Originally published on Forbes.com by Forbes Agency Council on February 26, 2019.

As every successful business knows, closing a sale is a team effort between marketing and sales. Collecting the best leads and presenting them to your sales team is only the first half of the battle. The other half is fostering clear communication between the sales team and marketing about what happens with those leads going forward.

This dialogue is important for a business to better understand which leads are working out, which are not and why. Yet, closing the sales loop may be more difficult than anticipated. To help, 16 members of Forbes Agency Council share their best tips for closing the sales loop.

Members of Forbes Agency Council offer their best tips for closing the sales loop.

Members of Forbes Agency Council offer their best tips for closing the sales loop.


1. Establish A Clear Process

Business development is as much a science as it is an art. Last year, we developed a standard operating procedure for our internal process that follows each new lead from inquiry through closing. We apply specific timing, communication, and printed materials to each vetted opportunity. Since rolling it out in 2018, our days to close have dropped substantially. – Korena KeysKeyMedia Solutions

2. Focus On Interaction With Small Groups

Decision-makers want interaction with very small groups of accomplished professionals who have the experience and aptitude to know what they’re talking about and the confidence to talk directly. In short, the best way to close the sales loop is to be face-to-face with a decision-maker and have that decision-maker feel like he or she is talking with someone who can credibly solve the problem. – Brian SullivanSullivan Branding

3. Create A Sense Of Urgency

Give clients an incentive to make their decision, such as a free assessment or a discount, and attach a deadline to the deal. This creates a sense of urgency and gives clients an extra reason to think about your services, to see them as the right way to go and to see that the right moment to choose is right now! – Daniela PavanThe Ad Store New York

4. Create A Disney-Like Experience

If marketing tees up leads and sales puts on a hard sell then you’re going to lose sales opportunities. Instead, create a seamless educational experience helping prospects feel safe—one where the sales team nurtures prospects. Map out every sales touchpoint and design a process where prospects get an amazing experience with your sales team. Close rates will go up and sales cycles will go down. – Mike LiebermanSquare 2 Marketing

5. Personalize All Communication

No one wants to feel like they are one of thousands targeted by a mass mailing campaign. Once we receive a sales lead or engagement, we immediately get all relevant materials emailed to the potential client personalized to their firm and anticipated needs, followed by a package in the mail with a personalized handwritten note and a phone call. It’s a lost art that will get you far. – Meredith XavierThe Ligné Group

6. Provide Content For The Journey

Marketing must arm sales teams with content throughout the customer journey. They must go beyond “top of funnel, bottom of funnel” thinking and consider that each lead has their own unique journey and need for information. Marketing has to have content readily available for sales to access, and it must be able to support any questions or objections that sales may face when working a lead. – A. Lee JudgeContent Monsta

7. Train Sales To Differentiate Your Company

Provide your sales team with ongoing training about your products, services and the industry at large. Ensure that your team has a current set of nurturing content that provides value to prospects: videos, e-books, PDFs, etc. The more information and tools your sales team has, the better they’ll be able to differentiate your company from the competition and close the loop. – Bernard MayNational Positions

8. Show Your Company Cares

Sales teams need to be able to connect with leads based on pain points and/or opportunities. Having incredible content that shows that you are a company that cares and understands the day-to-day challenges of your customers will go a long way when establishing and nurturing relationships. – Kathleen LucenteRed Fan Communications

9. Keep Your Base And Your Team Updated

Part of the most important outreach you can do is to connect with your base. They need to be informed as to what you are bringing to the table as well as with the most recent updates to your products and your services. You need to think about how you are going to improve your team as well by sharing more presentations and things like newsletters. – Jon JamesIgnited Results

10. Blow Them Away With Your Proposal

In my experience, the best way to close a sale is to write a proposal that is head and shoulders above the competition—in-depth, comprehensive and personalized to the prospect. At that point, there is really no contest with any competitor for the business. The prospect’s only choice is between hiring you or doing nothing. – Jeff Bradfordthe Bradford Group

11. Leverage High-Quality Data And AI

We always recommend the use of high-quality prospect data to enable more effective sales conversations and faster conversions during the lead generation process. Taking it a step further, the use of AI-driven automated attendants is vastly improving digital lead quality today and is fast becoming a game-changer for businesses with varying sales cycles. – Paula ChiocchiOutward Media, Inc.

12. Employ End-To-End Reporting

Having strong metrics in place between marketing channels and customer relationship management will help provide sales with a better understanding of the intent of the leads. Marketing will get a better understanding of what the best leads and opportunities are for the sales department. Bringing sales and marketing data together is the best way to close the loop. – Dan GoldenBe Found Online

13. Understand What Drives Your Customer

It is critical to customize your persistence to the sales lead. Taking the time to research and understand what drives the customer or client is an important part of making that connectivity. Putting in the extra effort before the sale demonstrates your dedication to the prospect—and don’t stop! Continue to build that relationship through consistent, personalized follow-up. — Tavi FulkersonThe Fulkerson Group

14. Educate, Educate And Educate Some More

The best way to sell is to educate your prospects so they can really understand what they’re getting into and what they should look for in a vendor or partner. You want to highlight how your strengths make you the obvious choice—not to push them for the sale, but to explain why it’s an obvious choice. – Rafael RomisWeberous Web Design

15. Create A Sales-To-Marketing Feedback Loop

Ask the sales team for the objections they receive during each step of the sales process. Incorporate those objections into the content that leads receive at each step of the lead nurturing process. Get in front of the objections with valuable content. Continue to optimize the marketing funnel with feedback from sales. – Andy EtemadiEYEMAGINE

16. Use ‘Octopus’ Marketing And Follow-Up

Every potential customer has different communication preferences. We find that using multiple methods of contact (phone, email, SMS, LinkedIn, video, handwritten notes) is the best way to gain and keep a customer’s attention. This also helps with building a more personal and long-term relationship as well. – Marc HardgroveThe HOTH