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Sales Process: Repeat Success And Avoid Failure
Good sales people are naturals. They just get on with the job, their customers love them and they keep bringing home the bacon.
But what is it that they are doing right? Do you know? Can you pass on those lessons to other members in the team? If you can get the whole sales team to consistently follow best practices, your sales revenue will increase dramatically.
Why bother with a sales process?
By having a good sales process, A process is defined as: "A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result" you will be able to ensure that all of your team can repeat best practices to ensure success. You will also have a record of what went wrong with those sales or leads you failed to win. By analyzing how you lost, you will learn how to avoid mistakes in the future.
What is a sales process?
A process is defined as: "A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result". That result should be a successful sale, done in the shortest possible time, with minimum discount. Upon becoming a customer, that company or person, should become a reference, create a testimonial and refer business to you. Understanding the set of actions that led to that sale, documenting them and ensuring your team follows them, is creating a sales process.
How do you get a sales process right for your business?
Assuming you understand how to track all steps leading up to a sale for a given product and customer group is the first step. You then need to do this for all of your products and customer target markets. Now examine the commonalities within those processes and clearly document them.
Sometimes it is good to base your process on a proven template. However it is important to remember that you know your products best. The key elements you need to incorporate are as follows.
Who is your target market?
What problems does your product solve of needs and desires does it fulfill?
How do customers generally put a value on these capabilities?
Who is the final decision maker within your potential customers?
Who are the influencers of a buying decision within your customers?
How do customers evaluate your products?
Does your customer have a budget in place?
Who is your competition, how do you deal with them?
Now ensure that the steps in your process cover all of these elements and others particular to your product and industry. This way, you can ensure that you are continually getting the right message to the right people.
What are the benefits of automating a sales process?
How often have you contacted a company to get information, only to wonder why you had heard nothing a week later? If you did get an information pack from them, did they follow it up with a phone call? When your sales people meet with a prospect, do they always set up the next appointment before leaving? Do they always summarize the points discussed in a meeting with a follow-up email or letter? By implementing technology that prompts your people to always to the right things, little is left to chance. What is more, the business owners are able to forecast sales, which keep production and your bank manager happy.
How do you get sales people to use the process?
The one common trait that all successful sales people seem to share is that they seem to hate and are particularly bad about paperwork, but who cares anyway? You care and so do your customers. If you have pre-sales support staff, how do the sales people get to use them? If they can only book them based on sales that have reached an appropriate stage in the cycle, they have to keep up to date. If sales people find it easier to prepare a proposal and mange their time, based on a system that you give them, they will use it.
However the most important factor of all, in getting sales people buy-in to any new process or system, is to ask them to help you design it. If they feel they have created a process that makes their life easier, and enables them to earn more money - they will use it. And you all win.
How to implement a sales process!
Either follow the steps outlined above or call in someone who can help you. What you do not want to do is to go straight to a vendor who offers an automated system. You need to ensure that if you do go down the technology route, you choose the correct solution. Remember, you know your business best, so work with someone who understands that and who will help you implements something that works for you.
This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing. For previous articles like this, visit 3R's Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.