How many prospects does your sales team close on average? Two percent? Five percent? What if marketing could work alongside sales to find and engage with fewer, more qualified leads to close more deals? Suddenly, two percent looks like 10, or 15.
It all comes down to how marketing and sales are communicating with prospective buyers. Gone are the days of the elevator pitch. Say good-bye to hard selling tactics. Instead, embrace the idea that it’s time to listen to your prospects. Embrace the idea that it’s time to stop selling your product, and start helping your customers find a solution to their problems instead.
This sales tactic can ultimately help your marketing and sales teams engage, nurture, and close more prospects.
Here’s how marketing and sales should talk to prospective customers.
Speak to Each of Your Audiences
When you’re trying to sell your product or service to a prospective customer, consider all the outside influencers and decision-makers at the company that will influence the purchasing decision. Say you sell a marketing technology solution. Just because someone on the marketing team is your point person doesn’t mean the choice to buy won’t also run past IT, the COO, or some other team entirely.
If your story only reaches the needs of marketing, that COO could be a roadblock for you down the line. Share messages with your customer that can speak to the needs of anyone who influences their decision to buy. It doesn’t matter that a customer loves your product if they can’t also convince the powers-that-be that your product is valuable for everyone involved.
You need to do your research and be prepared to speak—directly or indirectly—to everyone that is involved in your target customer’s buying journey. Learn their driving motivations, their objectives and goals, and figure out what obstacles keep them from getting there. Then, figure out how your product or service can be the golden answer they’ve been waiting for.
Tell the Same Story as Sales
It may sound obvious, but a lot of marketing teams forget to enable sales by providing them with all the tools and research marketing has in their own back pocket. But if sales doesn’t know what you know about the target audience, they’ll never be able to tell the same story as you.
The story marketing and sales decide to share will be the foundation of your sale. All relationships need to be built on a foundation of trust. When marketing creates content that provides answers and brings value to every interaction a customer has with your organization, it builds trust. When sales talks about the things your customers are thinking and worrying about on a daily basis, it builds trust. Message alignment between sales and marketing will have a multiplying effect on your relationships with your customers.
Telling the same story and focusing on relationships matters. People don’t always buy the best—they buy their favorite . In a perfect world, customers would make all purchasing decisions using logic and cold hard facts. But, for better or worse, everyone (even you) buys based at least partially on emotion. While this is certainly more the case in B2C purchases, it is also true for B2B transactions. We prioritize our relationships and the people we trust. In the words of Jay Baer, help your customer to earn their trust instead of just trying to sell them something.
Sell a Solution, Not a Product
At the end of the day, making a sale is all about inspiring confidence in your company. Your team is trying to move a prospect from believing in an outcome to believing in you. They need to believe in what your company can do for them and how it can improve their life.
The first time sales gets on the line with a customer, your product shouldn’t come up at all (unless the customer asks you a specific question, of course). You should be asking questions, taking notes, learning about them. Again, it’s an act of trust. Just because someone says they like your idea, just because someone agrees that there’s some better outcome to be achieved, doesn’t mean that outcome is their top priority.
From here, how do you get someone to commit to change? If you have listened to their problems, you can calculate and communicate the opportunity cost precisely and highly enough that they have no choice. Once someone is committed to change, they are now ready to hear about your solution. Don’t sell them your product. Sell them a necessary answer to their need.
Close the Deal
This whole process keeps you at the center and at the heart of the buying decision for your customers. Later on, if a prospect starts to waver, if they start to worry about their budget, sales can say, “Hey, what happened to that commitment to change you talked to me about? What happened to that outcome that you said was your top priority?”
You don’t have to advocate for the sale. You can advocate for the outcome your prospect already told you they need. But you can only do that if you establish the need up front by understanding your audience’s pain points, sharing one story, and offering a solution to their problem. In this way, your message is one of the most critical parts of full-funnel marketing and the most successful way for marketing and sales to talk to prospective customers.
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