The end of the quarter is always a rush to close deals and meet your quota — it can be stressful, to say the least. You’re working long hours, maybe travelling more, and the pressure is intense. You promise yourself the next quarter won’t be like this — you’re going to find a way to work smarter, not harder. You’d like to make it to your kid’s game once in a while — perhaps even take a few days off.
But how can you practically make more sales without spending months scratching around for business?
We have five ideas to help you win more deals now — no need to implement special processes or buy in new technology. Let’s go.
1. Look at Your Leads
The first place to start is to look at the leads that are coming in. You probably have a lead qualification process in place whereby leads have to meet certain criteria before you consider them “sales-ready”. But have you talked with marketing about what those criteria are?
Lead qualification and nurturing is one area where sales and marketing need to be in alignment. Both operations should agree on what makes a lead “sales-ready” as well as the best paths to follow-up to nurture those leads. Start with an open discussion about your existing processes, and see if you can adopt any of these behaviours straight away:
- Follow up every single lead Marketing passes on. Do not dismiss any.
- Follow up quickly. The faster you follow up, the more likely you are to be ahead of your competitors.
- Check with marketing whether you could take on any lead nurturing responsibilities if there are leads that could potentially be “fast-tracked”. Sometimes a tailored approach by a salesperson that isn’t an overt sales pitch may help convert a lead more quickly than generic lead nurturing.
2. Look at Your Messaging
How are you reaching out to people, and is it working? If you find you’re not getting the response you hoped for from leads that ought to fit your criteria, it could be a problem with your communications. Consider the following:
- Are you communicating like a human speaking to another human? Too much sales speak puts people off — they want to know you’ve taken the time to write to them personally, not just clicked on a template.
- Is your message tailored to the individual prospect? Does it show you’ve done your research and you understand their needs?
- Is it customer-centric? Your prospect doesn’t care about your product; they care about their problem. Take an outside-in approach to your messaging.
- Try A/B testing email subject lines — find out what works for your market. And don’t be sly. No one likes to feel conned by a subject claiming the email is something it’s not.
- Contact leads straight away but play around with the best times and days to follow up if you don’t hear back right away. There is some data about this, but see what works best for your market.
3. Build Your Profile
If you’re booking fewer meetings over the summer, use the time to build your online presence. Start by reviewing your LinkedIn profile — does it support your message as a salesperson? Use the summary section to describe how you aim to help customers. If you’re going to talk about career highlights, do it in terms of how these pivotal moments helped customers to succeed.
Since you’re on LinkedIn, why not take the time to get involved in discussions relevant to your field. Providing valuable input to active groups will help raise your profile as interacting with customers’ and prospects’ posts will put you on their radar. You can also post your own — relevant — updates. Share posts and create thought leadership articles for this platform — always intending to add value, provide insight and share your expertise.
4. Use Video
Video is the perfect medium for this current age. A few stats:
- 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
- People are 95% more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video compared to reading text.
- 87% of marketing professionals use video as a tool.
The great thing about video is, you don’t need to be a videographer to make an effective video. As a salesperson, you can use video in several ways.
- Record videos for customers and send them via email. Salespeople that use video in emails see five times higher open rates and eight times higher open-to-reply rates.
- Film your thought leadership “articles” and post them on LinkedIn. Videos get three times the engagement of text. Keep it short, though: 30 – 90 seconds ought to do it.
- Next time you visit a happy customer, ask if you can record a video testimonial. If they’re not up for that, ask if you can record them talking about their experience with your product. You can then pass the video on to marketing for them to write up a case study.
5. Spend Time on Your Existing Customers
In your pursuit of new deals, don’t forget the value of existing customers. Upselling, cross-selling, expanding the user base — there are many ways you can increase your revenue from your current customer base. You just need to remember they’re there.
Over the summer period, you may have as much trouble booking meetings with existing customers as with new ones. But nothing is stopping you dropping them a line (or a video!) to wish them a happy holiday and let them know you’re thinking of them. Send helpful user tips, interesting articles, or share a joke you know they’d enjoy (if you have that kind of relationship).
Keeping that relationship going is a really valuable exercise because existing customers can help you make more money by sharing their positive experiences with other people. HubSpot puts it well: “Potential buyers care less about what you have to say about yourself, and more than ever about what your customers have to say about you.”
Happy customers are your best advocates. So nurture them with the same level of attention you give new prospects. You never know what new opportunities could arise.
Summer can be a tough time for salespeople. By reviewing your process around leads and messaging, building your online profile, incorporating more video into your communications and spending time on existing customers, you can make the most of your time — and opportunities — to win more sales now.
About the Author
Charlotte Powell is Head of Design & Marketing at iPresent, a sales enablement tool that enables greater alignment between marketing and sales.