At the beginning of the sales process (before the first meeting) the number of leads with whom you deal is the biggest. Even in those very first stages there is plenty of things that can go wrong. Ignoring them will result in you saying or thinking something sounding like this:
Saying or thinking that statement costs a lot of not earned money. That’s why you have to do whatever it takes to increase the number of meetings with qualified leads.
Usually, once someone sends an inquiry, he or she approaches a couple of companies. Then a race for client’s attention starts. Soon he or she will receive many calls, e-mails and offers. It is possible that many of them will look more or less similar and most likely the interested person will book appointments with your competitors. To get the full attention of your potential client (and his availability) you have to call him or her immediately (meaning less than 5 minutes) after he sends the inquiry. Then his curiosity is the biggest and you may set up a longer meeting before your competitors ask him about anything.
Once you are able to speak as the first, each competitor will be compared to your solution of solving customer’s pain because your point of view already will be in client’s mind.
People who are in an inbound funnel send inquiries to a large extent due to what they’ve seen on company’s website. Each thing (like contact landing page, call to action) which can build interest can also mislead them. For instance: a button “get a free demo” can be understood as “get a free trial” and “get a call from our employee” as well. Your online communication has to specify what your lead can expect. It may be challenging to schedule a video conference with someone who expected a free access to your tool. So make sure to be crystal clear.
The situation looks similar when your solution’s description suggests features which you don’t offer. If after an initial contact in many cases it turns out that leads got the wrong picture of your product then your website/landing page overpromises or is unclear. Each contact with someone who expected value you cannot deliver is a waste of both sides time. To avoid it communication about your solution should be precise.
People may don’t want to speak with you because of wrong expectations. It may happen that converting some leads would be pointless for you as well (to check how to decide whether it is worth your time or not take a look at this article. If you are constantly losing deals because of their poor quality (leads from industries where your solution won’t be efficient, countries where your pricing is hardly affordable, you are not talking to decision makers etc.) then this is an important piece of feedback for the marketing team. Just make sure that you don’t base the feedback loop only on your impressions. Feedback built on quantifiable sales metrics and lead qualification build on well-described buyer persona is much more relevant than general feelings and impressions.
People are eager to take part in a meeting/video conference only when they feel that it may help them to better way of solving their problems. Your job is to make clear that during a conversation they won’t waste their time and this is an efficient way of deciding whether your solution will be helpful or not. Don’t be scared to politely underline that it’s easier to find a good solution during an interactive conversation instead of reading long e-mails – people appreciate when you save their time.
For instance, SaaS founders can say that during the short screen-sharing call people can see the tool from the inside and the recommended way of solving their problems.
It is impossible to have control over that stage of the process without clear outlook of the pipeline in your CRM. Each lead which is important for sales team should be open. Each open lead should have precise next step with a dedicated salesperson. Follow these rules and don’t create too many pipelines and stages (5 is usually a lot) and your CRM will help to contact your leads at the right moment and measure how qualified they are. Without data things get blurry and you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Lack of a feedback loop between sales and marketing, late reactions, and wrong communication about your solution and demo will generate many lost sales opportunities. Take care of the first part of your pipeline because mistakes at the very beginning have the biggest scale. The better foundations of your sales process are, the more appointments you will get.
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