Your marketers promise you that they have the best strategy to promote your business and products to result in great sales. But what’s going wrong if these sales don’t materialize and you don’t see the money rolling in?
One area to look at carefully is the link between your marketing and sales team. Many businesses focus so much on their varied marketing options such as website, brochures, e-shots, postal mail outs etc., that they overlook the rather critical fact that marketing needs to generate good quality leads. If you’re directing your marketing efforts to the wrong target market, your sales team will never convert these leads to hard sales.
Make sure your marketing and sales teams communicate regularly and effectively, or you’re not operating an efficient business. With regular two way communication between the teams, you can tweak and improve your marketing strategy on a regular basis, and increase quality lead generation and sales.
Quality Lead Generation
A high quality lead is someone who is genuinely interested in purchasing your product, and has the budget to do so. Sales staff, based on their years of experience, can quickly sense if a new lead is sending out the right signals with regard to completing a purchase – and they can soon sniff out a time waster.
If you are attracting only weak leads with your marketing efforts, then the sales team needs to advise the marketers why they are the wrong type of lead. Have you been targeting people in the wrong age bracket, the wrong location or of the wrong financial status? Whatever the reason, the marketers and sales staff must study the data together to agree a way forward.
Effectiveness of Special Offers
The marketing team always comes up with great promotional offers to increase your brand exposure. They might even decide to offer a free week’s trial for your product, anticipating that a proportion of clients will be so impressed that they will go on to buy. However everyone likes a freebie and you’d be surprised how many weak leads will sign up for the free trial just because it’s free. Then they are out of there! A quality lead however would already have an interest in the product and would be far more likely to sign up for real.
In the face of disappointing sales, the marketers need to analyze the marketing offer and how it was promoted, in conjunction with the sales reps. A joint effort can help figure out how best to target a stronger market in the future.
Clarity of the Message
Are interested clients nice and clear about your product and what they can expect from your service? If your sales rep makes a follow-up call and the client suddenly realizes the product doesn’t do what they thought it did, or that it is way over budget, ask yourself, “How did that happen?” Imagine that a client suddenly backtracks when the sales staff start discussing payment terms and prices of delivery options. What a lot of time wasted!
Review the clarity of the message in your marketing material. Is the copy in your website and printed items crystal clear about the product features? Does your website clearly display prices? (As you know it should!) Is the small print in the payment terms big enough to be read without eye strain?
Both the client and the sales rep are going to be pretty hacked off if they reach a deal breaker along way down the line, when very clear messages could have highlighted these areas way sooner.
Review the website and printed material with the sales staff and get a second opinion – is the information clear enough? And don’t try to hide terms and conditions even if they are less than palatable – if you need pre-payment, then say so; if your delivery time is a minimum of 8 weeks, then say so. Hiding information is downright misleading and can give you a bad reputation.
Some leads that your sales staff follow up may genuinely like your product but don’t want to progress at that specific time. Perhaps they can’t really see the need for it, or have their hands tied due to external factors, such as waiting for budget approval. Don’t lose these leads but at the same time, don’t let your sales reps keep on contacting them – this amounts to harassment.
Put these leads on the “Come Back Later” list. Keep in touch with them in a gentle way by sending out your monthly newsletter. And then maybe after several months, the time will be ripe for your sales reps to pick up the phone, that is if the quality lead hasn’t taken the initiative and contacted them first.