Sales team not performing?

Here’s three ways Marketing Automation can help sales managers to improve things.

As a sales manager, you want your sales team to follow-up leads, right?

But of course it isn’t as simple as stamping your foot and pointing to the phone as you scream, “Make more calls!”.

Sales Phone Call

You need to think through the sales process to make sure that your people are doing PRODUCTIVE work — including their follow-up calls.

Most don’t, by the way.

There is plenty of research out there that shows that sales people spend a lot of their time unproductively. This article from Forbes Magazine states that nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of sales reps’ time, on average, is spent in non-revenue generating activities – leaving only 35.2% for functions related to actual selling.

At Crockford Carlisle we’ve helped solve these issues for a number of our clients using a powerful “force multiplier” called Marketing Automation as part of the work we do to generate qualified leads.

This blog post shares some of our insights with you, to help you set up the ‘rules of battle’ with your own sales team.

Want to be heard? Take the time to listen!

Sales problem #1) Your sales team doesn’t know enough about the so-called “leads” in your CRM

Right now, when you look at your website leads in your CRM, chances are you’ll have columns for first name…  last name…. business…. industry sector…. and whatever other basics you know about each person.

But that’s all you have.

A bunch of names and some of the basics.

This sets you up for time-sucking misery. It means your sales team are ‘dialling blind’, and pretty well talking to anyone who can fog a mirror.

fog a mirror

They don’t know anything about which stage they’re at in their buyer’s journey... how long they’ve been there... whether they’ve just started looking or they’re (sometimes literally) dead and gone.

How to fix this sales problem

You need to have your marketing agency set up a process of progressive profiling of your leads. This means that, each and every time your potential buyers interact with your website, further information about them is automatically added to their profile in your CRM.

Depending on your business and how you define a Qualified Lead, this could include:

  • Are they the decision-maker you need to talk to?
  • What is the problem they want solved?
  • What is the size/type of project they need help with?
  • How far down the track are they?
  • What do they need help with next?
  • What do they know (or not know) about your solutions?
  • What do they need to know from your sales team to take them closer to buying?

To set up progressive profiling, we integrate HubSpot’s automation with your website, so that the information your site visitors share flows seamlessly into your CRM.

This info is then right there at your sales team’s fingertips. They’re no longer blundering around in the dark, making calls and trying to be chipper and helpful to people who really don’t want to hear from them.

Instead, they can guide the conversation (at an appropriate time) towards what the buyer needs. This shifts the game significantly!

Instead of bleating away on the phone as a ‘sales person’, they are positioned as a ‘problem solver’ who provides helpful, relevant answers. That’s a WAY better place to be.

problem solver

Sales problem #2) Your sales team doesn’t know when a lead’s situation changes

There’s one complication to the progressive profiling process. The person who is in your CRM today is in a different situation to where they were a week, a month, and a quarter ago. That’s because, among other things:

  • Their needs will have changed
  • Their priorities will have changed
  • Their readiness to move ahead will have changed

In fact, any number of things will have changed.

Some of those changes will be minor, and will make no difference to your chances of getting the sale over the line. But one of those changes may be the very thing that makes a particular lead ‘ready to buy’.

ready to buy

For example, if you ask a lead’s location or their business sector, that usually isn’t going to change. That makes this form field a good candidate to be flagged as a progressive profiling question (one that isn’t asked again when your potential buyer fills out another form.)

However, let’s say you’re asking a more variable detail – such as whether your potential buyer wants to :

a) learn more about your offering in general, or 

b) has an immediate problem that requires a solution from you.

Those who answer a) are put onto your newsletter mailing list, while those who answer b) would get more personalised attention to help solve their challenge.

If you simply ask this question once, that lead will be forever pigeonholed into one of those binary categories. But what happens when their circumstances inevitably change?

The person who used to have a pressing need now simply visits your site to stay up-to-date with your business – yet is pestered with a sales call every time they download Premium Content from your site.

Even worse: the person who used to be ‘just looking’ now has an urgent need for advice and attention – and no way to communicate that need through your web form, because you don’t ask them!

How to fix this sales problem

When you’re setting up your HubSpot smart forms and planning your progressive profiling, you’ll need to think carefully about which questions will appear once to a potential buyer, and which will appear on multiple interactions.

When a lead comes back next week… or next month… or next quarter... you want your website to re-ask that critical question, to find out if the lead’s needs have changed.

If he amends his answer to say he has an immediate problem that requires a solution, BOOM! You have a Sales Qualified Lead — someone that is well worth talking to.

Want to be heard? Take the time to listen!

PS. Don’t worry about irritating your leads with the same questions over and over. You can easily opt to have the question on the form, but pre-filled with their previous answer. That way, they’ll be prompted to review the information and change their answer if necessary.

Sales problem #3) Your sales team can’t focus on the truly “juicy” leads

Once your Inbound Marketing campaign is up-and-running, your CRM will be pretty busy.

New contacts will be flowing in on a daily basis, and your pipeline will be filling up.

Happy days, right? Not necessarily!

The potential downside of this busy-ness is that your sales team can miss good opportunities – simply because they don’t see them when they occur.

You need a way for your sales team to be informed whenever your leads perform a particularly significant action.

For example, how crucial could it be if your sales team could know every time someone viewed your business’s pricing page more than a couple of times (indicating some deep consideration – or perhaps a need for further explanation)?

Or, would you like to be told every time a lead looks at, say, six or more of your product pages in a session? Your sales team’s help could be very welcome to that person.

What about knowing when a warm lead revisits your website – without even filling out a form – after an absence of six weeks or so? How valuable would it be for your sales people to get a ‘heads up’ when this occurs – allowing them to strike out-of-the-blue while the iron is hot?

It’s all possible.

How to fix this sales problem

Using HubSpot or a similar system, you can set up customised automatic notifications, so that your sales team never misses the moment when a potential buyer is ready to come into the warm embrace of a sales person in the ‘decision’ stage of the Buyer’s Journey.


Based on the criteria you select, the HubSpot system will notify the relevant sales person instantly, so they can apply their expertise where it could make a big difference.

It could be the scenarios we listed above; or (more likely) it could be circumstances specifically relevant to your business. Your sales team will never miss out on knowing when their attention could be most valuable.

Not only will this information give your sales team the confidence to make that sales call (knowing they’ll have a higher chance of a sympathetic hearing), but your potential customers will benefit from getting assistance right when they need it.

Thanks to automatic notifications, your sales team won’t be wasting their time following up people who simply aren’t ready to buy yet – and even more importantly, they won’t be missing the chance of speaking to leads who ARE ready to buy.

Want to align your sales function more closely with your marketing?

If you’d like some ideas about how you can help your sales team become more effective, please call and we can talk it over.

We won’t “talk you into using us”. There’s no value in that.

We have long, enjoyable working client relationships, and that means starting things off on a good footing — with straight talk and clear thinking.

We’ll look at your numbers, your site, your competitors, what you are currently doing, and where you see the problems and challenges are.

From that call, we can give you some first steps to consider.

You can call us now on (07) 3891 3800. Or if you prefer, just use the calendar on this page to pick a day/time to book 15 minutes for a free heads-up phone call.

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