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How To Win More Business By Helpful Selling

How To Win More Business By Helpful Selling

By Inbound Marketing, Sales

When it comes to winning more business—it can sometimes be difficult not to blow your own horn when communicating with your customers and prospects.

By understanding how to talk to their level and helping them think differently about their business by solving their problems first, you will have greater success in moving them further down your sales funnel and converting them into a customer.

As professionals, we eat, sleep and breathe our vocations. What has become second nature to us—can be jibber-jab to our prospects.  We ultimately believe our products or services are the best and everyone needs them. However, what is apparently obvious to you, may not be to your customer.

If you find yourself losing sale opportunities for no apparent reasons, it may be time to take a look at how you may (or may not) be talking to your customers.

To start, you need to understand how consumer behavior has shifted in the past 2-3 years.  

Research has shown that your customers will go to the internet (search engines, social media, local directories, review sites) to consult on average 10.4 pieces of content—before they even contact you. The internet is the first place where over 90% of all B2C and B2B prospects will go when beginning research for a potential purchase.

To win more business, business owners, marketers and business developers need to know how they can maximize their sales processes within this new paradigm.

Below are 8 points to keep in mind when talking to your customers so you can win more business.

1. Create buyer personas
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

We sometime lose sight and think we know our customers fairly well, but it quickly becomes apparent—once we begin to peel back the layers—how much we think we know is based only on assumptions—not facts.  

In order to talk to your customers level and win more business you must put yourself in their shoes and get to their level of understanding and motivations of what their challenges are and identify the solutions that can best help them. This can only be done by researching and identifying your buyer persona.

2. Research your prospect on social media
If you don’t have a buyer persona strategy in place, the next best thing is LinkedIn. If you have time in between your first contact and sales meeting—it’s good to check who the prospect is on LinkedIn and on other social media networks. Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (SOURCE: Jill Konrath, Author of Snap Selling)

Knowledge and familiarity of your prospect will allow you to break down any mental barriers in your mind before speaking to your prospect, which can build confidence. Knowing something personal about them is good so you can determine if you have something in common (sports, hobbies, contacts, locations etc.). It’s always better to talk about a common interest than the weather to break the ice. People ultimately choose to do business with people they like, and everyone likes someone who appreciates them. (Source: Forbes)

3. Assume nothing
You should always assume your prospect knows nothing about you or what you offer and vice versa for the first call. Assumptions can taint the waters in sales meetings/calls and can make you look uninformed.

4. Help them think differently about their business
In 2011, CEB came out with a new sales model called the Challenger Sale that has been adopted by top companies. This model is based upon sales people helping customers with their problems first—which builds trust, leads to higher customer satisfaction and faster closings.

“The way to effectively sell your product is to make sure your customer believes you are there to help them win in the market.” — Tyrone Edwards, SVP of Sales and Marketing, Merck Pharmaceuticals

This is a radical departure from the past were sales was more about promotion. By helping your customer understand their problem and identifying those drivers, you can help your customer succeed, which is ultimately why they are contacting you.

5. Scrap the jargon
No one cares, especially your prospect that you know your industry’s terminology—better to save it for the trade show. By knowing your buyer persona, you will know their industry lingo. However, it’s still better to speak professionally with articulation and intelligence and keep the jargon to a minimum.

6. Utilize marketing automation to better qualify your prospect
One of the greatest benefits of sales and marketing automation is that you have the ability to potentially warm your prospects up to your products and services prior to having a conversation with them. This allows you to see—through web analytics (email, clicks, downloads, likes, tweets etc.)—if your prospect has interest in your offerings. This allows you to gain insight into how to better help them. Most tools will also allow you to capture information about your prospect so you can know exactly who they are and if they are a viable lead.

7. Create a process
All good sales people have a process to help them win more business. By utilizing a questioning process, you get your prospect talking about their business, problems and challenges and how you can help them—versus rambling on about how great your solutions are. A good process follows Budget, Authority, Need and Timing or BANT and GPC: Goals, Plans and Challenges to effectively qualify your prospect.  Ask questions that cover their company and their organization (internal). For example:

  1. What is your secret sauce?
  2. Who are your competitors?
  3. What is your average sales price?
  4. What are your company’s revenue targets?
  5. How do you fit within your company?
  6. What is the decision making process?
  7. What are your goals?

… are just a few good questions to ask.

8. Help. Don’t sell.
Lastly, ditch the pitch. Assuming your brand and website has done its job—your prospect will already be convinced that you can help them. Be prepared to show a little transparency and authenticity. This will go a long way in earning trust and credibility.  

Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion states: “Consumers of all types expect to find answers on the internet, and companies that can best provide that information garner trust and sales loyalty. Success flows to organizations that inform, not organizations that promote.”

In conclusion, to win more business you must be helpful, you must create and understand your buyer persona, research your prospect on social media, assume nothing about your prospect, help them to think differently about their business, scrap the jargon, take time to better qualify them and above all—help, don’t sell.Website Buyer Persona Template

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing and sales efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer/client is. This will enable you to set SMART goals to turn your website into a lead generating machine. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for internal alignment and clarity.

