A successful sales campaign starts with untested leads and ends with new customers. Whether your normal sales cycle is 12 days or 12 months, every sales campaign includes these basic elements:
Leads are names and contact information gathered through direct mail, advertising, public relations, trade shows, networking, referrals, business directories, acquired lists, or trade and professional groups.
Introductory letters break the ice and prepare prospects for your call. Indicate how you got the person's name (especially if it's a referral), describe some of the benefits of your product or service, explain how you've helped similar prospects, and close with a promise to call.
Cold calls are unscheduled contacts with prospects and can be effective tools for setting appointments and qualifying prospects. During a cold call, you should briefly state the benefits of your product or service, learn about the prospect and his needs, and ask to meet.
Literature is mailed to those customers who request information. Ask questions to determine the most appropriate and applicable material to send. Flag or highlight important sections. Include a personal note and specify when you will follow up.
Appointments facilitate face-to-face meetings and sales presentations. Spend plenty of time asking questions and listening to what prospects have to say in order to tailor a solution to those particular needs.
Follow-ups help you to confirm progress, clarify issues, and advance the sale. Send a note promptly after every phone conversation or meeting. Thank your prospects for their time, review what you discussed, and describe your next step. Read more about this crucial step of the sales cycle in The Importance of Sales Follow-Ups.
After-sale communication fosters repeat business. Call customers to gauge their satisfaction with your product or service. Make sure that they receive your latest marketing materials. Stay in touch. Selling to an existing customer is easier than developing a new one.
CRM software is quickly becoming a mainstay of sales organizations because it helps manage each of these steps in the sales cycle. And while these applications used to be out of the price range for most small businesses, they're now affordable and bring great productivity changes to smaller companies. Read more about the price options in Is CRM Feasible for Small Businesses?