Having an effective sales system is vital to the growth of your business. How your sales team engage prospective clients, close the deal and deliver your product or service will heavily influence your brand and therefore should reflect your business’s Core Values, Purpose and Vision.
Use this Guide to evaluate how effective your current sales process is and make improvements or subtle changes to boost your sales results.
1. What is your value proposition?
A value proposition is a statement which summarises why customers should buy your product or use your services instead of your competitors’. Do you have one? How well do you know and explain it? The consumer landscape is constantly changing and customer needs and desires are no different. Consider if your value proposition still explains what sets you apart from your competitors.
It should be on your website, and engrained in your sales team. It should also be in language that reflects your target market. Below is a basic formula to consider:
I help target market do topic so that benefit. If you have list three main problems then you should call us.
2. Who is your target market?
Your target market not only influences your marketing plan, but it’s also important for your sales team to understand the mindset of their target clients or customers. This knowledge will help when qualifying leads, establishing the problems we wish to solve, or the objections our clients must overcome – which will impact how we sell / position our products and services.
3. What is your core business?
This is the primary area or activity that your business was founded on, or the focus of business operations. This is where your sales team should spend most of their time selling. Whilst you should remain open to developing new products or services as opportunities arise, it’s important to carefully consider how this will work with existing products or services. Your core business goes hand in hand with your value proposition, your sales process and of course your target market so it’s important to keep it in mind when selling.
4. What is your sales process, and is it followed consistently?
Winging it isn’t an option. Having a structured process will allow better use of time, ensure consistent customer care and minimise disruption when you recruit new team members. It’s important to invest time and energy into supporting your sales team to do their job well – not just on streamlining the process but on new learnings and development.
A small time investment each week will keep your team invigorated and pay off down the line. It will also help to identify anyone who’s not following the process – and why.
5. What sales results are you tracking to test the effectiveness of your sales process?
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Ideally, you should have a dashboard that allows you to track the effectiveness of your sales and the team behind them. It’s important to understand which products sell best, which seasonal conditions have an effect on sales and how you compare with your competitors’ pricing.
Examples of results you may want to track:
Consider which measures are important to the growth of your business, start tracking results, set clear targets and plan how you can improve.
Businesses that follow a formal sales process generate more revenue. It’s essential to review the practices of your sales team and identify actions they should take and things they should avoid in future. When developing the correct sales process for your business consider the following likely order. Including your sales team at the development phase will ensure they’re on board with the new process.
1. Product knowledge.
It’s pretty hard to sell something if we don’t know what it does or how it works. Your sales team must know the product inside out. However, it’s more important that a salesperson recognises and understands what problem the product is solving and how it will benefit the customer. Never assume a customer can or will link a feature to a benefit. It’s the salesperson’s job to join the dots.
This is the ongoing search for new customers or clients. We need someone to sell to but we must look in the right places for the right fit. You could start by profiling existing clients or customers. Your sales team will work with your marketing team at this stage.
Preparing for the initial contact with a potential customer requires you to build on your product knowledge, assess your competitors’ offerings (in case you are asked) and develop your initial sales presentation.
4. The initial contact / approach.
This isn’t an email marketing campaign; this is a personal telephone call or scheduled catch up. This is where you continue to profile the ‘qualified lead’ and start building a relationship. How you engage the prospect will heavily influence the outcome. Make sure to take notes.
5. Qualification – the needs assessment.
Highly effective sales teams sell to the needs of their prospects. Asking the right questions will help you determine how you can help. Along the way, you’ll demonstrate your listening and problem solving abilities, build confidence and trust, and help the prospect to consider things in a new light.
Consider some ‘go-to’ questions that will prompt you to subtly convey product information including how you differentiate from your competitors. Again, take notes.
6. The presentation / proposal.
With accurate qualification, you can tailor a presentation or pitch to meet the needs of the prospect. It’s the same with a proposal, which you can use to meet the specific needs of the prospect, demonstrating that you understand their situation and are offering a genuine solution.
7. Handling objections.
Objections provide valuable insight into a customer’s concerns, enabling a salesperson to pre-empt concerns and mitigate accordingly. Using reverse testimonials and case studies will add merit to your message.
It’s time to make the sale formal. This is beyond conceptual agreement or the handshake phase. This is where they sign on the dotted line and part with their cash. Prior to this, you need to identify the closing signals without being too presumptuous. Don’t be afraid to assume the sale, but give the customer options.
Do not be satisfied with ‘we’ll get back to you’, consider your response to such comments prior to closing.
9. Follow up / getting referrals.
Follow up conversations are best handled by the salesperson who started the relationship. The end game is to build a long term relationship with your customer to promote ongoing sales and recurring revenue – it’s a much smaller time investment making sales from existing customers than those you have no rapport with. Your client retention strategy is extremely important for this reason.
Keeping clients happy will also increase your chance of positive referrals. That’s important when statistics claim a prospect is four times more likely to buy something when they’ve been referred by a friend.
Contact the customer down the line to get feedback and ensure they’re happy. This is not an opportunity to cross-sell (unless the client asks directly), it’s about building a solid relationship for future sales.
We will be delving further into effective selling in the coming weeks. We have written a blog about the importance of forecasting, which can be found here.