Recently, one of our clients told us that their sales team had to put their lead flow on hold because “they couldn’t manage any more” and we couldn’t help but ask – why? For marketers and salespeople, leads represent a company’s health – they feed revenue and keep the business wheel turning. So to hear our client didn’t want any more inbound leads was a bit shocking. How do you expect to grow your revenue if your capacity to field more opportunities is limited?
Well, what we’re seeing with a lot of our clients is that their sales teams gear up for busy season the best they can – planning for higher than normal volume of inbound leads – but they eventually feel maxed out and stop feeding the pipeline. What’s the result? They’re closing the door to a huge deal of new revenue opportunities and failing to set themselves up for continued success after busy season passes.
When it comes down to it – plain and simple – closing sales is what earns revenue and at the same time, most sales reps spend about 65% of their time during a workday NOT actually selling! So you may feel busy, but you’re actually spending a majority of your time on tasks that don’t earn revenue.
Here’s the deal, we want to help. We’re fortunate enough to be at the intersection of some of the best sales and marketing teams in the world. Here are some tips we’ve learned that can help you “Always Be Closing”:
1. Invest in a CRM
Do you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in place? When it comes to the day-to-day in business, you might go by the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if you’re working with a simple spreadsheet, like Excel, your system is probably slowing you down and you don’t even realize it. Excel sheets can work for a small number of leads, but as your business’s lead volume grows, it will become way too difficult to manage and you’ll end up spending all your time on non-selling administrative tasks.
Instead of going to several places to record and reference information, a typical CRM will streamline all sales activities and speed up your productivity by more than 30%. It will organize, track, and manage your leads and existing customers in one platform. Your entire team will have instant access to a buyer’s entire interaction with your company – from the point of entry, to conversion, to repeat buys and cross-sells – and understand exactly how that lead moved through your sales funnel. This pays off — with a CRM, businesses experience a higher ROI – an average of $8.71 per dollar spent.
2. Stop Spending Time on Quoting
We know firsthand that quoting can take a lot of time. It’s easy to feel like quoting can distract you from managing more leads. For instance, some of our clients in the construction industry tell us that it can take up to 3 hours to properly quote a customer. So, let’s say you quote 20 leads in a given month. 3 hours x 20 leads = 60 hours! That’s over a week of UNPAID work (meaning that you’re spending your time quoting, but you have no guarantee that a prospect will ultimately buy from you).
Don’t settle for that. Instead, qualify your prospects harder upfront. Before you quote, do these 6 things:
- Ask why they want to buy (and what they are interested in buying… but the motivation is more important than the product).
- Ask what is their budget.
- Ask how their company makes decisions.
- Ask what they need to see from you in order to do business.
- Tell them it takes 3 hours to quote (shows you care, and will weed out people that have no intention of buying).
- Ask them to commit to a meeting with you when the quote is ready.
Here is what will happen when you follow this process: You won’t send out as many quotes. You will not work as hard. You’ll be able to field more leads and increase your sales.
3. Build “Frequently Used” Custom Templates
Do you find yourself having the same conversations over and over again throughout your day? And after those conversations, you craft emails that help move the sales process along. Well, those emails take a lot of time to write. According to Docurated’s 2015 State of Sales Productivity Report, sales reps spend up to 20 hours a week drafting emails. If this describes you, you’re not managing enough leads.
Developing templates for calls and emails is crucial for lead management. Don’t try to re-create the wheel for every lead. Be scenario-driven, and create templates around those sales scenarios. Let’s take cold calling for example:
o Scenario: You cold called a prospect then you want to send an email.
o Template: Create a standardized short, to-the-point email that addresses prospective customer’s pain points that you solve, and ask for a time to connect.
Now here’s some key advice. Save the email in your Outlook signature or CRM, titling is as “Cold Call Email” and use it every single time you make a cold call. Over time, you can adjust the template using what works vs. what doesn’t until you have an email that produces the highest response rate. Now rinse and repeat for each of your frequent sales scenarios and save valuable time.
The same general concept can be used for calls. Create scripts for leads in similar industries or similar job titles (the same way you did with your “cold calling” template), so you can make pitches centered around likely pain points for that business persona. Schedule those calls in a single time frame, so you’re familiar with the message you’re communicating and can reproduce it easily. Do this, and you’ll become more effective as you call more.
4. Use Newfound Time to Call More, Quicker
If you’ve followed the above steps, that means you have more time in your workday to focus on what matters – calling to close sales with qualified leads. For most sales reps, it’s no mystery that calling more is going to improve your sales funnel and help lead management. There are a few tricks to making our calls more time-conducive and effective:
In a Lead Response Management Study, most sales reps give up calling leads too soon. In fact, there’s a 30% dropped contact rate when giving up after making just a few calls. Making more call attempts to a given lead, period, is going to yield up to a 70% increase in contact rate. The ideal number is calling 6 times, where you have a 90% chance of contact on the sixth call! Multiply that by the number of leads you have, and watch the potential for closing sales skyrocket.
Get an automated dialer
Auto dialers help sales reps make more sales and save time doing it. Sales teams that use manual dialing are left with only 10-15 minutes of talk time an hour, once they leave voicemail, schedule follow-up calls, and/or wait for someone to reply. Autodialing systems increase talk time by 200-300%. Many VoIP system technologies are making integrating a auto-dialer easier. To read more about VoIP’s benefits for sales reps, take a look here.
Plain and simple, prospects are more willing to pick up the phone when they see a local area code. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to boost your conversion rates and build a good first impression with your lead. If you call, call, and call again with no answer, leads start to pile up. How do you avoid that? Get your leads to answer on the first call more often.
All in all, if sales is your business’s key revenue-driver, thinking outside-the-box and being strategic about how to free up time to close more sales is going to make a huge impact – whether you experience a “busy season” or not. Working on time-management and task urgency prioritization is an evergreen form of boosting revenue. It could truly revolutionize your lead management and revenue.
To get expert tips on building out your sales team, take a look here. Don’t forget to compliment this sales knowledge with a robust marketing strategy. If you are looking for new ways to find verified true-intent leads and save a ton of valuable time doing it yourself, give 360Connect‘s business model and R.O.I. opportunity a quick look. We’re focused on your success, and would love to discuss that missing ingredient in your business’s marketing operations.