In my last post, I discussed the “when” on Inquiry Management. Now, I want to address the “how.” Immediate follow up gets the prospect on the phone or engages them via email, however, the end goal is a closed sale and this starts with engaging and qualifying the prospect.
There is an incredible amount of new technology available that can assist with prospect intelligence, on both a company and individual level. As part of your inquiry management process, before picking up the phone to call someone who has expressed interest, take the time to learn about their company and THEIR role. As a good friend of mine recommended “to begin collecting intelligence, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on Sales 2.0 tools; JFGI (Just Google It).” After that, you can use tools like LinkedIn, which is an amazing way to learn about your prospects, their role in their company, and interests. The bottom line: do your research on the company and prospect before you make the call.
I had an experience recently where poorly planned follow up led to a disappointing impression. While doing research for one of our clients, I downloaded a White Paper from a B2B software vendor. I was reviewing various solutions and would categorize my “buying phase” as educational. Within minutes, I received a call from a salesperson asking what I thought of a 20 page white paper that had just been saved to my desktop and if I wanted a demonstration of their software. Needless to say, I wasn’t ready for this discussion or interruption. To compound matters, the salesperson knew nothing about my company or my role, which was readily available. The point here is that your sales and marketing processes needs to be customized to where the prospect is in the buying cycle and your message needs to be tailored.
For inquiry management at the Lead Dogs, we customize our approach based on a specific buyer’s behavior and not a standardized process. We do not place more importance on contacting a prospect versus results in moving the buyer through the sales cycle. Of equal importance, is realizing when they are not ready to move through the funnel. So we create a nurture process that is customized to how and when they want to receive follow up.