“Nothing happens until a sale takes place. Without sales, the biggest and most sophisticated companies shut down,” says Brain Tracy, the expert sales trainer.
If sales is so important enough that without it the biggest and most sophisticated companies shut down, then how much more the small businesses and companies? A small business cannot survive and thrive in the market without a vibrant sales inflow.
Well, this means the issues of sales cannot be taken lightly.
If you joke with sales, you’ll be shedding tears in your bedroom when your business has shut down. Primarily most businesses close down for lack of sales, cash flow or mismanagement of business affairs.
To grow your business, you must grow your sales. If you increase your sales, your monthly and yearly revenue will increase. That means the easiest way to make more money in your business is to work more in sales.
The more you sell the more money you make.
But then, making more sales is not automatic. It is a process. Sales itself is a system. And it happens by following that system. But most businesses don’t know that selling is a system. They just wake up and do it without developing a systematic way of selling their products and services.
No matter the products and services that you sell, sales is made of a two-fold system:
- Lead Generation
- Lead Conversion
To make a sale, all you have to do in the whole world is to generate a lead and then convert that lead into a client/customer. Once a lead is converted, a sale is made. That means to be successful in sales, your company must have people who are very skilled in lead generation and lead conversation.
So What is Lead Generation?
“Lead generation is the process of collecting names and contact information about qualified prospects which will be contacted by the salespeople for generating orders. It usually involves direct response advertising and telemarketing” Business Dictionary
“Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline. Marketo
“Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest is you company’s product or service.” Hubspot
If you notice the three definitions, you’ll realize that all the three authorities said that lead generation is a process. It’s a system. It happens step by step. It doesn’t happen by accident.
Lead generation is a process of getting people interested in your business offers to the extent that they are willing to give you their contact information for that offer and for an ongoing business transaction with them.
Lead generation is the first step in building a relationship with customers.
All you do in the lead generation process is to provide value to the potential customer so that that customer will be excited about doing business with you. Then what happens is that the prospective customer gives you his or her contact details to communicate later. This is where the sales start.
The following are the top 10 digital channels to generate leads:
- Company website
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Webinars/online training
- Paid Per Search( PPC)
- Social Media
- Online Advertisement
- Mobile Marketing
- Buying an Email List (Solo Ads)
Aside from these digital channels, you can also use traditional channels such as networking at events, trade shows, conferences and seminars to generate s leads for sales. You can also use print ads, radio advertisement, and other traditional channels to generate leads for your business.
Now that we are through with lead generation, let’s get on with lead conversion.
What’s Lead Conversation?
“Lead management is the process, systems, and guidelines put in place in order to ensure that your business is properly handling new leads and converting them into customers. It includes processes to keep track of all your leads and stay in front of them throughout the buying cycle.” Reach Local
Lead Conversion is the process of converting a lead into an account, contact, and/or opportunity. Leads are typically generated from marketing events, such as trade shows or mailing campaigns.” Source Tap
While lead generation involves the generating of a lead, lead conversion involves the converting of a lead into a client. It involves the process of building rapport, gaining commitment, analyzing needs, articulating solutions and finding ways and means to close sales.
This is where many sales professionals miss it.
It’s one thing to generate a lead and another thing to convert a lead. You can have 100 potential contacts that you gathered through various digital channels, but you have to build a relationship and trust with them and convert them into clients before revenue will be generated.
A B2B (Business-to-Business) research by a notable video content development firm, Bright Talk indicated the following:
- 42% of B2B marketing professionals say that converting leads into clients is their biggest challenge.
- 25% of marketing professionals don’t know their conversion rate.
- 77% of the respondent noted that a continuous follow up by a knowledgeable sales rep is key to ensuring sales conversations.
This research analytics indicates that lead conversion is very important for generating sales and increasing revenue in business development. It doesn’t matter what you sell—whether you sell to retailers, whole sellers or directly to consumers you must refine your lead conversion system.
While lead generation deals with making initial contact, gathering contacts and recording the contact details, lead conversion deals with building rapport, building relationship, communicating value, asking for the order and closing sales.
In order to simplify the lead conversion process, you have to leverage digital channels.
The following are top 10 digital channels you can use to convert leads into clients and close sales faster.
- Live Chat
- WhatsApp Messenger/Wee Chat
- Facebook Messenger
- LinkedIn Messenger
- Twitter Messenger
- Snap Chat
- Google Hangout
Aside from these digital channels to build trust and close sales faster, you can also add traditional channels such as face-to-face and phone calls. But then you can blend both digital and traditional channels to close your sales faster.
How to Convert Leads into Sales Using Digital Channels
Having understood the two main processes that make up the sales cycle, you now have to learn how to leverage digital channels to convert leads into sales faster and faster.
- Provide Value
You need to take this first step very seriously.
If you can’t provide value to people for free, people will not see you and your business as valuable enough to build a business relationship with you. So you need to analyze your potential customers, find out their needs and wants and provide them some form of value for free.
You can provide value through a variety of means. You can provide value through an educative blog, informative social media infographics, free webinar, free trial of a product, free ebook, free registration to an intensive training program and many more.
Once you provide value, create a means to get people’s contact information to access the value. In this way, you can begin to generate leads through the contacts you gather. All the lead generation digital channels employed must be focused on gathering contacts for conversions. Those contacts information must be recorded in your Leads Book.
- Build a Relationship
Once you have generated a lead, you have to build a relationship.
The goal here is to build a relationship with the new lead to the point where he or she trusts you enough to begin o transact business with you. Don Sexton, author of Marketing 101 said, “As relationships develop, sales will follow.”
How do you build a relationship with prospects? To build a relationship with your prospects, you have to employ all the digital channels for lead conversion.
Research and know something about your leads/prospects. Analyze their need by asking them questions. These can be done by doing personal one-on-one communication with them. You can leverage WhatsApp, Email, Social Media Messenger, Live Chat and many others to know more about them.
The bottom line is that the more you get closer to your prospects in trying to know their needs and wants and how to address them, the more they’ll also be getting close to you and also to the sales level.
Once you know their needs, use content to solve them.
Content is king in business.
Provide free advice, free solution, free trial, free eBook, free demo and many others to help your prospects/leads before they even pay you for the premium product.
Blogging is a great way to do this. You can create various blog posts on various topics each solving a particular customer problem and send it to them using various digital channels.
You have to do this over and over again until the people on your leads contact list begin to trust you, call you and ask for more information about your products and services. This is where the sales come in and money begins to flow into your bank account.
- Ask for the Order
Once you have reached the level where your prospects trust you and begin to make inquiries, move to the next step of asking for the order and closing the sale.
All you do is to schedule a meeting online or offline and then talk about the benefits of your products/services, the delivery process and time of delivery.
You can use WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangout or any mobile messaging channels to close meet online and talk about the business deal.
The key here is to arrange a meeting, do an excellent presentation and ask for the sale. If you have gone through level one and two, asking for the sale and closing the order will be very simple because the prospect already trusts you. Once the order goes through, your sales come and money goes into your bank account.