Implementing a well-defined sales process is crucial to long-term sales growth and the efficiency of a sales team. Without a formal procedure in place, salespeople can easily lose track of where they are in the sales cycle, fail to keep sight of prospects, and ultimately lose deals. While sales processes will vary from one company to the next, they usually include a few basic elements that follow the same pattern.
1. Product Knowledge
It’s important that salespeople are well versed on every product, but they should explain to customers the benefits of each product, not just the features. Each salesperson needs to be ready to explain these benefits when it comes to the sales presentation. Use a CRM tool that can include your product catalog, so that all team members can access this database for quick and easy quotations.
Searching for new customers is about knowing where to focus your attention. To distinguish between leads and qualified prospects, you need to build a profile of all your contacts. When everyone on the sales team can add important details about customers and prospects to a centralized database, it’s easier to get an overall picture of all your sales leads. A single system that can handle every enquiry and email also means nothing will get lost and you’ll never miss a potential lead.
3. Approaching Prospects
During the initial stages, it’s important to qualify prospects so you can tell if they’re able and potentially willing to buy your products. If you already have custom-built forms embedded on your website, you should include any questions that will help when approaching prospects at a later stage. This makes follow-up calls and emails easier, as you already know something about the prospect. In the same way, keeping detailed notes about prospects in the early stages of the sales process is key. With historical notes, you can track where prospects are in the sales cycle and determine the most effective times to make an approach.
Too many sales people focus on explaining product features instead of focusing on the benefits to the client. Referring to call notes will help you tailor every presentation to your unique audience and make the most of this crucial stage of the sales process. Every salesperson should realize that they’re not just selling a product, but they’re also selling themselves and the company.
5. Addressing Objections and the Close
Many sales are lost because a salesperson fails to close a deal. At each stage of the sales process, it helps to imagine that you’re “selling” different things. In the early stages, the goal may be to get an appointment with a prospect. Later on, you may need to hold a meeting with several key people. Here, you are “selling” a meeting. Seeing the sales process in this way can make the whole process more manageable. Before closing a deal, most salespeople will have heard objections like “I need to think about it.” Make sure you have a set of answers prepared for every possible objection.
Following up after sales have been completed and asking for referrals is key to a strong sales process, yet many salespeople neglect this crucial step. Keeping detailed notes in a centralized database is an important part of keeping relationships with customers alive. A CRM system with automatic call reminders means salespeople will never forget to follow up. Reminders can also be set up to prompt sales agents to call clients a set number of days after sending a quote.
It’s important that all team members are aware of each stage of the sales process. While there are no strict rules, there are some best practices that most businesses should follow. With a single system in place, salespeople can focus more on selling and less on administration. A simple-to-use CRM tool like Neat Quotes means every member of a team can keep track of important sales information, stay on top of all sales deadlines, and engage with customers more efficiently.