Having enough sales is something that can make or break a business, especially when it comes to local and small businesses. Now, what makes sales successful is having an organized plan. Understanding what is known as a sales process can help you and your sales team turn leads into customers.
Whether your business focuses on B2C or B2B sales, a sales process is a roadmap that can apply to any sales target. Some of the best processes include stages or steps that help a sales team all be on the same page while maintaining customer relationships.
What is a sales process?
A sales process outlines important steps that a company and its sales team can follow to complete a proper sales cycle. This process begins by taking a potential customer from simply being aware of your business all the way through having a closed sale. This guide can help sales personnel have a structured framework to follow to increase sales efficiency and profit margins.
Luckily, the sales process doesn’t have to be a hundred, million steps long. The following are seven steps that help provide a solid outline of how to find prospects, to close the deal, and to retain business and referrals.
Prospecting is all about sourcing new sales leads. This is a vital part of the sales process that helps determine how the rest of the process goes. If done properly, prospecting can help sales reps weed out those prospects who won’t make it through the sales process.
One way to identify prospects is to look at people who have already bought from you and create customer profiles and buyer personas. This can help you understand their challenges, why they bought from you, and learn how to sell your brand as a solution to their problems.
There are various forms of prospecting, both online and offline. When prospecting online, you can use platforms like Quora or LinkedIn or even emailing. Offline tools can be asking current clients to refer you, cold calling prospects, speaking at conferences or webinars, and networking at industry events.
2. Lead Qualification
Next, it is important to contact and connect with your prospects. This is also a good time to find out if you are a good fit with your prospects based on what you are offering. This can help determine if they will likely make it through the rest of the sales process.
Identify your quality leads and connect with your customers by asking questions like:
- What role do they play within their company?
- What are some of their day-to-day responsibilities?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- Why is that problem a priority for their business?
- What other solutions are they considering?
Or maybe you want to stick with something a bit more traditional. You can always use some common sales qualification methods to find out more about your prospects. Think of BANT, CHAMP, or MEDDIC when it comes to figuring out if your products are a good fit for your prospect.
3. Research & Approach
It is now to the point where the sales reps need to learn more about each prospect and their company. When you put in effort researching your prospects, it allows you to put yourself in their shoes and better understand their issues. This is an important step in being able to understand what exactly your prospect needs and allows you to establish your product as the solution.
Overall, make it a priority to figure out what each prospect needs from your business. Then, tailor your sales pitch to your individual prospect’s needs and come closer to closing a deal.
4. Presentation & Pitch
Next up is getting to present and pitch the product to your interested prospect. This is an important step that comes after determining that the prospect is serious and that your product is right for them. It is important to be knowledgeable and familiar with what you’re pitching, so take the time to get to know the inner and outer workings of it and the process along the way.
Now when we talk about a presentation and a pitch, we don’t always mean a standard PowerPoint presentation that has a big salesy spiel attached. Tailor your presentation to fit what you have learned about them. By now, you should have actively been listening to their needs and this is where you will put that info into action.
A proper pitch can be a bit time consuming, that’s why the steps of a sales process are so important to follow. Don’t waste time pitching to clients who won’t be a good fit with your company.
5. Objection Handling
Before making an important decision, your client might have some questions or concerns arise. These objections can range from price and value to content of the offer and more. When these concerns are brought up, don’t be aggressive or pressure your prospect. Don’t lie to them either.
Offer them an explanation that addresses their objections in a way that makes sense to them. If you have to, ask more questions about what they’re concerned about to see if you can understand where they are coming from. And remember, listening is key. Don’t try to prepare what you are going to say when they are talking to you. Listen closely to what they are saying as you might have to “read between the lines” to get the best answers.
It’s closing time!
Closing processes look a little bit different from company to company. Maybe you have to deliver a quote, get a contract signed, or even finalize negotiations. Keep in mind that this is a step that every sales rep wants to reach.
Need help with closing the deal? Check out some closing techniques that sales reps use to close their deals. Look at adopting one of those ways into your work and change it so that it can fit your style!
While this might come as a shock to some, just because you close the sale it doesn’t mean that your work is done. It is important for a sales rep to continue to nurture customers. Communicate with them and reinforce your brand’s value. And if all goes well, your customers will spread the word of your business so that they bring in referrals and more delighted customers!