Today’s sales process is different than in times past. Your sales prospects are better educated and in more control. They do not feel the reliance on a salesperson to educate them. When they engage a salesperson, they are giving attention that they are greedily protecting.
Everyone is inundated with irrelevant and intrusive marketing messages. When we decide what we are looking for, then we search for it and when we feel ready, we engage.
Your sales process should begin with qualified leads. Qualification can happen from self-selection and marketing automation systems that help to identify and profile your leads. This digital information should be fully accessible to salespeople on your team to be able to orient themselves to who is ready.
Assuming your inbound marketing and marketing automation systems are set up to help your sales team, here are some process steps to consider for converting leads into buyers:
- Set a first stage in your CRM. This should be a stage that sales deems as qualified. Qualification should be concretely defined by your organization based on authority, budget, fit and timing. Sales should engage based on qualification. In the early stages, the feedback loop to marketing should create refinement of the qualification criteria and how this step is accomplished.
- Set a meeting with value. The goal of sales should be to get a meeting. Meetings are a first step to the relationship. It should be valuable. A consultative approach mapping out a process is one example. A webinar that gives valuable ways to solve your customers’ problems is another.
- Offer the value proposition. Your value proposition may be standard or custom. If it is standard, then point to the product order page. If it is customized, then get a proposal produced quickly. Your meeting should have captured what was required. If your sales process requires more than one meeting then use these to build an ongoing proposal as details are captured in your CRM fields.
- Continue providing value. Selling your prospect can be repelling. Now that you have understanding of their specific problems, go to work providing resources to help them solve the problems. Stories of how others have solved their problem or tools which are useful are valuable. Be the resource for providing value, not just selling something.
- Prepare the service order. There is a handoff after a sale is made. Be sure that your sales process creates a world-class experience to kick off your service or deliver your product. Create process steps for handing off to your operations or project team. This is about the new customer. Poor salespeople can focus only on themselves and not create a fluid customer experience after the sale is made.
These are generalized sales process steps that serve more as a framework. Your sales team is a vital part of your integrated marketing process. They develop the relationship to further build trust. Be sure that the steps are well-defined and executed to create a cohesive customer experience.
What are your thoughts?