Communication is just as important in business relationships as it is in personal relationships. Most marketers are aware of this, but many do not know how and when to properly communicate their message to prospective customers.
In today's sophisticated marketplace, overcoming communication obstacles is critical—especially early on in the sales process. It is increasingly obvious that the competitive battle for customers is being won or lost at the top of the sales funnel.
So, how does a firm make itself stand out from the rest? It all ties back to effective communication. Here are the five components of an effective sales and marketing communication strategy:
- Tailor communications for each industry and position. The CEO has different pain points from a CFO or other executives. The same goes for different industries. It is important to make each audience understand that you know understand their unique challenges and can address their specific problems.
- Get personal early. Many business to business sales teams are consultative in nature and relationship-oriented. Businesses should introduce sales representatives in the first communication with a name, some biographical information, and a picture. That will help establish a personal relationship between the rep and the prospect as early as possible in the sales process.
- Implement a multi-step and multi-media program. The era of single-shot marketing is over. Response rates are much higher, up to three times higher, when marketers employ multiple messages over multiple touch points. For example, to attract leads to a webinar, start with emails, then immediately voicemail, and then follow up with a personal communication from a sales rep. Using all communications channels will increase your chances of success.
- Use speed and best practices to distinguish your pitch from the competition. People have short memories. To ensure that your prospects don't forget about you, use timely communication. For example, before going to a tradeshow, set up a rapid-response email distribution program. That way you can collect a prospect's business card at a tradeshow and have an email waiting for him when he plugs in his laptop back at his room—not a week later when he's already talking with your competitors.
- Impress contacts by showing them that you know what they know. If you send an auto response to prospects who download information from your Web site, maximize the effectiveness of that auto response. Do not just thank the person. Instead, send a personalized email from a sales rep, saying that he will be contacted within 24-48 hours. Also, show your knowledge of his interests. If the prospect has clicked on any product tabs, the email should have attachments related to these products.
Ultimately, the key to successful business communication is understanding your audience and demonstrating that knowledge as you respond to their needs in a timely, professional manner.
If sales and marketing teams work together to close the loop in communications, that cooperation will yield more and better qualified leads, shorter sales cycles, and higher sales conversion rates.