When marketing ends and sales begin
What does it mean to have a “sales-ready customer”?
It’s when a potential customer has been sufficiently qualified through the marketing process to be handed over to sales.
The customer is now well informed and comfortable enough to begin the buying process.
Let’s quickly look at the difference between marketing and sales.
- Marketing is the art and science of showing people who have a problem that you have the best solution to that problem.
- Sales, on the other hand, is the art of closing the deal, taking the order and banking the money.
The tension between marketing and sales departments boils down to one issue. When is a lead “sales-ready”?
Sales-ready customers have finished with their research and are about to enter the buying phase, and this is when they should be handed over to the sales team.
Remember that salespeople are expensive and their time is valuable. They are far too costly to be coaching a prospect through the early stages of the buying process.
What is the Buyer’s Journey and why should you care?
SIX STAGES IN THE SALES FUNNEL The six critical stages in the sales journey: attraction, gaining attention, stimulating interest, generating desire, causing action, then sales conversion and the creation of a long-term, delighted customer.
The outcome we all seek is to only close on customers who have already convinced themselves that we have the solution to their problem.
It is also pretty good if they have the following:
- An identified need
- Authority to buy
- An approved budget
- A fixed timeline for purchase
Inbound marketing recommends spending time analysing how your typical customer prepares themselves to buy a product like yours.
This analysis is called the “Buyer’s Journey”. Here are some questions you might ask yourself about your typical high-value customer:
- How much research do they do to find products or services that will solve their problems?
- Does the buying decision involve more than one person?
- Who is the actual decision maker?
- Can the person purchase on impulse, or will there be a formal buying process?
- What kind of information does the customer need to be sure you can provide the best solution at the best price?
- Is the customer price-sensitive?
How Digital Streams can help you find sales-ready customers
Current research shows most customers are 60% of the way through the Buyer’s Journey BEFORE they want to engage in a sales discussion.
Most of the buyer’s journey happens online by looking at the various competitive offerings that may solve the customer’s problem.
Digital Streams can help you with articles, blogs and website copy that help the prospective buyers find your website and engage them in a marketing journey that will help you identify customers who fit your “ideal” customer profile.
Buyers who complete this part of the journey will therefore already be well informed on your products or services.
They will also have a good grasp of the features and benefits of the various competitive solutions as they approach the actual buying phase.
It is important to remember that up until this stage, the buyers have become “Marketing Ready” prospects but not yet “Sales-Ready” customers.
Ideally, your website, blog posts, social-media activities, product descriptions and case studies have provided the buyer with all the information they wanted online, without the need for a consultant’s time.
A good website has also been tracking this customer’s journey. You will have already engaged them in automated marketing emails to help them understand and appreciate your product or service offering.
All this with little or no human intervention – so it has been a very cost-effective journey from your point of view.
When the buyer is ready to buy and reaches out to you for sales information, they know a lot about your company, and you should know a great deal about them so the actual sales process can be timely, efficient and economical for both parties.
That is, your online digital media has helped deliver a sales ready customer who is well informed, pre-qualified and ready to buy.