Wanna close more deals? Of course you do.
In this post, I’ll explain how to leverage data to your advantage when making your case to prospects.
But I’ll let you in on a few secrets first (especially if you’re selling SaaS) with an inbound marketing lead funnel.
Nobody needs your widget.
It’s not that important. Not that life saving.
They can take it or leave it. Which means you got a problem.
Closing online leads requires a prerequisite: urgency.
They have to want to act. To want to make a decision. Otherwise all of those ABC-closing techniques are gonna fall on deaf ears.
They’re gonna find a cheaper alternative. Or simply just lose steam and not make any change at all.
That’s not good enough. That can’t happen. So you need to salvage it with the one trick left in your arsenal: the competitive benchmark.
The idea of falling behind the competition enrages most companies; giving you the necessary kindle and spark required to ignite urgency.
Here’s a simple data-driven sales cheat sheet that creates the urgency you need to close more deals.
Step #1. Show Visitors What their ‘Inaction’ is Costing Them
Some companies convert over 10% of their leads, while most convert less than 2%, According to a study of $3 billion in ad spend from WordStream.
That discrepancy is illustrated when you ask B2B marketers what their biggest pain point is: 61% point to “generating high-quality leads.”
So what, then, is the difference between the two cases? The key differentiator between those topping 10% or those struggling for 2%?
In a word, the: offer.
In other words, the button color on a landing page didn’t make much of a difference. It’s the BIG IDEA. The carrot at the end of the stick that gets a visitor to take action on your site. (After they’ve been successfully primed, of course.)
It was this analysis that compelled WordStream to drop the basic (boring and ignored) “Free Trial.” And instead debut the AdWords Grader that instantly illuminates how people are doing, and more importantly, where they’re falling short in comparison to how they should be doing.
“This was a HUGE turning point for us. Prospects loved it and conversions went through the roof,” said WordStream founder Larry Kim.
Impact Branding & Design created a similar tool to illustrate the ROI inbound marketing.
Their ROI calculator uses benchmark data found in studies in order to forecast how well someone should be doing (relative to where they are now), and how that impacts their bottom line.
Another example comes from HubSpot’s website grader, which expertly highlights ‘hot button’ areas like Mobilegeddon…
Look: ‘uptime’ means nothing to me. 99.93% uptime seems fine on the surface. But when you tell me it translates into over three hours of downtime and start doing some basic math on what three hours of downtime would cost me in lost sales… I get freaking nervous.
Now that cheap, shared Godaddy server I thought I was ‘saving’ money on sounds like a ticking time bomb waiting to sabotage my business.
All of these are classic FOMO examples.
Each one takes something intangible and difficult to comprehend (AdWords performance, inbound marketing, and website performance) and distills it down into something concrete, intuitive, and actionable.
Each of these resources is also self-guided. So visitors can choose to run through them at their convenience.
Which is exactly what should happen: spurring newly primed visitors to shed their cocoon and signal intent to become a new lead.
Step #2. ‘Spy’ on New Leads to Qualify ASAP
PPC agency KlientBoost is about to hit $400,000 in monthly recurring revenue. In less than two years. Completely bootstrapped. With founder Johnathan Dane doing the lion’s share of sales.
So he’s got 99 problems but closing ain’t one.
Dane recently unveiled his sales process in an interview with Grow and Convert.
Literally the very first thing they do, is “use LinkedIn to see if the company has a decent employee count and SpyFu to see if they are spending sufficiently on ads.”
Before even reaching out to the prospect! (That comes afterwards.) They then use the first phone call to validate or disprove what they’ve already dug up (asking, “How much are you spending on ads?”)
Sales is positioning.
By the time they approach you, they should already be sold.
Tell, ‘em, Peter:
Instead, the focus shifts to you qualifying or disqualifying them. ASAP.
Why’s that helpful? To see how much money they’re already spending on tools and services that you’re trying to sell them.
For example, if you want to sell them a new website, you want to see a little link on the bottom with a freelancer or different agency’s name. That proves they’re used to spending money.
What you don’t want to hear is that their “receptionist’s brother’s sister’s fiance (who’s a carpenter) designed it for free.”
That means they’re CHEAP. (All caps and everything.) And they’re gonna be a terrible client (even if you did manage to close them.)
Similarly, if Ghostery or BuiltWith show you that they’re already running Facebook ads and spending thousands of dollars a month on different marketing software, your chances are much better!
You can actually help them. Because there’s something to work with.
And you can take their historical data to forecast future success for them.
