Just as a bad workman blames his tools, a bad salesman blames the quality of his leads.
All sales people want great leads and, faced with no leads, they have the daunting task of trying to find business for themselves. That traditionally would have meant picking up the phone and ringing people. However, in a world in which traditional marketing is increasingly ineffective, the work of both the marketer and the salesman needs to be more integrated if business is to thrive.
Traditionally, the marketer is not only responsible for delivering the lead to the salesman, but for figuring out how to replicate that lead. In the old days, a salesman would’ve asked a prospect “How did you find out about us?” That lead would’ve said something to the effect of “In a magazine” and the conversation would have ended there. The marketer wouldn’t have known if it was an article or an advertisement, what magazine it appeared in, or how long ago the prospect saw it.
In today’s world, your marketer should know the precise answer to that. They should have the technology in place that will have been tracking that lead from the moment a prospect first visits your website or clicks on a blog post from Twitter. They should know how they found you, what they’re interested in, what website pages they visited, how long it took them to make contact, and if they downloaded anything in the process. As elucidated in an earlier post about using content to structure the sales journey, your marketer should have created a roadmap of sorts, using content to signpost the customer’s journey and lead them to the destination, or to the point of purchase.
While I’m generally a pretty harsh critic of just pure cold calling, it is very appropriate to phone a lead when you can tell from their activity on your website that they are interested in what you have to offer. In this way, it’s not ‘cold,’ it’s definitely warm, based upon your insight into their interest. However, it’s not a good idea to call them and say, “I see you’ve just been on our website.” In my experience, people do not take kindly to being tracked in this way. In most cases, they will flat out deny that they’ve just been to your website.
Instead, it’s much more effective for your salesperson to generally reference what the marketer has demonstrated, by saying something to the effect of: “In speaking to people in your job role or line of business we’ve seen that they have a problem with…” or “A common business issue for them is this... is that the case for you?” The most important thing to note is that when you do pick up the phone and call someone—when they’ve indicated clear interest in your service or product—your approach should not just be a hard sell. It should be an indication that you know they are interested in what you have to offer as they have taken time to look at the website. Most people are more comfortable if you can communicate that you understand their problem and have solved it for other people like them. When you pick up the phone, it should be to help solve that prospect’s ‘business pain’ too.
In terms of the “baton pass” from marketer to sales person, you should now be beginning to see that the transition is more subtle and the journey from first impression to the sale is more integrated. Today your bottom line is affected by a whole range of factors and players—website structure, analytics tools, social media activity, buyer personas—that historically would not have played a role in traditional marketing. Getting this whole machinery working together is when you’ll start to achieve synergy and see true results. The sooner marketing and sales are seen as one process you will start winning faster and more frequently.
Tip #29: The marketing-to-sales baton pass is old school; start thinking of your marketing and sales teams as part of the same machinery.
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