We are talking about how best to align your sales and marketing teams and how best to reach out to the wider world and try and find some Suspects to convert into Prospects. For me there are two kinds of outreach ‘Targeted’ and ‘Passive’. I would consider all Sales activity as Targeted Outreach. Although technology and trends have changed in many ways the sales process is very much the same. A basic overview would be this:
1. Research a potential to see if fit criteria.
For Sales this means looking at websites, linkedin, social media etc to see if they would buy your services. In B2C it’s still important to try and find out a bit about the background and motivator of someone you are selling to. This is generally something that marketing doesn’t need to be involved in, but if you were for example selling a service and your sales team found that a lot of target companies had someone internally then this would certainly be a good thing to feedback to marketing and they could change their materials to reflect this.
2. First Round Disqualification
For Sales this means contacting them and see if it’s something they use/could use and try and find the right contact to send over some materials. This activity needs to be logged and marketing should know who has been contacted, so as if they see that same person have visited the website/liked something on social media etc they are able to feed this back to the sales team. Another element of collaboration is of course that marketing materials they are sending over. In an ideal world every client would have a slightly customised flyer that would address points they have brought up to the sales person, the logistics of this are not however easy. Most often marketing material is created on specialist software such as adobe indesign/photoshop which not everyone will have access to/the skill to use. (I have seen first-hand the butchery skills of some sales people when given a powerpoint template let alone adobe!) At the same time adapting marketing material on a per customer basis is very time consuming. I would recommend having a standard overview brochure, but also having industry specific documents and perhaps a template for FAQs which your sales team could adapt based on questions the Suspect has asked them.
3. Second Round Disqualification
For Sales this involves following up and seeing if your service is actually useful and trying to determine if/when a sale might go through. Hopefully you can get a simple yes or no answer from here and feedback from Marketing who might want to track the effectiveness or a particular brochure/script etc
4. Following Up
For Sales this can involve weeks and months of calls/emails/meetings. Probably the most difficult of skills for any Salesperson is judging when they are being a pest and potentially turning that suspect off. For marketing this is about keeping in front of that person and I would recommend activities such as drip-feeding email campaigns and of course your regular passive outreach activities such as newsletters and social media posts.
This is rough version of the process, but generally after this active outreach you should have established whether or not a Suspect may in fact be a Prospect.