Click-to-Close Converting Inbound Leads to Sales

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1 Click-to-Close Converting Inbound Leads to Sales

2 Why have sales reps in the senior living industry typically de-prioritized website and online directory leads? No. 1, they don t like to waste time. It seems much quicker to focus on a person they can see, hear and talk with. What they don t realize is a prospect coming from inbound marketing strategies is most likely further along in the sales process and closer to a decision than a prospect who walked in off the street knowing very little. The fact of the matter is that customers who start their search online are seeking one thing information. If the information you have accessible is relevant and of interest, they are much more likely to engage a sales rep at your community. Keep in mind we live in a contentcentric world. If they can t get the information from you, they WILL get it somewhere else. The benefit of getting it from you is that they will likely turn to you as they have questions regarding their search. Converting inbound leads starts first and foremost with a solid inbound marketing strategy. The questions customers are seeking answers to change with every website visit. Therefore, strategy should be designed around what questions leads are asking each visit they make (first, second, third visit, etc.), creating paths within your website that draw leads back to you.

3 Barriers that Prevent a Successful Inbound Sales Strategy While many have already begun thinking about their inbound marketing strategy, few in the senior living industry have identified how inbound marketing affects their sales process. Furthermore, some have been hindered by mistrust and miscommunication or misalignment between their sales and marketing operations. One barrier that prevents sales counselors from having an effective inbound sales strategy is the inability to transparently see the buyer s journey before they became a sales ready lead. Integration of your customer relation management system and marketing automation platform is critical. Inbound sales uses every bit of information available about the prospect s journey online before and during engagement with the sales team. Using lead scoring in your marketing automation platform can also help determine which prospects are most likely qualified to speak with a sales counselor and when they are ready for a conversation. With each communication, your sales counselors should become armed with a detailed history of the buyer s behavior and an understanding of his or her product and service knowledge. Another barrier that prevents an effective inbound sales strategy is training. Unfortunately, few organizations I have worked with are able to confidently say they have an inbound sales process. In fact, most sales counselors haven t been trained on how to tailor the sales process for an inbound lead.

4 Barriers that Prevent a Successful Inbound Sales Strategy An inbound lead has already found answers online. Regurgitating information the lead already has runs the risk of damaging the relationship and turning prospects off. No one likes to feel sold. It is critical that sales counselors are able to customize their sales process to meet the changing needs of an inbound lead. The goal should be to provide additional information that is relevant and helpful in a noninterruptive way. Inbound sales processes and methodologies should position the sales counselor as a trusted adviser, resource and expert in making the senior living decision. How do you determine a repeatable, scalable sales process and methodology that works for your company? 1 The sales process should be a specific set of actions that your team follows, such as how many call attempts should be made to an online customer and in what time frame. 2 The sales process should be well defined and specific, but able to be adjusted based on what you know about your potential customer. 3 Sales methodology should be the approach or framework for how the different parts of your sales process are actually carried out, like creating an template with discovery questions for the first engagement with an online directory lead.

5 Strategy Here are five tips to increase lead close conversions. Tip #1 Align your Sales and Marketing Strategies Successful revenue generation begins with a successful sales and marketing strategy. Align sales and marketing so goals are easy to measure, objectives are clear and collaboration is not only encouraged, but expected. Have you considered creating service level agreements that outline shared objectives and goals? This can set the tone for the expectation of collaboration. Companies with aligned sales and marketing departments see 5 times the results of those whose marketing and sales departments work in silos (whether intentionally or unintentionally). The sales funnel should include marketing; it should not be a separate thought process. Marketing qualified (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL) should be defined in your service level agreement. At what point do you consider a lead ready to engage with a sales rep? Lead qualification in itself can create a multi-dimensional conversation. Lead qualification is based on two core pieces of information: 1: Are they a good match for you? 2: How interested are they?

6 Your teams can outline lead nurturing strategies and lead qualifications based on the four basic scenarios: 1 Customers who are a good match and highly interested 2 Customers who are a good match, but don t show a lot of interest yet 3 Customers who show lots of interest, but aren t a good match for you 4 Customers who show little interest and aren t a good match for you Use these four key metrics when establishing your service level agreement: Sales goal in terms of revenue Expectation of sales from marketing vs. sales generated leads Average sale size Average lead to move-in close ratio Sales should also spend some time with marketing to understand what information is gated and ungated on your website. If information is gated (meaning customers give you information like a phone number or in exchange for your online content), sales can reference this in a conversation with a customer. If information is ungated, sales needs to know the customer didn t formally give his or her information and it may feel a bit creepy if you tell them you know where they have been on your website.

