAT and make it more seamless via online tracking. Automated calling systems, CRM updates, chat messages, documentation related processes always help the teams focus on using their skills/expertise to drive a more systematic approach and increase their conversions. Conversions can always better until they’re 100%.
Recording your calls and constantly listening to yourself/teammates warrants higher conversions, provided the steps of identifying loopholes/problems with a revised/refined sales pitch on a constant basis – is implemented.
This is one of the most important parts of your daily tasks. A sales team must constantly track data, analyse the data points – and eventually share it with the marketing team – who can then optimise digital channels or work on offline channels to scale. This could be anything from sharing all leads’ information who are completely disinterested all the way to sharing all customers’ information who have paid for the product – to be able to scale the channels which clearly work – and decrease marketing dollars on the ones that don’t. Lead to paid%, registered to paid%, applied to paid%, attended to paid% and various other metrics should be at the tip of your tongue.
Bringing in leads, nurturing them, developing interest, driving a strong customer relationship, meeting them in person, connecting the lead to someone with authority or someone who has designed your product – tends to work charms. However, it becomes rather odd and tough, if you don’t have the ability to “close” that lead and convert him or her into a paid customer. If you tend to see interest going up the funnel, capitalisation must be done on priority. For example, a lead submitting details, having a good call, attending your workshops, speaking to your product teams and not converting – could be a major concern. Several urgency points can be used such as the last date for workshop registrations, last day to avail products, et al. help drive the customer to take an informed decision faster – instead of delaying it and not paying eventually. It takes a good salesman’s eye to gauge a lead’s interest and either convert ASAP, move on to your next.
As a Salesman, we must always believe that TAT, more number of calls, more surface area covered in terms of leads and reach outs will always lead to more revenue. Of course, the biggest player in all of this is motivation – you must be constantly motivated during sales and especially even more motivated when sales isn’t working. There’s nothing that drives confidence better than a strong motivational push, to pull up a slow sales cycle.