Even after salespeople put in hours building a sales pipeline and following the sales process and marketing plan, they can still find themselves at a standstill wondering why sales are not coming in. Any good plan always needs troubleshooting to ultimately be a success.
A full sales pipeline and a rock-solid sales and marketing plan doesn’t always equate to closed sales. There are many factors contributing to how successful a sales team will be during all phases of the sales cycle. It all starts with generating sales leads, which takes time and is a trial-and-error process.
MPI has a great example of how a client’s initial direction was not generating desired results:
A client wanted us to target banks and credit unions that had an ATM network of 50 or more. We called for three months with very limited results. The client then wrote and posted an article in a group called the ATM Network and 80 leads came through. The lead generation efforts to banks and credit unions was misdirected by the client who dictated the focus based on what they thought they knew about their buyers. The article’s success became a key turning point for MPI to pivot focus in who would be interested in the service and who to start calling to generate viable leads.
Sometimes it can be difficult to troubleshoot the sales process because there can be many variables. Analysis in just a few key areas will get sales teams started down a successful path, but they should be ready to adjust as needed as proven in our example.
We have outlined the three key areas to analyze and troubleshoot during the sales process:
Do you have the right target audience?
When a company is trying to find a specific target audience, they should step into the shoes of the buyer. Think creatively about various demographics to get started on the “ideal” client, which is often referred to as persona. A few questions to start persona development include:
Where do customers reside? If your product or service is specific to a certain state or region, then this is important to nail down first.
What is the key company information? Any number of company-related statistics can help salespeople target the right leads. Some include things like company size or revenue, if they are currently using similar products or services, etc.
How do they find information? Understanding the marketing tools your buyers engage with will help where and how to communicate with them and warm them up as a lead even before the first phone call occurs.
What is important to the buyer? Included in this might be buyer pain points, if they have limited time, supply chain problems, etc.
Like MPI’s client example story, occasionally, the prospects we originally plan to target are not actually who salespeople should be connecting with. It can take some trial and error and analysis so it’s important to be open to learning throughout the sales process. With some creative thinking and by venturing out to find and communicate with a new group or forum proves to be effective in finding new, fresh leads.
Is your messaging on point?
Messaging analysis goes hand-in-hand with the development of client personas. It’s key to realize there is no one-size-fits-all scenario. Sending out the wrong message or using an ineffective delivery method can be a huge roadblock in the sales process. A phone call that worked for one persona may need to be done in an email for another. A script written for a particular set of people may need to be written differently for another.
An ideal situation would be to have sales teams A/B test the messaging, delivery methods, and frequency for the various personas they are prospecting until they land on what works for each group. Even once the perfect combination is discovered, a regular analysis of buyer needs and concerns as well as market conditions is needed to make sure everything stays on target.
Are you asking questions?
Asking questions is possibly the best tool for salespeople at every stage of the sales process for many reasons. From setting an initial appointment, to closing the sale, and even post-sale, questions allow businesses to collect detailed information about their ideal customer. Questions help salespeople get in tune with their prospects, understand the problems they need solved, and begin to develop a relationship, which is a key factor in closing sales.
By utilizing the right set of questions at the right point in the sales process salespeople can direct the buyer to think about what they WANT them to think about and lead the conversation. It will also help to qualify or disqualify a company from your product or service. Ultimately, asking a question is better than launching into a sales pitch to help fully understand the company, the buyer, and the problem they need solved, which will improve overall sales results.
Tracking and measuring lead generation and sales strategy is critical. It should not be an opinion-based assessment but rather guided by facts, research, and troubleshooting. The word troubleshooting can be a scary word for some, but the process does not have to be complicated. It is just a means to identify the key metrics that will display progress and pinpoint what is working and what areas seem to be problematic and need to be adjusted to achieve sales success.
MPI is experienced in helping clients troubleshoot their pain points in the sales process to generate buyer qualified leads and close more deals. Contact us to learn more.