While your sales team is out there making sales and prospecting new clients, you’ll need a trusted process to make sales effective.
Effective sales process boosts conversions, ensures your prospects are highly engaged and provides all your customers a consistent experience throughout the journey.
When you are too focused on selling and scaling your revenue, it’s hard to commit to a time-consuming reading on building the most effective sales process.
Whether you are a salesperson or someone assigned with the task of creating a sales strategy. This post will help you understand all the necessary elements of building an effective sales process.
What is a Sales Process and Why to Build One?
A sales process refers to a series of steps your sales team takes to move a prospect from the awareness stage to a closed customer. A good sales process helps your sales rep close more deals by giving them an exact framework to follow.
Having a standardized sales process helps sales reps to avoid sales mistakes and lose customers.
The sales map gives them clear-cut instructions to follow. So any new or experienced member can also get up to speed and learn what to do at different sales stages.
A sales process directly affects your revenue streams and hence you need to ensure you have a good one.
Different Sales Methodologies
In the following sections, we’ll discuss different selling methodologies that sales reps use today.
1) Transactional Selling
Transactional selling is a short-term strategy that focuses on making quick sales. Neither the buyer nor the seller has any interest in building relationships.
This kind of sales method is scorned upon in today’s relationship-building era. But transactional selling still has a place in both B2B and B2C marketing communities. Some notable examples include movie or concert tickets.
Here the organization sells low-cost, generic products and turns a profit by selling in large quantities. B2B companies also make transactional selling by selling SaaS applications to small business teams.
The only goal here is to provide a quick, frictionless experience to the customers.
2) Solution Selling
With solution selling the sales reps try to paint a picture in the prospect’s mind about what they currently lack and how their product can help them.
With the internet, this kind of sales method is receiving a bad reputation. Since today, a B2B buyer can easily find the solution to their problem instead of relying on a sales executive.
For effective solution selling the sales reps must have a good relationship with the customers, anticipate their needs and sell, not only the product but also the experience.
3) Provocative Selling
Provocative selling tries to uncover customer pain points and needs through market research and customer surveys. It includes thorough data analysis and crafting a strategy that compels buyers to check out the product.
Provocative selling creates a sense of urgency and drives sales by impeding crisis and threats on the horizon.
The process is profitable, but it’s hard to pull off. You need good expertise to pull the right triggers, manage supply and demand. The strategy can fail if customers do not feel the same sense of urgency.
4) Collaborative Selling
Collaborative selling is focused on building long-term customer relationships. It’s more of a strategic alliance than a one-to-one sales process.
To pull this off, all your customer-facing teams, marketing teams, customer service teams should work towards the goal of helping the customer solve the problem.
If done right, the sales team can become a long-term partner for the buyer and suggest solutions to improve the business.
5) Inbound Selling
This is the most powerful method of selling in the internet era. Since consumers today have more information about the product and possible solutions, the follower of this method makes customers come to them.
The marketing team creates personalized content addressing the needs of the customer. This way they become part of the sales process.
Your content should be so interesting that customers should trust your authority over a subject. This way the trust is already built and the sales reps can easily close the customer.
Building an Efficient Sales Process
Following these steps will ensure you build an efficient sales process that helps you close more leads continuously.
1) Analyze your Current Sales Process
Consider what’s working and what isn’t in your current sales strategy. This will help you tailor a strategy that works for your business. Sales is something that affects the bottom line of a company. Hence you need to make sure you take the advice of all stakeholders while crafting a strategy.
Just watch your sales rep from close, analyze the last deals you closed. What was the common point between all those leads? What are the usual touchpoints?
Consider how long the entire process took and what objections did the customer have.
Once you get an idea of the time frame, you can pinpoint the areas of inefficiencies and find solutions to eliminate them.
2) Create a Buyer’s journey
This is the most important step which many organizations miss. Creating a buyer’s journey compels you to look at things from a customer’s perspective. You’ll be able to understand the common interactions they have with your sales reps, the problems they usually face, and what solutions they expect from your business.
The buyer’s journey is segmented into different stages and each stage is designed to solve customer problems in that stage. Dividing your customer journey helps you identify areas that need work.
3) Define Scenarios that Compels Prospects to Take Action
Another benefit of segmenting the buyer process is you can define what content moves the prospect ahead in the sales process. Ideally, the customers move only when it aligns with their needs.
