I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Having a strong sales team that can deliver results is crucial to success. However, there are many factors that can cause a sales team to be ineffective. Anything from email bouncebacks to losing a lead because someone did not properly follow up can be frustrating for sales personnel.
To save the frustration, not to mention time and costs, here are some simple systems to implement:
Contact Validation System
One of the most important parts of lead generation sales is confirming that the contact information for the individual leads is accurate and updated. However, it can also be time consuming. To save time and focus on other aspects of the sales process, businesses can work with an external company that can easily validate the contact information of the leads. Companies such as Accudata Technologies work directly with businesses to ensure that sales organizations have accurate and current lead information.
Investing in a low-cost external lead verification system to cross-reference the leads with national address and phone number databases can give your sales teams an edge on the competition and peace of mind knowing their leads are genuine. This is especially important since the industry has shifted to a model where quality outweighs quantity.
Strong CRM System
The reality of today’s world is that sales teams are divided into specific roles, and therefore, one person may not be able to follow through with a lead from start to finish. For example, a tradeshow team may generate several leads from an event, but once back in the office, that team might be working on the next tradeshow and not have time to contact those leads. Instead, other sales team members who primarily focus on follow-up calls will take the list of leads and call them to follow through and hopefully start the sales process. Therefore, having a strong customer relationship management (CRM) system in place can help the team share detailed information associated with that lead, such as what the next step is as well as the prospect’s specific product or service interest.
Spend time creating and implementing a strong system that all parties can thoroughly update, so everyone understands the prospect status, even if they’ve had no direct contact. It can be as simple as an internal spreadsheet that has all the contact information for the lead as well as detailed notes that are updated every time a sales representative speaks with the a prospect. A unified system will help ensure that leads are not dropped due to miscommunication between the sales personnel.
Marketing Alignment System
When the sales team is making pitches, whether by phone, email, mail or in person, it is important that the messages are relevant to buyers and prospects. For example, if the business is focused on selling a certain product, such as a computer screen, then both parties should communicate the same information about the product to the customers. If the sales team is promoting one feature, while marketing is pushing another, there becomes a disconnect in the communication and potential buyers may misunderstand what product is being promoted.
Implementing a consistent, comprehensive internal communication program between sales and marketing is extremely important. This will ensure all parties are pushing out the same messages, and potential leads will hear those messages from multiple entities.
In addition to being very cost-efficient, the amount of time these three systems will save in the long run is worth the extra time it will take to initially set them up. Once in place and ready to go, managers can feel confident their sales teams are prepared to grow the business by successfully turning their leads into sales.
Greg Smith is president and CEO of Accudata Technologies, which provides flexible access to data validation through innovative approaches to data transmission.