A sales organization can increase company revenue in two ways -- closing more deals, and closing deals that generate more revenue. We have known the basic principles of closing more deals for a long time, but the art of closing deals with higher life-time value (LTV) is evolving every day.
Perhaps the single most important thing that any sales manager can do to move the needle on client LTV is to empower their sales reps with more information. If knowledge is power in the hands of an employee, knowledge is explosive revenue growth in the hands of a salesperson.
“The reason for this is simple -- a salesperson is walking a tightrope on their way to making a sale and the success of that journey is influenced by a million factors,” explains Uzi Shmilovici, founder and CEO of Base CRM. “Factors that are known can be controlled. Factors that are unknown can trip up a sale at any moment.”
CRM technology is the driving force behind information collection and dissemination today. In the last ten years, CRM platforms have revealed patterns and practices for sales growth that we never could have known before. All of those advancements resulted from discovering new information -- frequently derived from raw data analysis -- to inform how we approach closing deals.
These are three ways sales organizations can grow LTV using better flow of information.
A lot of sales technologists will share their wisdom (derived from data, of course) about the best time of day to send an email or how to master cold calls. But what is the right time of day to try to sell an upgraded service to a client that is experiencing technical difficulties with a product you have already sold them? The only correct answer is: there isn’t one! One of the greatest perils a sales organization faces is the information gap created by the lack of coordination between sales and support.
“Salespeople are the sole points of contact for a prospect company until the deal is signed -- then a lot more people get involved,” says Shmilovici. “Now the relationship is not only being influenced by others, but the client may not be confiding every care or concern in their sales rep anymore. That is where mistakes happen, and only because one hand is not talking to the other.”
Today’s CRMs can and should provide a seamless flow of information between sales and support. When this is achieved, LTV rises.
Sales + Marketing Alignment
In many organizations, sales and marketing do not get along. One is all about pushing for numbers and deals, the other is focused on creative and brand. You need both to exist and retain their individual goals, but if they worked together more closely, the impact on client LTV would be huge. Unfortunately, 58% of sales and marketing leaders say they have poor alignment with one another.
But with a properly configured CRM, much of the most essential information required to close deals and retain clients can be shared automatically. Sales people should know which marketing campaigns a client is in, what they have downloaded, clicked on, or what outbound communication they have received. If marketing is sending out a campaign advertising a discount, you don’t want your salespeople calling the clients receiving that offer trying to sell the same thing at list price.
The effort to align sales and marketing can be viewed as an error-proofing mission. Both departments are trying to create the same outcome, but without coordination, they can and frequently do get in each other’s way. Free flowing information solves that problem.
It can come as a huge surprise to a sales rep when their best client is frozen because they haven’t paid an invoice in six months. The relationship was solid, the client continually purchased upgrades, new products, and extra service, but for one reason or another had neglected to square up on any of it despite numerous calls and warnings from the finance department.
The real crisis here should be that the sales rep was unaware of the growing delinquency from the outset. Without free flowing information exchange between sales and finance, issues like this happen all the time. Other issues include contract delays stemming from miscommunication, invoicing errors, and missed payments. All of that impacts client LTV.
“Salespeople need complete visibility into the status of their accounts -- from support, marketing, and finance,” concludes Shmilovici. “Without that information, they are walking in a minefield without any way of knowing where they should step. Sales managers need to focus on cross department information sharing as a tier one priority for increasing client LTV.”