How to build a sales process

Many sales reps can underestimate the importance of following a process when it comes to selling. It’s important to remember that following a sales process won’t result in a close every time, but gives you a structure to follow which will result in building better, more valuable relationships with your prospects. These 8 steps fall under 4 stages: research, prospecting, selling, and nurturing of relationships.

1) Get to know your product

Bettering your product knowledge will help you in a number of ways. It improves the communication process, meaning you don’t have to go back and forth between the product team and your prospect. It will also build trust, if the client is confident you are knowledgeable about what you are offering they are more likely to put their trust in you over another business. Finally, better product knowledge gives you more ability to handle objections that may come up. Streamlined communication is vital in all stages of the sales process.

2) Establish your target audience and research them

Knowing your target demographic inside and out is one of the first steps of building a business, so if you don’t know exactly who you are aiming your product or service at – it’s time you begin researching them to start prospecting effectively. You need to know the demographics, psychographics and communication preferences in order to tailor your sales and marketing approach accordingly. You can use your CRM to collect information such as buying habits, average sales value, purchase frequency and more. From here you can then collate this information to make your ideal target consumer.

3) Begin prospecting and lead generation

There are multiple methods of prospecting, for example referrals to using platforms such as LinkedIn. In recent years in the rise of digitalisation, social prospecting has become more popular. It should be noted that social prospecting and social selling are two different things – using LinkedIn to build relationships is great, but it’s not appropriate to be sending sales messages through these platforms As well as traditional outbound prospecting, inbound campaigns to pull in prospects through social media ads, paid search ads and display ads are also effective.

4) Qualify your prospects

Unfortunately, not every prospect will be a good fit for your business. Some may be interested, even though they are not in the right location or have adequate budget for example. It’s important to have a qualification call before any meetings are scheduled – to avoid not only yours but the prospect’s time being wasted. On this call you should aim to collect answers to the following:

Do they have a need?

What is their budget?

What is their timeline?

Do they have authority to make the decision?

5) Find out your customer’s needs

After you have established the prospects that are suitable, you need to get more granular and find out what they need from you and how you can meet their needs to make this a successful relationship. 95% of buyers make a buying decision based solely on emotion, so it is important to find out their ‘pain points’, how this affects them and what solutions have already been tried. If a prospect doesn’t voice a problem you can fix with your offerings, it’s unlikely this is a fruitful business relationship.

6) Lead a sales call

Now you finally have a chance to pitch and present your offering. Any previous communication with your prospect should be revised beforehand, to customise your approach and get any answers to questions you need in order to make your proposal stronger. It is also important to prepare any objections you may come across beforehand so you are not thrown off guard. It is important to listen to any objections however, and respond appropriately. Take time to understand their objections, and think about how you can counteract them.

7) Follow up and close

Follow up with the prospect immediately after the call via email. Note down the minutes of the call and everything that was discussed, along with any next actions. Ensure to include any information or attachments they requested. Keep an eye on communication from them and make sure to go back to them as soon as possible. It’s also important to remind them to make their purchase decision by, to speed up the process.

8) Nurture your relationship and upsell

Even though you have secured a customer, there is still an opportunity to upsell and create even more value. Aftercare and following up is so important to show the customer that you really do care about their happiness and how your product is helping them. It’s important to follow up accordingly, and more than once too.