This article won’t apply to everyone. We’ve written it with our clients in mind. Real estate developers and agents, financial advisers, luxury asset brokers – the type of firm that typically generates anywhere from 5 to 5,000 enquiries per month to feed their in-house sales teams or consultants.
There is often a very familiar setup across this type of business. The marketing team or marketing agency generates leads, which are passed directly to the sales team to call and close.
Sales teams might often complain that marketing aren’t giving them enough leads, or if the volume is there, then they’re not good enough quality.
Marketing responds saying that the sales team aren’t treating the leads with enough urgency, care and consideration. Each team blaming each other for the lack of business closed.
Sound familiar? Keep reading.
The first steps shouldn’t be the last
The quality of the process carried out by a sales team when receiving incoming leads is fundamental to converting those leads into sales. This may sound obvious, but it is often significantly overlooked.
Sales teams are constantly looking for fresh new leads that are ripe for conversion, but more often than not, the reality is that the leads they receive aren’t the low hanging fruit they were hoping for.
The most successful sales people often accept the reality of this. Instead of switching off as soon as they hear that a potential client is ‘just researching’ or ‘not quite ready to buy’, they switch on. Lean in. They build rapport and establish a relationship with this new enquiry from day one.
Day one becomes one day, and one day, when that potential client is ready to buy, they’ll buy from the person who looked after them since the beginning.
Sales teams that apply this attitude are much more likely to consistently perform, month-on-month, whether the bonus new low-hanging fruit (leads) lands on their lap that month or not.
The marketing point of view
When it comes to marketing, there is a constant focus on detail at every turn. The messaging, positioning, creative design, analytical insights… The list is endless.
Marketing teams can spend big budgets on perfectly-executed campaigns that drive high enquiry levels, but the subsequent sales process will inevitably determine the overall outcome.
Inefficient sales processes, low quality communication and outdated materials can quickly let down the effort entirely.
Many businesses see marketing as a way to get new leads through the door, but it shouldn’t stop there. Marketing influence should flow through the entire sales process, through to the services provided, and the rest of the business as well.
Sales processes require just as much attention and planning as marketing campaigns. Only with this mindset will you really set your business up for success.
As a general rule of thumb, businesses need to adapt their sales processes to continue the customer journey that marketing starts.
There should be a clear and thoughtful communications plan in place for new leads coming into a business.
Key aspects to consider are things like response times, templated emails and messages, follow up schedules, and personally tailored communications, to name a few. Each aspect plays a huge part in increasing the conversion rates of your sales team.
Once all of this is in place? You need to make sure every member of your sales team sticks to it. Every new enquiry into your business should be receiving the same high-quality and personalised experience that is representative of your business and its values.
Deals are lost every single month due to a poorly executed sales process. Make sure you’re not falling into this trap.
The lost enquiry process
Even with the best sales and marketing in the world, not every single lead you receive is going to convert to a sale.
People change their minds, change their circumstances, and are snapped up by competitors every single day. It’s a fact of business, but it does not mean your efforts are wasted.
You can make your lost leads work for you, not against you. Providing a quality process has been followed, there’s nothing to say that they won’t be ready to buy again and when they are, your business can be front-of-mind.
The power of a CRM
Companies spend millions marketing to new potential clients and customers, often forgetting that they have a database full of leads that came before them. Leads that are already paid for and sat there waiting to be re-engaged.
A well-maintained lead database is a goldmine for any business. When a CRM is used intelligently and consistently by both sales and marketing, you’d be surprised at the results it can yield for years to come. When it comes to a database or CRM, the more you put in, the more you get out. How?
Record everything. Measure everything. Ensure you have reportable fields in place for things like loss reasons, locations, buying motivation, budgets and lead sources.
Then, use this information to market to your database more intelligently going forward. It’ll slash your new lead generation costs and result in enquiries that are already part-way down the conversion path.
The sales and marketing synergy process
All in all, sales and marketing processes are only really effective when they work together, bringing out the best in the other.
Marketing teams should be there to support sales throughout the entirety of their process, not just a means to pump more leads through the door.
How marketing can help
With marketing expertise at their disposal, sales teams can access tailored and properly curated content, supporting materials, sales assets and a tailored plan to underpin the whole communications process.
Through targeted database re-marketing, you can reignite previously exhausted leads, using the CRM you have in place.
All it takes is good foresight, a well-structured process and a team that are on board. The rest is just waiting to happen.