Whether you are in sales or marketing, creating opportunities to improve conversions at each step of the funnel is vital to one’s productivity and success in generating more leads and ultimately more revenue. Sophisticated marketers now use social media to create opportunities while more of the old school sales people leverage their own tricks to ensure they stay in front of prospects and give themselves more opportunities entice them by one’s product or service.
Increasing conversions at each stage of the funnel can have multiplier effects at each stage so creating more ways to improve conversions can have lasting effects on one’s pipeline of prospects. At CustomShow, we’ve developed what we consider to be the standard sales process for most business to business professionals. Here is our partial list of things you can do to give yourself more chances to succeed.
Brand Strategy & Storytelling
Even before prospect deployment, creating a brand story and understanding it well sets the tone and base for your conversations with prospects and even understanding who you potential client is. Aside from going through a brand story exercise, knowing your brand and the history behind it can intrigue prospects when you share your story with them.
Understand Who’s Truly Your Best Client
Many salespeople get this part wrong. They don’t build the ideal buyer persona and think through where they can locate these individuals. What age group are them in? What’s their income? What’s the typical make up of their organization? Whether you are cold calling or attending networking events, knowing your ideal customer can answer many critical questions for you including:
- Who else in my circle touches these types of customers?
- What events do these customers frequent?
- What times of the day are these individuals most available to contact?
- What types of content do these individuals prefer?
Have A Sales Enablement System In Place
It’s not enough to simply have an excel file to track prospects you’ve uploaded into your database. You need a sales enablement tool that can enable you to be more productive and sift through the list of prospects you’ve entered into your database. Tools such as Salesforce and Hubspot can assist in this regard. They allow for better organization, but also allow you to touch your prospects in the future with a CRM email campaign that can be further buttressed with social media updates.
Take an additional 2 – 4 minutes (Find Other Common Bonds)
Take the additional 2 minutes to research every prospect you are attempting to get in touch with. Nothing makes it easier for you to have a conversation and establish rapport with a stranger other than an introduction from someone else and common interests. Things we try to learn about our prospects before initiating contacts include:
- Who in my network knows this person
- What organizations does he or she belong to
- What schools did he or she attend
- What’s their religion
- Why activities are they interested in
The best tool you can use for this is LinkedIn.
Some may think that contacting as many people in a short period of time without research allows you to get more calls and contacts in that same period of time, but it can truly be a waist of time if you’re not increasing your chancing of success at each stage with proper research. Take the time to research, and you’ll position yourself for people on the other end more willing to listen to what you have to say.
Leverage Other Channels To Get In Touch With
There are plenty of other channels that you can touch your prospects on excluding phone and email. Other popular channels include SMS, LinkedIn, Twitter, and their own blog if they have one. Something very unique is sending a hand written letter to specific individuals. No one does that because they think it’s a waste of time. Getting creative and thinking outside the box in how you connect with your prospects can increase the chances of actually getting in touch with them.
Create Content To Keep Them Engaged
If you’ve taken steps toward developing a relationship with the prospect or atleast connecting with them in some capacity, content will keep them engaged in you and your brand. Whether you leverage content for brand awareness in driving new prospects to your pool or individuals you’ve already connected with, create content relevant to the audience that is value adding. Hubspot was instrumental in creating the mindset of content that can win over new prospects and feed your pipeline.
Popular types of content can include the following:
- Videos of your product
- Case Studies
- Blog Posts
All these forms of content can be distributed via your email software or social media channels. You can even send hard copies of whitepapers to prospects if the value of the prospect warrants the cost of sending the whitepaper via mail.
Your Trump Card
The trump card is your last ditch effort to either collect their contact information or to schedule a meeting. If after working through your script you have not peaked their interest “enough” to get a meeting, consider what you can do so they do not forget you. Maybe you ask them if you can connect with them on LinkedIn or Twitter, or simply asking them if you can add them to your email listserv. You can also ask them if you can call them at a later date when their needs have changed. The last thing you want to do is just thank them for their time and hang up unless you know they’re not the right fit for your company as a client.
Understand The Underlying Challenge
What challenges are your prospects truly dealing with and is your product or service the right fit? What we like to do is create a list of 10 – 20 potential challenges a majority of our prospects face when creating, designing, and delivering presentations. By doing so, we’re able to speak intelligently to those challenges and match up clear solutions that could be vital to our contacts. But it’s the preparation and hard work in the beginning that can give you an edge when communicating with your prospects.
Have List of Solutions Based On Product & Service Offerings
Similar to creating your list of potential challenges your prospects are facing, having a list of solutions is the next best thing one can do. Any sales and marketer worth their weight and gold will already know this pretty well, but being able to list acutely to the prospects challenges and offer up solutions readily and quickly can set you apart.
At this stage, you’ve peaked the interest of the prospect and maybe even scheduled a meeting to conduct a demonstration to your prospects or discuss your service offering. But for any high priced item, you need to present a proposal that outlines cost structure, services rendered, and a needs assessment of the potential client. Here are a few tips that can set you apart.
When we say competitive analysis, we meaning performing as much due diligence on the individuals they now may be considering since you’ve contacted them. And even if they’re not considering anyone else, you should understand the challenges your main competitors’ products or services could present to your prospect.
Sample or Gameplan Of How You’d Service
I remember when I was in a meeting with 3 developers. They were pitching to us to build the new industrial complex for one of the world’s largest shoe makers. We settled on a city, but did not know where in the city we should develop. The first two developers came in and did a great job throughout their presentations. They discussed their experience, they talked about the development process, and talked pricing with us. We were pleased and satisfied.
But then the third developer came in. They were from out of state so they were already in third place, even though they have more experience with these types of development projects. Not only did they cover the points the other two developers covered better, they create a blueprint and invested the money into showing how they would work from start to finish, how they’d communicate with the project manager, critical paths that are important to each stage of the development process, and simply addressing nuances the other two developers didn’t. That was a $100 million plus deal they won simply because they created a better gameplan both in their proposal and in their presentation.
Take the time to create how you’d work, and your prospect will feel that much more comfortable hiring you.
Invest In Wowing the Prospect
A little selfish on our part, but that’s what CustomShow is all about; creating presentations that wow and engage your audience unlike any other software on the market. Don’t be a powerpoint junky and go with the norm. Create something unique and engaging that can differentiate you and make your positioning unique.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We’re going into the obvious touch points, but many individuals don’t practice “outloud” their presentations. This becomes even more critical when you’re presenting with a group of individuals. Going through the presentation two to three times can allow you to come up with well structured answers to the prospects questions and give you that much more confidence during the presentation. Nothing exudes more assurance from the prospect than a confident communicator.
Close The Deal
At the final stage of the process, after you’ve presented and sent in a proposal there still remains other things you can do to further improve your chances of closing the sale. Those items include:
- Hand written thank you letter
- Friendly reminders on the same circles and networks you two are apart of
- Getting someone who knows both of you to contact them
- Making an introduction vital to them and their business
There are a number of creative things you can do to improve your chances of closing the sales. We look forward to hearing from you other ways to increase conversions at each stage of the sales funnel.