Thanks to Lori Feldman “The Database Diva” for this great post!
Ever since the very first recorded sales call, sales reps, sales managers, business owners and sales trainers have tried to perfect the sales process.
You may know of Sandler, Snap, Spin, Solution, 7 Habits, Carnegie and High Probability. You may even have created your own sales process. Most of these systems optimize the top of the sales funnel (attracting qualified prospects) or the bottom of the funnel (closing the sale), but the middle is where the biggest challenge to movement lies.
Sales people shine when they’re in full salesmanship glory in front of qualified prospects. But we don’t enjoy the *getting back in front of prospects* so much–especially once they go into what I call “radio silence.” If the prospect isn’t sufficiently motivated to sign on the dotted line, then this is where the sales process breaks down.
Sales statistics bear this out. Most sales close after the 6th or 8th contact. But the typical sales person stops following up personally after the 4th try, leading to the aggravating outcome of setting up a competitor for an easy “bluebird” sale after a lot of hard work. Demoralizing. Even if you’re not typical, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm for sales opportunities that get “stuck” in the pipeline.
The trusted sales process doesn’t always merge into a strong sales follow-up process. In fact, at any given time, only 13% of the opportunities in our sales pipeline are ready to buy now.
What happens to the other 87%? Typically nothing. Yet more than half of those prospects will buy within the next 12 months from somebody.
This is the time of the year when many companies fall victim to conventional thinking about their sales process: “We need more sales to make our year. Let’s do more of what we’ve always done.” Then they continue to be surprised when they get the same lackluster results and the sales team misses its numbers.
What if this year you tried something new to clear your pipeline with more “Closed-Won” revenue? What if you could break all company sales records on or before the first quarter of 2012 by implementing an automated drip marketing campaign now? Here’s how you might get started:
First, run a query on your database with these parameters:
- First meeting Held or
- Sent quote/proposal and
- Last activity date greater than or equal to 30 days ago
If the number is under 50, you’re in luck. Swiftpage allows you to add up to 50 contacts to your drip marketing account at no charge.
Now, go to Starbucks, grab a latte and strategize with yourself or a fellow sales person. Pretend you have nothing to do but follow up individually with each of your “open” prospects for the next 6 months.
- What would you share with them about your product or service that you couldn’t fit into your first meeting? (Ex., spec sheets, case studies, YouTube video demos.)
- What questions might you ask them that you forgot or didn’t have time to ask? (Who wants this product or service most in the company? Least? Why? What will life be like in a year if they don’t buy from you?)
- How would you continue the sales conversation with your prospect if that was all you had to focus on everyday?
Then write 6-12 short messages that include combinations of the above, in the order that makes sense for your customer’s buying process. (I’ve written messages as short as 1 sentence.)
Congratulations. You have a starter drip campaign. Now all you have to do is launch it in your Swiftpage drip marketing module and add new prospects to it everytime you deliver a new sales proposal. Let’s say you do this with 20 open opportunities this month. That’s 20-80 extra touches you’ve built into your sales follow-up process that you don’t have to make personally, yet look personalized to your prospect. The power of that action is what will make you a top sales ninja by the end of each sales quarter.
Lori Feldman is a Swiftpage Titanium Drip Marketing Consultant and veteran database marketer. She is known as “The Database Diva” because she helps companies leverage their lists to squeeze every drop of profit from their sales funnels. Lori is also the founder and Head Counselor of DripMarketingCamp, a 3-week drip marketing intensive for sales-minded companies who want an unfair sales advantage in their marketplace.