A recipe for building an effective sales process
INTRODUCTION For many CEOs, selling is like a black-box. You hire several sales people, train them on your product, spend money on marketing to bring in-bound leads and then let the sales people get to work. Some sales professionals find it easy to hit their targets, while others struggle, despite seeming to put in twice as much effort. In the sections that follow, we inform you on how to build a sales process that you can be confident will generate additional revenue and what common mistakes to avoid.
BEST PRACTICES IN SALES
- Establish a Sales Process
A sales process is a series of points of contact with a client to move them from initial contact through a transaction. The idea is incredibly simple and incredibly important. Yet, you would be amazed at how many companies fail to have a sales process. The common mistake is to “let sales happen naturally”, which translates to “let the client decide when it is urgent for them to buy my product”. Without a sales process, it becomes impossible to effectively manage a sales pipeline, which means no clear path to revenue. The benefits of outlining a sales process include:
- Knowing what stage a deal is in (aware, engaged, negotiating, closing)
- Collecting data to accurately assess the likelihood of closing a deal
- Collecting data on your clients to make managing accounts easier
- Receiving feedback to know how to modify your messaging/approach
A sales process can be very basic, as in the following example:
- Initial contact (email or phone call) –find out where the client heard from you, why they are interested (motivation), who they are in the organization, how soon do they need to find a solution, agree to a product demo (if the need fits)
- Product demonstration – 1 hr product demonstration to go over the capabilities and function of the product.
- Business-case summary – 1.5/2 hrs of discussion with the key decision makers discussing their top priorities, concerns about your product, your product’s use-case and how it can solve a problem relevant to their priorities
- Product trial – Small capital investment to try a sample of your products or use your product for a prescribed period of time or purchasing a “lite” version of your product
- Quote issue and transaction