 

 

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

How-To-Plan-and-Build-an-Automated-Lead-Nurturing-Workflow

How To Plan and Build an Automated Lead Nurturing Workflow

By Inbound Marketing

 

Your campaign doesn’t end when leads convert on your landing page. Understanding your buyer’s journey from Awareness to Consideration to Decision is critically important in setting up lead nurturing workflows.

marketing-lifecycle-buyers-journey

What is a workflow?
Workflows give you the ability to automate your marketing to actual people, not just clicks and opens. A workflow tool is included in most marketing automation platforms like HubSpot.

What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is a workflow of engaging contacts via automated touches (email) to build a relationship; with the end goal of closing a more educated and qualified customer. When engaging in lead nurturing, you need to be aware of three principles that will make them effective.

Each workflow should address the following:

Grow and nurture relationships – Ask yourself, is this adding value to the contact or is it self-serving?

Educational content – Does this content help or educate your contact?

Hyper-personalization – Try to personalize your workflows as much as possible. This is also called segmentation. As an example, don’t send emails meant for C-Suite executives to mid-level managers. Create and tailor content based on your buyer persona.

Lead nurturing is especially effective for businesses that offer complex products and services. Lead nurturing helps educate your prospect by spoon feeding them information in a way that educates them slowly that doesn’t overwhelm them; with the end goal of moving them from awareness to decision.

Here are some facts as to why lead nurturing is important:

  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales. (Source: Gleanster Research)
  • Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. (Source: InsideSales.com)
  • 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)
  • A whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Today, customers manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. (Source: Gartner Research)

In this post, I give you 5 best practices for automating your lead nurturing workflows.

1. Identify the goal of the workflow
The most popular goal of any workflow is based around the marketing lifecycle. Your focus will be on moving your contact to the next stage of the lifecycle.

So for example, a workflow goal would look something like this:

  • Goal = Download Whitepaper
  • Goal = Contact attends webinar
  • Goal= Visits x number pages on your website
  • Goal= Contact request demo
  • Goal= Contact signs contract

Workflow Sales FunnelTo the right is a sample workflow that overlays the sales funnel and buyers lifecycle with the inbound marketing methodology. We will discuss the types of email to send once the contact opts in to the sales funnel shortly. The goal of this workflow is to move them through your workflow in an effort to build trust—so that they achieve your end goal. In this example the end-goal is: request a demo.

2. Identify contacts that should be enrolled in your workflow
When designing your workflows, make sure to enroll the correct personas. This can be done through your landing page forms by requiring your visitor to self-identify. See Landing Page Best Practices.

3. Select the appropriate number and type of emails to send
To identify the appropriate number of emails you should send, breakdown the types of email into 4 classes:

1. Email 1: Goal = Build trust/condition
The purpose of this type of email is to build trust and relevancy. Make sure whatever you send, it’s something your contact will find useful. The email should also reference why you’re reaching out to them and provide some useful blog links (this is a great way to drive additional traffic to your website). When executed correctly, you’ll begin to build trust that will help condition them to open future emails. Keep your emails short and simple, make sure the subject line is relevant to the action the contact took, always include a link back to the page they signed up on and personalize it. Delay 4 days from first touch.


2. Email 2: Goal = Additional downloads
Once you’ve establish some level of trust, you want to begin to draw a connection between the topic of your workflow and your solution. This could be in the form of whitepapers, ebooks, webinars or case studies. You allow them to consume your resources to further understand your organizations value. At this stage you are not yet selling them. You are still building trust. Delay 4 days from second touch.


3. Email 3 & 4: Goal = Soft/Hard Goal
By now, your contacts that are engaged will trust you and are beginning to understand the value of your organization and how you will solve their problem. You’ve probably seen them on your website a few more times—these are signals of a qualified lead. Now is the time to position your goal of the workflow (request a demo) as the next logical step for the contact to take. Position this step as part of the discovery process by focusing on delivering more detail on how you can specifically help them. At this point, they should be interested in talking to you and signing up for a demo. Delay 3 days from third touch.

4. Email 5: Goal = Breakup/Goal Action
The break-up email is designed to make it clear that this is the last email they will be receiving in conjunction with the type of emails they’ve been getting. Our goal with this email is to make one last-ditch effort to complete your goal (request a demo). Let them know this is the last email, and ask them to subscribe to your blog. Believe it or not, a P.S. works well here. Delay 3 days from fourth touch.


4. A word on timing
Timing is always important when nurturing your leads. You can easily upset people by emailing them too much or too little. There is a delicate balance when playing with the timing of your emails. Experiment with what times work best. Do not email your contact every day otherwise you’ll get flagged for spam. A safe place to start is one email every week for 4 weeks.

5. Identify contacts to suppress from your workflow
When setting up your lead nurturing workflows make sure to exclude any current customers, opportunities, competitors or contacts were a specific product or service is not relevant.

