There are many different ways in which a company can bring in leads for their business. One of these ways is through sales prospecting. While inbound marketing can definitely work well for many businesses, sales leaders can sometimes rely on this strategy too much. Instead, they should go back and put a focus on one of the major aspects of sales prospecting, which is in many ways, another form of outbound marketing.
However, outbound marketing strategies – like effective sales prospecting techniques – can actually lead to higher success rates overall, even more so than other techniques. Understand that this can be another great way to increase your ROI, even if it might feel different. Next, see which sales prospecting strategies will work best for your business.
Sales Prospecting Definition
If you’re in sales, then you’ve probably heard of the term “sales prospecting” before. And, maybe you’re even doing it now. But, in case you’re new to this or you need a little refresher, sales prospecting is the act of using outbound marketing techniques – such as making outbound calls (cold calls) or sending outbound emails – to build relationships with prospective clients. Most of the time, these are clients you find yourself. Sales prospecting is essentially the opposite of waiting for a lead to come to you. Instead, you are going to find the leads yourself, and practice different sales prospecting strategies to create that ultimate foundation. Best of all, Mission Suite can help you keep track of your sales prospecting performance, no matter which techniques you decide use.
Sales Prospecting Techniques
There are many sales prospecting techniques that a sales team can utilize in order to have the best results. Some are more effective than others. But, that really just depends on which techniques feel right for you. The more comfortable you feel with one of these sales prospecting techniques, the more you can master that technique over time:
Before you can begin sales prospecting, you must first build a database of potential clients. Take an hour a day to build your list. Taking this time to scout people out can have the potential to lead to high-paying clients. Just an hour a day, and your work and dedication will surely pay off.
Make Cold Calls:
Many people tend to associate cold calling with sales prospecting, and that’s because it’s usually the first strategy that comes to mind. Cold calling involves simply making a call (or sending an email or message) to a potential client by being as direct as you can be. According to AZ Central, Marketing Consultant Charlie Cook says that conversion rates for cold calls fall around 2%, but this increases rapidly with solid leads (20%) and referrals (50%). To help keep your effectiveness high, write yourself a script and stick to it!
Make Warm Calls:
Warm calls are similar to cold calls but are unique in that the potential client is already “warmed up.” They already know something about your business, maybe because you’ve already reached out to them via email or social media. Warm calling all about continuing to grow that relationship with the person, and because they’ve already shown some interest, this is one of the sales prospecting techniques which can have conversion rates up to 30%.
Email marketing is still proving very useful when it comes to sales prospecting. Reaching out to prospective clients via email can be one of the easiest ways to bring a person in. As long as an email is mobile-friendly, people are going to be very likely to open the email and continue correspondence with you. It’s hard to gather specific information regarding success rates based on email marketing, however, if you do it right, cold emailing can range from 14% to 23% if targeted. This number increases greatly if you customize those emails, like using personalization or catchy subject lines. Of course, the more you follow-up, the better your sales prospecting results will be, too.
Ask for Referrals:
Having trouble getting new clients? Why not reach out to the clients you already have? Many businesses are able to grow because of word of mouth. And, as far as sales prospecting goes, referrals are the closest thing to a guaranteed lead, as your current clients are essentially doing the work for you. As mentioned before, referrals can lead to a closing rate of 5o%. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t go this route sooner!
Reach Out to Old Contacts:
Nurturing new prospects can be rather exhausting. What’s sometimes easier, is going through your old emails and records. See if there was anyone you spoke to that didn’t quite make it to the end of the sales funnel. Perhaps you had a client from a few years ago who had to stop working with you. Maybe they no longer had the budget or they were satisfied with the purchases they had already made from you. But, now, some time has gone by, and they may be interested in something new you can offer them. Your success rates for these prospects depends on how many old clients you have. And, how many you’re willing to get in touch with.
Social media is considered to be your best bet for sales prospecting, with nearly a 100% closing ratio on leads. This networking platform used by millions of people around the world bleeds into all aspects of marketing. But, in terms of sales prospecting, there are many ways to use social media to your advantage. Search through different groups and pages, checking on the conversations going on, and seeing if you can insert yourself at any point to offer your services. Just make sure that you know the group rules before doing anything that may violate them.
5 Processes that Your Sales Team Should Automate
If you want your company to be able to maximize sales, then your teams need to focus in on a sales process that works. Marketing automation software has made it incredibly easy for hard-working business leaders to automate tasks that would normally take hours to do, while simultaneously putting a strong focus on CRM systems.
However, if you don’t know how to properly utilize your automation software, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Every sales team should be familiar with which tasks can be automated in order to increase and maintain sales. But, if you need a refresher, this is where to start.
1) Scheduling Appointments to Speed Up the Sales Process
Do you need to schedule appointments with your clients or leads? Whether it’s to show an interested customer a demo or to discuss a new product with a long-time customer, scheduling appointments with each person is exhausting. Luckily, Mission Suite makes this easier than ever.
