Selling high-end products like homes and other real estate, cars, computers, and other products that represent financial or other types of risk takes much longer than selling commodities and requires multiple interactions. I mean, who agonizes over buying a loaf of bread or even a new T-shirt? You see something you like, it fits your budget, and you plunk down your money. But something expensive and representing financial risk (or risks to safety or security) requires careful consideration and you likely seek information from a variety of sources, compare a number of different options, and visit the website or a salesroom several times to get all your questions answered before making a decision. Today, we discuss how to streamline sales processes; taking prospects from lead generation to closing as efficiently as possible by using data generated during the process.
Leveraging customer data is an essential element of streamlining sales processes to help you generate a higher close rate and more revenue. By utilizing data effectively, companies selling risky products gain a competitive edge and increase their conversion rates to close more deals by using data to guide their marketing efforts. Collecting, analyzing, and actively using customer data gives companies the insight they need to tailor their campaigns and target the right prospects.
With a little research and guidance, companies can find success in utilizing customer data to increase their sales numbers.
The sales process
Consumers don’t just buy high-end products. They go through a process from awareness to purchase that includes an interest stage where the consumer collects information about the product and competitors and a decision stage that involves using heuristics or some other decision rule to decide which product best suits their needs. This process is called the marketing or sales funnel because, at each stage of the process, consumers drop out so that only a small portion of those who began the process flow through to the conversion stage, which is when your cash register rings. When you streamline sales processes, you focus on making the funnel less leaky so more of those who started into the sales process end up converting or you move them through the funnel quicker with less waste of resources. Increasing the efficiency of your funnel means a lot in terms of revenue, as you can see below. While this image only considers the potential to streamline sales processes on your website, the same concept holds in any marketing channel.
Lead generation is simply the process of finding prospective customers, building interest in a product over time, maintaining warm connections, and closing the deal. Leads come from a variety of sources, including industry shows, advertising both online and in traditional media, building traffic to your website through SEO, and other types of marketing campaigns.
Once you piqued the interest of prospective customers in your target market through initial marketing efforts, you need to nurture the leads until they either close or drop off.
Email marketing is a great tool for lead nurturing because it generates a high ROI (return on investment) as you can see below. Using lead magnets such as ebooks or other incentives, you can collect leads to funnel into your email marketing campaigns (it’s now illegal in the US, EU, and UK to buy email lists). For instance, a real estate company might offer a calculator to show buyers how much they can afford to spend or sellers how much they might expect when they sell their homes. If visitors must enter their email addresses to access these calculators, you have new subscribers to your email campaign.
Another great source of leads to add to your email marketing is trade shows or conventions where you have the opportunity to show your product to potential buyers. You can ask attendees to put their cards in a fishbowl or fill out a form to enter a drawing for some valuable prize. Hosting webinars is another good way to collect email addresses.
Closing happens when you convince potential buyers that your product represents the best option for solving their problem. That means providing prospects with the information they need in a succinct and open manner, as well as making them an attractive offer. Sometimes that offer is based on demonstrating the value of your product or the ability to finance the purchase so they can break up the cost to pay a small amount over time or offer favorable terms such as instant access. In the real estate market that might mean negotiating a favorable selling price, offering to close when the buyer/ seller needs to, or offering better finance terms.
One element marketers find slows down the sales process, potentially derailing efforts, is offering so many choices that the buyer can’t make a decision (we often talk about information overload when consumers face so many options they can’t make a decision).
How data helps you streamline sales processes
By leveraging customer data effectively, companies can better target prospects and tailor their digital campaigns for maximum success. Let’s take a look at ways to utilize this data and successfully streamline sales processes.
Identify prospects and optimize marketing strategies
Data are a powerful tool to help salespeople identify target buyers and optimize their marketing strategies. By tracking, analyzing, and using this data, they gain insights into the characteristics of buyers and can tailor their campaigns specifically to attract them.
With detailed customer profiles that include demographic information, location, income level, interests, and more, companies can target leads with much greater precision, using appeals that fit their needs better.
A better understanding of client needs
Feedback is a valuable source of information when it comes to understanding customer needs. By tracking responses from surveys and customer reviews, companies gain insight into what buyers like and don’t like about the process, as well as what they are looking for in a purchase. Companies then use this data to refine marketing strategies and adjust sales techniques to ensure that clients’ needs are being met. For instance, knowing where a prospect is along the decision process or objections they have allows you to tailor messages to the specific needs of an individual prospect. By segmenting your email list and tailoring messages to individual subscribers, Constant Contact finds your returns explode.
Data mining tools can identify trends and opportunities
Data mining tools, such as those providing predictive analytics, help identify trends and opportunities that companies can leverage to improve close rates. For instance, a real estate agent might follow trends in desirable neighborhoods or home features to present properties in a more favorable light to prospective buyers or to target homes that might sell quickly so they can approach current owners to gain more listings.
Gather insights from competitor’s sales figures
While it’s important to focus on your own sales figures, analyzing data from competitors’ sales is a great way to gain insights and stay ahead of the competition. Companies can track competitors’ prices, list their products, review offers that were accepted or rejected, and more.
Your competitor’s market share information can also help you determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing efforts. By taking these insights into account, companies can refine their own sales strategies and stay ahead of the competition.
Leverage A/B testing techniques
Companies can leverage A/B testing techniques to better understand client preferences and optimize their online campaigns and website design changes. By looking at the data, they can gain a competitive edge by understanding what works best for their target market.
Real estate marketing expert Philip Pasma from Asterisk Marketing suggested “Try out A/B testing every time you launch a new campaign.” He said,
A/B testing involves creating two versions of an advertisement or webpage, with slight variations in design elements such as colors, fonts, images, etc., and then comparing the results to determine which version performs better. This method allows real estate agents to test different ideas quickly without having to commit large amounts of time or money upfront.
Of course, this works in any market. For instance, test different subject lines and offers in your email campaigns to determine which work best with each segment of your list. With this information in hand, companies can make informed decisions about how best to reach their clients through digital channels.
Monitory key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress against goals
Once your company has identified its target buyers and implemented the appropriate strategies to reach them, it’s important to track progress against key performance indicators (KPIs) that demonstrate success. Some of these KPIs may include:
- website visits
- lead generation rate
- average sale price
Companies should also monitor KPIs such as time spent on the website and client satisfaction ratings to get a better understanding of how clients are engaging with their brand. By tracking these metrics, real estate agents can adjust their strategies as needed to reach their desired outcomes.
The Benefits of using data to streamline sales processes
Using data to streamline the sales process can have a number of benefits for both companies and buyers. For companies, it can help them better understand their target customers and develop targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to generate leads. It can also help them track progress against goals and improve customer satisfaction ratings, in essence building up their brand and creating a positive reputation. As for buyers, they’ll be able to make more informed decisions based on reliable data.
By harnessing the power of data, companies gain an advantage in a highly competitive market and ensure they are connecting with the right buyers and sellers. With this information on hand, they can create more effective strategies that will help them maximize their sales opportunities and drive business growth.
By gathering insights from competitors, leveraging A/B testing techniques, and monitoring KPIs to track progress against goals, companies can make informed decisions that will help them reach their desired outcomes. In the end, leveraging data can give real estate agents a competitive edge and help them grow their business in an increasingly competitive market.
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