The key endeavour of any online business is to increase its revenue– by generating more sales leads through its internet marketing efforts. But what happens, when the smart entrepreneur isn’t managing its sales leads well – you’re probably letting good prospects slip through the net.
In our vast experience of managing SEO, we probably generate 1000s of qualified leads every month for our customers. But most recently, this significant question cropped up during a discussion with one of our clients.
How to effectively convert these SEO leads into sales?
Going by the culture of transparency, and our own experience, we subsequently deliberated on writing a blog on this topic 🙂
Firstly we need to understand that prospect leads can originate in a variety of ways, be it referrals, advertisements, paid or organic leads – and there is often only a loose structure in place to manage and react to those leads. Your sales pipeline and your ability to hit revenue targets all begin with good lead management. Based on our observation, of what makes sales people successful, here are few techniques that can truly drive effectiveness into your sales campaign.
1. Focus on Value, not Products
Depending on the products and services you offer, most people are probably not ready to buy based on their first interaction with you. Best practice calls on to focus on the value that your products and services add to the customer, not on product or service features. Of course, a thorough understanding of your company and products is necessary, but you can do well if you apply that knowledge to the customer’s specific issues and problems.
- When you tend to do more ‘product push’.
- When you rely heavily on brochures and marketing materials.
- Focus on value, instead of the product
- Use the knowledge of the customer to frame value propositions.
This technique can be taught through examples such as role play. It also requires intensive training to ‘unlearn’ bad habits.
You need to use only relevant – and moderate number of anecdotes and examples drawn from other customers. This is also referred as an inverted ‘U’ shape to success.
- Low use of examples is linked to poorer sales meeting outcomes, presumably because customers like to hear some real-world application.
- High usage of stories and examples — on the other hand, can bore the customer.
Unlearning this behaviour will require either some training for the sales person in alternative techniques and/ or intensive coaching from the sales manager.
3. Develop a Clear Meeting Agenda
You need to develop campaigns that allow you to touch your prospects multiple times so you can move them through the sales cycle until they’re ready to think about actually purchasing from you. In fact, research clearly shows that more successful sales people plan ahead, develop a clear meeting agenda, and have defined objectives and strategies for the meeting — especially for any negotiation that may take place.
What’s Wrong ?
- You are just happy to go into a sales meeting and just ‘wing it’.
- Your idea of preparation for a sales meet consists of a 15 minute team briefing in the customer’s car park, before you head for the meeting.
- Sometimes you pull a terrific sale, while in the next you miss a sure-fire certainty.
Top sales teams rehearse their sales meetings and role-play various scenarios. Where sales managers see these symptoms, they should ask to see the meeting agenda well beforehand and insist that important sales meetings are rehearsed repeatedly.
4. Respond flexibly and Manage objections
Capable sales people are indeed good at overcoming customer objectives, but sometimes the objections can creep due to their own making – when much of the ‘hard sell’ steals into their sales meetings. The message is that sales people always need to reflect on their practice in meetings, to make sure that they are dealing effectively with their customers. Sales managers need to check up on their good sales people from time to time, observing them in the sales meeting and, if necessary, coaching them afterwards.
Depending on what the issue are, after all those SEO efforts, sales coaching might be required before the meeting (if the desired change is to improve sales meeting planning) or after the meeting (if the desired aim is to improve flexibility and objection handling). So the timing of coaching, as well as its content, needs to be taken into consideration.