There is no universally accepted sales process, as every organization or individual in sales will have their own say when it comes to defining it step by step. However, all established sales organizations do have their own versions which they believe help them increase the likelihood of their sales. But the need for setting up a detailed process is essential, as that not only helps one function better, but the blueprint can serve as an outline for the new sales reps who join organizations. Every organization should look at how their best sales people function and what steps they follow. Such investigations are necessary as they can be communicated to the rest of the teams and followed suite.
Here is a step by step guide to a sales process that has worked out for most people:
Step 1 – Finding the right prospects
A lot of time and energy is required for this step as it also lays the foundation of beginning any process for starting sales. Investing this time carefully and efficiently is therefore extremely critical. Most experts recommend looking for prospects who have been identified after a lot of research and who have the need and desire to make an investment in the solution at offer. Such filtering is crucial because it can help focus on efforts that rep much higher benefits and can prevent wastage of time, energy and resources in something that has the probability of not working at all.
Step 2 – Getting in touch
Once prospects have been carefully selected, the next step would be to make first contact with them, the goal of which would be to get a meeting. This kind of reaching out should include a broef description of who the sales rep is and what organization he belongs to. A combination of email and LinkedIn messages works really well when it comes to establishing first contact with prospects. A good way could be to reflect upon a shared incident or probably an article that the prospect might have written, to basically talk about something the prospect can relate to, rather than directly pitching the product and requesting for a meet.
Step 3 – Research
Before actually going for a face to face meeting, a definite pre requisite is to research about the prospect and their company in order to be able to provide tailored solutions and experiences, thereby increasing the likelihood of closing a deal. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find out about the prospect you are meeting and study about them. Other social company profiles through Glassdoor and articles about their latest launches, the products they use and their company culture etc. can be really helpful in framing a customized presentation which offers them what they exactly need, rather than what you want to give them.
Step 4 – Presentation
After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.
~ Dan and Chip Heath
This is a typical but very crucial part of a sales process. Running a formal presentation or demonstration of what is being sold is a stage that consumes time and this is only for very well qualified prospects. At this stage, as per the precious conversations before starting to make the presentation, it needs to be customized as per the unique needs of the prospect. Only those parts should be presented that will be deemed of interest. Draggy and boring presentations which go on and on about features and benefits of products never work. What is on offer and on a slide should be exciting and unique to gather anyone’s interest. Prospects do not want to waste their time on irrelevant meetings and they know there are many solution providers out there as alternatives. Sales techniques used need to be set right. Asking the right questions and aiming to provide solutions over products and services is key here. Product knowledge is another crucial aspect as it ensures a smooth demonstration and ability to handle objections and difficult questions. Any kind of confusion regarding the product or less awareness is a deal breaker for sure.
Step 5 – Closing
If the demonstration or presentation is a success, what comes next are a series of activities that beings the deal to a close. Such activities vary from company to company and may include activities like delivering a proposal or a quote, further negotiation on key issues etc. 80% of sales are lost because a sales person fails to close. This is the step where more obstacles are discovered and tackled with.
Step 6 – Following up
80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales people give up after 1 follow-up.
~ The Marketing Donut
Majority of sales deals don’t close because sales reps don’t follow up! A good follow up invariably increases the chances of doubling a closing ratio. Once a contact has been made and a rapport has been established, following up is a way to show that you still care and are around if any help is needed. For existing clients, following up can also mean more referrals and more clients! As a process, follow up should never end.
Did we miss out on something? Do let us know in the comments section about your views of an ideal sales process that you follow.