The classic sales process is relatively simple: you contact prospects with your offer, chat or meet with them. They buy…or they don’t. But you and I both know that while it may be simple, it’s not easy.
It’s even harder today, because your customers don’t want to be “sold to,” they want information – and lots of it – as they consider if a product or service is even something they want/need and then they want a ton of information on it so that they can consider it even more. Then, once convinced that a) they do need/want it and b) they want to buy it from you, they purchase it.
So you need a sales process… a “map” of how you go from a prospect not knowing about you – to buying from you.
The process shows you how you’ll get prospects into your sales funnel and then guide them through it until they become customers.
Once you map out your steps, you create a system that you and your sales team will use consistently. (Often the best way to do this is to place your sales process in a customer relationship management tool and create pipeline stages.)
What’s more, a sales process can be even more effective if you first identify your ideal customer and create a sales plan for reaching out and connecting with people who match that profile.
The best way to do this is to create buyer personas by taking a look at your highest spending and most profitable long-term customers and finding what characteristics they tend to share and then building an “outline” of these characteristics.
Steps to a great sales process:
As mentioned above, it’s best if you first identify who your best customers are so that you can find more prospects like them.
Engage with new leads
As you decide who your best prospects are, you’ll create email, social media, blog posts and other content that speak to the needs of your personas.
You’ll place keywords in blog posts to attract prospects. You possibly place ads on social media that target their concerns and how your product/service answers them. You write reports with applicable keywords that people can download for free in exchange for their email address so that you can continue to send them links to reports/blog posts that continue to answer their questions and concerns.
Qualify new leads
Once you’ve defined what makes a qualified lead, you can use marketing automation and/or lead-scoring software to help you focus on those leads that have interacted with you that actually may buy from you.
This type of software can help you collect information such as a prospect’s job title, budget, whether they’re currently working on a project that your product/service can help them with, their location, number of employees, timeframe, etc.
How much does a prospect need your service now (or when will the prospect need it)? Who is the decision maker? If it’s not your prospect, how close to the decision maker is the prospect? How can you make contact with the decision maker? These are all important questions to ask while you’re moving through the sales process.
Be consistent in your sales pitch
Delivering a consistent message about your services/products regarding their features, benefits, pricing, etc. is critical. You don’t need to be boring as you pitch: you can still be entertaining, informative, etc. Your voice/tone and vision should be consistent with every contact you make with a prospect.
Information, pitch, presentation, etc. should be pretty much the same from sales pro to sales pro. Don’t allow guessing and leave little room for error.
Address prospect concerns
Active listening is key. Whether it’s actually in a sales meeting, via email, phone, text, via a question posted on social media, etc.
It’s best to have consistent messaging for your sales reps they can use to answer objections and questions.
You may even want to answer these objections even before a sales rep makes a pitch. Answer them in emails, in blog posts, in white papers.
So how can sales and marketing collaborate?
An effective sales process has a feedback mechanism built in. This allows the marketing department to let sales reps know of the specific challenges (prospects’ objectives, concerns). Marketing keeps track of stats such as email opens, click-throughs, social media engagement, lead page effectiveness, etc.
Sales teams also need to let the marketing team know how receptive prospects actually were to pitches and meetings. Your teams should know how easy it was to convert prospects.
Creating an effective sales and marketing process
Any good sales process relies on a great marketing process, as it helps qualify prospects. ingenex.co can help you market and sell via inbound marketing. This is perhaps the best way to attract, qualify and close prospects. Learn more.