"Time is the killer of all deals."
That was the greatest piece of sales advice that I ever received. Not so coincidentally, it took me some time − and some lost sales − to fully understand exactly what that meant.
Sales is a transfer of enthusiasm; meaning all purchases made by consumers are based on emotional decisions. My job as a salesperson was to get people so excited about my solution that they would actually feel good about making a purchase. Getting someone to feel good about spending their money was not exactly easy to do.
That's where inbound sales technology comes into place.
Sales Process Steps: 3 To-Do's
As it relates to time, modern salespeople now have a smaller window of time to win or lose a deal than ever before. Given this very small window, it is critical we use the technology at our disposal to help people buy when they are ready and to let people do research when they are not.
In this blog, I'm sharing 3 sales process steps to help you leverage data and technology and make the best use of your time with leads.
1. Align your Marketing Technology with Your CRM
First, ensure that your sales and marketing are properly aligned. Marketing technology must be integrated with a CRM so that both sales and marketing teams can see what the other is doing (and more importantly, what the customer is doing!)
Investing in all-in-one solution like HubSpot is a great way to align your efforts. Set your HubSpot account up fully to take advantage of all of the platform's capabilities.
Set up HubSpot workflows for warm leads. For example, let's pretend you have a list of highly engaged leads who have not filled out a Contact Us form. What should you do? Set up a workflow and set the criteria to something like, "contact watches greater than 75% of video; contact downloads an eBook; or contact visits more than 5 pages on the website." From there, set up a trigger to send a sales email to follow-up with the lead to see what they're looking for.
Another challenge that many eCommerce businesses encounter is a low number of requests for partnerships. To fix this, use HubSpot to set up a workflow with the criteria something along the lines of "contact fills out Contact Us form and selects 'partnership' as their interest."
Then, set up a trigger that will send an automation email with more in-depth information about your company's partnership program and necessary next steps. Plus, a workflow like this will help the contact flow into a separate marketing funnel, so they don't bog down the sales pipeline.
2. Engage Prospects With Marketing + Sales
Satisfy the buyer's appetite for information by feeding them content that aids in their research process and encourages them to purchase. Ideally, marketing teams engage prospects early in the buyer's journey and nurture them into sales leads with content that outlines a clear path to purchase.
From there, marketing and sales teams can work together to maintain enthusiasm among buyers. Consumers don't remain excited about spending their own money, so time is a key piece to this sales process step. As more time passes, excitement wanes and companies are less likely to win the sale. That's why it's critical for salespeople to follow-up with prospects and leads immediately after they express interest in your brand.
To share an example from my personal life as a salesperson many years ago, I always noticed that other salespeople were recommending a 2-week follow-up after a presentation. They had no particular reasoning or strategy for this timeframe. Meanwhile, I followed up with them the next day.
When the other salespeople followed up two weeks later, they would learn during the follow-up that the prospect was pitched by other competitors during those two weeks. Time killed the deal.
3. Use Marketing Data To Inform Your Sales Approach
Adapt your sales approach based off of the data provided from your marketing team. Take a look at where the prospect is in the buyer's journey as well as their preferences (and any other data they provided when they expressed interest) to customize the way in which you reach out to them.
This data provides salespeople a huge advantage in the eCommerce marketplace because it allows for inbound marketing and optimized reach-out. Without this data, sales teams would be forced to take an outbound approach − which entails extracting the information from prospects at (often) the wrong time in the buyer's journey. Check out this Inbound vs Outbound Sales blog to learn more about the differences between the two strategies.
So, what can salespeople do to prevent time from ruining the best deals? The answer is not to use sales tactics or high pressure closes − consumers do everything to avoid those kinds of salespeople. Instead, allow prospects to research information on their own for a bit and engage with your marketing content first. Once they express interest, then have your sales team reach out.
Utilize all the information behind your company's marketing efforts and all the power behind your eCommerce technology to develop and maintain enthusiasm with prospects throughout the buyer's journey. I hope these three sales process steps help you turn more prospects into customers!
If you have any questions about your current eCommerce marketing or sales efforts, ask away using the form below. Our team will be happy to answer any questions and accelerate your brand's eCommerce growth.
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