It’s important for your team’s efficiencies, but what does automating your sales process mean for your bottom line?
Significant increases in revenue can be realized for any company just by making a few simple changes to your sales process. Lets start by understanding the lead nurturing process for the modern buyer, and what makes someone a “modern” buyer as compared to a “traditional” buyer.
Lead nurturing is no longer a linear progression.
Consumers no longer come to you from the very top of the sales funnel, ready to be guided through the process as they make purchasing decisions. Instead, they’re entering the funnel at different points and through different channels. Some of them have already done a great deal of research before they ever come to your website. Others will take care of their research and make buying decisions long before they’re willing to provide you with even the simplest contact details. As a result, the way we approach lead nurturing in 2018 is vastly different from even a few years ago. Since proper lead nurturing can increase your bottom line significantly, it’s critical to streamline your process in order to keep your team as efficient as possible.
Here are some tips to help you streamline your sales process and incorporate automation strategies that are applicable to any industry and can help you become more efficient at some of the routine tasks that a salesperson does on a daily basis.
1. Create a Content Library
Creating a central location for educational pieces that are right at your fingertips is critical. Many prospects have similar questions, so instead of writing a long email to each prospect individually about the same topic, you can automate the process by creating a library of content that you can simply link to. For example, work with your marketing team to create a good foundation on your blog or resource page on your website; this type of “content library” serves as a tool to help educate your prospects on the topics that are important to your product or service and it also builds credibility for your brand online as a thought leader in your industry.
Because consumers are moving themselves through the sales funnel in a way that they never have before, it’s critical that you provide them with the information they need at the right stage in their journey, in order to make those important buying decisions. In many cases, you may not have direct contact with a potential customer until they’re ready to make a purchase-and by that point, it’s too late for you to lead customers to your products or services instead of your competitors. By creating a solid library filled with useful information, you make it possible for interested buyers to guide themselves through the sales funnel, ultimately providing them with a deeper trust for your company and establishing more credibility online.
Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. This means content for everything from the awareness stage, when buyers are first thinking about how your product can help them, to the very bottom of the sales funnel, when they’re looking for more information about how your product stacks up to your competitors.
Publish new content regularly. You never know when it will be needed in order to bring in new leads. Content can take the form of a blog, white paper, ebook, guide, or even video. Make sure the content is genuinely useful and helpful to your customers at their current stage in the buyer’s journey. It answers their questions, helps with their pain points, and prepares them for the buying decision. Long-form content is increasingly important, both for search engine ranking and for keeping the interest of your customers. Long-form content gives you a better chance to show your authority on a specific topic, giving your prospects a better idea of exactly how much you know.
2. Create Email Templates
You’ve managed to gather information about a new lead. Now, what information will you send them? If your company is still sending out an email “newsletter” to everyone on your list, chances are, the majority of your emails are going unopened. Instead of sending the same information to everyone, try preparing targeted content that has been specifically chosen to nurture different segments of your audience. The first step in being able to send targeted content is to segment your email list.
For example, introductory offers that will help encourage new leads to make their first purchase from your company can include specific articles or links to information that will help your leads in their decision-making process. Targeted emails that market the products that your leads are considering are also a good way to improve your ability to connect with individual customers about the topic they are genuinely interested in, and encourage them as they move through the sales funnel. Keep a close eye on the triggers that generate specific types of email content, by refining them, you’ll find that you’re better able to provide highly relevant, timely emails that are of more interest to buyers at their specific stage of the funnel. Using machine learning, you can quickly develop a deeper understanding of what specific behaviors customers choose to engage in as they move through various stages of the sales funnel, allowing you to better target customers according to their specific needs.
3. Use Multiple Channels
It may take 6 to 8 touches to simply generate a sales lead. Some buyers are looking for more than 10 connections before they’re ready to make that critical purchase. For this reason, you must stay in touch with your leads as they move through the sales funnel. Pay close attention to signals about how your audience would prefer to stay in contact with you. It may be through email, by phone, or by connecting with you on social media. Then, be sure that you’re providing them with relevant information in a helpful way, according to the method in which they prefer to “receive” the information.
Strike a balance with your social media posts. You want to provide information that is interesting to your existing customers, but you also want to help nurture leads in a way that is more helpful than salesy. Offering questions for discussion and interacting with customers through your social media channels can help with that process.
4. Automate Follow up
Your conversions may drop off significantly with a prospect if you wait too long to respond to their inquiry. If you’ve been given that important contact information through a form on your website, assume that your buyer is ready for you to connect with them. Automating critical touchpoint emails is an excellent way to ensure that interested people get the information they need right when they expect it. Automated intelligence offers more opportunities for disruptive marketing strategies than ever before. By incorporating specific questions into your forms, you can automate the followup process and improve the information and the timeliness of it to ensure a more effective strategy.
5. Score Your Leads
Not every lead is necessarily a qualified lead-and that’s an important distinction to make to keep your team efficient when prospecting. When you’re nurturing a lead, there’s nothing more frustrating than watching that lead disappear after you’ve poured time and energy into them. Scoring leads can help you differentiate between a highly qualified lead and someone who is only vaguely interested in your products. By identifying the criteria that qualifies your lead and matches them to the best product or service for their pain point, you’ll find that you’re able to focus your energy on prospective customers who are genuinely interested in your what you have to offer.
By understanding the modern buyer…the new way that consumers research and buy products, you can better shape your nurturing process, your connections and your interactions to provide the most relevant and helpful answers to their questions. Interested in learning more about how to align your sales and marketing teams for success? Check out our free 14-minute webinar!