Different skills and knowledge are needed in different industries to demonstrate to your potential customers that your solution is the best solution for their particular problem.
The seven-step sales process described in business textbooks is a good start, especially when 40% of sales teams do not have a defined sales strategy. Having a clear strategy makes them 33% more likely to close sales at a higher rate.
In the following article we will talk about the most important sales processes and therefore the most used.
A sales process is a template for achieving sales objectives and replicating a desired level of performance by sales representatives. It presents a repeatable series of steps that a seller takes to convert a prospect in an initial stage into a new customer.
Each step in a sales process can consist of several separate sales activities.
That said, we can say that an effective sales process is:
Customer Focused: Buyers are more trained, better informed and have more extensive options than in the past. Smart companies align their sales processes with this new reality.
It is clearly defined: To be effective, all interested parties must understand each stage and element of their sales process well.
It is replicable: Each representative must be able to replicate all the steps of the sales process without confusion.
It is predictable: The flow and expected results in your sales process should follow a predictable pattern.
It is goal oriented: A sales process focuses on improving your ability to meet specific objectives (for example, boosting revenue growth, achieving process efficiencies, etc.).
It is measurable: All activities in your sales process must be quantifiable, so you can measure success and improve.
It is Adaptable: A sales process must be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the business climate, technological integrations or changes in your sales operations.
A good sales process also aligns with the purchase trip of your ideal customer, instead of focusing only on what the seller needs. Having that said let's describe the seven processes or stages of the most used sales process.
The following steps provide a good summary of what you should do to find potential customers, close the sale and retain your customers for repeated business and future referrals.
The 7 most important stages of the sales process are:
However, sometimes, these stages differ. Different industries and even similar companies can use five or nine steps instead.
However, to simplify it, you can start with this seven-stage sales process which we will explain one by one below.
The first of the seven steps in the sales process is prospecting. At this stage, you look for potential customers and determine if they need a product or service, and if they can afford what you offer.
Assessing whether customers need your product or service and can buy it is known as qualification.
At this stage you can make use of a chatbot, whether in telephony, web, or messaging applications. A chatbot can capture the data of potential customers, evaluate if they need your product or service and if they can afford it.
With a chatbot you can automate this stage, so that your sales team can focus on more important tasks.
More information at: How to create conversation scripts.
The second stage prepares you for initial contact with a potential customer, researching the market and collecting all relevant information about your product or service.
At this point, you develop your sales presentation and adapt it to the particular needs of your potential customer.
A chatbot at this stage can ask some initial questions, and depending on the answers show a different sales presentation and in line with the needs of your potential customer.
In the needs assessment phase, actively demonstrate how your product or service meets the needs of your potential customer.
Presentation involves using PowerPoint and giving a sales opportunity, but it doesn't always have to be this way: you must actively listen to your client's needs and then act and react accordingly.
In the approach stage, you make the first contact with your client. Sometimes this is a face-to-face meeting, sometimes it is by phone. There are three common approach methods.
Perhaps the most underrated of the seven steps of a sales process is handling objections. This is where you hear the concerns of your potential client and address them.
It is also where many unsuccessful sellers leave the process: 44% of sellers abandon the sale after a rejection, 22% after two rejections, 14% after three and 12% after four, although 80 % of sales require at least five follow-ups to convert.
Successfully handling objections and alleviating worries separates good sellers from bad and good sellers from excellent ones.
In the closing stage, the client's decision to move forward is obtained. Depending on your business, you can try one of these three closing strategies:
Once you have closed the sale, your work is not finished. The monitoring stage keeps you in touch with the clients that have closed, not only for repeated businesses but also for references.
And since retaining current customers is six to seven times less expensive than acquiring new ones, maintaining relationships is key.
Over time, some sales processes become expensive and inefficient. Research has shown that sellers only spend 34% of their time selling to potential customers.
As a result, it becomes a priority to improve the sales process. And to improve your sales process you must find the tasks that can be automated so that sellers can focus on what they do best: sell.
To identify the parts of your sales process that can be improved, focus on improving sales productivity.
To do this, measure the effectiveness and efficiency of each stage of your sales process. Once you identify areas that are ineffective or inefficient, focus on changing one thing at a time.
The most common areas for rapid improvements in a sales process are:
To organize your sales process and sales methodology, you need a well designed map. Here's how to create one:
Remember, you must continue to evolve your sales process to keep up with current trends.
Not all sales processes are the same, so you should do an audit from time to time. You can do this by analyzing your performance metrics and performing A / B tests to compare the results.
For example, you can choose an activity in your sales process and change it, then see if the results improved. Remember, metrics are your friends and taking them into account ensures your profitability.
With consumer behavior and market realities changing at lightning speed, the need to adapt becomes essential.
Sales professionals can no longer rely on outdated approaches. There is no other option than to adopt customer-centered thinking and new technologies.
It is important to remember that your sales process is not exempt. Without a reliable strategy to follow, your sales team will perform poorly. The only route to success is to continually improve your sales process with the right knowledge, tools and strategies.