After the year we’ve all had, seeing a much brighter economic forecast for the year ahead is music to our ears. Now is the time to make sure you’re ready to take advantage of it!
Here are 8 things you can do today to make the most of your opportunities in the year ahead.
Target Trigger Events in Your Marketing
In just about every sales process, there are trigger events that drive prospects to consider your products and services. In B2B businesses, an example would be the opening of a new location. In the case of B2C, an example could be if most conversions come from people who just bought a new house.
Identify the trigger events that drive sales opportunities and target your marketing message, channels, and timing to ensure that your company is top of mind as these trigger events happen.
Follow Up Faster (and More!)
The stats don’t lie: we aren’t following up fast enough or nearly as much as we should!
Check out these stats from a blog post by CRM developer Pipedrive:
According to a survey commissioned by the Harvard Business Review, salespeople see a 400% increase in lead response when contacting a lead within the first five minutes.
A study in the UK also found that only 2% of deals are concluded when the two parties meet for the first time, while 80% of sales take five follow-up calls to close. But over 50% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up call!.
Automate as Much as Possible
How do you follow up faster and more often? Working harder isn’t the answer.
Just about everything in your sales process can be automated these days, and the tools to do so are available at any budget level.
Make the investment to get set up properly so that you aren’t relying on having more time in the day to do proper follow up – we know that won’t be the case!
Focus Your Efforts on the Right Leads
Almost every CRM has the ability to do some sort of lead scoring, giving you the ability to focus your efforts on deals that are most likely to close sooner rather than later.
How can you tell which deals are ‘hot’ and which are not?
Are they consuming a lot of the content on your website in a short period of time? Have they attended webinars about your products?
Activities like these are a sign of strong interest, and almost all of them can be tracked.
Use lead scoring to assign points to opportunities that indicate that they are high-value or ready to buy and make them the priority.
Don’t Be Afraid to Drop Leads
To follow up on the previous point: not every lead deserves your full attention and effort right now.
While every lead is potentially valuable, some simply aren’t looking to buy in the near term and shouldn’t get as much focus as those that are.
And others simply aren’t qualified at all, and no amount of follow up is going to change that.
It may be time to drop them and move on!
Some signs that it is time to drop a lead include the following:
- You cannot contact them.
- They told you clearly that they are not interested.
- You keep talking to them, but they won’t advance in the sales pipeline.
If you have more leads in your pipeline, focus on those instead. And if you don’t, focus your attention and effort on trying to get more rather than chasing ones that aren’t a good fit!
Proactively Drive More Referrals
Small businesses tend to rely on word of mouth to get more leads, which is not bad. But passively expecting them to show up instead of having a process to actively drive more of them is a mistake!
Your sales process should include a process specifically designed to drive more referrals.
Depending on your business and resources, you may even want to offer an incentive of some sort for referrals. A discount or freebie can go a long way.
Either way, make sure that every prospect and customer is asked for a referral and measure and manage the process just like any other key part of your sales and marketing.
Content is King
Today’s customers are forming impressions and making decisions long before they get active in your sales process by researching online.
That’s why marketing guru Seth Godin famously said, “Content Marketing is the only marketing that’s left.”
Yes, content is that important!
Think about your prospects’ needs and create content to help them. For example, consider buying guides for those at the top of the funnel and extremely detailed information or even a free trial at the bottom of the funnel.
You don’t have to turn into a media company, but you do need to publish!
Follow the Numbers
You manage what you measure.
You may be intimidated by the metrics related to your sales pipeline, but they are more valuable and easier to glean information from than you realize. You should be able to easily see the key information at a glance.
At the very least, look at key sales metrics such as how many deals are in the pipeline, the average size of those deals, your close ratio, and the sales velocity – every single day!
Simply increasing the awareness of these numbers with you and your team will drive growth and predictability in your sales pipeline.