by Melissa Carpenter
Are you looking for effective ways to optimize your pipeline for conversions?
You could grow your revenue substantially by converting leads faster from sales-accepted leads (SALs) to sales-qualified leads (SQLs), to opportunities and to closed/won deals.
As a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), your priority is to close deals and build lasting and profitable relationships with both prospects and customers.
You carry a compensation plan like a sales rep, and you risk to lose your job if targets are not met. That’s why getting more deals faster is your number one thing.
Additionally, you could position yourself as a sales rockstar by leveraging innovative ways of growing revenue.
We all know that deals come from leads.
If the stage progression of leads through your pipeline happened faster, you could close more deals in the same period of time. Your revenue could grow that way. If you could also increase opportunity and deal size, that would be a double-win.
But what stands in the way of you increasing your pipeline velocity and improving your sales performance?
Three Barriers to Optimizing Your Pipeline and Improving Sales Performance
- Prospects are in charge of their Buyer’s Journey, and they complete 67 percent of it online without ever contacting your sales team, according to SiriusDecisions.
- Prospects have many options in the marketplace.They have quick access to 100 percent of information about vendors and features. They are able to make up their mind early in the process of deciding, so not being there takes your brand out of the game.
- Prospects make their purchasing decisions based on whom they know, like. and trust. So, if your brand doesn’t have a relationship with the prospect and doesn’t stay top of mind, your competitors are dominating and getting those precious budget dollars.
Have you noticed that each point above starts with the word “prospect?”
It’s because in today’s marketplace, the prospect is in charge, not you.
I’m a sales gal myself, so believe me, it’s painful to admit it! However, the fact is that we are no longer in charge.
As a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), you’re probably living the very change described by Salesforce for the CRO lifestyle:
“Sales leaders used to be judged by how many knives or encyclopedias their team sold — net new revenue and profit. But today, effective revenue generation depends on a more holistic approach. Buyers are empowered by unprecedented information, and as the divide between sales and marketing erodes, companies that create a seamless customer journey are gaining market share.”
The bottom line is that the power has shifted and your customer is usually halfway through his decision making process before you ever get to talk to him in some sort of way.
Digitalization of the Buyer’s Journey and automation of the communications between B2B buyers and sellers has resulted in buyers taking full charge of their decision making process.
How B2B Sales Process Has Changed
According to HostingFacts.com:
- There are 4.1 billion Internet users in the world as at December 2018
- The $205 billion Internet ad spend exceeds a TV ad spend of $192 billion
- Over 4 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day
- Over 500 million tweets are sent every day
- Over 5 billion Google searches are conducted every day
- There are 342 million registered domain names as at the third quarter of 2018
- For every $92 spent on generating traffic and getting customers, only $1 is spent on converting these customers
- Only 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates
What do these numbers mean to you?
- There’s more competition online today than ever, so you must disrupt yourself consistently with new ways of thinking about growing sales.
- The attention of your Buyer Persona is spread thin, so you must be creative to attract that attention and keep it long enough to entice conversions throughout pipeline.
- Optimizing everything you do for conversions is your primary goal if you want to stay in business, but you can’t do it alone. You need the support of everyone on your team.
That’s where social selling comes in. Digitalization and automation of B2B sales actually creates high demand for humanization and personalization.
Social Selling meets both needs when done right. Let’s talk about the details!
What Is Social Selling?
Social Selling refers to your salespeople’s use of social media to interact with prospects, reach them early in the buying process via thought leadership content and multiple touches, answer questions, build relationships and speed up the buying process by helping customers make your company the vendor of their choice.
According to Demand Gen Report 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report:
- 71 percent of B2B buyers said they consumed blog content during their buyer’s journey
- 64 percent of B2B buyers noted they give more credence to peer reviews, user-generated feedback, third-party publications and analysts over that of brands
- 52 percent of buyers strongly agree that if brands packaged relevant content together, it would help expedite the research phase
- 66 percent of B2B buyers strongly agree that companies should make it easier to access their content, by using fewer form fields, better mobile optimization, etc.
You are the one who can make content more accessible for your Buyer Persona.
How? There are two ways.
Two Aspects of Modern Social Selling
- Give helpful, well-packaged, brand-approved content to your salespeople and leadership team to distribute on their social channels.
“In 2019, CEOs and other company leaders need to use social media to share their insights, connect with their community and listen to their audience.”Inc.
2. Create personally-branded Brand-Hubs for your sales reps to position them as thought leaders in the digital universe of your industry.
Each hub described above automatically integrates with your CRM. Your sales reps will be poisoned as subject matter experts because each hub will be loaded with thought leadership content.
The community will trust their voice, and you will get a steady flow of SILs, SQLs, opportunities and deals – all converting into revenue faster and easier.
You’ve got to get creative.
You must find a way to build relationships with prospects early on and progress through their Buyer’s Journey with them, helping them to choose your products.
How do you reach your prospects during that early stage of their journey?
The only way to do it is by having as much value-added content out there as possible.
Content is the key to successful pipeline conversion optimization.
Content used to be a part of the tacit assets that companies were protecting and keeping a secret. Today content is your explicit asset and is the only way to attract customers and entice them to trust and do business with you.
There’s one more success ingredient for your pipeline conversion optimization recipe as a sophisticated CRO. Give great content to your salespeople and empower them to build those personalized relationships with prospects.
Content is the driving force of effective social selling.
How Content Helps Salespeople Gain Reputation Of Subject Matter Experts
- Content draws the attention of the buyer and helps start the right conversations
- Content positions salespeople as thought leaders because it provides valuable insights on the buyer’s topic of interest
- Content libraries personally branded for each sales executive on your team can be that one-stop shop for everything your prospect needs to make a good purchasing decision on their Buyer’s Journey
Expertise, authority and trust are all built using content in the process of Social Selling.
The Sophisticated CRO in the Era Of Digital Sales
A sophisticated CRO must always find innovative tools and strategies that provide leverage in the marketplace.
Imagine if each of your sales execs had a personally branded mini-website loaded with brand-approved content. When a prospect lands in your sales rep’s hub, everything in that personally branded hub is about that sales exec. The Picture, bio and content is all branded to position that sales rep as an expert.
Just envision how much your business would grow if every person on your team could be positioned online as a thought leader!
If every sales rep on your team had quality content and was equipped to build expertise, authority and trust needed to close leads faster and easier, how much could you grow?
Four Ways To Improve Your Pipeline Stage Conversions with Social Selling
1. Empower your sales team to share valuable content online to stay top of mind for prospects in the SAL stage
2. Enable your sales executives to connect with prospects in the SQL stage and earn their trust by serving them as a thought leader throughout the Buyer’s Journey, leading to revenue opportunities
3. Equip your sales force with personally-branded Brand-Hubs that host brand-approved, value-added content for each team member; Help them drive profitable relationships from the opportunity stage to closed deals
4. Establish your sales team members as thought leaders in the industry through content in order to promote opportunities for cross sell and up-sell optimizing your pipeline for speed and size.
Sales is all about relationships, and relationships are all about engagement in conversations. Humanization of B2B sales is key to revenue growth.
You can help your salesforce share the content that your prospects want to read, empower them to ask meaningful questions to promote engagement, enable them to provide solutions to their prospects’ problems and ultimately help them win in the marketplace by positioning them as subject matter experts.
Social Selling helps your pipeline conversion optimization by arming your salesforce with what they need to win your prospects’ trust and budgets.
Brand-Hubs are personally branded mini-websites tailored to each of your sales team’s member and filled with quality content for your potential buyers.
Would you like to see Brand-Hubs in action?