Once, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, a job board salesperson called up a prospective employer, made his (because of course he was inevitably male) pitch, and the employer–after carefully weighing the pros and cons–bought.
Er….not really. Sure, we’ve all been lucky enough to have someone call and buy – but that’s the exception, not the rule. All good salespeople know that the sales process truly is a step-by-step evolution inside the employer’s mind. The employer buys for a variety of reasons, some rational and some not – yet the onus for making sure the employer is aware of your job board’s solution is completely on your shoulders.
Technology and careful planning can help your job board salespeople via a technique called ‘lead nurturing’. I highly recommend the work of Brian Carroll – in particular, his book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale“, and its related blog. He stresses the need to understand who you are targeting – their industry, size, revenue, key attributes, typical buyer, corporate culture, and so on. After all, you can’t target everyone, right?
Next, gathering these target employers in a well thought out database is critical. Understand which pieces of data are most important – critical to sales success. Finally, you must understand that the sales process takes time. Employers must become aware of and comfortable with you. That’s where lead nurturing comes in.
Using email, direct mail, phone calls, and social media, you can communicate with your prospects without selling to them. Give them useful information. Point them to good resources. And, of course, educate them about your services. This may take days, months, or even years.
The end result? Higher conversions by salespeople when they do make sales calls, higher employer retention, and lower costs of sale.
How about you? What’s your experience with the sales process and lead nurturing?