Knowledge is Power
This blog is about improving your sales conversion record by getting to know and understand your customers and your market in intimate detail. Knowledge is power in sales. This theme is mirrored in Chapter 6, where we reveal the power of Inbound Sales – what happens when your customers and market know and understand you and your products or services in depth.
Most of us know that we cannot sell to everyone, but we keep on making the same mistake. We pitch to all our leads without qualifying whether they are a good fit for us. We have all experienced unwanted LinkedIn requests with an unsolicited direct sales message. Most of them are irrelevant and without context. These people didn’t do their homework.
Before you go on, you may wish to take a quick step back and define your Ideal Client, it will take few minutes and be a great base for defining your Buyer Personas.
Cut your work in half and double up
Look at the leads in your pipeline right now and ask yourself: are they a good fit for your business?
Identify how many of those prospects have been there for a long time with no sign of interest in buying your product or service. They ended up in your pipeline because you had a habit of piling all your enquiries into one bucket.
An enquiry is not always a lead.
The Right People
What you need to do is to make sure that you are targeting the right people. The people who are ready to buy from you. But who are the right people for you to target? Some time spent now will save you endless wasted hours going forward.
The best way is to look at some existing Clients and ask yourself the following questions:
- How long did it take you to convert specific contacts or companies into Clients?
- How many website searches did they make? What content did they read?
- Where did each contact come from: referral, Google, event attendee, etc?
- Is there a specific time of the year they contacted you?
- Is the client the company owner/co-owner? Purchasing manager?
- Who makes the purchasing decision? How many contacts were involved in the sale?
If you have good CRM software you can analyse contact history with one click. This exercise will give you a great basis to identify the type of people who are more likely to buy from you. You are now close to solving that question: which half of my prospects are not a good fit for what I sell?
To solve it completely, you need to drill deeper. To increase your understanding of your Clients, you could ask them directly. Select 2-3 recent Client wins, or perhaps Clients who you have a good business relationship with and get them on the phone* individually, send a survey, or invite them to participate in a focus group.
*According to SalesLabInsight.com 41.2% of sales people said that the phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal.
However you choose to proceed, your goal is to discover your Buyer Personas by answering the following questions:
- What industry do they work in?
- What is your contact’s job title?
- How is their job measured?
- Who do they report to?
- Who is the Decision Maker?
- What are their job responsibilities?
- What is this person trying to accomplish?
- How can you help them achieve these goals and objectives?
- What holds this person back from accomplishing their goals?
- How can you help them overcome these challenges?
- How do they acquire Clients?
- What tools do they use/need to do their job?
The top way to create a positive sales experience , according to buyers: Listen to their needs (69%).
- Which publications or blogs do they read/listen to?
- How does this person learn new things related to their job?
- What events does s/he attend?
- When they buy something related to their job, what is the process, who is involved?
- At what point do they expect the salesperson to get involved?
- How do they communicate with their suppliers (phone, emails, chat, SMS, F2F, etc)
In their shopping journey with you, what have been the pain points (obstacles, difficulties, frustrations they might have experienced? (You will need this information in Chapters 4 & 5: Map your Client Journey to Recognise Buying Signals.)
Final Questions, and this is real gold dust:
Why did they pick you?
Through this exercise you may discover that you end up with too many Buyer Personas to be able to focus on them all. That is to be expected. Ideally, you will select the 3-5 most promising and relevant Buyer Personas and focus your marketing and sales efforts on those.
Plug the Gaps
Once you start working on identifying your Ideal Client and Buyer Personas you will uncover a number of gaps, like lack of content, no Calls to Action (CTAs) or that your current marketing effort is focused on the wrong Buyer Personas. Then, once you understand your best Client fit, you will be able to set a number of parameters that will help you to disqualify enquiries that are less likely to convert. You eliminate the 50% who are not a good fit, ensuring that you can provide great value to the Clients you are working with.
Your Ideal Client and your Buyer Personas will change over time, so keep reviewing all characteristics on a regular basis.