Users are provided with a booking calendar that’s built right into the software. This means your clients will have an easy time selecting a meeting hour that suits them, based on your availability. Once it’s scheduled, Mission Suite will automatically create a follow-up campaign, whether it be a phone call or e-mail.
Scheduling a meeting is one of the first steps in the sales cycle for any company. Therefore, automating this simple process can help move things along that much quicker.
2) List Building and Lead Prioritization
Another way to bring a potential customer through that sales cycle quickly is by creating lists that demonstrate which leads you to need to prioritize vs. which leads can be placed on the backburner. Mission Suite can help users do this by allowing them to use lead scoring to identify priority leads from your database. The score you assign to each lead will be based on their interaction(s) with your content. For example, 1 point is assigned for opening up an email, and 3 points is assigned for clicking on a link. The higher the score, the higher-qualified the lead.
If assigning points sounds as tedious as a teacher needing to grade papers for five separate classes, we understand. That’s why Mission Suite allows users to automatically create these lists, then send campaigns based on the different points. This streamlines the sales process because it ensures that you’ll only spend time on the leads that matter.
3) General Email Marketing/Using Templates
One of the most prominent features of a marketing automation service like Mission Suite is the email marketing features. The software allows you to have complete control over automating this task. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to bring in leads and eventually make a sale. Users can make as many templates as they’d like, then complete campaigns and schedule emails on a regular basis.
There are many different approaches to email marketing, but if done right, it will positively impact the rate of sales. For starters, use Mission Suite to automate email newsletters to send out each time new content is posted on your blog. This way, you can be sure the valuable content you create is always reaching your subscribers, even if they are not actively on your website.
4) Automate Support Tools for CRM Systems
Company leaders cannot even discuss the idea of increasing sales without first focusing in on their CRM systems. How you relate to your customers or potential customers will determine the outcome of your sales performance. A strong customer support approach will mean more satisfied customers and ultimately more sales.
Mission Suite allows users to automate tools that can be applied to CRM systems, like customer support. It does this by creating support tickets, which automatically assign support tasks to your support team. If no one handles those tickets, you can automate reminders.
Hopefully, before you even get to that point, you can set up a support chatbox using Zapier. The sales team can integrate Zapier right into Mission Suite. This will allow you to take on customer’s problems or questions from the get-go, helping them to feel comfortable enough to complete that sale.
5) Internal Follow-Ups
Automating the sales process means automating just as many processes internally as you would externally. Being able to communicate effectively with other staff members is absolutely necessary. Especially, if you want to maximize sales as much as possible. Mission Suite can allow company leaders to automatically send follow-up emails and assign follow-up tasks to members of your sales team, based on what stage they’re at in the sales cycle with a customer. You can also notify the team when a team member updates fields and completes tasks.
How To Implement a Repeatable Sales Process Through Automation
After learning about the different sales methodologies and the essential steps to a sales process, it’s time to actually implement what you know. This is the hard part. It’s one thing to know how to go about creating a sales process, but it’s another to actually bite the bullet, sit down, and do the required work. Marketing automation tools like the Mission Suite make it very easy to design an automated sales process that continues to work while you sleep.
Determine Your Methodology
The first step in using automation to implement a repeatable a sales process is to determine which sales methodology you would like to use. This may take a bit of trial and error. Just because a commonly-used sales methodology works wonders for one company, doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for yours. This requires experimentation before you find what your leads respond to best. Once you narrow it down to a methodology that makes sense for your company, you can continue onto the next step.
Create Pipeline Stages Using Mission Suite
In order to implement a repeatable sales process, you need to create pipeline stages. These can also be referred to as “workflows.” “Workflows” are a more familiar term used by many companies. Mission Suite allows you to create these workflows easily, with each lead entering their own pipeline via an opt-in form. That being said, leads won’t always enter into a pipeline this way. Some will also enter a pipeline by you manually entering them in. For instance, you can add someone to your mailing list after having met them in person.
Remember that the pipeline will only initiate after the lead provides you with specific information. The lead should give you this information on their own. Although bigger companies have the ability to collect information using data scraping and other means, people generally don’t like to be emailed when they didn’t volunteer the information to you.
Add Tasks to Each Stage
Once you create a pipeline, you need to add tasks to each stage. A task could simply be an email that goes out to this lead after they complete each stage of the sales process. You can determine these stages based on the methodology you want to use.
An example of this is a lead receiving a welcome email automatically, once they subscribe to your mailing list. After this, you can create an additional email to the drip based on their interaction with you. Perhaps they will get a newsletter email every week in their inbox. This email should be created within a template that will encourage them to go onto the next level in the sales process. This could be a call-to-action at the bottom of an email that invites them to schedule a meeting, sign up for a webinar, or visit your online store. When they click on one of these, you can set up yet another task that will lead them through the next stage of that pipeline.
