Company-Crushing Killer #6: No automated follow-up.
Part 6 in a series of 12 Company-Crushing Killers Lurking Inside Your Business Today…
In our previous article (Company-Crushing Killer #5: Not Using a Proven Marketing Formula), we showed how to use the “Interrupt / Engage / Educate / Offer” formula for better results. The whole point of the low-risk-offer at the end is so the otherwise not-yet-ready-to-buy prospects will still give you their contact info.
But what good is contact info if they’re not ready to buy?
According to Gleanster, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. For online searches, that figure jumps up to over 76%. For a long-buying-cycle item like a new inground pool, the ratio of “ready-to-buy-now” vs. “qualified-but-not-ready-to-buy” is close to 1 in a hundred.
That means 99% of your new pool prospects – if you catch them early enough – are going to need EXTENSIVE follow-up before they’re ready to buy.
Without a sound follow-up strategy, you have no way of ensuring your qualified leads become buyers – or that if they do buy, they’ll buy from you.
Connecting with your customers and prospects on a personal level is a powerful force that builds greater trust, value, and positive response with every encounter. As human beings, we feel flattered when someone takes the time to get to know us on a deeper level. No one wants to be treated like just a face in the crowd, or an entry in a database.
Ideally, your sales reps would nurture these prospects personally, maintaining steady communication until they turn opportunities into closed deals. However, your sales reps don’t have time to nurture 99 prospects when only one of them is ready to buy. They need to be closing sales, to keep the company in business.
Sure, you probably have a collection of “cold leads” in a tickler file somewhere, so when the sales people get hungry, they start reaching out, hoping to shake something loose. But it’s an ineffective system.
It’s pseudo-automation, driven by humans who are subject to feelings, fatigue, and easily disrupted schedules. While your sales and marketing teams may recognize the importance of prompt and continued follow-up when trying to close deals, they’re often too busy to make it a priority. There’s always another meeting, another client to call, another fire to put out.
Meanwhile, the average sales cycle has increased 22% in the past 5 years. The importance of lead nurturing – keeping potential customers interested and engaged until they’re ready to buy – is now more critical than ever.
Fortunately, there’s an upside. According to a report on lead nurturing done by the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make on average 47% larger purchases than those not nurtured – making lack of follow-up a critical error.
Too much follow-up, however, can be as ineffective as not enough.
“THIS DEAL WON’T LAST FOREVER!”
“BUY NOW AND SAVE!”
This sort of annoying persistence – or more accurately pestering – does nothing to build trust or encourage a long-term relationship. It’s more likely to get your number blocked, and your emails unsubscribed.
It also takes valuable time to draft and customize communications.
Worse – what if 50% of that communication is with people with zero intention of ever buying? Yet you’ve told your sales team that they MUST follow up with everyone…. Isn’t that time better spent on qualified leads?
Lack of effective follow-up can have other consequences. Are you leaving money on the table by missing cross-sell or up-sell opportunities? Are you reminding existing customers to purchase your products again once previous purchases are past their use-by date? Are your sales reps targeting customers who’ve purchased a specific service in the past by highlighting the benefits of an upgrade? Or are they simply so busy trying to cultivate new prospects that they’re overlooking these opportunities?
You need to automate your follow-up process!
Companies who excel at nurturing leads generate 50% more sales-ready prospects—and do so at a 33% lower cost per lead. Imagine having a sophisticated method of timely follow-up, automatically running in the background, without any prospects slipping through the cracks or being forgotten? Imagine a system where your customized follow-up generates goodwill and trust, while positioning you as the authority in your market.
The average buyer makes it 57% of their way through their journey before they even talk to sales. A mere 25% will actually reveal their interest during the early stages of that process. Most pool shoppers are operating in stealth mode in the background, invisible to you. That’s where marketing needs to grab and retain the attention of those hidden, uncertain customers for an indefinite period of time.
Now here’s the big upside – Once the potential buyers have completed their research, and start reaching out to sales reps for a face-to-face meeting, they’ll already be educated. Your sales reps won’t have to waste time educating them from scratch, and guessing at their pain points and needs. They can focus instead on closing deals.
This is the power of an effective automated drip email campaign. It lightens the load of your sales team, and sets them up for greater success with prospects who become more and more engaged over time…all in an automated fashion.
When the prospect is ready to buy, they’re much more likely to buy from you.
An automated system will also periodically “drip” informative email content to leads that have gone cold, potentially re-engaging them. Renewed interest (such as clicking a link) can be tracked and reported automatically, immediately alerting your sales team to potential lead activity.
Email marketing is already exceptionally profitable, posting an average return of 4,300%. Personalized email sent through an automated campaign is even more effective – 22.2% more likely to be opened, and earning 18 times more revenue than generic email “blasts.”
This could be a game changer.
Automation saves time and money by streamlining the sales process and reducing the time it takes for a potential lead to become a customer.
It also gives you the chance to cross-sell and up-sell, increasing the lifetime value (and revenue) of your customers.
CONCLUSION: To turbo-charge your sales and conversion efforts, and make it easier for your designers to close deals, set up and automated follow-up system to nurture your prospects to buy from YOU.
NEXT WEEK – Company-Killer #7:
“Burning Out Your Sales Team“
This article is part of a series designed to provide pool companies with unique insights that will help them address the modern marketplace challenges that their company may be facing. These insights, when applied, will virtually guarantee new growth, and get your company to the next level.
If you find this information helpful, and would like to learn more, check out the short five minute video here.