By Diane Gillespie
When I spoke at the Sales 2.0 conference last month, I presented on the 5 Failure Points of today’s selling system. A quick summary of the points (though I recommend clicking through to the video): Lead, Process, Meeting, Proposals and Analysis. Essentially, these are the moments in a sales cycle where companies struggle the most. While all of these failure points are important to overcome, as a marketer, the one most near and dear to my heart is the Lead. Many times I’ve flipped leads to sales thinking I was handing over lay-ups only to find 80% of them back in my queue for more nurturing. Why weren’t these leads converting? The pieces for conversion seemed to be in place. I had provided valuable information to sales, e.g., a log of the lead’s activity, the web pages they had visited, webinars attended, white papers downloaded, and so on.
I discovered this information was great for providing context to the salesperson, but rattling off a list of “I know where you’ve been’s” right when you meet a prospect is not going to compel a deal forward. If anything, you’re going to creep out the prospect. No one likes to be reminded we’re living in Google’s version of 1984. Plus, in the end, it doesn’t provide the prospect with anything of value. Which is why we’re all here, right?
The key to providing value to the lead, and initiating activities that lead to converting that lead to an opportunity, is for the sales rep to know the exact interest that tipped the lead from a faceless IP address in the crowd to a good prospect and ideas as to how to continue the dialog in a meaningful way with that prospect. When the salesperson has access to this information, he or she is able to immediately engage with that lead from where they left off in their own educational path.
This is why I believe the logical next step for any marketing team is embedding sales enablement tools into the CRM system. This technology captures the relevant information from both marketing automation and CRM solutions and delivers it intelligently to the sales person via “one pane of glass.” When this type of Smarter Selling system has been implemented, better results begin to emerge from the lead flip. Conversations with prospects are guided yet natural; they follow the narrative the prospect began when he or she first realized their pain required a solution like yours. This sales enablement system helps sales reps, by automatically providing them with exact, relevant information, become the trusted advisor that buyers want and expect from a vendor. You have the data, but now it’s time to turn it into something actionable and enable your sales teams. Without it, leads will continue to fall into a cycle of endless nurturing, never able to progress to an engaging, ongoing dialog that leads to conversion and closure.
Vice President, Marketing Communications, SAVO
Diane Gillespie is the Vice President, Marketing Communications at SAVO, the industry’s pioneer, innovator and leading provider of Sales Enablement solutions. Diane brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm and thoughtful practice to SAVO’s marketing and communications efforts. A seasoned marketing veteran, Diane has led brand development efforts and executed communications campaigns for many of the leading Fortune 50 companies as well as emerging start-ups across a wide range of industries. At SAVO, Diane is responsible for developing, executing, and measuring corporate messaging programs to drive SAVO’s business goals. With a clear understanding of what it takes to position companies from start-up status through to their long-term vision, Diane is able to successfully navigate the challenges of articulating shifts in business growth and development. Prior to joining SAVO, Diane led marketing efforts at Cleversafe, directed and executed marketing communications strategies for Nielsen across the company’s North America Consumer solution portfolio, and managed go-to-market channel strategies for Ingram Micro. Diane received a Chick Evans Scholarship to Marquette University where she earned her degree in Public Relations/Marketing.