What is a sales process?
A sales process has a repeatable set of steps used to convince a customer to buy. It starts with the early awareness stage and ends with a closed sale. These steps are beneficial for sales reps as they allow them to follow a proper process to achieve business goals.
The 7-step sales process
There are seven primary steps in the sale process. Each phase consists of several selling activities:
- Prospecting: Finding your ideal customers
- Preparation: Research your competitors, main products, etc.
- Approach: Get the customers attentions and communicate with them
- Presentation: Present product in a unique way to pitch it
- Handling objections: Handle customer complaints and answer their questions
- Closing: Send proposal and finalize the deal with customer
- Follow-up: Stay in contact with the customers for potential repeat business and referrals.
Prospecting is the very first step of the sales process and requires the most effort. It allows a business to find potential customers. Businesses can also evaluate the need for the service or product in this stage. Prospecting also estimates whether the identified customer can afford the product or service you are offering.
Through social media, you can find potential customers and industry events. One thing that should be kept in mind during this process is that finding customers is a separate task while engaging them is another.
Businesses also need to evaluate whether the ideal customer profile fits the company profile.
In this step, a company prepares itself to initiate communication with a potential customer. The research comes first in this stage. A sales team should know about their products, its unique features, its value in the market.
A business should make buyer personas before approaching them. A sales rep also needs to be prepared to communicate with potential buyers and how to influence them.
Here, a very famous phrase, “first impression is the last impression” is the best fit. This is the step where a sales rep can get the customer’s attention. If salespeople have done their homework before approaching customers, there is a 90% of success.
There are three common ways to attract customers:
- Go with the premium approach and present a gift to your potential clients
- Start with the question approach. Ask questions to capture their interest,
- Kick off with product approach. Offer a free trial or sample of your service or product.
Approaching is all about finding a way to speak with customers using the correct points.
In this phase, a sales rep presents how the product or service meets the various needs of the customer.
A business can act as a trusted advisor in the presentation phase by putting the customers first.
Though product knowledge and presentation play an essential role, many sales teams make a common mistake. They focus too much on what they are selling rather and not enough on the buyer.
5. Handling objections
This is one of the most neglected steps of the sales process. One of the most important skills a salesperson should have is a willingness to address objections and negative feedback.
This stage is all about clearing the concerns of the prospect by answering their questions.
Objections are common in sales. Many salespeople abandon the sales process after the first rejection. This is not the best practice. Successful salespeople distinguish themselves from poor salespeople by successfully resolving objections and reducing concerns.
In the closing step, you receive the client’s permission to proceed. This is where all of your efforts are going to bear fruit. It commonly involves sending quotations for your products or services.
7. Follow Up
The work isn’t over. The follow-up stage allows you to stay in touch with clients for repeat business and referrals. The company needs to keep customers in the loop by keeping them informed of new services and asking for input about how you can best support them.
Maintaining connections is critical since keeping existing clients is six to seven times less expensive than attracting new ones. You can upsell and attract repeat sales by maintaining excellent client relationships.
Why does a company need a sales process?
The sale process allows you to make more money. It attracts new customers to your product catalog. The sales process serves as a roadmap and reference for salespeople, ensuring they don’t skip a key move while dealing with a customer.
It makes everyone visualize how likely you are to close a deal quickly and efficiently. Sales managers can see when and why a deal has failed. And if a specific sales rep is experiencing troubles at a certain point, they can implement a coaching session to train them.
Ways to create an effective sales process
For the company’s success, it is essential to create an effective sales process. It is considered the most critical duty of a sales manager to influence his team to perfect the sales process.
The creation of the sale process isn’t as complex as it seems. To achieve the highest sales rates, the sales process must be optimized for your target audience or ideal buyer.
- Sales team interviews: Interview the sales staff to understand their language, tactics, and approaches. You can use them to develop a comprehensive strategy that can be repeated and systemized for others.
- Identify your customer’s demand: Companies typically design sales processes based on how they want to sell rather than how their buyers wish to purchase. A good sales process should be adaptable to various marketing situations and consumer requirements.
One final thought on sale process
Significant milestones are covered by a sales process. Each step has tasks that a salesperson must complete to move the customer from one stage to the next.
A sales process must be updated and changed daily to ensure that it represents the existing state of the industry, your consumers’ evolving demands, your team’s expertise, and the company’s unique characteristics. A well-defined sales process will assist a business in doing the right things and determining what works and what doesn’t.