Despite the advancements in technology, the basics of sales and lead conversions have largely remained untouched. For any sales outreach to succeed you need the following:
- Successfully contact the lead.
- Provide the prospect a relevant pitch
- Nurture the lead through to the close.
- Maintain the relationship.
While conceptually simple, the fact remains many will readily attest to the contrary, with the increasing challenge each modern sales rep faces clearly obvious when you consider the following:
- 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the initial meeting to close
- The average sales rep spends over 6 hours prospecting for leads.
- Sales reps average 8 calls per hour to setup just 1 appointment.
With the advancements in communication, technology, and data access, the immediate assumption is that sales reps are better equipped than ever to succeed. Though in-part true, one must also consider the fundamental shift that has taken place, whereby consumers maintain greater control over the process than ever before – the age of the seller has radically given way to the age of the consumer.
But there are tricks to keep sales reps successful. Here are just a few:
Evaluate Your Speed-to-call Process: Any sales institution is familiar with lead decay rate or the basic concept of a lead going cold with time. And studies have demonstrated the correlation between time and conversion rates to be very real. Factor in the added expectations of today’s impatient consumers and the importance of reaching each lead as quickly as possible (seconds rather than minutes) is exponentially made more crucial. However, with the right communication technology, business processes, and lead routing platforms, the ability to respond to a lead opportunity within seconds is not fiction – it exists and could make the difference between success and failure. In short, if excel sheets and manually dialing are still a part of the process it may be time to revisit the overall approach.
Lead Nurturing and Monitoring: Despite the average close requiring 5 follow-up attempts, many reps (44%) will give up after just one. The driving reasons behind the statistic can be vary from laziness to a lack of organization, but regardless, the unnecessary loss of any lead is difficult to justify when one considers the number of helpful software and platforms available today. In fact, today’s leading call center solutions have the capability of seamlessly integrating with sales CRM and marketing systems to assist in the proper lead-nurturing process to prevent opportunities from needlessly expiring. In fact, for those organizations obsessed with making sure no lead goes untouched, some platforms can automatically re-distribute leads to new reps if the originating one has fallen behind based on pre-determined criteria (i.e.: time, etc.). Simple but impactful on the bottom-line.
Accessible Customer Data: 33% of sales opportunities fail due to the rep lacking access to relevant client information at the time of the interaction. With the average consumer armed with as much data as today’s sales reps, the importance of having access to as much data as possible is paramount. Consumers expect reps to know who they are calling and why, without which the odds of success drop dramatically. However, most organizations still maintain segmented departments and solutions (Sales, Billing, Support, CRM, Ticketing, etc.), which complicates the transfer of data unless a unified communication platform exists to help aggregate all the information under one roof. With the advent of cloud and SaaS solutions, the ability to do so is far more realistic, easy to implement, and affordable then ever before – definitely worth consideration.
Matching Customer to Rep: The best sales conversion opportunities are those based on initial factors that can facilitate an immediate relationship between the sales rep and the interested party. Whether it be unique skills, language, prior history, or product knowledge (to name just a few), the ability to foster any connection with the customer will always raise the odds of success. As a result, today’s most effective businesses use a combination of IVR (Interactive Voice Response), skills-based routing, and CRM-based routing solutions to enhance the quality of each interaction by matching the most qualified lead with the most likely sales rep to close it. In an age obsessed with personalized service, it’s a no-brainer.
Dynamic Guidance: The most successful sales reps are generally those who display the greatest level of comfort with the product and interaction. However, even the best reps need guidance and reminders as industries, company policies, and trends are always subject to change (sometimes overnight). With dynamic scripts, sales reps can maintain control of the discussion without sounding robotic while still having easy access to useful information and prompts to help ensure the most successful sale. And yes, even the best of reps need help and often accept it.