Step #3. Forecast Success to Illustrate ‘Value’
Rule #2 in Pricing with Confidence is, “Understand Your Value to Your Customer.”
Specifically, it asserts, “value” is defined in one of two ways:
- The new money you can make them.
- The costs you can save for them.
Your ability to price (to you know, actually make a profit and not just cover overhead) is based on showing – quantifiably – your value.
You gotta show them the money.
After KlientBoost has been able to verify that a new lead is spending enough money, they’ll perform a detailed audit. For free. Without ever bringing up price just yet.
Which isn’t a problem, because Dane told Grow and Convert, “only about 3 – 4 of the 30 – 40 weekly leads even make it to this step.”
The ideas, strategies, and tactics you uncover during this audit continue to compare them to how they should be doing.
So you start with their competition. Tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer will help you line up your prospect against their competition to instantly drive home how much work they have to do to catch up. That’s the negative part, pointing out what they’re doing wrong.
Next comes industry benchmarks. That’s the positive part, showing what’s still out there to gain.
HubSpot’s Marketing Benchmarks report is the perfect place to start. It arms you with data points from over 7,000 companies with helpful graphs that you can steal borrow for your own proposals.
Now you have legit, plug-and-play data to work with from a trusted third party.
Another example is SEMrush, which will break down what other companies are currently spending on specific, popular keywords.
- Shows the total organic volume and demand for this keywords.
- Shows the average Cost Per Click in AdWords for the keywords.
- Shows you related keywords to use as averages.
Perfect. Now you can start putting together a simple model that will prove your potential value to this prospect.
For example, a simple sensitivity analysis can show how results might line up based on different variables. So you can use a small range in conversion rates (based on historical or actual data). And also with the Cost Per Click (that you just found).
Next comes a little easy math. You find out their average sale value, determine what their break even point is, and compute to show the ROI on a single sale.
That tells you (and the client) how much wiggle room there is. But it also shows where conversion rates and Cost Per Clicks need to be in order to successful turn a profit for the client. So it’s in iterative process once you start work together (very soon).
Now show what that scenario might look like at scale when said client is churning out 10+ new sales each month – thanks to your efforts.
That’s a simplistic example. But the information contained isn’t the important part.
The thought process is. It’s showing to your client how you think. How you can break down their problems. And how you can systematically work away to generate a profit for them.
Which brings you one step closer to sealing the deal.
Step #4. Now Drive Home the ‘Need-Payoff’
Everyone gets the first two SPIN Selling lines of questioning right. Understanding the “Situation” and “Problem” they’re dealing with.
But it’s the last two that trip them up.
Which is a shame, because the “Implication” and “Need Payoff” ones are arguably the most important. They get the prospect to understand how your services will improve their life. Like a lightening bolt or epiphany that suddenly hits them. (And in turn, basically gifting you the sale on a silver platter).
Classic “Need-Payoff” question: “How would your business benefit from getting 10 new customers a month?”
KlientBoost almost does this verbatim. After going through their list of ideas and strategies to improve the client’s condition (objective #1 according to Alan Weiss), they go in for the metaphorical kill:
“If we were able to improve performance by 50%, what would that mean in terms of money being made for you?”
Dane elaborates to Grow and Convert:
“If they say ‘Oh we’ll easily make $10k more a month.’ KlientBoost can come in with a proposal of $4k, and as Dane puts it “paying $4k to earn $10k is a pretty easy bet.”
The problem with selling services or complex products is that you’re largely Selling the Invisible.
Most clients, even the most educated, are still fuzzy on the details of what it is exactly that we do on a daily basis.
And if you rush forward with the Scope, instead of drilling home Value, you end up competing with the competition instead of dominating them.
You end up trying to cost plus your way through so a customer doesn’t pick the next guy. Instead of showing them the value they stand to gain (less your involvement) in order to extract a sufficient fee for services rendered.
Closing online sales isn’t easy.
The competition is a click away. And there’s little-to-no urgency compelling someone to buy.
That makes your job tough. You need to go above and beyond. All the way back to the beginning.
A prospective lead needs to be ‘primed’ from the minute they hit your site. That will create the momentum it takes for them to signal intent and interact with your offers.
New leads shouldn’t be called immediately, but vetted first to filter out the diamonds in the rough. Then you can devote the time, attention, and money required to prove their future success with you.
Explaining how to properly create ads, value backlinks, execute multivariate tests (or what-ev-er) is difficult. Even more so when trying to validate your rates.
But showcasing the expected value they’re set to receive in comparison, isn’t.