In this 2,000 word White Paper; Paul examines some of the latest thinking about lead generation and qualifying. He uses an analogy of his septic tank back at home in rural Gloucestershire and shows you how you can keep the flow of new prospects moving smoothly and how to make contact with new leads in a 21st century manner.
Paul also investigates some really cool ways of researching your customer using some innovative Google search techniques and websites funnel hacks auto webinar.
Is Your Sales Funnel Blocked?
Well, something was blocked in our house. You could tell by the smell, especially if you were downwind of it. It wasn’t my sales funnel that was blocked but something even worse, my drainage field.
Now for those city dwellers reading, you probably don’t understand the complexities of a septic tank and its drainage system. When you don’t have the pleasure of the municipal drainage service attached to your home, you have to create your own and its called a septic tank.
Every piece of excess water and sewage flows down the pipes to begin a long, odious journey until the liquid becomes clear again to enter the earth. Now I won’t bore you the details of how it gets there, but it’s a long series of events, a bit like a giant funnel, facilitated by gravity. But as soon as it gets blocked, it fails, with catastrophic conclusions.
My drainage field was blocked and had to be fixed. There was plenty of water and sewage flowing in the top, that’s actually difficult to stop, but it wasn’t flowing out the end.
In a similar manner this can happen to salespeople. Not my septic tank but with their own sales funnel. A major hurdle of anyone in sales is to have a constant supply of healthy business but when you’re dealing with a long B2B sales cycle, you need a long drainage to pipe work.
I call it a healthy sales funnel
What Enters Your Sales Funnel?
Let’s take a look at the sales funnel.
How do leads pile into your funnel? I know how my septic tank gets filled – it’s a very busy family of 5, dog, cat and chickens.
Many call it client acquisition, some call it prospecting but more than 80% of marketing spend is on lead generation. And they expect the sales team to funnel these leads through their system and out the other end in the form of sales.
Showcase Speaking Events
Print media – article contributions
PPC (Pay Per Click advertising)
SEO (Search Engine Opt)
Downloads – White Papers
EZine Sign Ups
A Blockage is Caused
We get a rush of leads at the top of the funnel which can cause a blockage as few of these leads flow down the funnel towards business
The challenge that many B2B sales teams have, is moving these leads down the funnel after you’ve qualified them properly. In fact, to simply qualify them has become a major problem these days, because many of these leads are just too tricky to contact in the traditional manner. They’re not into answering phones, meetings or face to face interventions, it just doesn’t happen these days.
The answer is to keep hold of the lead, warm it, stroke it, caress it and carefully move it down the funnel along your sales process.
Various research pieces show on average, that it takes 14 touches, before the lead responds. That’s 14 different contacts with the lead before they progress along your sales process.
Sales 2.0 Strategies
So let’s take a look at how we can find 14 ways of making contact with the lead that matches the Sales 2.0 methods and strategies.
First get your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system warmed up and working. You don’t have one? Shame. You do have one but you don’t use it? Shame again but you’re not the only one.
Many CRM systems fail because the sales teams haven’t bought in to the system, they don’t “own” it. It’s owned by IT department and is viewed as an initiative to keep tabs on the sales team, to produce metrics and sales forecasts without having to speak with the sales team.
A little rash but you get my point.
A good CRM system needs to be easy to use. I’ve seen them as a mass of paper stashed in the back of an A4 diary – that’s a CRM system, pretty basic though. I’ve seen multi thousands of pounds worth of bespoke software that’s totally integrated with the company’s computer systems and I’ve noticed them working too. I’ve also observed some not working at all, having been designed by IT people not the sales teams.
In the “cloud” systems are very vogue at the moment as these need no integration with your main computer systems and can be easily set to synchronise with Outlook or other systems you have.
At the very basic, you need something that tracks the journey a customer makes along your sales process. A typical B2B client flows along a very long funnel, much like my septic tank drainage field and there are many reasons they get blocked. And much of this is because we lose track of all the people flowing along the tunnel. A CRM system will stop this from happening, or at least give you the heads up that action needs to be taken.
So what action can you take?
How to “do” Touch Points
So what action can you take?
A phone call usually starts things off with a new lead, sometimes you get through and move them along the sales process and all is well. But mostly we don’t get through since busy business people screen every call, so we leave a voicemail, with a call to action.
Following the voicemail, ping them an email with exactly the same message you left them on voicemail. Try and do this immediately. Email addresses are easy to come by nowadays. If you have the prospect’s full name, then look up the company’s website, check the email address protocol on the contact page and put together the email address. Remember to put this all through your CRM.