7 Tip #2 Let the buyer s journey customize your sales process. Let s take a look at how an inbound lead affects various stages of the sales process from the customer s point of view: Discovery: Keep in mind that if I have already been on your website, I already know some things about you and you do not need to repeat that info to me. Instead, start a conversation using a series of questions to understand what prompted my search, what I found helpful on your website, how I used the information and what additional information I was hoping to find. If I filled out a web form with information regarding my situation or shared information with an online directory, ask questions that validate what I shared with them and show you paid attention to the details. Follow Up: Quick and efficient follow-up will give you a higher likelihood of 1) Reaching me before I am overwhelmed with phone calls 2) Having a lasting first impression before I am overwhelmed with information from multiple communities 3) Feeling overall disinterested simply because I am overwhelmed with information and communities calling. Presentation: Anticipating what I may need from you is a great way to build rapport with me. Don t regurgitate what I already know. There are pieces of information I obtained from your website where I had to leave my name and or telephone number. Entering this information, I have given you permission to reference what I have researched online. Don t repeat info, give me additional, helpful info.

8 Closing: I expect you to be the expert. Once you have established rapport and trust with me, advise me with logical potential next steps in the decision-making process. If you explain why in my situation it would be helpful to pursue a next step, I am more likely to look at you as a trusted advisor, not just another sales person. By explaining the why and not just telling, I am more likely to see you as resourceful and pursue you with further questions that arise after our initial conversation. Include standard operating procedures for sales reps who receive inbound sales leads in your service level agreements. What time frame are you expecting a sales qualified marketing generated lead to be followed up with? How many attempts and within what time frame are follow-up calls expected to be made? All of these items are things that need to be mutually agreed upon between your sales and marketing departments. Goals for both the sales and marketing departments should include milestones that allow you to measure progress quarterly and annually.

9 Tip #3 Assess your Current Sales Talent and Structure. Assessing sales talent is a touchy subject. However, what many organizations find is that the skills of a successful traditional sales person can vary significantly from that of an inbound sales professional. Skills inbound sales professionals possess include being tech-savvy, data-driven and highly personable. They have exceptional listening skills and can connect with prospects in a meaningful way a way that anticipates needs, asks the right questions and has the right kind of resourceful information at their fingertips. They act quickly, and through effective use of technology, can manage higher lead volume than a traditional sales rep is used to. Also keep this in mind: time is of the essence. It is statistically proven that you have a 90% higher likelihood of converting an inquiry to a tour if it is addressed in less than five minutes. This may mean re-distributing the division of labor within the sales office or even committing one sales counselor just to inbound sales, depending on your volume of qualified traffic.

10 Tip #4 Create a Technology Roadmap. A technology roadmap includes how to create a closed-loop sales and marketing technology system (where your CRM and Marketing Automation Platform are able to communicate with each other). Your roadmap should also include the strategy that will be used to build and manage your pipeline. Identify which system will drive sales vs. marketing workflow. Both your CRM and MAP typically have functionality of some sort, but when and how you use it becomes key to avoiding frustration from unrealistic expectations. Identify other systems that can be integrated. For example, can you integrate your CRM with your care and billing system? Can you integrate your online directories or hospital referral programs to eliminate duplicative data entry? Your technology roadmap should include benefits, limitations and goals related to the software your organization uses for sales and marketing.

11 Tip #5 Create Content Collaboration and Outline Sales Use. Although marketing has typically been responsible for creating content, your sales team oftentimes holds the key to understanding what customers really want to know. When it comes to knowledge of pain points, differentiating factors and the kinds of questions prospects are asking at various stages of the sales process, collaboration between sales and marketing is critical in order to identify content needs, and shifts in marketing strategy to drive lead volume. Once content has been created, how is the new content communicated with sales? Can they repurpose it depending on the buyer s journey? How can it be used in the sales process? A process for communicating new content availability should be defined. Information that should be supplied to the sales department outlines the type and title of content, date it is available for use, the persona it targets, the buying stage it is most likely to be helpful in, the content s key points, the pain points it targets, issues or problems the content is focused on, the goal of the content, and the persona questions targeted in the piece of content. Without this critical component, you are likely to accumulate a mass of content that is being leveraged online and not utilized well by your sales department. Remember, the key to converting inbound leads to sales is a consultative sales process. If sales counselors aren t equipped to provide useful, relevant and helpful information, you are likely to be out-sold.

12 Elite Business Systems Your Answer to Implementing Inbound Sales Our team of experts is capable of managing the assessment, strategic planning, customization, execution and implementation of inbound sales processes within your organization. Our detailed discovery, assessment and implementation processes ensure your organization sees higher click-to-close conversions from inbound sales qualified leads. Clients hire us to help in one or more of these areas: Complete a Sales Audit Customize Sales Workflows for use in a CRM Create Content Cheat Sheets Implement Inbound Sales Coaching and Training And more! Request a Free inbound sales consultation today! to schedule your free 30-minute inbound sales strategy session. On your call with Michelle, we will discuss: Sales and marketing alignment Effectiveness and barriers of your current sales and marketing structure Tangible goals to begin developing an inbound sales strategy or inbound marketing and sales alignment P.O. Box 151 Kensington, MN 56343

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