This post was written by our Principal Deb Berman.
Let’s face it: the only thing that qualified leads are truly interested in is how a product or service can solve their problems and build their business, and modern CEOs and SVPs at enterprise-level organizations are waking up to this fact.
A qualified lead isn’t going to spend money on specific features, facts, or unique details of a product or service, and although these positive qualities can still move a purchase decision through your sales pipeline, modern sales leaders need to remember that the key to closing successful deals is showcasing the value your organization can deliver to your clients. According to CSO Insights, companies who excel at lead nurturing through the sales pipeline have 9% more reps making quota.
However, too many sales leaders are still making the same old mistakes when managing how reps keep in touch with leads throughout the sales pipeline. Communication issues aren’t always the fault of a specific rep; often, reps fall short as a result of inefficiencies within the onboarding processes, or with poor technology adoption and integration which keeps them from moving qualified leads swiftly through the pipeline.
If your reps are going to rock each sale and drive revenue each quarter, they need to be trained to know how to maintain and own sales momentum.
With proper guidance and resources your reps can avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls that may be keeping them from achieving the best results. Our Principal, Deb Berman, shares her best-practice tips and tricks to generating momentum throughout your sales pipeline to drive high-quality deals:
1. There’s No Such Thing As a “Check-In Call”
Most sales reps love to make “check-in calls” with prospects and leads as they make their way through the sales pipeline. In theory, these calls are intended to determine where a potential buyer is in the decision-making process. However, these calls hold no true value for the buyer, which often leads a prospect to believe that the majority of your calls are entirely for your benefit, not theirs. This is critical for reps to keep in mind, as 74% of buyers will choose to work with the rep who first added value and insight into their conversations.
It’s time to kill the check-in call. Instead, take the time to nurture leads by utilizing technology and sales engagement software such as SalesLoft to create data-backed and efficient communication touch points.
2. Pricing Should Always Have an Expiration Date
When it comes to financials, reps will often send contracts, quotes, or pricing guides without setting a specific deadline, or even worse, stating “get it back to me whenever.” Indifference isn’t charming in sales, so making a point to be diligent with financials and deadlines is critical to closing more deals.
Instead of creating an open timeline and leaving it up to the prospect to get back to you on pricing or payment, reps need to be creating a sense of urgency by stating that a pricing offer is only valid until a certain date. These deadlines can be tied to other incentives, services or offers that go along with the expiration – and you can think strategically about what kinds of incentives make sense for your offering, but the overarching takeaway is that there needs to be a reason to return the contract that the customer cares about.
3. Create Compelling Events
Developing events to create a smooth timeline during the sales adoption process allows reps to drive momentum and guide a lead towards the solution and close the deal.
To create these events, reps need to engage with leads in the early stages of the buying process to discover the problem they’re facing so they can create an efficient and well-documented timeline to solving it. A report by Demand Gen showed that 95% of customers choose solution providers who offer relevant content through every stage of the buying process.
Creating a timeline helps leads feel intrigued and engaged, and provides your reps with clear dates and times to share content which directly relates to the specific to the needs of that lead.
Depending on the product or service that is being sold, reps can generate timelines around important events, or times of year, that are crucial for the lead, such as growing revenue, or unlocking data in advance of a board meeting, or by compiling deliverables ahead of time to ensure that training and onboarding processes can be done by a specific deadline.
4. Always Have an Agenda
Phone calls just don’t lead prospects through the sales pipeline as effectively as they once did, especially when a prospect isn’t sure of the value-add involved. Unsurprisingly, research by Salesforce found that 85% of prospects are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experiences, which means that developing an agenda that give your reps a clear reason to get on the phone with a prospect is critical. When reps communicate the need for a phone call it creates intrigue and purpose, which keeps prospects engaged.
Successful calls should start with positioning statements such as:
- “We’ll review the questions you had last time we talked.”
- “I’m going to have my sales engineer on the phone to talk through specifics of the implementation process with you.”
- “I’ve put together some case studies from similar companies and situations and we can talk through how they relate to the challenges you’re facing.”
Whatever the situation, make sure to give Decision Makers a clear understanding of exactly why your reps are getting them on the phone. Including other experts from your organization who can add value to the call is a great way to build trust with a lead while also giving them a deeper understanding of the positive benefits of working with your organization
5. More Activities = More Closed Won Deals
Moving leads through the pipeline isn’t always a straightforward process. Whether it’s a vacation time or competing priorities, a rep may not be able to connect directly with a lead for an extended period.
However, this doesn’t let your reps off the hook when it comes to staying in front of a qualified lead. There should never be an extended period where a Decision Maker doesn’t hear from your rep in some capacity, as more value-adding activities that occur between a sales rep and a lead means more closed one-deals.
The key to creating more activities that connect reps with a lead is creating drip campaigns which target several Decision Makers. Developing personalized drip campaigns doesn’t have to eat up all of your reps’ time; by using tools like Gainsight, Totango, and Salesforce your reps can create campaigns which speak to the pain points of various key Decision Makers including heads of IT, VP’s, and CEO’s. More and more, we’re seeing forward thinking companies use SalesLoft for mid-funnel campaigns as well.
Not only does using these tools arm your reps with content they can use to move the sale forward, but they offer insightful data and analysis which can optimize your content and codify it across your team. Martech found that organizations who excel at drip campaigns and marketing generate 80% more sales at a 33% lower cost.
Earlier this year we surveyed 87 B2B Decision Makers, and 63% of identified that their most recent transaction with a vendor offered personalized content, showcasing that the vendor had gone above and beyond to research their specific needs.
Our survey also showed that 70% of Decision Makers were influenced by other members of their team to accept a meeting with a vendor, which means that it’s critical to think about exactly who the key Decision Makers are, and what information is most relevant to them when creating personalized drip campaigns.
For each unique Decision Maker that your reps are working with, ask:
- Who are they?
- What kind of content is relevant and answers their questions?
- How long does each stage of your pipeline take?
- What content is appropriate to share at each stage of the pipeline?
Marketing teams can use this information to create content and drip campaigns that are then uploaded to SalesLoft or another sales engagement platform, which can then be initiated automatically whenever a future opportunity is at a certain stage, or when there’s a certain type of Decision Maker involved.
More activities equals more closed won deals, so personally engaging with multiple members of a Decision Making team keeps your lead moving through your sales pipeline towards the end-goal: closing the deal.
Our upcoming eBook Sales and Marketing: Bridging the Gap is designed to help enterprise-level Sales Leaders and CEOs focus on aligning their Sales and Marketing departments to drive sales momentum and close quality deals. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when it’s released.