It’s that time of year again when we all start thinking about what we’re going to do better next year. It’s when the gyms fill out their memberships as people vow to exercise regularly, when dieting starts anew, and when people try to rein in their personal budgets.
But what if we all decided to focus on resolutions that could help our businesses shape up, too? After all, there are some things we all know we should do, but often just don’t get around to them. So, here are some resolutions that can help you to boost your company’s sales.
Resolving to clean up your database is like resolving to organize your closets. It’s a daunting task, but once it’s done, it feels so good and helps increase efficiency.
There are four simple steps to the clean-up process.
First, if you have multiple contact lists, it’s time to match and merge records into one comprehensive list.
You’ll likely discover multiple records for the same individuals. For example, you may find Tim White, Timothy White and Mr. Timothy White. So, your next step is to de-dupe. After all, you don’t want to annoy Mr. Timothy White with multiple emails or phone calls. Plus, you want all the information you collect about him to be in the same record.
You may find that some of your records are missing critical information such as phone numbers and email addresses. If so, make your list more robust by using a service to append the fields you need.
Finally, for more personal and successful marketing, segment your list by demographic data or by role.
Salespeople complain that marketing sends them unqualified leads. At the same time, marketing associates feel salespeople have little respect for their hard-earned leads. They criticize reps for not following up.
There’s a solution to this.
Marketing and sales leaders need to sit down together and hammer out a definition of a qualified lead that they can all agree to. Put it in black and white.
If a lead meets the defined criteria for marketing, it is marketing-qualified. If it meets the defined criteria for sales, it’s sales-qualified. Sales people have no right to complain if they receive a sales-qualified lead. And, once they begin to receive qualified leads, they are much more likely to follow up as there is an incentive to do so. They know qualified leads are more likely to close which means following up fattens their commission checks.
With qualified lead definitions, marketing and sales are aligned. Everyone’s happy and sales are on the rise.
Events consume a lot of time and money. It’s essential that a trade show or conference goes off without a hitch. Because of this, hours go into creating the perfect trade show booth or conference hall to wow visitors. Time goes into preparing speeches and choosing appetizers for receptions. In the rush to the event deadline, sometimes the overall objective is forgotten.
Your goal is to generate leads and sales.
This goal needs to take priority during the pre-event planning and post-event wrap-up. So, resolve to send invitations to valuable prospects and customers before a trade show or event. And don’t leave it to written communications alone. Pick up the phone to talk with key individuals, ensure their attendance, and set face-to-face appointments with your salespeople.
Also, follow up after the event. Create content such as a white paper, e-book, or webinar that you can use after the event with the warm leads you collect. Map out your follow-up plan to include a mix of emails and phone calls. You need to plan this all ahead of the event because research shows that 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor that responds first. As soon as you pack up the booth, it’s time for follow up.
According to a Forrester Research study, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost-per-lead. And lead nurturing is easier than ever with the available email marketing and marketing automation platforms. Email marketing is an excellent way to execute a drip campaign. Recognize, however, that it is just one tool in your toolbox. You’ll also want to make phone calls when a lead demonstrates a higher interest level, and offer content that helps to educate your leads and prospects.
As you probably noticed, content is an essential part of two of the above resolutions— event follow-up and lead nurturing. It’s time to get on the content marketing bandwagon.
Because many other companies are doing the same thing, it’s more important than ever that your content is highly useful to your target audience, unique and engaging. Create content that your company can be proud of, shows off your thought leadership, and your prospects will love.
Some final tips: Pick one resolution to ensure you’ll stick with it and achieve results. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. And if you need help, use outside resources to get it done.
Jeff Kalter is CEO of 3D2B, a global business-to-business telemarketing company that bridges the divide between marketing and sales. He leads customer acquisition programs for Fortune 500 companies, and is passionate about building strong business relationships through professional phone conversations. Follow him on Twitter: @jeffkalt
Is one of your resolutions to clean up your pipeline? Download the free Salesforce e-book for help on getting started with five steps.