Sales activities can be intense, requiring fast thinking and careful listening – but when all is said and done, they are the catalyst that transforms warm leads into customers.
The big question: How can you maximize their impact in the limited 24 hours every day offers you?
These six sales activities really boost the bottom line:
Following Up With Prospects
When it comes to sales activities, following up is the #1 thing teams know they should be doing (but don’t anyway). Follow-ups can be stressful, time consuming, and tough to fit in with your other priorities, so it’s no surprise that it often slides to the bottom of a long to-do list.
The big thing to remember is that follow-up is one of the most important sales activities.
Inbound selling teaches us that most prospects will not be ready to buy when they first encounter you. This lays out a big job for marketers: Cultivating a relationship until the time is right. But sales pros have their part to play, and it’s instrumental in success.
It may take three, five, seven, or even 10 follow-ups to move one prospect forward!
Sure, not every prospect will convert, even if you do follow up. And, of course, we don’t want to constantly hound decision makers who aren’t a good fit. That mindset is the essence of why outbound selling is going down the drain.
But, if you’ve done your research and you’re clear on the concrete value you can offer, then you should be persistent. Not all follow-ups have to be phone calls, of course: You can build rapport by sending useful content through email or social media.
Dedicating yourself to following up can mean millions of dollars in additional revenue for B2B firms with sophisticated solutions. When you think about what’s at stake in a single client agreement, a few hours of follow-up is the best use of time.
... And With Your Current Customers
Once the sale is made, do you move on?
Obviously, you have a lot on your plate. Still, it’s a good idea to stick by your freshly minted customers for a while.
The sale is a milestone: They’re opening a relationship with your whole enterprise. But the person they actually know best is you.
After you hand off customers to their account manager or support team, it’s still a sound idea to check in with them in a week or two. They may be more willing to discuss their issues with you than they are with team members they just met.
Of course, like all sales activities, there’s a potential for revenue.
When customers continue to see you regularly, they’re more likely to take your advice in the form of cross-selling and upselling. That’s why, even as the relationship matures, you should be a consistent presence. It builds trust.
One of the simplest sales activities you can take time for is a quick check-in, not just “every now and then,” but on anniversaries. For example, you might call in on the one-year anniversary of your product going live at the client site.
Lead Scoring and Lead Qualification
When it comes to sales activities, lead scoring can be brain-bending. It demands your sales and marketing teams to collaborate long-term to define what user behaviors map to future conversions, track those events, then recognize them throughout the buyer journey.
Some signals that go into lead scoring are self-evident, like calling for a product demonstration or reading a case study. Many, however, are not so cut-and-dried. Factors like number of visits, “dwell time,” and others can come into play that require keen insight to decode.
Still, once you’ve mastered lead scoring, you’ll find it makes qualifying and tracking leads much easier. That saves hundreds of hours a year you might spend with prospects who will never buy.
Practicing Your Warm Prospecting Techniques
Once your inbound marketing engine is stoked with helpful, informative content, your blog will start drawing qualified leads like a magnet. That said, you won’t want to stop prospecting those tasty client accounts – and warm prospecting is the inbound way to do it.
Warm prospecting or warm calling differs from cold calling on the level of research and personalization that goes into every contact. Instead of focusing on making an immediate sale, you look for points of commonality you can use to grow a long-lasting relationship.
Warm prospecting requires a time investment, since it relies on finding trigger events.
Trigger events change the business situation for a prospect, making your services more relevant to their needs in the near-term. Most trigger events are positive (for example, opening a new office or completing an acquisition), although some may be negative or just plain risky.
If no trigger events pop up, you can use personal similarities to spark a discussion.
So, warm prospecting requires you to be alert to:
- Significant changes in a company’s strategic situation that necessitate new purchases.
- Noteworthy achievements of the contact you’ll speak to, such as a recent presentation.
- Other things you have in common with him or her, such as a college or former employer.
The easiest form of warm prospecting comes when someone is able to introduce you directly to your contact. With that in mind, focusing on this method makes you a better sales pro by giving you deeper insight into how your network connections intertwine with those of your prospects.
Switching to a Customer Relationship Management System
You might have to spend some time arguing for the merits of a modern CRM, but it will prove worthwhile in the long run. The right CRM will give you end-to-end visibility into the results of all your prospecting efforts – and help you keep a close eye on individual buyer journeys.
This is an incredible tool, since it makes so many of the other items on this list that much easier. In particular, you can finally hone your follow-up so your messages come in at the perfect time: Either right after leads take another step toward a buy or when they fall idle for a certain period.
Onboarding and Field Training
Follow-up is what pays for lunch today, a few weeks from now, or even in a month or two. Making sure your junior team members have strong bonds of mentorship with their experienced counterparts is what forges a successful sales organization for years to come.
A structured onboarding process that helps new team members get their bearings fast cuts down the time it takes them to produce, of course – but that’s not the whole story. Ideally, they should move from that to partnering with a senior sales leader and shadowing a full day’s work.
Field training ensures newcomers fit in with your organization and feel more confident aiming for tough stretch goals. Luckily, it also means they don’t have to waste time reinventing the wheel.
And now, you won’t have to either!
Years of cultivating our agency and working with clients from all kinds of industries have shown us that these are the six sales activities that make the biggest difference.
Take a close look at your sales processes this week. Where can you trim the fat and get to the meat?