are you struggling to drive more sales for your business and wondering how you can set up an effective sales process? Of course, different businesses have different approaches for sales process having unique funnels but the sole aim of all is to drive more sales. And that is why many marketing experts have built the popular “7 Step Sales Process Strategy” to help organizations manage their sales teams effectively.
Setting up a standard sales process and dividing it into clearly defined steps will help you to maintain consistency and professionalism. Using this standardized process along with sales automation techniques will not only result in a greater number of sales, but will improve your brand image as a whole.
The Benefits Standardized Sales Process
Let’s look at some of the imperative benefits of implementing a standardized sales process:
#1. Enhance your efficiency
Following a well-defined sales process will streamline your workflow and allow you to focus on things that matter the most.
#2.Detect the cracks
It will help you to identify the areas in which you are lacking and what are rooms for improvement.
If you are working with a sales team, you must have come across the problem of accountability. By sticking to a sales process, no one would be able to play the “blame game”.
#4. Brand image
People like to work with an organized sales rep who follows professionalism. Thus, sales process will help you to enhance the customer experience.
#5. Insights into Performance of Sales Team
It’s next to impossible to accurately analyze the performance of sales team without a proper structure but by setting up the sales process you can have thorough insights into the performance of every sales rep.
The 7-Step Sales Process
Now let’s cut to the chase, and straightforwardly answer this set of questions – what is the 7-step sales process? And how it can be used to generate more qualified leads and convert them into customers?
The 7-step sales process is basically a sales cycle divided into 7 steps. From researching the qualified leads to closing the deals, it includes all the stages of sales cycle with roles and responsibilities of sales representative defined in each stage.
To know how it can be useful in converting the leads, let’s understand the importance of each step in detail:
Step #1. Prospecting
In this step, you’ll be hunting for the opportunities that can be the best fit for your business. Keep a close eye on your audience and identify on which platforms you can catch them. Try to be sharp here and do not just add everyone to your prospect list. It will consume your own time and drains your productivity.
If you’re able to identify their problem and provide them a value with your solution, you’ll actually close the deal without even breaking a sweat. Being there for them at the right place and at the right time is all you have to do.
And nobody is going to serve you this on a silver platter, you need to perform deep research by yourself and understand the behavior of your potential customers.
Make an organized lead generation list with necessary fields of information. There are tons of ways to do this. You can use Google or Microsoft excel sheets or maybe just opt for any good sales CRM that will cater to all your needs. The goal here is to be as organized and sharp as possible because that is going to save a lot of your time while keeping you focused.
Step #2. Approach
Your first impression will be vital as it is going to shape the image of your brand in the customer’s eye.
“45.6% of B2B buyers want to hear new ideas at the beginning of a sales conversation.” – CSO Insights
This stands true as most of the clients will make a strong assumption in first conversation that whether you will be a good fit or not. So, craft your pitch in such a way that will convince them to think about your solution. You can follow many good pitch formats, but there isn’t any draft that works perfectly for everyone and thus, with few modifications, you can figure out the one which works best for you via A/B testing.
Tip: No matter which platform you use, try to keep your pitch short and to the point. And if you think your pitch cannot be covered in few lines of words, use the inverse pyramid method. Through this way, you’ll convey the foremost important information in the beginning and then gradually moving down to explanation on how you can accomplish it.
Step #3. Presentation
“What you say is important but how you say is more important”. Your client obviously knows what is their problem and you have approached them to solve the same. But the real deal cracker presentation will be about ‘how’ you are going to solve it.
Before preparing the presentation, do your homework by digging deep into ‘how’ you can fulfill the needs of client.
“77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.” InstaPage
This clearly demonstrates that personalizing your presentation can breed you apart from the competition. Therefore, instead of using those same old-school techniques, learn about the client’s or organization’s background and tailor your sales script accordingly.
In this step, the ball is in your net to build a strong lasting relationship with the client. The value of relationship is priceless in any business, it opens up the door for present as well as for future.
Brace yourself for the sales presentation and nail it with the sales skills you have got.
Step #4. Negotiations and Objections Handling
This is something every sales rep hates but has to go through it. Your product or service might not be the best in the market or might seem costly to the client. Don’t’ pounce the clients and always agree on the objections that are legit. Apart from convincing them on why your product or service is the right choice for them, try to be a good listener. It works wonders and takes next to nothing efforts to be a decent listener.
Clients can literally ask you anything which you might not have prepared. This is indeed a stage that will put your sales skills on a reality check. And that’s where good salespersons can be filtered out from the rest of the crowd.
The conversation can be on any platform, email or a phone call, you have to make sure that you answer with a soft tone even if the client is making some wrong points but always keep your heads up and don’t ever lose confidence. After all, salespeople are the ones who carry that extra ton of confidence.
Universal tip of negotiation: Make sure the client has the complete idea about your proposal and does not have any confusion before you actually start negotiating. If both of you are on the same page, the chances of future conflicts regarding the pricing are gradually reduced.
Also, if you have got any testimonials and references, it is the best time to showcase them in your convincing process.
Don’t be a guy of numbers here, instead opt for the storytelling methods. Here is an intriguing fact that backs up my point – “People retain more than 60% of information conveyed through a story compared to 5-10% in case of information shared via statistics.
So, play your emotional cards here and use relatable stories to make them feel connected. That will turn your professional meeting into friendship and convert the arguments into healthy discussions.
Step #5. Follow-up
A mind-blowing stat is that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls whereas 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call.
So, to avoid conversation from fading away, you need to master the art of follow-up in order to make the most out of the prospect. Rather than just copy-pasting the same follow-up templates, try to personalize it by mentioning the things you discussed previously.
The timespan between each follow is another important factor because you’ll burn the bridges if you take follow-ups too frequently. It’s best to ask clients themselves about a tentative time they will take to respond so you can schedule the follow-up accordingly.
Step #6. Closing
In this stage, your prospect is going to convert into a customer. Keep the terms of agreement crystal clear while closing. There are three popular steps to close the sale faster:
Alternative choice close – You just assume the sale to be done and offer the client different options to choose in which all the options close the sale.
Standing room only close – In this method, salespeople create urgency of time or availability of the product.
Extra inducement close – It’s the most commonly used method where sales rep offers an additional discount.
Now finally, it’s time to shoot them a thank you email or message appreciating their decision of choosing your company.
Step #7. Deliver Value
This is not only for salespeople but for the organization as a whole. Remember, there is not any single marketing strategy in the world that could convert the clients better than those referrals given by your satisfied customers.
Therefore, make your work speak volumes for your brand, and deliver what you have committed.
We have explained all the 7 stages of sales process and by following this, you can excel in your sales paradigms. Analyze which stage is consuming how much time, and the whole time taken to close the sale. This will assist you in estimating the cash flow of your business.
About the Author!
Raaquib Pathan is a content marketing specialist with having expertise in providing insights into the latest sales and marketing processes. He works closely with Salesmate CRM team to help businesses prevail in growing their brand presence and produce a spike in their sales curve.