- Emma Walsh
Developing an Effective Sales Process
Businesses that have a clearly documented sales process generate more revenue; it ensures the sales team knows the correct process and provide a consistent experience. Customers and prospective customers will receive the same service no matter which member of your sales team they deal with, strengthening your brand and building a relationship of trust.
Does your business have a documented sales process? Is it followed by every member of your sales team? Include your sales team in the development of your sales process, or review of your current process, to gain valuable insights and ensure they’re on board.
Consider the following when developing your sales process:
1. Product knowledge. You can’t sell something if you don’t know what it is or how it works. Your sales team must know your products or services inside out. They need to understand the problems that they solve and how they'll benefit the customer. Never assume that a customer will link a feature to a benefit. It’s the salesperson’s job to join the dots and show the customer the value of your offering.
2. Prospecting. Prospecting is the ongoing search for new customers who are the right fit. Have you identified your ideal customer? This should be documented in your Business Plan. If not, start by profiling your existing customers and identifying what they have in common.
3. Preparation. It’s essential to prepare before your contact with a prospect or customer to build on your product knowledge, assess your competitors’ offerings (in case you’re asked), and clarify your sales presentation. The more you know about your prospect or customer, the better you’ll be able to articulate the value to them personally. Keep your CRM updated with key insights about each prospect or customer and review these before contacting them.
4. Initial contact. This isn’t an email marketing campaign; it’s a personal phone call or scheduled catch up. Ensure you identify the prospective customer’s pain points or challenges they’re facing. How you engage the prospective customer will heavily influence the outcome. Ensure you update your CRM with notes straight after the catch up and schedule any required follow up.
5. Qualification. The most effective sales teams sell to the needs of their prospects. Ask the right questions to determine how your product or service can help them, building confidence and trust. Consider some ‘go-to’ questions that will prompt you to subtly convey product information, including how you differentiate from your competitors.
6. The proposal. With accurate qualification, you can tailor your pitch to meet the needs of the prospect. It’s the same with a proposal - record the prospect’s specific needs in the proposal, demonstrating that you understand their situation and are offering a genuine solution.
7. Handling objections. Don’t be scared of objections; they’re opportunities, not threats. They show that the customer doesn’t yet see the value of your product or service, providing valuable insight. Discuss the customer’s objections and use testimonials and case studies to demonstrate how your product or service has helped others in a similar position.
8. Closing. It’s time to make the sale formal. This is where the customer signs on the dotted line and parts with their cash. Identify the closing signals without being too presumptuous. Don’t be afraid to assume the sale but give the customer options. Don’t be satisfied by a response of ‘we’ll get back to you’ - consider your response to such comments prior to closing.
9. Follow up / getting referrals. The salesperson who started the relationship with the customer is the best person to follow up. The end game is to build a long-term relationship with your customer to promote ongoing sales and recurring revenue. Contact the customer after a certain period of time to get feedback and ensure they’re happy. This is not an opportunity to sell more to the customer (unless they ask), it’s about building a solid relationship for future sales.
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