The digital sales cycle

Lockdown changed many things but, according to Sternfenster’s sales director Nathan Court, in retail it has only served to accelerate those trends that were already driving fundamental change.

Gut feeling belongs to the past; the market is far too competitive, and you need to focus resource on those prospects who are most likely to purchase.

It’s not about volume, it’s about conversion.

If you generate five leads and convert four as opposed to 10, and a conversion rate of say three or four, you’re in an infinitely better position. Digital tools, customer relationship management systems, automated marketing – they allow you to be more targeted.

This approach has underpinned Sternfenster’s sales and our support offer to our customers. We have done this by rolling out the digital tools developed for our retail business, Starglaze, to our trade retail customers.

It means we can offer our customers an out-of-the-box solution, which cuts through the noise and the complexity of digital and focuses on the platforms and strategies that deliver results.

The digital sales cycle can be divided into two key elements: CRM (customer relationship management), in essence, how you manage your customers interactions and use the data you hold on them to support the lead generation process; and marketing automation, how you then engage with them, allowing you to refine and target your approach based on behavioural analysis.

The key thing to consider is integration of those tools, reducing process, and ensuring that data is captured and managed centrally. It can be intimidating there are so many platforms to consider; we’ve done the work for our customers.

CRM systems can support installers in collating and managing data, to delivering advanced lead scoring as well as automation of repetitive tasks. You need to think of them as the foundation for your digital sales strategy: the data they hold, and the flexibility that they can deliver in how you access it, is key to your other lead generation activity.

What we find, however, is that a lot of installers don’t access it because it’s too painful to dig out the information you want. It just sits there on some Excel spread sheet.

The right CRM will let you slice and dice your data, target prospects, and re-target existing customers by giving you access to the detail of their last purchase, service cycles, any feedback on the job. You can then re-engage, refining your offer based on an understanding of what is most likely to appeal to them.

We have identified four CRMs that work for retail, supporting installers in selecting a platform that will deliver what they want but also the flexibility to select the CRM system that best meets their specific needs.

Sales intelligence is also important in the brave new world of retail; tools that can help companies find, monitor, and understand information on prospects.

This includes those leads offered through dedicated industry lead generation services. It’s again about automation of process. Most providers will offer a service that integrates with your other systems, supplying verified leads directly into your CRM.

While installers may want to access a dedicated service, fabricator installer networks can also offer rich pickings.

The Sternfenster Approved Installer Network is one example. We generate leads through our own website, chatbots and social media, and downloads them direct into our members’ own micro CRM dashboard in real time. Accessible by phone as well as laptop or desktop, it means installers can also download and follow-up leads while out on site.

Called Easy Admin, it also allows customers to track leads, prepare professional quotes, check profit levels, order online, and auto-generate invoices and reports.

Sternfenster also offers a number of sales accelerator tools to its customers, including our online quote engine, which allows homeowners to select products and instantly build prices. This can be styled and custom designed to reflect its customers own brands and offers.

Lockdown has been a very clear example of how powerful this tool is. Homeowners have had time on their hands and want to get an indication of costs quickly. Our customer online quoting tool gives them instant access to prices; it’s delivered incredible lead generation in lockdown and since.

Sternfenster Approved installers also get access to a branded sub-site with dedicated post-code search, e-marketing tools, SEO support, as well as subsidised website development delivered through our digital partner ICAAL.

We’re not talking about things that you should be doing in the future. These are things that you should be doing now. We can support you in delivery and walk you through the process, ensuring that your systems give you the data you need, and support you in levering its sales potential effectively.