When your company is well synchronized with market needs, prospects buy and money flows. Unfortunately, few companies can maintain a constant flow. Salespeople churn out demonstrations, samples and proposals. Marketing departments churn out newsletters, ad copy and brochures. But not enough prospects close.
What makes the sales funnel flow faster? The key is coordinating your sales and marketing efforts—aligning everyone in your organization according to the questions you ask your prospects at different stages in your relationships with them. These questions form the logical connection between the work of sales and the work of marketing.
Marketers need to know the questions that salespeople ask of customers at different points in the selling cycle, so they can provide the correct types of support to make selling easier. Likewise, salespeople need to know when to turn to marketing expertise to build customer knowledge and awareness, especially when customers are not ready to buy.
If you don’t have enough prospects ready to buy, review and refine your questioning strategies, then realign your sales and marketing organization around them. The following are three question strategies that you can use to make your sales funnel flow faster, and some examples of how to sales and marketing can work together to move customers through the funnel.
Strategy #1: Problem/Solution
The problem/solution question strategy emerged to address the old adage, “You can’t sell the solution, unless you’ve sold the problem first.” For example, Michael Bosworth’s Solution Selling (Irwin, 1995) offered techniques for motivating prospects by uncovering their pain.
If the customer has exactly the problem you can solve, but isn’t consciously ready to buy, problem/solution questions can help you show that the fit is right. But don’t use them when your customers are not in decision-making mode and simply need information.
Strategy #2: Objectives, Strategies, and Issues
The second type of question gets at your prospects’ business and departmental objectives. What strategies will they use to achieve those objectives? What issues and challenges do they face? Stepping back to get a broader view, you can scope out people’s perspectives (including decision makers’), as well as departmental politics and priorities. You can build relationships, steer clear of time-wasters and start generating a consensus, even
before you start “selling.”
Strategy #3: Synchronization
Synchronization questions are key to effectiveness. Marketing and selling never work when you ask your prospects to take actions they are not ready for. If the problem you solve is not on a decision maker’s radar yet, that person will not recognize the value of your products and services.
ProAptivity specialise in the deployment of CRM solutions into small and medium size businesses. They are the Northern Ireland solutions partner for Maximizer CRM which offers both on-premise and on demand solutions with full Mobile CRM capabilities. To find out more information contact 028 90735630
Source: Sales Performance