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How to Plug Leaks in Your Customer Workflow

By Annie ZelmJul 6, 2015

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Your company would love to have the problem of too many leads coming in, but does your sales structure allow you to properly cultivate each opportunity?

Are your sales and marketing teams coordinating effectively to follow up on each lead, regardless of how it’s acquired?

Or are some leads slipping through the cracks?

Here are 3 ways to identify leaks in your customer workflow and plug the holes.

Analyze Your Customer Acquisition Costs

How much does it really cost to gain a new customer? It’s important to not only calculate this, but take time to examine these costs periodically. If the cost continues to exceed the reward, it’s time to reevaluate.

Rather than investing in costly advertisements that have a lower rate of return, focus on simple, more cost-effective ways to engage potential customers, such as email marketing. By targeting specific customers with an opportunity for open dialogue, businesses offer a forum to begin conversations about a product or service offering.

Consider Your Conversion Success Rate

Once a buyer is interested, then he or she cannot remain interested for long. A sales team must move a buyer from “interested” to “highly interested” or risk losing the sale. Think of it as the “friend zone” of business. Make a move soon, or risk forever living outside the barrier.

Scott Martineau, co-founder and Vice-President of Infusionsoft, identifies a few of the pitfalls businesses can make after first contact has been made. He writes there is often a “failure to educate and build trust with your leads.”

Some are ready to be sold. Others may need to develop a stronger relationship before they are ready to take a step forward. The answer here is to provide better educational material – not desperate pleas to buy, buy, buy. When your company shows itself as an authority in the marketplace with the knowledge it possesses, then a customer is more likely to stay engaged and learn about a company’s offerings.

Identify When Your Lead Goes Cold—But Don’t Forget Them

Sometimes transactions happen right away with minimal effort, while others take much longer and require much more effort. Your company must be prepared for either scenario, as even the most interested of buyers may not want to pull the trigger. Despite having the best content or the finest product offering, something has hindered their decision-making and kept you from achieving a new customer.

When that happens, prospects may be thrown into the “not interested” or “cold leads” bucket – often never to be touched again. This is a common mistake. 

With the advancement of social media and email marketing, companies have access to provide content to potential buyers. As Linkedin’s Koka Sexton models in his article on “Get Back to Me Later”, online marketing efforts can be personalized for long-term prospects, creating urgency that may become relevant six months or even six days away. This access to buyers is more than just generating new leads – it’s also for staying engaged with past leads. Like, sending new content, opening up past conversations, or even calling attention to new movements in the industry. All are effective for reengaging past relationships.

These observations are good, but every sales force needs to maintain a sense of focus when working on new and potential clients. Not every lead will become a new client. But it’s more important to understand the means and how to reach the intended audience no matter what state that customer is in.

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The Author

Annie Zelm

As the content manager, Annie manages a team of brand journalists and is the driving force behind the content strategy for companies in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology and professional services. Relying on interviewing skills she developed in her seven years as a journalist, she uncovers insights about what motivates buyers in these industries and uses that knowledge to shape client websites and editorial calendars.
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