Winning business in sales is often a game of persistence.
Your prospects have already taken into consideration that the product or service you are offering provides real value and can solve their business pains. However, persistent effort needs to be supported appropriately to be effective and a key success factor. This can be done using a CRM system and a variety of other mechanisms to stay in contact with the individual.
Recently a client of ours won some new business from a lead that we have been working on. That is great news ultimately but what I found very interesting was the work it took and length of time to convert this lead to a revenue generating opportunity – just over 3 years in the funnel from date of first touch.
Back in early 2010 we had cold called and emailed this prospect. Over the years we kept in touch on a bi-annual basis to check in and see how things were progressing with their business and see if there was a need for our clients’ solution. Finally in 2013 we closed our first deal with them.
In addition to the length of time it took, a few valuable components that helped make this deal possible included:
1. Use of a CRM
A CRM solution is necessary to keep you on track and allows you to remember (without mentally remembering, what your stream of touches and conversation have been with the customer). It allowed us to stay top of mind and be persistent with our efforts. Imagine a database of over 2000 qualified contacts – how do you keep these organized in your brain or in Excel? The answer is, you don’t. You need a solution to do it effectively for you. So for any organization, to be successful, be persistent but be sure to use a CRM solution to help manage the work. The other benefit of a CRM is it allows you to start to better understand your sales process and winning sales methodologies.
2. Use a Variety Tools
Using a variety of mechanisms to stay in touch with prospects is also key to long-term sales success. You want to stay top of mind but not be an irritant. You also want to identify if possible, how your contact likes to be contacted. For B2B sales, I find vehicles like Linkedin, Twitter and newsletters are great ways to stay connected and keep you top of mind.
3. Be Consistent With Your Outreach Efforts
Ensure that you are actively touching base with your prospects through personal means such as calls and emails. Also utilize more passive means, on a scheduled basis, such as Newsletters, Twitter and Linkedin updates to keep you top of mind.
I hope you find these few points helpful when working to close a client. For continued insight into sales strategy and tactics, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter.