Our Commercial Director, Sam, is the most logical person I’ve ever met. His first slide at every Sales meeting and quarterly Company Update is a rigorous analysis of the sales pipeline. Every target, from daily to annual, is calculated from the close rate backwards.
Improving your close rate is far more efficient than adding too many leads to the top of the funnel. Here are our top 4 ways to turn more leads into customers and keep your own Commercial Director happy.
1. Free Trial
Have you ever wondered why more and more car dealers are offering 24-hour test drives? It’s to get you attached to the car. In 24 hours, you’ll see how the car fits in your parking space, probably put fuel in, maybe take it to the shops. Now you see the car as part of your life and you’re more likely to buy it.
All free trials operate on the same principle. Once your prospect has used the product, it becomes part of the daily routine. They can see how it fits with their current setup. This is also an opportunity to settle any potential issues. If it’s not clear how to use a part of the product, this can be explained.
In addition, being prepared to offer access to your product for free, you send a powerful statement. You wouldn’t do this if your product was likely to disappoint. You get extra credibility even before anyone takes up the offer.
2. How-to Guides
Some prospects will be so sales-wary that they see even accepting a free trial as being too keen. For these hesitant people, how-to guides can be your way in. They give your prospect a way to understand what your product does and how. More importantly, your prospect can read and digest in their own time.
Have you ever thought of a question you should have asked after a meeting has ended? Head off this problem by using guides. Your demo can focus on the kind of specific queries that can make or break a sale. You won’t have to introduce the product’s features, as your prospect will already know them from the guide.
3. Design your funnel
We often talk of the marketing funnel as if it exists out in the world, independent of our input. However, this simply isn’t true.
While every industry will have its own quirks as to how leads progress down the funnel, there are some principles which apply universally. Early stage leads should be sent blogs and other quick-to-read content. This content should usually not require a download, as people at this stage aren’t ready to be contacted.
Once you’ve seen engagement from your lead, you can start to push them towards videos and guides. This “heavier” content should be tailored, either by their industry or by what they’ve already read about. The final stage is when marketing automation has done its work, and it’s time to give them a call!
The exact level of engagement which triggers each step is an important decision that only you can take. How do you go about making that choice?
How did you close your last 5 deals? Ok, now do that on your next 5!
With the right analytics in place, it really is that simple. Track activity on your website, which emails leads have been sent, and what your salespeople have done. Then once a customer is secured, trace their journey through your funnel. You can then feed this back into the “design your funnel” stage of the process, to reduce the risk of leads spilling out.
To make this work, you need your CRM and Marketing Automation tools to be integrated together. This allows both your Sales and Marketing teams to add and use data on leads as they move down the funnel.
The other side of this process is to keep track of deals which fell before the finish line. One of Sam’s earliest findings, when he took the role, was that a significant proportion of our deals were lost to apathy rather than competitors. In other words, prospects were telling us, “we’ll stick to what we’re doing.” this allowed the marketing team to focus less on comparison guides, and more on the strategic benefits that our products offer.
Always be closing
Once you put the above steps into practice, your close rate should go through the roof. With the right enticements, a well-designed funnel and data on closed deals to review, you won’t need to scramble for new leads. You should even be able to re-engage leads which have sat idle in your CRM.