You’re looking over your sales numbers and thinking “what happened?” This isn’t where you’d expected to be at this point or maybe not even where you were last year. Whether you’re starting out new or have been operating successfully for years, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate what you’re doing.
Sales isn’t rocket science, but it does take expertise to be effective. Look at the five elements below as ingredients for a successful sales process, and you’ll see what may need tweaking in your organization.
1. Follow a sales methodology. Define a sales process.
You might think your sales methodology IS your sales process, but it’s not. A methodology gives you a focus of how to sell – customer solution selling, or consultative selling for example. A sales process is the guide you follow to complete the sale, using the methodology as your theme. Whether you take on an established commercial methodology or develop your own, use this as the focus as you define your process. While many methodologies might be followed by multiple companies, your process is unique to your sales team.
Speaking of your sales team, make sure they’ve got the right focus.
2. Develop a sales team focused on customer service and building relationships.
“If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with you” Zig Ziglar
The days of the charismatic salesman are fading. While being charismatic is important, it’s more important to establish a relationship of trust with your customers and prospects. Today’s buyers have all information at their disposal and will use it for every purchase they make. Your sales team needs to provide expertise and excellent customer service that will make them indispensable to the customer.
3. Understand where you fit in the market and who your customers are.
The steps within a sales process are different depending on the type of product or service being sold. Selling a complex financial consulting service is much different than selling televisions. Your process should address the level of complexity of your product in its approach and should target the right market and customers in its delivery.
4. Look over your own results and learn from experience.
As you build out your sales process, take advantage of what you’ve learned thus far. Look at your last six or seven sales and detail out the steps that got you there. If they were handled by different sales people following different steps, look for the similarities. Get your team talking about what they know works, and what they know doesn’t.
Once you’ve got a template, be prepared to adjust and make changes along the way. Continue to learn from experience, incorporating the tactics that work and getting rid of the ones that don’t.
5. Make Your CRM Work for You.
Once you reach a certain size in today’s digital world, a CRM is a must-have not a nice-to-have. A CRM can track leads and revenue and gives you a mechanism for documenting your sales process. Invest time and resources in learning the features of your CRM and how you can use it for your needs. Then use the CRM to communicate the process to your sales team, and to track your progress.
Today’s marketplace requires efficiency and speed when dealing with customers. Your CRM is the tool that gets you there.
Having a defined sales process is the first step in reaching your sales’ goals. Make sure the process is autonomous and not dependent on one particular person. And be prepared to make changes as you go – benefit from your own experience.