Sam was exasperated. “I just can’t cope! There is too much to do. How am I meant to follow up all of these anyway?” Looking very disillusioned, Sam then added, “As per normal most of them will come to nothing anyway….most of it is a waste of time if you ask me.”
And in that throw-away comment lay the answer.
I am often asked to do in-house work to streamline/fix/tweak/modify and improve company’s sales funnels. I have written many times before that the most common “hole in the funnel’ is in the area of follow-up. So many companies put so much work into finding and meeting and qualifying clients, then add to all this work by entering all this data into their CRM and producing proposals, only to ‘drop the ball’ on follow-up.
Can you relate to this?
If you can, you will be pleased to know there is a ‘cure’. The answer is rather counter intuitive. To increase sales conversions - do less. That lovely phrase, “Less is more” can be applied here but would risk being misleading.
The secret is to do more sooner and manage less later.
A key role of marketing is to generate high quality leads. Sometimes it does this well and sometimes badly and often it produces a wide mixture of good to average leads. When the key measurement of marketing is lead generation, the temptation is to pass on everything that has even of whiff of a lead and then the marketing figures look good. Sadly, this often just results in sales looking bad – both the department and the sales figures. A marketing lead needs to be qualified before it can be counted as an enquiry worthy of sales reps' time.
It starts with understanding that you are best set up to serve a certain group of people/companies/industries.
When you understand this, you then realise that every marketing lead is not a worthy enquiry. Not all leads are equal! When sales and marketing work together, they can simultaneously reduce the amount of enquiries passing through to sales and increase the quality by designing Qualifying Questions (QQ’s). These can then be used on the website contact us form, used by the receptionist, and anybody else answering an incoming enquiry.
A common acronym used to qualify leads early is MANTC/s. This ensures you ask the
Money (i.e. Budget question)
Authority (i.e. Decision Maker question)
Competition (i.e. Do they have to get 3 quotes/are they comparing you to others) or the
Stock question – Are they ordering stock products/will they stock your products?
Setting clear expectations of the sales process and timeline and the client's involvement, and expected movement through these stages also increases the close rate. These 2 steps add a little time up front when prospecting for clients and save a huge amount of time later. This gives reps a chance to focus on better quality leads for longer and is a great way to increase sales.
If you would like some help in this area do get in touch. Until next week – Happy selling!