Beginners Guide to Building a Sales Process That Works
Published on January 14, 2021 by Sushant Shekhar
Gone are the days when sales was just about “how can we help you?” or “this is our product” with an affiliative smile.
With the upsurge in technology, the whole process of sales has changed and has incredibly impacted both salespeople and buyers. It has made the world competitive for salespeople but has empowered the buyers and given them freedom.
No matter from which industry you belong, you have to follow basic strategies to close a deal. Jotting down a process can ensure that you are following a consistent method to transform leads into sales.
For instance, when you first meet a person, you don’t ask them to marry you (Unless you are Ross from FRIENDS).
First, you get to know the person and then understand them. Go out for some more time and then you come in a relationship when you know it’s a match.
The sales process is the same!
That said, do you know about the sales cycle and how it can help your business?
Well, if you don’t know or know very little about it, we have done the raincheck for you. We have mentioned everything from scratch to help you design a sales cycle for yourself.
What is a Sales Process?
A sales process is a laydown of steps that are followed by a salesperson to take a prospective buyer from the initial stage to the last stage to close the deal.
In a nutshell, these are the magical steps that will convert a potential prospect into a client. It is like a roadmap you lay for your sales team to close the deals.
Why should you follow the sales process?
Well, your degree in sales can take you nowhere if you don’t know the basics of the sales cycle. Of course, implementing new ideas and innovations can enhance the whole process, but implementing all the basics will make all the difference.
According to a study conducted by Harvard business review in 2015, B2B companies that followed a formal sales cycle experienced a hype of 18% in their revenue. There are various benefits of following a sales cycle, and we have mentioned some of them below:
a) It lays down a clear path: Without having a clear vision right from prospecting to making a sale, can lead to failure. With the absence of proper sales, structure prospects can turn down the most profitable deals.
b) It gives predictability: A repeatable sales cycle gives your team a roadmap to win deals. Having an accurate sense of winning rate allows you to forecast how many sales you can close from a given number of leads at a particular time.
c) It helps in filtering the qualified leads: With a well-structured sales cycle, your sales team will effectively filter out the low-potential leads. They will identify the prospects who are willing to purchase the service/product. Investing time on high quality leads decreases the time and efforts wasted; it also shortens the sales cycle.
The 7 steps of the sales process
1)Prospecting: Finding your leads
Prospecting is the very first step of the sales cycle; therefore, don’t rush into it. Take your time and research the industry.
Prospecting involves researching sites or asking for a referral to those who might be interested in your product or services.
Don’t you have any idea of how you can research your sales industry?
Don’t worry; we have broken it down into three steps.
i) Create an ICP: ICP is the acronym for Ideal Customer Profile. ICP is used to define the environmental, firmographic, and behavioral attributes of accounts that are anticipated to be the company’s most valuable customers. You can start by creating ICP as it can give you a focus point and know more about your ideal customer.
ii) Identify convertible leads: Once you are done with your ICP, you can jot down a database of potential leads that are more likely to convert.
iii) Initial Filtering: Even though you have got a perfect ICP, you will still need to set a bar to qualify the leads. The key factors you can consider are:
Rest, if you want, you can add more qualifiers.
2) Approach: Establish Contact
Now that you are done with all the filtering process, it’s time to reach out. You need to establish a good relationship with the customer.
You can reach out to the prospects by:
i) Going for the best method: You have to find out what is the best way to communicate with your prospect. You need to know whether they are available on social media, or you can directly reach them via emails or calls. There will be times when you will only have their address; in such cases, you have to connect with them via the old-school postcard method.
ii) Effective communication: Will you invest in something that is offered to you by a total stranger? Well, no one does! Therefore don’t try to make a sale on the first conversation.
Use the first conversation to introduce yourself and what you can offer them or how your services can benefit them. They say you only get one chance to create a compelling first good impression! Please don’t waste it because it is your only chance.
3) Research and Qualify
This is the step where you need to learn more about your prospect. You have to understand their challenges and goals. Also, make sure that during this process, you are reaching out to the decision-maker.
This step allows you to establish how your services can help them.
For instance, you are a bespoke software provider. Let’s say your prospect is facing issues in generating online sales.
First, you have to know the neck-deep pain points and why it is happening.
Then you have to offer personalised feedback and tell them how you can help them. This step can improve the likelihood of closing the deal.
4) Build Trust
Now it’s time to prove to your prospect that only your services can help them. Make your point and educate your customers about the benefits, industry, and everyday challenges. While you are building the trust, you are trying to show your prospect that you are reliable.
During this process, you can find out prospects who will be interested in your services and others who are not ready.
5) Give them a solution
Till here, you were only focusing on the prospects. Now, as you are acquainted with them and learned about their needs. It’s time to make the best offer. You have to keep your offer
i) Relevant: So that they don’t feel it is something out of the blue.
ii) Targeted: You should only tailor them as per requirements.
iii) Personalized: They should know you are addressing their problems, not somebody else’s.
You can customise your offers based on the challenges, budget and long-term association.
6) Handle the objections
It is doubtful to come across prospects who don’t have objections to your proposal. You have given an offer now the ball is in your prospect’s court. The most common complaints are the pricing, contract terms, deliverables, and the list can go on.
It is best to take them on a call and then patiently justify and empathise with their concerns.
For instance, your prospect is having issues with the pricing. Break down the pricing for them and exactly let them know why you are charging the particular amount and the services you will be offering.
7) Close the deal
Once you have crossed all the hurdles, pat yourself on the back! You have done a fantastic job because it is tough to reach the final stage. The last step can further be divided into two phases:
i) Seal the deal: In this case, the prospect will buy your product/services. But it doesn’t end here. You have to ask them when you can start.
Also, please don’t give a discount in the last step because as per studies it decreases the chances of closing the deal.
ii) Follow Up: Now, you can try your level best, but sometimes things don’t happen the way you planned out. In this case, the best thing is to nurture the relationship with regular follow-ups. The main idea is to keep you in the loop.
The Bottom Line
With consumer behaviour and marketing algorithms changing with the lightning speed, it is essential to adopt a sales process that helps you convert the leads.
With the right strategies and knowledge of the sales cycle, you can take your sales skyrocketing.