In this eighth blog of our 10 part series on Top Tips for Progressing Your Sales Leads, our VP Sales John Macleod explores the next step in maximising the returns from your marketing efforts, and progressing ‘sales ready leads’ through the sales pipeline. The eighth step: Prepare.
As we walk through some best practice guidelines for maximising lead conversion in this blog series, an overriding theme is quality of information. Before you meet with the prospect, there should be a constant focus on building a strong sales case based on all the information you have at your disposal. Here are some of the areas we’ve covered so far:
- Lead Write Up
- Marketing Automation Solution
- Social Media
- Press Releases
- Introductory Call
So now you have captured all this valuable information, what should you do with it?
Prepare for the Meeting
Preparation is a key element in ensuring that you maximise the leads in your pipeline, and increase the effectiveness of your sales engagement when you meet with the prospect. The steps you have taken up to this point are to equip you for the preparation stage. It is only too easy to feel comfortable with the information you have generated, however if you don’t prepare exactly how you are going to leverage each piece of information during your sale meeting, it could all go to waste. Without going in to your meeting prepared, you risk getting distracted and leaving the meeting wishing you’d covered all the points you meant to, or having to do further work to close a prospect that would've been possible within that one meeting.
There is many ways to prepare for a sales meeting, and people retain information differently. The key is to set aside time to do it. Here are some things to consider;
Look over the actions that have been agreed with the prospect up until now. Has the meeting request been accepted? Have you set an agenda? Have you sent the information they requested? Make sure you’re not walking in on the back foot by missing something obvious which can affect the prospect’s opinion of you, and in turn, the company.
Consolidate Lead Information
You will likely have lots of notes and different streams of information if you have done sufficient research. The challenge can be to remember it all when you’re at the meeting. Ensure you have collated all the information you have on the prospect, their needs and the company, familiarise yourself with the details beforehand, and then prepare brief notes for you to refer to when you engage with the prospect.
Even if you don’t stick to a rigid agenda in the meetings, make sure the prospect has sight of what you are looking to achieve at the meeting, and ensure you’re prepared to cover off all the points. How many times have you left a meeting forgetting to cover an important point, or run out of time because you haven’t been in control of the conversation? Having a clear agenda will help the flow of the meeting and ensure you maximise the time you have. Additionally, by preparing an agenda and sending it to the prospect in advance of the meeting, you allow them to prepare for the meeting too and avoid wasting time, which can be imperative in satisfying and later delighting a prospective customer.
Prepare Next Steps
Although these may change depending on what is discussed with the prospect, make sure you have a clear idea of what next steps may look like. It is all too easy for a lead to go cold if you don’t have a structured follow up in place. Make sure you are prepared to build on the momentum generated so far, and nurture the prospect through the sales cycle.
Know Your Route
Finally, if you are travelling to meet with the prospect face to face, make sure you plan your journey well in advance. Nothing gets a first meeting off to a bad start than the sales person running late due to bad preparation. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, and know well in advance how you are going to get there.
Stay tuned for our next blog in this series of 10 top tips for maximising marketing leads through sales.
If you'd like to discuss our sales process, and discover how INCo can help you build your pipeline and close delighted customers, we would love to hear from you!
Alternatively, download our Top Ten Tips eBook to review the previous steps: