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Sales Prospecting

How To Effectively Nurture Leads Earned into Deals Closed

Companies need to be part of that conversation or risk being left behind to fight for the scraps.

Dennis Armstrong

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Closing-a-sales-deal

“80% of prospects deemed ‘bad leads’ by sales teams go on to buy within 24 months.”  – SiriusDecisions Research

For too long South African businesses have ignored the 500 pound gorilla in the room.

By and large, and in comparison with the rest of the developed world, we are some way behind in our use of the technology and methodologies required to effectively nurture leads earned to deals closed.

In article #1 of this new series on Marketing Systems and Processes, we will:

  1. Define what lead nurturing is.
  2. Explore some key reasons why your business needs this strategy (not tomorrow, today).

This is where marketing’s rubber meets the revenue road – where back-end systems and processes merge to ensure that font-end campaigns yield the increase in sales you are after.

Related: Converting Leads

What is Lead Nurturing?

Here’s a practical example of what it really isn’t.

Prospective home buyers search online for homes that fit their budget, taste and requirements. They find some options; make the effort to contact the listed estate agent and an appointment is set up to view the house. 7

In most cases the following is what happens then:

  1. Agent shows house
  2. Interested parties do not immediately put in an offer to purchase
  3. Agent may (or may not) offer other options to look at
  4. If no success from those options the contact frequency decreases rapidly
  5. No further communication from agent is received
  6. A few months later the potential buyers spot something they like and buy . . . from someone else.

These are the same agents who gather around the weekend braai, telling their friends how “tough” the market is.

The truth, of course, is much closer to this scenario;

“Because market conditions are tougher, people are more careful about spending their money, which means they need more information and will evaluate more options before making a purchase decision.

To quote a leading supplier of Marketing Automation Solutions Software, Marketo: “Lead nurturing is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buying journey.”

To Simplify:

It’s about talking apples when a lead wants to talk apples and, then, not just apples in general but the specific colour, type, price, bag size and quality of apple the lead is looking to purchase – at that specific time.

This may sound like a logical thing to do but there are scientific and software requirements behind the “commercial sense”.  . . Key elements of which will be explored more over the course of this content series.

Why your Business needs Lead Nurturing Today

  1. Lead nurturing communication pushes leads from source through to close by delivering relevant communication as and when the lead requires it.
  2. Lead nurturing processes alert sales when prospects are ready to be contacted and then further aids in guiding leads through their various buying stages until they convert into clients.
  3. Lead nurturing software (marketing automation) allows you to track how effective your marketing spend is by offering insights into what leads converted from which campaigns, allowing marketing to, quite accurately:
  • Predict return from future spend
  • Establish what your company’s average deal closing ratio is (% of leads that close)
  • Establish how long (on average) it takes for a lead to become a customer.

4. Lead nurturing analytics and data not only allows Marketing and Sales to accurately plan resource allocation in order to meet revenue targets set but, also, provides concrete proof to investors or buyers that your company’s marketing and sales model works.

Think this all sounds like a bunch of new-aged, long-haired, marketing-hippie speak? Then consider the following statistics – courtesy of billion dollar businesses that have spent millions and invested years into research on the topic.

stats

Effective lead nurturing is equally effective in both the B2B and B2C space.

In fact, one can strongly argue that the line between the two “types” of business is severely, and increasingly, blurred – with social commentary, peer reviews, customer forums and the like all forming part of the conversation that aids (or derails) the shopper’s path to purchase.

Related: 10 Ways to Quickly Generate Leads

Next month we’ll get into the elements that contribute towards setting up and running successful lead-nurturing campaigns – as well as the rest of the processes every modern business requires to bring sales and marketing together in a cohesive, performance-driven, manner.

Between now and when we chat again I encourage you to gather your leads effectively, monitoring their source and the communications sent to them – gaining a better understanding of who your ideal customer is, from there you can then build your ideal processes out.

Dennis Armstrong is the managing director of Interface Media, a full service digital agency with over 2 000 clients and, more recently, contracted service provider to a host of agencies across SA. Dennis’s expertise include marketing and business development, more recently taking on a national sales role before being promoted to MD. Dennis manages over 200 staff and is directly involved in growing some of the biggest digital accounts in South Africa from search, to SEO and display marketing. He is a hands-on individual and available to advise on all digital marketing requirements.

Sales Prospecting

3 Steps To Healthier Client Relationships

Do you have clients that constantly push the boundaries, who have unrealistic expectations and inconsistent feedback? What if you could have a client base of only people who value your work? Firing the wrong clients can help you get there.

Dominique Sandwith

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client-relationships

It’s not easy to admit that a client is actually doing your business more harm than good. When it gets to the point that you are spending all of your time and energy trying to please one client, then it’s time to look at what they are contributing to your success.

In the early days of your business, it’s understandable to hold on to difficult clients as every penny counts. However, as time goes on, firing a disproportionately time-consuming and challenging client could free you up to go looking for new and better business.

Here are three steps to take to healthier client relationships:

1. Get perspective

Step back from everyday tasks to make some notes about the client relationship in question. Ask yourself what you value in your client versus what drains your energy and puts you in a bad mood.

Understand what the deal-breakers are and whether the client in question has crossed the line. It’s possible that you just need to have a frank conversation with the client, but often these kinds of client relationships are too far gone.

