Have you ever run a great marketing campaign only to find that your sales targets are still not being met? If you fail to achieve your sales targets despite a great marketing campaign, the problem may not always be with your marketing strategy. There’s an interesting story about a man who lost his precious ring and was standing outside his house looking for it. A passerby tried to help the man and asked him where he lost his ring. To this the man replied that he had lost the ring inside his house. “Then why don’t you look for the ring inside your house?” said the puzzled passerby. “Because it is too dark inside my house and I seek the light” was the mystical reply. The message that the wise mystic was trying to convey is that looking for a problem by delving into it does not always solve the problem. The solution sometimes lies in “looking where there is light.” Coming back to our marketing example, you may have to look beyond marketing to see why your marketing campaign did not work. Could it be that you missed a lot of potential sales opportunities generated through your marketing exercise? If so what can you do to make sure that your marketing effort actually gets translated into sales? There are five definite ways in which you can ensure that you actualize your sales potential.
- Tracking: First of all you need to track where and how you lost the potential customers. You can use AvidTrak’s call tracking platform to generate a missed calls report will show you exactly how many phone calls you missed. You can also run a report based on call volume by day or by time of day. In this way, you can optimally allocate your sales agents time and minimize missed calls.
- Training: Another reason for missing sales opportunities could be that you received a lot of phone calls but your sales team was ill equipped to deal with the calls. You could use call recordings and transcriptions to identify missed sales opportunities due to inadequate call handling. After listening to a call recording, you can rate it as a lead, support or spam call. In this way, you know exactly which of your campaigns get the productive leads and allocate marketing dollar to the ad that gets the most productive leads. At the same time spam numbers can be blocked to avoid a waste of your agent’s precious time. You can also use recorded conversations as a means of training your sales staff in customer handling skills. Sales staff needs to ensure that they are helpful and aggressive in selling your product without being pushy about it. Product knowledge also needs to be perfected before the agent can start handling inbound calls. You could also call back the customers to address their concerns if they were not appropriately dealt with the first time around. All this will ensure that you are not missing possible sales opportunities due to poor handling of phone calls.
- Relationship Building: A very common mistake made by a lot of sales agents is that they tend to disappear as soon as the sale is made. This leads to reducing the amount of repeat purchases and diluting the company’s brand image which in the long-run has an adverse effect on sales as well. The sales team needs to clearly see the benefits of helping the customer even after the sale has been finalized. The idea of building a long-term relationship with your customers needs to be infused in your sales team.
- Empowerment: You could also give each sales agent a certain amount of authority in terms of offering free trials to the prospective buyers. Many good products may not be bought because the consumer does not want to take the risk of upfront commitment. A sales agent who is able to offer the consumer a trial will automatically be breaking the barrier to trial. Make sure that the agent has tried and appreciates your product first. It is obviously far easier to sell a product that a person feels strongly about.
- Cross-functional Communication: Communication between the marketing, sales and inventory management departments needs to be immaculate to ensure a satisfactory experience for the consumer. For example, if you get a call from a prospective buyer and there is a stock-out of the advertised product, chances are you’ve lost the prospective buyer. Cross-functional coordination is essential to ensure that Marketing works with other relevant department to ensure that the sales targets are being met.
Let me conclude the discussion on how to bridge the gap between marketing and sales with a word of caution. When evaluating your sales performance in relation to marketing activity, do keep in mind that some marketing campaigns take longer to show results. For example, a workshop that you conduct or community work that you engage in will not yield results in terms of higher sales as quickly as a discount offer. However, in the long-run the benefits from such activities may lead to significant brand building and eventually higher sales through greater market credibility. Hence, while short-term sales are important and in some cases necessary to keep you in business, so is long-term brand-building activity which eventually does convert into higher sales.