There are several stages of the sales process and each of them play a very important role. Within each stage there are critical measures needed to help you achieve success within the sales cycle. Take a close look at each building block and identify where you may need to focus attention to improve your process. Work as a team to overcome your challenges. Depending on the length of your sales cycle some stages may need more love and attention than others but they are all of equal priority.
Before you can begin building the blocks to a successful sales process, you must first ensure the foundation is sound. In order to do this, you’ll need to put in the backend work to make sure you have identified a target, established a message and create a plan of attack. According to a sales study, at least 50% of the prospects sales reps are reaching out to are not a good fit for what they sell. (HubSpot, 2019) This means no matter how hard you try, you are ultimately wasting valuable time on unqualified leads. To ensure you are setting yourself up for success, keep your pipeline up-to-date and your approach clear. Here are the six stages to build a successful sales process.
Stage 1: Outreach and Nurturing
To start out the sales process, you should begin by focusing on those qualified leads. As previously mentioned, if you initially put in the time to narrow down your target and message, then you’ll have greater success during outreach in stage 1. The main objective is to build a report with your prospects that eventually leads to setting an appointment. This is a good time to leverage people’s interest through thought leadership content. Use a cadence of different outreach methods such as calling, emailing or video to attract different audiences. Through these marketing efforts, make sure you are maintaining a balance of not over sending your content while also staying top of mind.
Stage 2: Discovery
During the discovery phase, you’ll work to qualify the prospect and identify true opportunity. This is the time to learn as much as you can about their company. Ask questions to figure out who they are, what they do and what their needs are. Every company has problems they are trying to solve that are unique to them, so find out what those are and how you’d be able to solve those issues. At this time you’ll be able to develop a deeper understanding of their process and team to see how your product or service is going to fit their needs. The more you are able to uncover about your prospect, the better you’ll be able to speak to them in the following stages. Also don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions to ensure you both are a good fit for each other. A working relationship goes both ways and you need to make sure that a deal would be mutually beneficial.
Stage 3: Initial sales presentation
Once you’ve established a good report with your prospect, you are now able to properly deliver a personalized sales presentation. After the discovery phase, you should know what your value is to the company and points of importance. In the delivery of your presentation, make it a point to draw out the ideas most important to your prospect. Highlight the ideals they really value. Don’t just go directly off of a set pitch, but instead make sure to shine light on their critical points. Also find ways to keep your pitch interactive and engaging. No one wants to sit and listen to someone ramble for 45 minutes. Ask questions to keep the prospect feeling involved and heard. For best results, practice your presentation ahead of time and record it so you can go back to see how you can improve.
Stage 4: Proposal/closing with recommendations to move forward
As you move on to proposal/closing, keep the deal moving with calls to action at the front end of the conversation so it’s not a surprise later on. At this point, you should be communicating with someone who has decision making power as this is the time you’ll start talking logistics. The conversation will lead into terms and agreements and you’ll start discussing pricing.
Stage 5: Contract Negotiation
In stage 5, your goal is to achieve the sale through contract negotiation. Before heading into negotiations have pre-identified tactics in place that allow you to be flexible with the terms. This way, if there is any push back from the prospect, you are able to offer discounts or incentives. Even with these tools in the back of your pocket, you can’t be afraid of people saying no. The main objective is to always keep a good relationship with whoever you are working with: deal, or no deal.
Stage 6: Follow Through
Finally, no matter if the sale ends with a deal, you must always stay in touch with your prospect. Keep a relationship going by following up. During this sales process you should have demonstrated your level of worth and displayed your educational value in a way that will leave a lasting impression.
It’s important to come up with a strategy that keeps you in contact with past prospects and clients. This will keep you top of mind if an opportunity to work together arises in the future since you already have a relationship established. You could also become a referral, which may bring you more leads if they find your services/products valuable for their connections. People move companies and often remember strong contacts along the way.That’s why it’s also imperative to make sure you don’t end on a bad note. Keep the line of communication open by reaching out on a consistent basis.