Transparency, ever expanding digital resources and better mobile design means that customers and prospects now have access to more information than ever before. Prospects have the ability to know almost everything that there is to know about your business before speaking to you but information overload makes it difficult to process it all.
Due to this information overload, your existing sales process probably isn’t fighting fit. If your existing process includes disorientating leads with bucket loads of information, it must be changed. Prospects and leads want to drip feed on information about their buying decision. They want the right information at the right time (when it’s most valuable to them - and when they are receptive to it).
In 2016, your sales process must be lead oriented - not you oriented.
This year, start asking yourself how you can help your potential customers to make the right buying decision. Don’t just bombard them with reasons to choose you at the final stage. Provide helpful advice and content along their journey.
You need to be helping prospects to make the right buying decision. You want to be a good fit for prospects (and for them to be a good fit for you). It’s like piecing together a jigsaw, it’s much easier to lay out all of the pieces first so that you know what you’re working with instead of realising half way through that most of the puzzle is missing!
Even if prospects turn into customers, if there isn’t good fit they won’t remain lifelong valuable customers. If expectations aren’t met they’ll soon realise you aren’t right for them, and you’ll have wasted valuable sales and marketing time on low quality leads.
Corporate sales and marketing executives agree that at least 50% of their sales effort and 50% of their lead generation budget is wasted on leads that are never contacted. One of the most significant reasons for this, identified by sales, was poor quality leads (37%).
You should qualify leads before they talk to sales, whilst they qualify you. We do this with every lead that we generate through live chat - and we don’t just mean getting their name and email address, we determine whether leads meet our clients’ specific criteria or not. For one of our student property investment clients for example, we're constantly picking up valuable information throughout the conversation (such as investor experience, their knowledge of the student property market, budget and how they found the company).
You should start building the puzzle early with prospects. Start engaging with them at the right time. Facilitate the sales process by making sure that prospects can get the information that they need from your content and representatives.
Prospects may have access to tonnes of information but information overload prevents them from reading it in the right order and processing it effectively. You need to make sure that prospects follow a useful feed of information.
Engage at the right time by developing an engagement strategy. Here at The Chat Shop we study the website analytics of our clients to understand the ways in which their online visitors behave. Our Account Managers discover the natural progression of prospects on our clients’ websites. Then we look at how we can make sure that everyone has the information that they need to develop as a prospect.
If a visitor is toing and froing between pieces of content or is about to leave after only a short amount of time on the website, that would suggest that they haven’t obtained what they need. We invite these prospects to chat, making sure that they have what they came for.
The point is to engage with all relevant visitors that would otherwise leave your site without taking any action.
Engaging them with conversation that is constructive builds a relationship and provides value to both of you. We use our in-house Explore Identify Match methodology to understand website visitor needs and direct them to a goal beneficial to both them and our client.
We (and you should too!) personalise the experience based on the knowledge that each particular prospect has. A prospect asking advanced questions has clearly already done a lot of research or is an expert in the area (and certainly deserves more than canned responses - like we believe all prospects do), as such we aim to provide them with more advanced information and begin to qualify them for the client.
For those with less knowledge, we provide more foundation knowledge. We explore the wants and needs of the visitor and then accommodate them in a befitting manner.
We don’t patronise but educate. Most prospects don’t know everything and some may misunderstand some information that they’ve read. Your sales process should be lead oriented remember, so it’s up to you to make sure that they can fill in the information gaps easily.
An in-depth internal knowledge base is a good way of making sure that your lead generation team knows everything that your prospects need to know through the sales process. A thorough quality assurance process makes sure that representatives interacting with prospects are knowledgeable and that conversations educate them well.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to adapt your sales process to match the information overload that prospects face. You don’t want to bombard prospects with all of the important information on their first sales call but you also don’t want to leave it up to them to find and understand all of the information that they do need.
At each stage of the process you need to provide value to your prospects. Drip feed the right information at the right time by studying and understanding user behaviour (the way that we engage and chat with our clients’ prospects adapts with the behaviour of on site visitors).
Provide them with important details about you and your products/services whilst also learning about them. Conversations should be a two-way interaction so that you can both decide if you are right for each other.
Don’t waste their time or yours. Start generating more leads by educating prospects and prioritising the most valuable, sales ready leads.
Want to learn more about how we generate high quality leads and build relationships here at The Chat Shop?