What if instead of it taking six months to sign up a new customer, you could do it in six weeks? Would that be good for your business? At the same time, what if instead of several emails and phone calls, you had little or no direct interaction with your new customer prior to the sale? Would that be good for your business? Finally, what if instead of sending out an invoice and waiting to get paid/chasing the money, your new customer signed up all on their own with a credit card? Would that be good for your business?
Build it and find ways for them to find you
Over at ProofPass.com, that’s exactly what we’ve been accomplishing. We’re finding new prospects via social media. Our use of social media includes; Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, blogging, and email marketing. Through all these channels, we help people find their way to ProofPass.com by telling the stories of how they can use the site. For example, a digital sign shop can use ProofPass to validate the colors they are producing for quality-conscious consumer brands like the two largest soft drink manufacturers in the world.
Make it mostly self-service once they arrive
Once we get the folks to visit ProofPass.com, we make it easy to sign up for a free trial by providing very little personal information. Just a name and an email address will get you started for 14 days. We provide full access to the system with no limitations. We’ve built the system to be self-service; including a wizard to get you set up and running. Then, at the end of your trial, if you like what you’ve seen, you simply click the renew link and enter your credit card information. What could be easier, right?
Along the way we send out some automated emails to remind folks where they are in the free-trial process. We also remind you how to reach us for technical assistance. The goal is to help more people learn about and understand ProofPass without intense per prospect demands on our time. All this doesn’t mean we aren’t open to personal selling when necessary. It’s quite the contrary, actually.
Conserve your personal selling time for the largest opportunities
Now, when someone looking at ProofPass sees all the potential it offers for their multiple-location business, we have the time to help them quicker than we ever could in the past. In short order, a WebEx meeting can be set up and a detailed, personalized presentation can be delivered. Then, if they are interested a free trial, they can be set up on the spot. Once they are sure ProofPass is for them, they enter the same mostly self-service usage pattern as other subscribers.
Don’t abandon the personal touch
This last bit can be tricky. We systemize, automate and provide self-service options so that we can service those who really need us both quickly and efficiently. If everyone who needs to renew their subscription has to call us, then we can only help so many people in a given day. On the other hand, if only the companies who can’t pay via credit card have to call us, we can address their needs much more quickly. Think about your own experience with websites like Amazon.com. Isn’t it easier to click “buy now” and then enter your credit card rather than calling them and speaking to a customer service agent?
What tools and techniques are you using to shorten your sales cycle?