What if a contact just bypasses the whole workflow and calls me? Sometimes, a contact will just call you after spending some time on your website and bypass the entire workflow. Continue to follow the workflow and be prepared to tweak it slightly. The goal is still to educate them and distinguish your services from potential competitors they may be evaluating.

In conclusion, the lead nurturing process always starts with a desired end goal. Each email should be educational, simple and short, personalized and timed correctly. Each stage of the buyer’s lifecycle should be kept in mind as you move your contact to the next stage. By conducting lead nurturing you can expect to send your sales team more “sales-qualified” leads and close more business. 

30 Ways to Generate Leads inbound marketing
FREE DOWNLOAD:
30 Ways to Generate Leads

In this Ebook, we give you 30 tips, tricks and ideas on how to turn your website into a lead generating machine. 

Landing Page Best Practice for Lead Generation

Landing Page Design Best Practices

By Inbound Marketing

Did you know that businesses with 31 to 40 landing pages get 7 times more leads than those with only 1 to 5 landing pages? Businesses surveyed saw a 55% increase in leads when they increased the number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

A landing page is a key component to any lead generation effort. 

With 55% of the sales process over before a visitor even contacts you, you want to make sure that when your website has done its job of providing the right information and impression that you have landing pages in place to move that visitor into your sales funnel.

In this article, I’ll give you 6 keys to designing a successful landing page that will have you converting visitors to leads more effectively in no time.

1. What is a landing page?
A landing page is a stand alone web page—that functions to gather visitor information in exchange for a piece of relevant content.  Content can come in the form of a whitepaper, webinar, video or ebook. Visitors and leads are key performance indicators (KPI) that help determine if your inbound marketing offers are effective or not. The goal of any landing page is to convert visitors to leads so that you can identify a potential problem they are trying to solve, while moving them down into your sales funnel where the end-result is a new customer or client.

2. Why landing pages work
Remember the last time you went to a restaurant where the menu was ten pages long—and it took you ten minutes to decide what you wanted to order? I think we can all relate… This is called “analysis paralysis.” Analysis paralysis is where a person has too many choices to make. Landing pages zero in on one or two actions you want your visitor to take. This cuts down on the time and thinking it requires to make a decision. The rule in website design  “don’t make me think” applies here.  The fewer choices a visitor has, the faster you can capitalize on getting their contact information.

Landing Page Best Practices3. Seven elements of an effective landing page
A landing page should consist of only a few elements (see right)

  1. Descriptive headline
  2. Brief paragraph of the offer
  3. Picture of the offer
  4. Bullet points on what they can expect to learn
  5. Urgency statement
  6. A short form-typically only 4-5 fields
  7. Submit button
  8. Social proof (testimonial)

By utilizing the above 7 elements you can more effectively convert your visitor into a lead.

4. Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t add navigation from your homepage 
By adding navigation to your landing page you provide a distraction that could hinder conversation rates. Better to leave it off.  

Don’t have more than 5 form fields
Studies have shown the more fields you have the less likely your visitor is to fill it out. Gather only the information you need for the first touch. There will be more opportunity to gather more information with the next offer. 

Don’t design pages that load slow
Over 40% of visitors will abandon a page if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less. Make sure your pages load fast. Use this helpful tool to measure your load times: Web Page Test

Do add meta tags to optimize your pages
You want your landing pages to show up in search engines so it’s important to optimize them correctly. Use an appropriate <title> tag and <description> along with body copy and images.

Do add a thank you page
After your visitor has filled out the form, make sure to redirect them to a thank you page that reiterates the offer and give them back your website’s navigation. Ask them to share or follow.

Do send an email
Once a visitor fills out your form, make sure to send an email with a link to download the offer so you increase your visibility and you have a presence in their inbox to reference.

5. Test your landing pages
Typical industry conversion rates fluctuate somewhere between 1% – 5%. Top performing landing pages come in at 10% or higher. Every landing page should be maximized by A/B testing. To conduct an A/B test, create two versions of your landing page and then change the headline, copy, colors, image placement and form length.  Track to see what page performs best. By tweaking a few elements, you can increase your conversion rate dramatically. You won’t know till you try!

6. Take your lead generation efforts to the next level
To take your lead generation and landing pages to the next level, I recommend marketing automation software to help you systematize, test and create landing pages—making it easier and saving you time. Companies that automate lead generation and management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research)

By not utilizing marketing automation, you will spend a lot of time piecing together the various tools needed like email software, analytics, forms and a content management system to put together one landing page.

We use a tool called HubSpot, which is an all-in-one tool that helps us create, optimize and test landing pages quickly. It saves time, tracks our data and helps us prove ROI to our clients more effectively.

In conclusion, maximizing landing page performance is key to generating leads and filling the sales funnel with viable, qualified leads.

If you’re interested in learning more, download the resource below that discusses landing pages more in-depth and 29 other ways to generate leads online.

 

30 Ways to Generate Leads inbound marketing
FREE DOWNLOAD:
30 Ways to Generate Leads

In this eBook, we give you 30 tips, tricks and ideas on how to turn your website into a lead generating machine.