Converting leads is a constant struggle. Whatever position your business is at, and whichever industry you’re operating in, making the sale never gets any easier.
Everyone is in the same position: trying to create the most opportunity from leads generated, increase velocity in the sales funnel, and manage the performance of sales reps.
Anything you can do to improve these areas will help you convert more leads and win more business.
This blog will focus on some ways to improve sales reps’ performance, and how you can help them become more effective with 6 key techniques.
1. Be the first to get in touch
Responsiveness is one of the key factors in a prospect’s decision to choose a vendor. Other important factors are at play throughout the sales interaction, but when it comes down to it, the speed at which a sales rep responds is extremely important.
Decision makers like to feel that you want their business. They don’t want to chase you. The quicker you can respond to their enquiry, the more likely you are to have a conversation with them before they become fatiged from talking to vendors.
Encourage your sales reps to pick up the phone or send an email as soon as possible after an enquiry comes through. Doing some research and having the right context on the company you are speaking to is important, but you want to set a time limit on how long sales have to respond to an inbound enquiry, whether it is 30, 10 or 5 minutes!
And if you can reply to a query that comes in over the weekend immediately, you’re going to be miles ahead of your competition.
Consider staggering your sales reps in shifts so they can cover more hours in the day, or give them the flexibility to work from home, especially over the weekend.
You could incentivize response times, to encourage reps to act as fast as possible.
Another great way to identify exactly when a prospect is curious is to use software and technology. Good tech should be able to let you know when a prospect has visited your website, opened an email, or even interacted with content that you’ve sent them.
They are interested in learning more, and you’re the first to know about it. Act quickly.
2. Learn more about your prospects
Who is your ideal customer? Do you have an image or details of what they look like and how they behave? Do your sales reps have that same idea? Or do they go after every prospect that drops in their inbox in the same way?
If you – and your sales team – don’t have a clear idea of your customer personas, they could be wasting time on leads that just aren’t valuable to you.
Instead, they should be focusing on the types of prospects who could be great customers, and those who are most likely to convert.
If you haven’t done so already, spend some time building out buyer personas for your pipeline. You could even include negative personas of those prospects who shouldn’t be pursued.
To identify the prospects with the strongest potential, you might want to use some smart software. CRMs, marketing automation systems and sales enablement tools can help you pinpoint the prospects who are likely to convert, based on their current and previous behaviours and the position they are at in the sales funnels.
These personas can even inform the content you produce, helping ensure you share the most relevant information, marketing material that actually speaks to your prospects interests/needs/challenges.
3. Connect with your prospect
Research is also vital if your sales reps want to make a strong connection with the prospect.
They need to know as much as possible about the prospect’s company and what they do, before they get in touch.
Why take a stab in the dark, when your sales reps can spend a bit of time:
- following the company on social media
- signing up to their newsletter
- exploring their website
- Looking at Linkedin to determine team structure and key people is also a must
- Learn who their competitors are
Using social media is an ideal way to show prospects you understand their brand and know what they’re about. It helps you talk about something specifically the first time you get in touch, rather than that generic “I understand your company sells X.”
By making that personal connection, your sales reps humanize the business. And people are far more likely to buy from people they have a connection with.
4. Educate your reps
You should also try and spend more time and effort supporting your sales reps, helping them to learn more about:
- the product
- the process
- the business
- the competition
Education is not only for new starters, who might be new to the role, to the company, or your industry. The more educated they are on these areas, the more effective they’ll be at selling, objection handling and converting leads.
Make sure they have a deep knowledge of the key features and benefits of your product range. This may sound obvious but sometimes features are explained without a focus on the benefit that they bring to your customers. Visibility of your product roadmap is also important to fuel.
Make sure they have a full understanding of how your pipeline works, and the different stages of your sales funnel.
You could use sales enablement software like Data Dwell to give your reps access to the right training modules and the appropriate supporting information, whichever stage of the selling process they are at. It can be a big help, a useful safety net, and a great way to improve sales.
Your reps need to understand your business, teams and resources. They should be aware of your important customers, who they can say you work with and who they mustn’t mention. Also that areas of the business they can bring in as support when selling.
But you should also help them learn more about your competition. Give them time to research other providers, explore the marketplace and see what your competitors do differently.
This will make them more effective in sales pitches when they can compare your superior products to that of the competition, or be prepared to counter any competitive advantages of another company in your space.
5. Share your content more effectively
When your sales reps have made that connection, the next step is often to share some more information with the prospect.
They might just want you to ‘put everything down in an email’, a common way to get you off the phone. In this instance, encourage your sales reps to tell the prospect that they’d just like to make sure they send information that’s actually useful, and ask if would they prefer X or Y.
This way, you’re giving the prospect chance to think about what they actually need.
If your sales reps are further along with the prospect, they may already know what they need to send. But they need to have easy access to it.
They need the right kind of information – case studies, promotional videos, product brochures etc. – that are suitable for the stage the prospect is at.
Sales enablement software like Data Dwell can help there too. Your marketing team can assign specific content to different stages of the sales funnel, content that sits directly in Salesforce.
Your reps then have access to the most relevant case study or the most effective promo video, whenever they need it.
6. Keep at it
Finally, one of the best tactics you can give to your sales reps is the encouragement to keep at it. Getting a lead to convert into a customer is difficult work, and it can take time.
Your reps will rarely clinch a sale in the first few conversations, as many B2B sales have an extremely long lead-time across multiple months. This is especially the case in enterprise deals, with compliance rules, lots of decision makers, and bureaucratic management.
There are three things to ensure your reps are doing:
- Follow up at every chance available If your reps can see when a prospect has just re-opened an email, read the content sent to them or shared it internally, then it may well be the right time to get in touch
- Re-engage older leads. They may not have been ready to buy at the time of the first contact, but 3 or 6 months later could be a different story, having easy access to marketing materials that provide a relevant, useful reason to contact prospects makes the
- Identify hidden stakeholders. With sales enablement software like Data Dwell, your reps will be able to see exactly when marketing material is shared by a prospect with others in their business. It’s a strong sign they’re discussing your product, and a great time to get in touch again.
Try one, try two, or try all of these techniques with your sales reps. The more tools you can give them, the more effective they will be at doing their job and making that sale.
Do you want to help your reps improve their conversion rate with sales enablement software? Start your free trial here.