Sales is a crucial part of marketing. Too often we focus so much of our energy on advertising, and forget to pay attention to what happens when the advertising works. It gets people to visit or call, gets them to request more information, or research your products and services. But then you have to sell them.
Sure, in some industries, you rely on people to checkout themselves. You might not have a sales force. But in most you do, and it is a big part of the marketing team’s job to give that sales force the tools that they need to turn interested prospects into paying customers.
Here is a brief look at the sales cycle and what marketing can do to assist sales all the way through the process.
Your advertising generates interest. Activities on social media can generate interest. All efforts by the marketing team at this first stage should be intended to reach new prospects and start them down the sales funnel by piquing their interest.
You can create whitepapers or promotional material and use them to generate leads on your website. You can design your website to encourage people to email, or chat, or call, connecting them directly to someone on the sales team. You can create special offers and discounts that encourage people who otherwise might not shop with you to take an interest.
At this stage, your sales team has leads in the queue. This is when the selling starts.
Sales people should be provided a variety of different assets to help them sell. A basic information packet, in the form of a PowerPoint or single document can be used to reach out to people initially. In addition, when prospects ask for more information on a specific area, the salesperson should have something to show them. This might include case studies and references from other clients or customers, a more detailed brochure explaining what you offer and how it works, industry research, etc.
To close the sale, it is important to provide sales people with a certain degree of flexibility. At this stage, the ability to discount the price or create added value for the customer could mean the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. Make sure salespeople know what they can do to close the sale, and what they can’t. And give them the proper answers to all possible customer questions.
All other aspects of your marketing might be dynamite, but if you can’t close the sale once you pique someone’s interest, your business will not succeed.