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How Sales and Marketing Can Increase Close Rates

Posted by Darrin Fleming on Jul 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM
Darrin Fleming

close rate

Getting prospects to buy is a team effort between sales and marketing. If your organization is like most, there are probably some efficiency and skills gaps that are keeping you from closing deals. Here’s some of our best advice to increase close rates.

1. Figure out where your deals are stalling out.

Almost everyone struggles with customers who show a lack of urgency to buy. Maybe this manifests as voicemails or emails that ask for “more time” to make the decision. Or they say they need to circulate your proposal to more people, or push it higher up the food chain. Other times, they make endless requests for more information or updated proposals—with no deadline for a decision in sight. 

When you get stuck in this merry-go-round, it’s imperative to take control in any way you can. One helpful step is to identify where in the buyer’s journey the deal seems to be stalling out. Are things getting stuck early in the sales cycle, when you’re trying to get the prospect to care about the cost of his or her business problem? Or are you at a more advanced stage, where you’re working with a stakeholder who just can’t seem to get her financial team to sign off on the purchase?

In either case, a solid understanding of ROI and deploying an ROI tool can help you overcome such conditions and break free from “no decision” quicksand.

2. Examine Your Approach Pricing.

I mean two things by this. First, you should question how you came up with the price for your product. If that price wasn’t based on a careful analysis of the value your product offers (and instead was informed by your competitor’s price, for example), you should know that you might be throwing thousands of dollars down the drain. (I know of a business unit at one company that underpriced a product by $400,000 because they had not conducted a thorough pricing analysis.) 

A pricing strategy that is not rooted in the value of your offering (aka, cost-plus or discount pricing strategies) can have very damaging effects, including making it harder for sales to close deals. When you take the time to set your optimal price, you make it easier for your salespeople to justify that price with decision makers and close the sale.

The second thing I mean by “examine your approach to pricing” is to consider how you handle the issue of disclosing your price to customers. Many companies prefer to have customers contact them in order to get a price quote. Instead, I would encourage you to shift the prospect’s focus from price to value by making a value calculator available on your website. That way, when the prospect is ready to talk with a salesperson, he or she is already primed to talk about the value of your offering rather than engage in price negotiations.

3. Measure the value you’ve delivered.

Once you close a deal and gain a customer, you should have a plan to follow up and make sure that the customer feels his or her company received the value that you promised. The evidence of that value might be that your customer was able to increase sales revenue, retire legacy systems, reduce labor costs, or lower travel expenses.

Obviously your marketing team should be capturing success stories of your customers and rolling them up into case studies and presentation materials for your sales team. However, the practice of checking in with your customer can also be a very useful way for you to continually improve your offering so that you can attract more customers and ensure that they’re also happy with the value you deliver. The more stories you have to showcase, either on your website or in sales presentations, the greater your chances will be of increasing close rates.

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