The argument that all you need is a smart sales executive and a bit of intuition to succeed at selling is now redundant. Technology-enabled selling is now key. Making sure the sales process is successful requires coordination across multiple facets of a business, involving sales, marketing and almost any customer facing member of staff. CRM systems, marketing automation technology and existing relationships all need to be tied together with a thorough understanding of your company’s target audience.
Key analytics need to be leveraged to discover customer insights with leads carefully nurtured through well thought out campaigns to drive the demand funnel. These are our five essential means to generate successful leads:
Use accurate marketing data
Accurate data is the base of successful marketing programs. Without it, you could end up targeting the wrong people or worse, missing out on particularly strong leads. Accurate and relevant information about a person's role, responsibility and decision making power is critical to understanding how best to approach them. This all sounds obvious, but too often sales calls go unanswered and emails bounce back. In my view, this is usually a result of out of date or incorrect data. Your sales and marketing team needs to reach out and communicate directly with people that are verified decision makers. In order to do this, you need to ensure your current marketing database stays up-to-date and accurately maintained.
Automate marketing across the organization
Automated marketing is not only reliant on accurate data, but when used across an organization, it can produce some great insight. Integrating existing CRM and data systems with inbound leads from website data will build stronger customer profiles and help sales and marketing teams to better understand audience behavior and learn where leads are in the sales funnel.
Use a CRM system
Understanding existing customer patterns is essential to getting new ones. Retargeting previous customers is a great way to securing future sales. But failing to understand them won’t do you any favors. A customer relationship management system should by default contain highly detailed information about every customer; from what products they’ve bought, down to the best means to contact them. By fostering an understanding of existing customers, a CRM system allows sales and marketing teams to communicate to leads exactly how they can solve a clearly defined and relevant business problem, whilst developing a detailed market and vertical knowledge.
Ensure sales and marketing teams have domain expertise
Few things are more embarrassing for a salesperson than being told they don’t understand a prospect’s business. As you develop a marketing strategy and automate aspects across your business, ensuring all teams have strong vertical sector knowledge is key. Failing to understand and sympathize with the needs and demands of prospects will hinder any chance of making a sale, throwing away any previous successful marketing efforts. Hiring salespeople with relevant domain expertise and sales process knowledge can be a great first step. These individuals can help to enable other new hires and team members to have a high level understanding of customer business requirements and sales planning.
Create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing teams
Marketing supports sales, and marketing departments are reliant on the business that sales teams bring in. The two departments are intrinsically linked in function, and often even use the same databases. In a data driven environment, field sales should understand the role of marketing and vis-versa. Fostering collaboration between the two departments, and ultimately uniting their culture will pave the way for more effective lead generation with the two working in full tandem together.
In short, generating sales leads is all about focus and collaboration. Data needs to be accurate and relevant, and teams need to be focused on their target customer sectors and business needs. Chatty and confident salespersons are of course still important, but without the support of accurate data, effective CRM and automated marketing alongside a deep market knowledge and a collaborative environment between sales and marketing, lead generation will be limited. Following just one of these suggestions simply isn’t good enough. They need to be implemented in tandem, as each is intrinsically reliant on the other to succeed. Following all will ultimately result in more successful leads, sales and consequently a higher bottom line.