When leads aren’t being closed, fingers start to get pointed - and things can start to get pretty ugly.
When it comes to failing to close the deal, it’s easy to point that finger at the sales team.
They’re the ones who are engaging prospects when they’re at the point of purchase, so it must mean they aren’t saying the right things.
You could have the best sales team around, but nobody can force leads to buy into a product or service if they don’t want or need it (or at least know that they need it).
How are the sales team meant to close the deal if the prospect isn't properly educated?
The number one reason your business isn't closing the deal more often isn't because sales are bad at their job, but because your leads aren’t educated enough when you make first contact.
So Who’s Responsible for Closing the Deal?
Sales are, of course, but nowadays, so are marketing.
Now, before you start turning your cannons in the marketing department’s direction, it’s important to remember that lead generation and deal closing is a collaborative effort between marketing, sales and operations.
We've written at great length on this blog about sales and marketing alignment, and topic you can read more about in both 3 Guaranteed Ways to Get Sales and Marketing on the Same Page and The Complete Guide to Unifying Your Sales and Marketing Efforts.
Overall though, for marketing material to be effective in aiding the sales process, it needs to be the product of not just the marketing team, but sales, operations and marketing.
- Sales should have an input based on their conversations with prospects and their pain points pre-purchase. All content needs to be geared towards the prospect, who your sales team know best.
- Operations should also have an input based on their conversations with prospects and their issues post-purchase (after all, marketing isn’t just about acquiring customers but retaining them).
If a prospect has a conversation with sales or operations, but they then go online for proof points and don’t find them, they don’t have reason to believe what they were told.
This makes any follow-up conversations much harder for the sales team - especially if you’re having to call a prospect back in six months’ time (as per their request), and their chances of closing the deal reduced significantly.
If there’s no communication between you and your prospect in the meantime with useful content that's aimed at solving their problems, they'll forget who you are and go completely cold.
But if your marketing team are constantly feeding your prospects useful content which solves their pain points, that next conversation for sales is going to be much, much warmer.
Sales Guru Grant Cardone says on his website that "the close is what separates those who have it from those who don't".
While this is true from a traditional sales point of view, marketing can and should make closing the deal much easier than it otherwise would be for your sales team.
With the right approach beforehand, the sale might even be brought forward from 6 months to 3, or, best case, they call you and say "you know what, we're ready".
That can easily be done with content and marketing that pushes people down the funnel towards a buying decision.
Case studies are particularly important for closing the deal. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of marketers say case studies are key to winning new business.
So if your warm prospects aren't being sent content to push them down that funnel towards a decision, your marketing team is doing something wrong.