If you want to keep up, you have to be data driven in your marketing - that's not news to you. Create a funnel, track behavior on your leads and give them a lead score so you know when they're ready for sale.
Does that make selling easier? Possibly. Does it lead to more efficient sales? Possibly not. It merely makes you work with relevant leads instead of cold leads.
In my job I experience a lot of companies that create a good sales funnel and also invest a great deal in the marketing machine, only to treat their leads to a very limited extent. If they say “no” the first time, they’re not hot leads anymore and therefore is dumped in the trash. Best case scenario, they re-enter the marketing campaign just to start all over. To say it another way: The process is data driven – but not in the last, and probably most critical, part of the sales process.
I can only contradict this way of working, because you risk throwing pure gold out the window. And the sales process does NOT become more efficient if you spend an endless amount of money on leads just to treat them with a “there will come some more tomorrow” attitude.
If we compare leads with apples, I would put my neck on the block to say that only ripe, spotless apples are picked. The rest is discarded. Instead, think about making a good apple juice or a delicious apple pie with the apples you otherwise would have thrown away.
I want to emphasize that the structure of a sales funnel with cross channel marketing and tracking of activity based on a lead scoring system is a stroke of genius – we do it ourselves at Adversus, and I’m speaking with potential clients on a daily basis.
It’s an essential part of our job when we want to get in touch with relevant customers – and especially when we want to avoid disturbing people who can’t benefit from our product.
This method, on the other hand, is something I can support. But it just can’t turn into a place where you get too comfortable and causes you to dive in sales: It still takes hard work to close your sales even though you already have located an interest and a need from the customer.
Remember that lukewarm leads often can be just as beneficial in the long run, if you just know how to handle them.
There’s obviously a lot of companies that are skilled at making data driven sales, who, as a matter of fact, manage their craft through the whole sales process. But to speak the truth: It’s far from all companies that master the art of utilizing the full potential of the data that’s available. A classic mistake is to forget your data because there’s no follow-up.
The reality is that most companies have an extreme amount of data on their customers, but at the end of the day they bite the bullet. Or they have forgotten that you still can make excellent apple juice with the apples that aren’t spotless.
Get the Most Out of Your Lead Pool
You’re experiencing that your conversion rate has risen. But has it risen enough?
The most common answer is “no”, if you look at the price per converted lead and the fact that your market, at some point, will be emptied for new leads. This means that you need to get creative to get new leads. This is the point where you should start considering if there’s a bigger potential in the leads you already spent money on. There’s a big chance that you can get more out of them if you just stop for a second and think. They just need another approach rather than “buy and throw out”. It’s at this time that data comes into the picture together with timing, automation and persistence. A sales funnel isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t convert!
You’re probably think “so? I already know that. Don’t waste my time.” But the fact that you already know it doesn’t mean that you’re not having trouble handling your hot leads correctly.
If you work with data professionally, you also know that there’s always room for improvement. If we, for a second, don’t take the legal aspects of handling data into account, the big question is:
How do you know that you aren’t calling leads with a blindfold on, but that you actually get the most out of your lead pool by using the data at your disposal?
So… How do you take it a step further, so a data driven sale isn’t just data driven to begin with, but actually from start to finish?
It’s a classic mistake to use a lot of resources on generating leads and then forget to activate them.
The sooner you can activate your leads the better – it’s a shame to waste them. Some companies only upload their leads on a daily or weekly basis. Make sure your leads are added to an automatic flow straight away.
Consider if you can segment your lead data into different flows, so it’s not just based on their lead score, but also from different interactions with the lead. By analyzing your data, you can figure out which type of interactions create the best leads.
2. Find the right timing
I’m sure we can all agree that hot leads are the ones we want. All other things being equal, they’re easier to handle rather than cold leads. We also want to keep them hot or have the possibility to turn a cold lead into a hot lead again.
What’s essential here is timing. Take a look at how you perform at different times of the day and use your resources when it makes sense. This also applies to planning a call back. The simplest approach is to find out when most calls are answered, when the sales are at their high and which sales actually turn into satisfied customers that don’t churn.
Maybe you perform well at certain times of the day or week, but if the customers leave straight away, it could indicate that you need to change your strategy. Be aware that customers leaving isn’t solely based on timing but could also be triggered by other things. Maybe the salespeople aren’t able to communicate the product clearly enough.
Analyze if you’re saying the right things in your sales calls with call tracking tools, like Adversus and Capturi.By listening to your sales calls at every stage, you can find the recipe for what to say and how to say it.
Are you doing follow-ups? It takes more than one call to create the dialogue. But do you manage to follow up after the first call even though you miss each other the first three, four or maybe five times you try to reach the lead? Or are you drawn towards the new, hot leads?
The leads you miss the first couple of times tend to be forgotten if you don’t systematically set up reminders or tasks.
It helps to have a tool that reminds you of a call back – or add them to new campaigns that automatically start when it’s time to try to call the lead again. For example, if a lead is hard to reach during working hours. If you have that knowledge, it would make sense to move the lead into a campaign with “Calls after 5 pm.”
4. Match your leads with the right salespeople
You can come a long way by segmenting your leads and assign them to the correct salespeople.
Try to spot tendencies. Some salespeople are better at one specific type of sale. By following your agents’ performance and actively using data from their calls, you can spot these tendencies that would help optimizing your success rate in the long run.
If you’re working with B2B consider splitting up your sales process in multiple steps based on what your agents are skilled at. The agents who are good at calling cold canvas could, for example, turn cold leads into warm or hot leads again, and then you could get great salespeople to close the deal. Motivate your team to rich more and more success.
5. Enrich your leads and add them to a loop
Enrich your leads with data dynamically so you know when to reach out to them again. Make sure to set up an automatic process where you use triggers that automatically activates your leads when they’re ready for sale. By doing this, you avoid doing it manually and furthermore avoid that a lead is forgotten.
An enrichment could be different tags on the lead, for example why this exact lead wasn’t interested the first time around.
Maybe the product was too expensive. In that case, it would preferable to contact the lead again if the product at some time is at a discount price.
Another strategic approach could be to contact the lead again in a month and offer a “light version” of the product to activate the lead and open up for the possibility to upscale down the road. There’s no doubt – the right tools could make your work easier and make sure that you use your data with good sense.
But remember that even though you bought the best apple picker on the market, it doesn’t necessarily make you the best fruit manufacturer. It takes knowledge, patience and a good understanding of what you’re dealing with.
1. Data isn’t the goal, it’s the tool. Look closely at which data is necessary and relevant to improve your sales. Rule of thumb is that you only should enrich your leads with necessary data. Ergo, if you don’t use your data actively it should be deleted. So, make sure to use them to your advantage! 2. Don’t do it all at once. Choose one or two areas and focus on setting up their flow. Test your strategies and adjust on the move when you can spot tendencies.
3. Use tools that automate your processes. By doing this, you’re not just saving a hell of a lot of time (pardon my French) with multiple Excel sheets and manual work, but you’re also eliminating the mistakes often made by humans.