Your sales team has a list of hot prospects to contact. The problem is - the prospects have never heard of your company or the salesperson. Should the seller write a letter, send an email, make a call? What the heck are they supposed to say?
Rather than struggling to start a sales conversation, there are ways to systemize the prospecting process to make it more efficient and productive. When done correctly, sellers will always have the right messaging at their fingertips to create account entry campaigns that get potential customers to take notice.
Warning: what I'm going to suggest is not a quick fix. It takes strategic thinking, time, and alignment between sales and marketing to pull it off. But if you commit to the process, your sales team will have more leads, more time to actually sell, and shorter sales cycles.
Here are 3 steps to simplify sales prospecting:
1. Define the Buyer Journey
Determine what information prospects need at each stage of the decision-making process. What questions do prospects have as they move through the buyer journey?
|Experiencing a problem and researching to understand what is really going on
|Clearly understands the problem and searching for solutions
|Decided on a solution and evaluating what resources or vendors they need
2. Create Content
Evaluate all the content you have and categorize it according to each stage of the buyer journey. Look for articles, ebooks, guides, research reports, webinars, videos, case studies, vendor comparisons, product comparisons, etc. You can also pull information from sales emails, presentations, and proposals.
Once you complete a content inventory, you'll likely discover that you have gaps. For example, most of the content might revolve around the Decision stage, with little or nothing in the Awareness or Consideration stages. With representatives from both the sales and marketing teams at the table, make a list of what you'd like to create to round out the buyer's journey and prioritize a content publishing calendar.
*Important note: Before you start creating anything, evaluate your graphical brand elements. Unprofessional looking content makes you look unprofessional. It's the difference between meeting a new prospect in sweatpants vs. a sharp business suit.
If you don't have the skill sets internally to develop quality content, you should consider outsourcing to professionals. Content creation is an investment, and if it's good, it can continue to generate leads for years. Bad content is a waste of time and money, and it can actually make you look worse than if you did nothing at all!
3. Promote and Share Your Content
Now that you know what to say and have the right content available to convey your message, it's time to share it with your prospects. You can do this in one of two ways:
a. Direct prospecting: It usually takes 7-12 touches with a decision maker before you can get their attention. With a strong library of content at the ready, salespeople can easily pull the appropriate information needed to cultivate their prospects and create a "pain" big enough to stimulate buying activity.
b. Inbound marketing: You can promote your content using inbound marketing principles such as search engine optimization, landing pages, email marketing, and social media, which will help you capture the attention of prospects that aren't on your list but are actively searching for information. That is how you generate leads online!
Content creation, promotion, and sharing is the key to simplifying sales prospecting. It gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and educate your target market about how your offering can positively impact their business.
With this system, salespeople no longer flounder - they know exactly what it takes to move prospects through the buyer journey. And best of all, you open yourself up to generating high-quality leads by getting found by people actively seeking a solution such as yours.