When you are lagging behind your monthly or quarterly sales quota, management may ask to check and review your sales pipeline. This means you need to pay attention …
The Need of a Qualified Sales Pipeline
When you are lagging behind your monthly or quarterly sales quota, management may ask to check and review your sales pipeline. This means you need to pay attention to the leads you are generating and how qualified they are. Your sales numbers will dip if the sales pipeline is not steady and strong enough to help you reach your sales goals. If you are not generating enough qualified leads and qualifying prospects correctly then how can you make sales? You will be advised to build a qualified sales pipe line to be effective in selling.
Search engines have come to play decisive roles in building a qualified sales pipe line. Here is how. Each sale starts with a lead: a name, a phone number, an email address, a referral, or the person that just walked into your office or store. The next step is qualifying the leads – to determine whether the customer has the need and capacity to buy your product or service. If you just have a name, or a phone number, or an email address that’s enough. The search engine can help in obtaining all the information you may need for qualifying prospects. All you have to do is search on the individual’s name, company, email address or other related data that you have obtained from the prospect. The search engines, GYM – Google, Yahoo and Bing will provide you with the relevant data to make the first contact with the prospect. And from there you can move ahead easily.
Archery and Sales Analogy and the Role of Search Engines
The analogy of a sprinkler system best applies to a sales pipeline. When a garden needs to be watered with a sprinkler system there is an elaborate plan. The pipes carrying water are arranged in such a manner that the water flow is steady to all the sprinklers. The game of archery is the perfect analogy for sales. An archer is given many arrows to hit the target. With the given number of arrows they have to maximize their score. The closer their arrows hit the bull’s eye, the more points they receive. Similarly, a sales person creates leads, qualifies them as prospects, and tries selling to them. Just as an archer may not hit the bull’s eye every time they take aim, sales people may not be successful in selling with each call or each prospect. As an archer tries with more than one arrow to hit the target, the sales person also tries to make a sale with more than one prospect. In fact the game of archery requires the archer to carry all the arrows with them. Sales people keep trying with many prospects. And prospects come from leads.
Ten or more leads may provide the sales person with one good prospect. And one in ten such prospects may actually buy. This is the basic premise of a sales pipe line.
It’s best for the sales person to have as many leads as possible to convert the maximum possible number of prospects from them and get the maximum number of sales. Search engines help in maximizing the number of leads with the least efforts.
Like an archer a sales person generates a fixed number of leads during a sales day. For example, a computer sales person targeting a high rise building in Manhattan housing 50 offices can have 50-100 leads at the maximum (assuming that in some offices they may get the chance to sell to individual employees in addition to catering to the official requirements of the firms) from that building. Their sales would depend on how they manage the 50-100 leads.
The leg work and time required for getting the 50-100 leads could be enormous. With the help of search engines the number of leads will go up and the leg work as well as the time consumed will come down dramatically. The sales person in question here need not go to each and every office in the building exploring about their requirement for computers. Nor does he need to call each office and face possible rude and reluctant people that may find cold calls intrusive.
You can get a fair idea about which offices will, which might, and which will not qualify as prospects from search engines. This can save a great deal of time and help in going ahead with the sales process in a hassle free manner. Moreover, the sales person will gather a lot of information about the offices in the high rise building through the search engines. There is a possibility to know what type of computer systems they operate, the software that’s installed and running, their annual sales revenue, senior executives and possible staff strength etc. which could give an idea about their potential to buy.
Steady Sales Pipe Line through Search Engines
The search engines can open a lot of channels of possible leads. Having access to online business directories, yellow pages, and email directories can increase the number of leads. Imagine the possibility of sending sales letters to thousands of prospects via email directories. This is not spamming as the email addresses are provided willingly by members of the directories and have given their consent to receive information and queries from sellers.
Let’s consider another exciting scenario. Let’s assume that a salesperson has sold a particular brand of car to two executives in an office. There are 200 more executives working in that office that can be presented with the sales idea through emails. Search engine can facilitate in the sales campaign. All their email addresses and telephone numbers can be obtained through search engines. Contacting through email is very unobtrusive. It will be effective when a quick and polite phone call is made to the prospect prior to sending the email.
Search engines have the potential to create unlimited number of leads in a limited market. You should know how to go about it and optimize your chances for sales success.