What is a sales process?
A sales process is a series of repeatable steps that your sales team takes to convert prospects into customers. The number of steps in the sales process can change due to a rep’s industry, product, and prospect but make sure to include the four stages: research, prospecting, sales call and close, and relationship-building.
Why build a sales process?
A sales process is important to your business because if you do not have one your sales managers will not be able to distinguish what went wrong and where when quotas are missed. Your managers will only be able to see the number of deals closed. Having a sales process implemented in your business will be able to track your team’s performance at every stage of the sales cycle.
How to Build Your Own Sales Process:
Gather Some Intel
Map out your potential customers. Make sure to set aside some time to really find out who your ideal target customer is. By building trust with your target personas, you will know how to customize your process for them.
Talk to Your Teams
There is no one better to talk to and gather advice from than your salespeople. They definitely will have an idea of what is and what isn’t working. A good idea is to ask your sales team to map out the sales process from their perspective. By looking at the material from your teams, you will be able to gather a handful of insights to help you finalize the process.
The Seven-Step Sales Cycle
In order to keep your sales pipeline full of leads, you must prospect. Prospecting is the quickest way to increase both your conversion and closing rates. And the only way for you to kick-start the entire sale. Prospecting is the process of sourcing new, early-stage leads to begin working through the sales process. Prospecting may involve online research, attending conferences, or asking for referrals.
2. Lead Qualification
After you have searched for leads, next is making sure they qualify and fit with your business. In order to make sure they are qualified leads you will need to find out the following information:
- What their overall interest level is
- What they are trying to accomplish
- Their pain points
- What current solutions they are using
3. Company Research
The research stage is when the sales rep learns more about the prospect and company. This stage allows you to learn how to tailor your pitch to each prospect differently. The hardest part of the research stage is understanding each prospect’s challenges and needs that your product or service could solve. At the end of this stage, you want to know more about the company better than the prospect you are working with.
This step is probably the most time-consuming. You will be explaining your formal product or service to your qualified prospect. You do not want to waste any of your sales rep’s time if it is avoidable.
Each presentation should be customized to the specific prospect to ensure a productive demonstration. Be sure to point out how you can fix their pain points. Never feel uncomfortable asking a higher-up to jump in on your call. They will be able to answer the technical questions if there are any.
5. Objection Handling
Do not be shocked if your prospect comes to you with an objection before, during, or after your pitch. Navigating rejection and assisting your prospects through their objections is how you will become an amazing sales rep. Following is a four-step method for handling objections that we at Sales Focus Inc. use:
- Encourage and Question
- Confirm Understanding
- Address the Concern
- Check – Respond
A great way to practice how to handle objections is to write down the most common objections you face over a week. Come up with questions on how to understand the objection(s). Turn to a colleague and practice out loud. This will help you tremendously.
This step is where every salesperson hopes to be regularly. Once you have overcome all the objections listed above, you can close the deal. Be sure to remind the prospect of the goal you are achieving for them. How to close the deal:
- Ask a direct question
- Ask an indirect question
- Provide an incentive
- Offer a free trial period
If you are unable to close a qualified lead, you should return the prospect to the nurturing stage.
The sales process never ends when you close the deal. As a sales rep, you are responsible to continue a relationship with your customer, regardless of whether the sale was closed or not. Nurturing your clients opens up doors to upsell, cross-sell, or ask for referrals.
Benefits Of The Sales Process
The benefits of implementing a sales process in your business or never-ending. Some of the main benefits are:
- Guiding your sales team to stay on track.
- Gain a better understanding of prospects.
- Able to dedicate your sales reps to focus on qualified leads.
- Accurately forecast sales.
- Sales reps can ensure continuous engagement to prospects.
- Enhance customer experience.
- Get new reps up to speed.
When executing a sales process, your managers will also be able to redirect their focus from micro-managing their team to more high-value tasks.
Creating and implementing a sales process in your business will help your sales team close more deals and convert more leads. Follow the steps above and tailor them to your business, sales team, and customers to increase conversions and build long-lasting relationships.