by Dave Mattson
They say that time heals all wounds, but in the sales industry, time kills all deals. To keep leads warm, especially during notoriously cool selling months, sales managers need to create a smooth handoff between the marketing and sales teams.
Expert sales managers understand that sales and marketing are interconnected. Leads may come into the funnel through a word-of-mouth referral from a salesperson, or they result from a response to a marketing effort. Once in house, these leads are nurtured through personal interactions with sales staff and also kept warm by periodic marketing messages.
Implementing best practices in both sales and marketing efforts keeps your business front-of-mind for clients without becoming bothersome. Use these tips to keep leads warm and close the sale more easily.
Work Together to Build a Stronger Sales Cycle
Marketing and sales need to work hand-in-hand to close the sale. Your teams need to create complete transparency, shared goals, and constant communication. Without defined goals and clear communication, it is inevitable that someone will eventually drop the ball on the sales cycle, losing the company money and causing frustration within teams. Working together closely helps sales managers monitor the sales process and build stronger sales and marketing teams that close more deals.
Agree on Frequency of Contact
When communicating with potential clients, there is a delicate balance between being front-of-mind and having your number blocked. To avoid annoying the client or losing progress in the sales cycle, ask how often they want to be in touch. This puts the ball in the client’s court. If they are not really interested but are being polite, this gives them an out.
Once you ascertain that they are truly interested, you need to maintain the warm leads for the sales team. Discuss frequency of contact with the marketing team and make sure they understand the importance of this agreement. No one likes to be bothered by salespeople, and constant emails and calls could alienate the client and lose the sale. Document the frequency of contact for each client before you pass the sales cycle on to the marketing team to close more sales.
Organize Your Leads through CRM Software
Get organized by investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. These programs assist the sales and marketing teams by automating the process of appointment reminders and follow-ups. While many old-school salespeople prefer using a calendar to jot down appointment notes, this software makes mix-ups and mistakes far less likely.
For busy salespeople and marketing teams, this software provides an invaluable tool that keeps them organized and ready to tackle each step in the sales process.
Utilize Social Media
To keep the sales leads warm and fresh in your customer’s minds, interact through social media. Your clients use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest in their everyday lives. Getting your company brand on these sites is a good way to stay present in your customers’ mind without being pesky.
Retweet and share a prospect’s posts to start a friendly dialogue. Use pay-per-click targeted ads through social media to shorten the sales cycle. These practices will put your company top-of-mind with leads and cement the bond between the sales and marketing teams.
Create Abundant Industry-Focused Content
Good sales managers understand that the marketing handoff needs to overlap sales. It is less a linear process and more of a coinciding relationship. The marketing team should create content for every step of the sales cycle to keep prospects interested. Once a customer starts the sales process, they begin to do their own research on your industry. By providing in-depth information on your products—and even your competitors—you can position yourself as a leader in the industry.
Find out which questions the client is asking about your service or product through the sales and marketing departments, and then create content to answer those questions. By providing answers to every question that a customer could potentially ask, you keep them engaged with your brand throughout the sales process.
Develop a Personal Relationship
Before passing sales off to the marketing team, your sales team needs to get to know the clients. Every interaction should provide more personal details about the customers and allow them to feel more connected with your company. A personal bond with your company prevents the client from going elsewhere with their business. By tracking personal information and passing it on to the marketing team, the client feels like they are truly valued.
The sales team should work to preserve warm leads in personalized, creative ways. During cool summer slumps, consider sending out company gear like sunscreen and remember to ask about any previous vacations or upcoming plans to customize your response. In the winter, send out holiday greetings cards to clients. As a successful sales manager, you need to look for any opportunity to exceed expectations with your customers.
Great sales managers help build a strong relationship between the sales and marketing teams. These leaders understand the importance of nurturing leads at every step of the sales process and working to ensure clients feel connected to the company at all times, whether through social media or through a strong personal relationship. To help your sales team keep leads warm, set customer expectations and document every step of the sales process before passing the lead to the marketing team. Try out a few of these tips to foster a stronger bond between your sales and marketing teams, and keep your leads warm through the entire sales cycle.