Making sales for your company has always both been the goal and the biggest challenge of business since the inception of commerce. It’s not something that has ever changed, since it is, in essence, the heart of business. If you aren’t making sales, then you’ll never make a success of your enterprise.
However, in spite of its timeless importance, there have been alterations within the field over years, naturally; not least of all because of the dawn of the technological age. This has made a huge impact to the way that the sales pipeline, meaning the process or journey a company uses to reach a sale, is designed. One of the other biggest impacts of technology is that it is now easier than ever to actually start a company. The cost is lower, and the convenience is higher. As a result, competition is very high in almost all situations. Consequently, you have to be doing anything you can do get ahead of your competition and in some ways, you have to be thinking ahead with your sales strategy.
So, without further ado, here are some tips for putting together your next-gen sales pipeline.
1. Generating Leads
Generating leads is the widely acknowledged first step towards making a sale. It can be simple: walking up to someone and describing your product is a way of generating leads, for example. But in a lot of cases, particularly in the modern age, lead generation is a lot more complex. “There are now a myriad of marketing and lead generation tools available to us online. So much of people’s lives is conducted through the internet, and will be for the foreseeable future, that you have to engage with it as a resource”, writes Paul Weintraub, a marketing blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. Part of this is acknowledging the importance and potential impact of social media. Social media is its own world that people inhabit. So just in the same way you might get billboards along the streets in real life, you need the same billboards in social media. One of the most innovative ways to generate leads is by sponsoring or building a relationship with an influencer, meaning someone whose following on social media is so great that having them as a spokesperson for your company could bring you masses of new business.
2. Sales Proposal
One of the biggest problems to conquer in the modern age of sales is the proposal. A lot of the time you find yourself blindly relying on your leads to motivate potential buyers to actualize their potential. The problem stems from the fact that the best sales proposals happen in person, or at least over the phone. But with the advent of the domination of technology, people find the opportunity to speak with eachother face to face in this kind of context far less. The next best option is a written proposal, where you put forward the case for your sale in writing, usually by email. With a proper e-marketing set up, you should be able to capitalize on how often people check their emails as a result of smartphones and make progress from there. However, if you want to be a bit ahead of the curve there are other options available too. “Business proposals are tricky and a lot of business models have almost abandoned this step altogether”, says Jacquie Lemurier, sales manager at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK. “I disagree with this approach, since I still believe it adds so much potential to your lead generation. Instead, I look to those who are innovating.” A field in which people are particularly exploring the future of proposals is with automated chat bots. This allow a company to address a customer directly, to make a proposal on a product or service being viewed by the customer in an easy and modern way.
3. Following Up
Emails and social media IM are both very viable routes for this next crucial step towards making a sale. The internet, by its nature, is an alienating place filled with mistrust and suspicions. It’s perfectly possible for someone to express initial interest in some product or service and then, after the first contact, completely dismiss the idea. The internet is distracting and crowded so you’re also battling people’s tendency to lose concentration. Following up, when done wrong, can be irritating or even imposing. If done well it can be the difference between a click and a sale. Sending a follow up email that shows evidence that you have actually paid attention to what it is your client once or doing the same thing but through a social media IM, will really help breed affinity in the user’s mind and, hopefully coax them into making a purchase. If nothing else, it reminds the person of their initial interest.
4. Reinforcing The Cycle
Making a sale is great. If you get that far, pat yourself on the back. However, every single salesman worth his/her salt will tell you that it’s always better to make one sale which breeds the potential for ten than two dead end sales. Looking ahead in time, data collection is going to become one of the absolutely most important elements of business. Data is already valuable, but its full potential hasn’t even been unlocked. Every step of the way you want to record data relating to the person you are interacting with: their preferences, behaviors etc. That way, after the initial sale, you will be able to remarket to them later on with further products using what you learnt the first time around. It also helps you learn about customers in general, knowledge you will certainly use later on.
So, make sure that you’re on the ball because technology and therefore business, develops extremely fast. Making a sale is actually easier than ever but knowing what to do is incredibly cryptic especially for anyone out of touch with modern technology and trends. So, study up and build your sales pipeline with a view for the future.
About the Author:
Jayme Hammit is a marketing manager at GumEssays and LuckyAssignments. She strives to share her advice and technical knowledge with those looking to develop their business ideas and models. Jaimy uses her personal experience as a marketing manager at a tech company to inform the work she does as a writer.
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