Staying Top of Mind with a Sales Communication Strategy that Rocks
Communicating clearly and efficiently with prospects, and even existing customers, is the key to a good sales process. Doing so consistently is perhaps even more important, yet, you know what they say about the best laid plans… Yep!
Make sure your sales process includes a plan for communicating with prospects and customers on a regular basis by developing a sales communication strategy; one that is simple to implement, easy to adhere to, and built for continuous improvement.
Once it’s in place and being used on a regular (almost automated) basis, a sales communication strategy will create consistency, reinforce messaging, and mirror stages of the purchasing process. And that in turn will help you to:
- Reach and exceed quota.
- Increase awareness of your products, services and solutions.
- Capture add-on business from your existing customers.
- Prospect within your existing customer base.
Considering those benefits, it sounds like a good idea to get one going then, doesn’t it? Here’s some help to get you started…
Remember, the purpose is to capture new customers (via prospects) and market share (via customers). Create a clear timeline for implementation of each tactic in your sales plan. A week-to-week plan works best for a lot of sales reps.
Also set a goal to keep you focused so you know where to invest your energy and effort. As an example, aim for 75% of your sales quota from new business and 25% of your quota from add-on business from your existing customers. Then set up your strategy accordingly.
Next, define your strategy
When planning your strategy, keep in mind that it’s not only about the timing, but about the “place” too. This is the most essential function of a sales communication strategy: to be where your prospect is when he/she needs you. A prospect who cannot find you cannot buy from you. You never know when a decision to move forward with a purchase will occur. Many times it’s the company that is most convenient to contact that gets the call or even the sale. Neither prospects nor existing customers have time to read every email they receive and neatly file away contact information for future reference. Therefore, as a sales rep, you need to be in front of your prospects as often as possible so you are there when they are ready. You need to be top of mind for when that prospect is ready to proceed with a deal.
Camping out in the lobby of that prospect’s building is probably not the best way to stay top of mind (and might get you arrested) so this is where your sales communication strategy comes into play to keep you top of mind. Consider these examples of weekly tactics one could employ toward this goal:
- Send at least 50 emails introducing yourself to new prospects.
- Call and introduce yourself to at least 50 new prospects.
- Send follow-up communications to at least 50 existing prospects.
- Meet face-to-face with 20 new prospects.
- Create 10 proposals.
- Schedule and make five presentations.
- Stay in contact with five existing customers.
These are examples only. You should set your own numbers based on your needs. What’s important is to monitor your process and calculate exactly how many contacts you’ll need in order to make your sales quota. Also be careful to work wisely, with as many repeatable processes as possible, so you’re not spinning your wheels re-inventing the wheel with each new prospect. Templates can help ensure consistency.
Make your communications worthwhile
There is a caveat to regularly contacting prospects and customers, however: If you overwhelm them with communications that are of no value to them, you are at risk of losing access to their inbox. They will opt-out of your email communications or send your phone calls directly to voicemail.
To make your communications worthwhile and even anticipated, you need to be in the position of a trusted advisor. How do you get that status? You earn it! Make sure you understand the prospect’s company the industry in which they operate as well as the key influencers in the marketplace. You can learn all of this, or at least most of it, if you:
- Research, join and participate in at least three professional organizations your prospects and customers belong to.
- Attend the tradeshows that your best prospects and customers attend.
- Write or contribute articles and whitepapers focused on the interests and concerns of this market.
- Volunteer to speak at 10 or more organizations in your territory that have an interest in what you’re selling.
- Participate in at least three networking groups.
- Ask customers for referrals.
Use all of this knowledge to craft the communications you use as part of your sales communication strategy, and you won’t come across as a sales rep, but as a knowledgeable resource!
Include existing customers in your communications strategy
We touched on it above, but let’s reiterate it here: Your sales communication strategy is not designed for prospecting only. You need to use a similar strategy in order to capture add-on business from your existing customers. Here are some possible tactics you can employ on a regular basis to make sure you stay top-of-mind with your customers, and that they turn to you when they have additional needs:
- Contact each of your existing customers once a month with a new and unique idea that will help their business.
- Distribute a monthly newsletter that’s full of useful information (not sales speak).
- Create a web-based seminar series for existing customers.
- Each month, take at least three existing customers to lunch and invite a new prospect to join you.
- On a daily basis, use your social-selling techniques.
Once you’ve created your sales communication plan, all you have to do is work it consistently. It matters less what you do and more that you do it consistently. In addition to that consistency, closely monitor your results so you can revise and refine as you figure out what works. Will two emails in one week get you a higher response rate or does that increase the spam complaint rate? How many phone calls do you have to make to get a call back, and do you get better results if you send an email first? These are the kinds of questions you’ll want to keep asking yourself so you can keep tweaking your plan—and increasing your sales!