Sales teams should create tasks and pipelines for every possible outcome. Sometimes, you may notice a person has spent time on your website. Therefore, you may decide to bring them in using various inbound marketing techniques. Or, they may add something to their cart without making a purchase. In this case, you can set up another task to invite this person to continue their purchase. Whatever the scenario is, remember that you must nurture leads through each of these steps. Luckily, Mission Suite helps you monitor and move around leads based on which stage they are at.
Assign Leads to Appropriate Sales Reps
There should be a sales representative that is assigned to each lead. This is where your sales team comes in. Despite the fact that you will be automating these processes, it’s still necessary to have a human being monitor what’s going on. They can oversee these pipelines and tasks and make sure everything is going according to plan. Mission Suite has the tools to allow you to assign leads to reps. Or, to allow reps to claim conversations and tasks with leads, themselves.
Allow Reps to Add Notes
Communication is critical in any business, and it’s a no-brainer that companies that have clear and consistent communication among their staff are more successful than those who do not. Mission Suite allows these reps to add notes for each conversation in order to keep things transparent. You can also look at the timeline to see how long it’s been since a lead’s progress has been addressed. This is not only beneficial in terms of sales, but it’s also great for your CRM in general.
Test and Automate
Finally, after you implement a repeatable sales process in Mission Suite, you’ll need to test these pipelines before initiating them. A good way to do this is by setting up a test email account. You can use for all your automation needs. Opt-in and enter the various pipelines you’ve created via this email in order to check that everything works. Additionally, you should check for any spelling or grammatical errors on emails as well as aesthetics overall.
7 Questions to Help You Create a Qualified Lead
One of the best gifts a business leader can receive is a new lead. Each time you bring in a lead, you’re one step closer to making a sale. But, always remember that there’s a difference between people who are considered general leads and people who are considered a qualified lead. Sometimes, a person will show interest, but they aren’t necessarily ready to move further with you. Don’t let them go. It’s important to rank leads and focus on those who need you now, which Mission Suite helps you do. But, there’s still potential in every person that walks through the door. All you have to do is ask the person some questions to make them realize why they need your products and services. This way, you can play a role in qualified leads.
1) How Can I Help?
If you’re unable to help this person, then there’s no reason they should have sought you out in the first place. They do need help in some way. Even if they’re not sure yet, there’s something about what you’re offering that’s intrigued them. And, once they start telling you how you can help them, you’ll be one step closer to a conversion.
2) What Problems Do You Want to Find a Solution To?
You may not want to ask this question verbatim. But, it’s necessary in order to get a little more information from this potentially qualified lead. By gaining an understanding of what problems this person is having in their life or in their business, you can learn a lot. Not only can you delve deeper into the needs and desires of this person, but you can also make them recognize that YOU are the solution that they’ve been searching for.
3) What Are Your Goals?
Maybe your lead doesn’t have problems that they’re willing to talk about at the moment, but they certainly have goals for themselves. Sometimes, when a person invests in a product or service, it isn’t necessarily because they need to fix an obvious problem — it could also just be to prevent one from happening. By asking this lead what their goals are (and subtly mentioning to them how you can help them reach those goals), you can turn this ordinary lead into a qualified lead.
4) What Changes Are You Looking to Make?
If you can get a lead to be honest with you — which isn’t as hard as it sounds — then you can ask them what changes they are looking to make within their life or their business. Perhaps they’re tired of not making a much money as they know they can make. Or, they feel as though they’re spending too much time on tasks they know they can outsource to somebody else. Whatever it is, there’s always room for improvement. If you really can get to the core of what this person wants to change, you can demonstrate that you’re the tool they need in order to do that.
5) What Intrigued You About the Advertisement/Post/Video/Recommendation?
You got this lead’s information because they’ve decided to opt-in somewhere. Perhaps they saw an ad on Facebook, a post on social media, a video on Youtube, or even just a recommendation from someone in their network. Whatever it was, there was something about you that piqued their interest. Therefore, if you want to turn this person from just a lead into a qualified lead, then don’t be afraid to ask them this. For one, it will help you understand more of what their needs are. But, it will also give you some insight into what’s working well in terms of your marketing strategy. If you’re not too comfortable to ask this right now, remember that Mission Suite can analyze the outcomes of your marketing campaigns, too.
6) What Would Be a Budget That’s Reasonable for You To Invest Today?
One of the major reasons a lead isn’t becoming a qualified lead is because they are probably worried about finances. If he or she is already talking to you, then they know that your products and services aren’t free. However, they’re likely concerned about how much it’s going to be and they don’t want to waste your time. So, by learning how much they want to spend, you can gauge whether or not you’re accessible to them. Do you feel that if it weren’t for the money this person would sign with you in a heartbeat? Then decide if there’s something you can offer them in the meantime. And, if you can make them see why your products and services are a necessary investment for them long term, all the better.