Each stage will address different pain points. Solving those pain points will culminate into a trust when it’s time to actually purchase the solution. Work with your sales rep operating in different sales stages and see what are the common concerns shared by the customers in each stage. Then create content and solutions to solve these concerns.
4) Define a Good Lead Qualification Process
Once you set up your sales funnel, you are bound to attract leads that do not fall into your target audience radius. Your sales team must be able to identify such leads and eliminate them. This helps them focus on prospects that are highly likely to convert. You need to analyze the unqualified prospects and eliminate the content or platform that brings them in.
5) Create a Process to Measure your Sales Efforts
The sales process is always flexible, your team will find new ways and work more efficiently. You need to create a process to analyze sales efforts at every step. This way you end up optimizing the whole process.
You need to ensure your team is co-ordinating and your marketing efforts are reaching the right target audience. Define KPIs that best reflect the performance of your sales strategy. The metrics may include: Number of leads that came in, percentage of leads converted, churn rate at each buyer stage, and revenue generated. The goals will depend on your sales and marketing objectives.
3 Ways to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Sales Process
1) Sales Cycle Length
One of the most important parameters in a sales cycle. If your leads are moving fast through the sales funnel, it means you have a good content strategy and your sales reps are good at moving the prospects ahead.
Time tracking can begin the moment your prospects come into the funnel. Knowing the sales cycle time helps you set targets and maybe even optimize the process.
2) Close Rates
By knowing the closing rate, you can measure the effectiveness of your sales pipeline. For example, if your sales closure rate drops from 15% to 10%, you can immediately understand that something needs to be fixed.
Then you can analyze each stage and see where the customer churn is happening. If you see an improvement in the closing rates, you can see what factors are leading up to these changes and then scale them to optimize the process.
3) Pipeline Churn Rate
Churn is simply how many prospects move through each stage of the funnel. If you are nurturing prospects slowly, then you are gathering them, your pipeline will be filled with stale opportunities.
Hence you need to have a plan to nurture the leads on a timely basis.
On the other hand, if you are running out of prospects, you have a lead generation problem. Hence you’ll need to scale your top-of-the-funnel activities to scale your prospecting.
Ideally, you should have a pipeline filled with qualified prospects without significant backlogs at any stage.
Common Sales Mistakes
Let’s have a look at the common mistakes made while implementing the sales process.
1) Having Vaguely Defined Steps
It is essential to define concrete, specific steps that your sales team can follow. If you keep your sales process guidelines vague, they can get interpreted in distinct ways, and your sales team can come less accurate. Causing them to mishandle the prospects. Once you create a sales process, document each step and share it with your team.
2) Making your Sales Process Rigid
Your sales process is never perfect or complete and should always be a work in progress.
In addition to constantly measure your success, you also need to have check-ins with your reps. It helps you uncover new trends or potential red flags in your process. You need a system to gather valuable feedback.
Continually improving your sales process will help you have better conversations with your customers and boost sales.
3) Not Aligning Sales and Marketing
Creating a sales profile is futile if you do not align it with marketing. The sales team constantly needs content produced by the marketing team. The marketing team needs feedback to create content centered on customer needs.
Sales and marketing teams directly affect the revenue and hence marrying them both will always work out better for any organization.
4) Centering the Process on Closing Deals
While sales is about closing deals, it’s also about providing value first. Prospects come with a problem and your team must first focus on solving it rather than selling your solution.
Personalization is essential in today’s marketing world. But that’s not possible if you focus too much on closing deals. Try to win the trust of your prospect and the closures will happen automatically.
Center your strategy on providing value and not just completing your sales quota.
5) Not measuring Accurate KPIs
Not measuring accurate KPIs is an easy way for your sales process to be ineffective. Have a list of KPIs that have the maximum impact on your sales pipeline and set a process to measure them.
Remember, it’s not always about numbers. You need to dig deeper into the data and find opportunities to improve your sales process. Make each team responsible with respective KPIs.
Putting it All Together
Creating and mapping out a sales process will give your sales team an accurate framework to follow. The process will allow you to consistently close more leads and boost revenue.
But creating an effective strategy is a challenging task. It’s never complete. You need to nudge the strategy according to the feedback you receive from the bottom line.
A good sales process helps you provide a consistent experience to all your prospects. Thus boosting your brand value in the market.
Follow these steps to create an effective sales process for your business. Remember, each business is unique, so create systems tailored to your business.