Getting a lead is one thing. Turning that lead into a sale is quite another. Indeed, while there are plenty of companies and software solutions that can help businesses drum up sales leads, they can’t close the deal for you. So to find out what organizations can, or should, do to convert leads into sales, we queried dozens of sales and marketing professionals. Here are their four top tips on how to successfully turn a prospect into a customer.
1. Give sales reps the tools and information they need to track and manage leads.“To keep up with empowered buyers, organizations need to equip their sales teams with as much information about the lead as possible: what site they came from, what content they have already consumed, how many touches they’ve had with the brand, etc.,” says Ed Calnan, cofounder, Seismic, a sales enablement solution provider. The best way to do this, he says, is to have technology, such as a sales automation/CRM solution, that the sales team is comfortable using — and is kept up to date.
“A CRM system is such a critical piece [for managing leads], and I continue to be baffled by companies that don’t have a CRM system, much less track leads within one,” says Ryan DuCharme, national account manager, Modernize, which provides home empowerment solutions. “For the contracting and remodeling industries, [for example,] companies like Improveit!360 and MarketSharp are leaders in the CRM space and have cost-effective methods that will immediately improve lead generation ROI, as long as you commit to using the systems.”
2. Make sure salespeople are prepared before they reach out to prospects.“Sales reps can follow up on leads successfully only when they [are] properly prepared to do so,” says Robin Saitz, CMO, Brainshark, a sales enablement company. “For example, if leads are passed [on] based on webinar attendance, reps must [know] that webinar’s content and [what]qualifying questions would be relevant to be fully prepared for follow up with an attendee,” she explains. “If leads come in through a paid social media ad, reps need to know the nature of the offer, and what to probe for in a follow-up call or email. If reps don’t have this kind of background or foundation, leads will go to waste.”
Similarly, “if the lead came in through a referral source or partner, take a few minutes to ask the refer[er] why they directed the lead to you, what were the issues and problems,” says Aalap Shah, cofounder and new business development lead, SoMe, a digital marketing agency. “Knowledge is power and can help you set yourself up for success.”
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