THE MAGIC OF INFORMATION
If you've been there, there's nothing like the feeling of answering a call from a potential client, who reveals to you their most pressing problem - something that fits perfectly with your main product or service.
They let you know that they have a large budget; a project allocation; they need a hand preparing a presentation for the key stakeholders (and they'd love a hand to prepare it, hit, hint!) - they also needed it delivered and finished in 2 month's time.
"Abracadabra!", you must have pulled a rabbit (or a new sale), out of a hat!
If you've built up "trusted advisor" status over years with an existing client you might get an experience like this. If you need to build this experience sooner, you'll need to work hard in many areas.
If you haven't, then you'll need to work out what's wrong with your sales process - where and how you need to adjust.
If you aren't collecting any data in a way that helps sellers and management, then you'll struggle to do anything.
There are two critical elements: asking the questions (so you can collect the answers) and building trust (so you're trusted to take the next step with your prospect).
Asking the questions
It is possible to get nearer to the fancy magic trick that I just painted when both marketing and sales are in sync, listening for the right signals and asking the right questions to gather that vital info about the possible deal.
As you are tracking which lead visits blog articles, downloads ebooks, asks questions on twitter or LinkedIn with the right hashtags, you can build a picture of their interests.
With the right sales process, you will build a database of people that you can really help with your solution, and then start to reach out to them to build trust.
The way that you get to build trust is a slower and more progressive than it used to be. Just buying someone a coffee and pitching your solution, or "cold-calling" is a losing strategy.
Now, you need to be patient, prepare an "multi-channel" strategy to nurture your contacts.
Check what problems resonate with your audience and encourage them with some resources that will help them - before you make a sales call. Find the right places to place your messages, tailor the messages to guide the conversations along a path that you design.
Then, once you've seen a prospect interact, you'll know they're a right fit for your solution. Now, you've earned the right to start a sales conversation with them.
Have a look at how you have organised your messaging. Have you got messages that establish common ground on the problem you solve, before showing how you add unique value?
- Consider how you are collecting and managing your customer data - can you build a sales dashboard to show you where to concentrate your next efforts?
- Structure your messaging to draw the buyer along their journey - can you run your sales effort as a campaign and plan it all out?
- Make sure that sales and marketing have a common understanding of where they control the process - can you ensure that you are aligned with the customer's problem?
- Equip your salespeople with some tools and a framework to improve their approach