7) When Are You Available to Chat?
A lead already has some general interest in your products and services. Therefore, they really have no excuse to say “no” to a having a simple conversation with you. By asking when they are available for a free consultation, they’re more likely to take you up on your offer if they can see some value in it. Once you get talking, it’s easier to convert them. Remember that with Mission Suite, you can make it easy for leads to schedule meetings with you straight away.
6 Steps You Can Take to Increase Your Closing Ratio
If your company is able to increase your closing ratio, then continuous success is right around the corner. Companies need to be able to make sales in order to thrive. And those who have figured out a way to minimize the gap between their new prospects and their actual closing ratio will have more time and money to reinvest in their business. Increasing your closing ratio, however, is one of the more challenging goals your company can strive for. Even top-performing companies can have less than a 50% closing ratio. But with the right tools at your disposal, you can beat that percentage and reach that goal sooner than you think.
Track Activity to Help Increase Your Closing Ratio
One way to increase your closing ratio is by tracking user activity – both on the prospect and the sales side.
On the prospect side of the equation, if it’s clear that a person is engaging with your business, due to how much time they are spending on your various web pages or how often they are downloading ebooks, whitepapers, or other content from your website, then you know this is a lead that’s worth focusing on. And, when you have a lot of leads like this that you’re able to track, it’s only a matter of time before you can convert those leads and thereby increase your closing ratio.
On the sales side, your sales people should be tracking everything that they’re doing. Every call, email, follow up, meeting, etc. should be tracked so that you can see what your sales people have been doing at every step of the way. If you’re tracking your activities with your prospects, you’ll be able to see where any balls are being dropped.
Create Organized Workflows
Once you’re able to rank your leads as well as other visitors who have opted in, you’re going to have to go full throttle on your sales methods. The first step is to make sure your response rates are at 100%, therefore if a lead reaches out to you, you can be ready to address their issues or answer their questions immediately.
It’s also important to use personalization techniques to your advantage. Since you now know who those high ranking leads are, your workflows can target these people all at once. Whether that’s a personalized marketing campaign or a follow-up email to a subscriber, there are many ways to really lock in that high-qualified lead. And, Mission Suite can do all of this automatically after you set up the workflows.
Be Diligent in Reviewing Task History
After setting up workflows and having a lead’s information stored in Mission Suite, you can go back and look at this user’s history. You can see how long they’ve been signed up for or how often they are clicking on your links. If applicable, you can also see how close they’ve come to making a purchase. You can use this information to help decide which leads are worth using to help increase your closing ratio, and which ones can be left for a later time. Then, you can go back and re-evaluate how to reach this lead.
Score and Rank Your Leads
The easiest way to increase your closing ratio is by knowing which leads you can spend the least amount of time to achieve the quickest profit. First, see how often an individual has engaged with your content and experiences you provide. Based on that, you can determine how likely it is that this person is interested in purchasing from you. Mission Suite gives you the ability to rank your leads based on different criteria. You can see which leads are worth focusing on. Then, you can direct your efforts to them and increase that closing ratio.
Keep Sales and Marketing in the Same Loop
If you want to systematically bring leads through the sales cycle, then cooperation is crucial. Everyone working for you must stay on task. They must know which clients they are dealing with, what’s coming, and what needs to be done. If there’s even one employee who isn’t on task, it can bring you back to square one. Mission Suite helps ensure everyone has a visual of what’s happening, where tasks can be assigned to different team members, reminders are sent out automatically, and everyone is on the same page. This way, one error won’t prevent you from making that very important sale.
Set Up Meetings to Close the Deal
There are many ways for sales teams to essentially close a deal. One way to do this is by setting up a meeting with a high-ranking lead one on one. A meeting may serve as an opportunity to give the person a demo of your products. Or, it may be a chance to answer any questions they may have. A meeting is, of course, also a window to offer some source of value to a potential customer. Ultimately, though, it shows them that you’re representing a brand they can trust. Here, you can give them a little slice of what it would be like to make that purchase.
In order to schedule a meeting, call, or a demo with a high-qualified lead, Mission Suite can help. Here, there’s a platform to allow users to book a time slot from a schedule embedded right on your site. Then, the scheduled time will appear in your dashboard. If you’d like, you can dig a little deeper to explore additional data on this person, to make sure your fully prepared to meet with them and get them to complete the sales cycle.
Sales prospecting is one the most straightforward types of marketing. Yet, it’s not for everyone. That being said, if you want a successful business, you’re going to have to try something new. And, with the right sales prospecting techniques at your disposal, there’s no reason that you won’t do well.
To learn more about how Mission Suite can help you leverage your sale prospecting, request a demo today!