Related: 1 Simple Rule To Avoid Bad Client Relationships

2. Fire the wrong client

There’s no one-size-fits-all for this process – you have to do this in your own way, but be clear on the reasons. If the client has been as unhappy as you are, they will most likely understand that this relationship is not a good fit.

However, there are times when a client has no idea that they are being unreasonable or thinks that this relationship is productive. That’s when it’s difficult to explain why you are deciding not to take their money.

Make it factual and don’t bring in your feelings. If you have examples of situations or email threads as proof show them that this is not how you believe a successful relationship should be. Be clear on your values and what you envision for your business.

Be polite and professional throughout the conversation and focus on the relationship fit, rather than pointing out their personal flaws. Explain the next steps and how the handover process will take place. You want to make sure that the end of the relationship is as amicable as possible.

3. Find the right clients

Firing a difficult client is likely to affect your bottom line in the short term but it will give you the motivation, and headspace, to go looking for the right clients.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you know what you want in a client – make a list of things you won’t stand for again with future clients, and one that describes your dream client.
  • Use your time and resources wisely, and aim high to secure clients that will be worth your while.
  • Identify potential clients and projects that are profitable, that will inspire you and that you enjoy working with.

Tip: make sure the Terms and Conditions on your website, and in your quotes, are well-defined. State your prices clearly, don’t leave room for interpretation. Don’t back down if a new client quibbles over a cost estimate. Take complaints of this nature as a warning sign and walk away.

Related: How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

Don’t ever think that you’ve wasted your time with the wrong client. Each client you work with helps you to refine your offering and progressively understand what you’re good at. Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity for the successful and sustainable future of your business (and your sanity).

When you fire the wrong client, you can streamline your business to play to these strengths, and ensure you offer a world-class service or product.

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Sales Prospecting

7 Steps To Master The 80/20 Revenue Model

Imagine a world where 80% of your revenue came from 20% of your customers. Now what will it take to make it your reality?

Emma Donovan

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80-20-business-model

We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.

Understand what you want to achieve

When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!

Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.

Nurture relationships

Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.

Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’. 

Related: This Is What Bevan Ducasse Did When He Realised wiGroup’s Revenue Model Wasn’t Working

Provide solutions

Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:

  • set up regular one-on-one calls
  • catch up over coffee
  • or email them a quick survey to complete.

Add real value

Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.

For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.

Paint a picture

To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.

Incentivise

Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.

Related: Bob Skinstad On Making An Impact With The 80/20 Principle

Create capacity

Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.

The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.

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Sales Prospecting

Empower Your Team To Make More Sales

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help.

Grant Fleming

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sales-team-sales

Much like the business cliché that your company is only as strong as its people, in marketing, behind every successful marketing campaign there is an empowered team. But how do you help your team increase their sales?

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help:

1. Become clever at dealing with data

It is essential that teams have the right platform at their disposal to reach the agreed-to goals. Teams also need to become more adept at dealing with data to learn about their customers. Teams should segment data, send marketing messages and receive instant feedback to learn from. They should also optimise their messages and dig into the demographics of their audience.

2. Curate your audience

The above enables teams to curate, and continuously engage with their audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is focusing their communication to a base, instead of cultivating an audience through learning from insights and feedback. This doesn’t foster an incentive to learn anything from one week or one campaign to the next. Teams end up sending out an email/SMS blast one week after another, with the same results.

Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

3. Market more smartly

Rather than marketing ‘harder’, teams should be marketing smarter. There are a few ways to do this. Given teams have the appropriate automated marketing tools at their disposal, they can automate certain repetitive activities so that they continue to learn while the system executes.

Teams are also best served by breaking down their goals into measurable insights and build logical marketing lists (data lists) rather than lumping everything into one list. Often, splitting data by its original source works well, but so does sectioning lists according to category.

Consider using “Remarketing” for the direct marketing space too. This is similar to AdWords marketing, where teams ‘slice and dice’ their data, and insights about engaged audiences are retargeted using the platform.

The other options is “Long Run” campaigns. Here a campaign is live over a longer period of time, essentially establishing a level of cadence for direct marketing efforts. 

4. Do lean marketing

To empower your team, adopt a lean marketing process. This sees teams marketing in small batches, sending e.g. 2000 SMSs, reviewing the results, then another 2000, and then tweaking the marketing message if needed.

By sending five different marketing messages, your marketing teams will be able to whittle down to the top two that returned the best results, and then scale them up.

This, rather than just sending a million SMSs (for example) to your entire database, is a lean marketing approach that can help your team incrementally improve their efforts for an optimal return.

Related: What You Need To Know About The Lean Start-up Model

5. Value testing and metrics

Both testing and metrics are critical to helping your marketing team become more successful, with A/B testing in particular critical for learning.

When you tweak campaigns, resist the urge to make larger changes; these make it difficult to measure results. Rather do small-batch testing, even if it is just from your newsletters. Try and bleed the marketing messages out over a logical timeframe – don’t just blast out to the entire list in one go.

Regarding metrics, concentrate not only on the number of messages sent, but clicks and click-through rates as well as conversions, even if the latter happens down the line. Understanding these metrics across demographics is equally important, as this allows you to curate audiences that you can personalise marketing to.

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