There are lots of options for generating leads out there, especially for sales reps who don’t mind treating prospects like a number—but that’s not your style.
The success of your business hinges on relationships. You’ve got loyal customers. They love your product. They love your personalized, consistent service. And they talk you up to their friends.
But as growth plateaus and you saturate one market, how do you prospect into other markets without diluting your best assets—your already existing customers? Can you allocate time and resources to generate new leads without eroding your trademark personal service?
No one will argue that sales lead generation and prospecting can gobble up resources. But just how much? That’s up to you.
We’ve got the ticket for transforming your growth while keeping all the gains you’ve made thus far. It’s as simple as a few shifts in approach, leveraged with smart, agile technology.
1. Build Prospect Confidence
Knowing your customer is everything. What keeps him up at night? Does your product or service meet him where he is? Strong sales and development teams focus on the customer and provide practical ways to solve his daily business challenges. They know industry trends and regulations. Put simply, they can talk shop.
Keep connected, and he’ll stay confident about a continued relationship with you. But what about as you grow? Can you effectively scale to support growth into new markets while maintaining your trademark professional intimacy?
The sales pipeline is brimming with processes that lend themselves to automation. Customer relationship management (CRM) is at the top of that list. Automating CRM provides every member of your team complete visibility into the customer relationship, plus a clear picture of the next play.
Relaying information about a customer’s unique business angle and priorities doesn’t rely on a chance meeting of team members in the elevator. Instead it occurs through reliably logged and shared information. Your entire team knows where to document all types of communication, how to share throughout your organization, and can easily retrieve relevant customer data.
2. Ramp Up Your Street Cred
Want to know how to bump up the profile of your sales department? Looking to spark inspiring levels of of prospecting?
Your sales team should be customer consultants, not simply “salespeople.” Arm them with knowledge and resources to solve customer problems and add value—not just force a product where they might not need it. Not only will you build better trust and rapport with your customers, but your team will develop higher value skills to support your customers.
By the time a customer connects with your sales team, they’ve already accessed a good deal of information. This shifts sales focus from merely a transactional interaction to one that feels more relational. Connect with the customer. Show that you understand him. This one factor will set you apart from competitors.
Good CRM paves the way for this kind of innovation with a multi-pronged, time-saving approach to administrative tasks: daily prompting, a prioritized contact list, activity tracking, and both automated and direct contact platforms. Sales consultants have the time to focus on strengthening the customer connection and the flexibility to prospect into new markets.
3. Don’t Play Hot Potato
Customers aren’t hot potatoes. Most don’t like being tossed around. A smooth transition along the sales pipeline from marketing to sales to service is essential.
Foster trust and confidence by streamlining the process for communication among your teams about your individual customers. What’s her history? What’s on the table? What are her priorities and concerns? When was the last time we spoke with her, and why did she contact us?
Don’t make your customer repeat her story as she moves through the sales process. Let your customer know her business is your top priority. Train and encourage everyone to effectively use your CRM to store, organize, and access information related to leads, customer information, conversation notes, and sales.
4. Source Clean Data
Maybe you’re already using marketing automation tools to connect with customers. What’s the next step in increasing your efficacy in lead generation?
Start by taking a hard look at the source of your leads. Are you targeting the right demographic? Clean source data takes the randomness out of communication. According to marketing expert Etrigue, 75 percent of companies underutilize data, relying on a one-size-fits-all mentality for communications. Address this one issue and you’re already rising above 75% of the competition.
Sloppy sales teams stuff inboxes with the same generic message: "You need our product. We have a one-size-fits-all answer."
Savvy sales teams take a different angle: "I understand you. How can I meet your unique needs?"
CRM uses customer demographic information and trends to craft tailored messages to potential customers. Clean, focused data sets highlight buying patterns, purchasing habits, and other demographics, increasing the effectiveness and giving your message a personal tone. Introduce yourself to customers with a targeted email, remind them on social media that you’re a popular choice, greet them warmly on the telephone. Know what makes them tick.
5. Keep That Clean Data Clean!
You’ve prioritized time and resources to source clean data. Now what? Strong sales teams rely on CRM to keep their data clean. That means everyone updates leads by logging customer conversations, tossing out bad leads, and noting inaccurate information, all in the same place. Strengthen future sales by easily sharing recordings of what made a great sale … and what flopped. With a centralized CRM system, there’s no wasted time scrambling for key information, following bad leads, guessing at issues or best-practice approaches, or consolidating content.
Most importantly, a CRM takes away the guesswork. You get an accurate and complete picture of your sales pipeline. Where does each prospect fall in the pipeline? What factors might hold back a sale? Which customers need follow-up emails or prefer to be reached by telephone?
It feels like a huge task to keep your data clean, but how about the cost of bad information when it comes to effective lead generation and prospecting?
Let’s take a look at the real price of clean data. Sirius Decisions estimates that businesses can squander as much as $100 per dirty record. Acquiring and keeping data clean tops out at $10 or less per record.
6. Don’t Let Renewal Sales Slip Through Your Fingers
Renewal sales are a reliable revenue source. Small and medium businesses often miss this goldmine. Automation is the perfect solution to reach potential repeat customers who are already primed to be receptive to your message.
CRM enables immediate identification and direct access to potential renewals. The sales process is facilitated with automated virtual taps and encouraging nudges. Sales reps have more time to to do what they do best: renew sales.
Where to get started?
Of course, increasing the number of leads in your sales pipeline is only half of the equation. In order to grow your company and scale up your sales process, it’s important to find a CRM tool that meets the needs of your sales team. Watch this video to learn all about CRM software, and what you should look for in a solution for your business.