There are two extremes when it comes to driving better customer acquisition results:
- Expanding the team, hiring more salespeople or business development representatives (BDRs).
- Cutting down costs on marketing and advertising.
In some cases, each of these tactics may work. But strategically, cost-effective acquisition isn’t about spending less or increasing the team. It’s about increasing the efficiency of acquisition.
Instead of reducing expenses, you can:
- Mix channels and experiment with approaches.
- Invest more in those that bring more qualified leads.
- Switch off those with poor conversion rates.
And rather than hiring another sales rep or BDR, you can automate the process and set up CRM correctly. As a result, the same team can do 40% more work.
Let’s explore tactics to make your customer acquisition efforts more efficient with improved sales and marketing processes.
Boosting sales team productivity
Focus on two things: people and processes.
First, expensive employees shouldn’t waste their time on simple processes. You don’t buy an electric screwdriver to drive nails, do you? Then, let your sales executives (SEs) focus on actually selling rather than doing manual tasks like filling up CRM or following up with the clients.
Check out what you can do to free up your sales execs.
Streamline your CRM
Most salespeople hate working with CRMs, and for a reason. Manual tasks like sending emails, entering data and scheduling appointments eat up more than half of their workday.
The good news is that in most CRM systems, you can automate workflows and reduce the number of fields to fill out. We use HubSpot at my agency and here’s how we configured it to optimize our SEs routine:
- Centralized storage for all resources. Keeping marketing and sales data in a single space facilitates efficient lead management and communication tracking. We can view the interaction history with each of our potential clients and plan the next steps to lead them down the funnel.
- Clean and clear pipeline. Starting with the first interaction, leads are added to one of the structured flows that help us navigate them between different stages like MQL, SQL, Opportunity and Customer. Thanks to that, we can see the total amount of leads, track their conversions from stage to stage and monitor customer acquisition costs.
- Automatic workload planning. To minimize delays in communication and equally distribute the workload between sales teams, we configured an automatic workflow. Thus, new leads are assigned to SEs one by one. We also set up automation in tasks to get reminders about the next steps the sales exec needs to take — like preparing a sales deck, sending an email, etc.
Overall, an optimized pipeline and a clear view of all open deals allow sales execs to organize their work better and streamline their daily routine. Thus, they can focus on communication with potential clients and closing deals rather than manual operations.
Introduce the sales enablement process
Allocate a team or person responsible for following up with leads and keeping your CRM records up-to-date. Having a sales enablement specialist who keeps in touch with the leads after a call with SE brought Belkins the following results:
- Twice more deals.
- Up to 40% higher revenue.
- 30% shorter sales cycle.
On top of that, the sales support team enabled our SEs to reach their KPIs four quarters in a row.
Another way to unload your sales executives and improve the efficiency of your acquisition is to work with your BDR team.
Increasing BDR team efficiency
While sales enablement specialists help SEs to follow up with the leads, BDRs do all the preparatory work for sales. Depending on whether you have a large or a small business development team, here are a few tips to skyrocket their productivity.
Split responsibilities and channels
If there are many BDRs on your team, assign different people to different areas of responsibility. For example, you can divide them by inbound or outbound acquisition channels. Inside each channel, the division may go even further:
- Inbound: Two BDRs are responsible for website leads, five for paid advertising, two for social media platforms, etc.
- Outbound: Three BDRs send cold emails and communicate with prospects from the marketing and advertising industry, four — with leads from healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, two — with potential clients from financial institutions, etc.
Such distribution empowers your business development representatives to process each request more precisely, communicate on a more personal level, and work better with objections.
Automate internal processes
Just like with the sales team, help your BDRs focus more on communication. With dedicated tools like Chili Piper, you can set up round-robin automation from your website forms and assign new leads to different BDRs.
You can also prepare templates and trigger canned responses to book appointments, cover the most frequently asked questions or handle objections.
In addition to the technical side, it’s important to care about the people on your team. Here’s how to enhance the team’s performance:
- Understand what motivates each BDR. One-on-one meetings are the perfect opportunity to spot and discuss individual goals. Once you understand the motivation of each team member, you can more easily address any areas of poor performance.
- Assess the team’s time management skills. It is common for most employees to struggle with time management, which can lead to burnout. Provide training or resources to help team members improve their time management skills.
- Clearly communicate the company’s strategy and goals. Help team members understand where the company is going. This will help them see how their work fits into the big picture and make them feel more invested in the company’s success. Also, make sure everyone on the team is aligned with the department’s goals and their contribution to those goals. This will help everyone stay motivated and focused.
Optimizing your lead generation efforts
Make sure to get the most out of your lead generation efforts with the following tips.
Use an omnichannel approach
Align all the touchpoints your potential clients have with you. While unifying them can be tough, start small with specific landing pages for each of your services, retargeting ads and tailored social media advertising campaigns.
For instance, a person who expressed interest in our appointment-setting service and visited a relevant website page can see an ad with a custom message on Google or an ad leading to downloadable material with the best appointment-setting templates on LinkedIn.
Work with the existing lead database
Attracting new leads is great unless you exhaust your niche. Learning how to work well with those leads you’ve already contacted is a much better idea.
One way to go here is to utilize email marketing:
- Create several email flows that trigger automatically when a person meets certain criteria. These can be onboarding, nurturing, re-engagement and others. Update them regularly to deliver relevant information and test what approaches work best. For us, it’s almost plain text emails, without too many visuals but with clear CTAs.
- Send time-sensitive campaigns that cover your company’s breaking news, celebrate your achievements or announce new products and service launches. This is an awesome opportunity to keep your brand top of mind.
Another way to work with your existing leads is to offer them useful content on all platforms:
- Regularly publish industry-specific blog posts and lead magnets.
- Share actionable insights, news and tips on LinkedIn via posts, articles and newsletters.
- Work with review platforms to establish your trust.
- Launch additional activities as needed, such as webinars, podcasts, etc.
Set up a scoring system in your CRM to facilitate your lead generation. This will help you instantly deliver warmed leads for qualification and further processing by your BDR and sales teams.
Optimizing customer acquisition through sales and marketing alignment
Rather than reactively hiring more salespeople or slashing budgets, take a strategic approach to customer acquisition. Start by optimizing processes to amplify productivity, beginning with your CRM and sales enablement.
Automate repetitive tasks to empower human strategy and communication. Align marketing and sales systems to facilitate hand-offs through defined flows. Adopt an omni-channel perspective to conversions across touchpoints. Regularly assess what motivates teams and help individuals see their impact on shared goals.
With the right structural foundations enhanced by marketing, your existing talent and campaigns can sustainably drive growth.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.