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How to Revolutionise Your Sales Process PART 1

focus on what matters

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So, what should truly matter in your sales process? And how can you use this knowledge to revolutionise yours? Well, this blog will be explaining exactly that, using a number of real-life examples and suggestions to help revolutionise your sales process.

Why Change?

“Whosoever desires constant success must change their conduct with the times.”— Niccolo Machiavelli

Most salespeople have focused on a tried and tested sales process which has worked in the past. It looks something similar to the one below and it’s worked before, so why change? Simply put – it is no longer effective. Why? Because Buyers are what truly matter in the sales process and the way they buy has changed. For good. This forces a change in selling process which needs to marry up with the new, evolved buying process.

old sales process

So how has the buying process changed? Well, the internet has stamped its mark all over every communication and marketing tool there is. Companies can no longer pull the wool over buyer’s eyes (so to speak).

What I’m getting at is that when for example ‘Car buyers’ had fewer sources of information, they didn’t have the opportunity to search hundreds of car dealerships online to find the cheapest, highest quality vehicle. They looked at the few deals in the local paper or went to the 4 car dealerships in town and whichever savvy salesmen steered them through the sales process most effectively won their business.

Nowadays, through digital marketing and the internet, buyers can typically enter the buying process at least halfway through before even reaching out to your company to talk to a sales representative.

Therefore, a truly ‘buyer focused’ sales process needs to come into play, acknowledging exactly where the buyer is in the process, and matching relevant action to guide the buyer to the next stage.

Buyer Focused Selling

Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and CEO of Selling Power, Inc., a multi-channel media company that produces Selling Power magazine categorises the buying process into the following 8 clear steps; 1) Not in Market, 2) Stimulated, 3)Problem Definition, 4) Options, 5) Evaluation, 6) Finalise Recommendations, 7) Final Approval, 8) Implementation. From these 8 steps, a buyer-focused sales process is formed. Below is our adapted KPS Infographic to demonstrate this.

buyer process

Not quite the next Picasso I know but I hope it gets the point across. To understand how these processes work, you firstly need to understand the three major components it incorporates below;

  1. Buying Personas: These are a representation of your buyers.  They identify the role, objectives, obstacles, fears and desires of your decision makers.  Since most sales have multiple personas as decision makers/influencers, each is asking different questions.  Understanding these different personas will help you act appropriately to that persona.
  1. Buying Process Map: Simply put, it’s a map of how the customer buys.  This is defined with Buying Phases, Actions and Questions.  Questions the buyer is asking themselves when they are in that phase.
  1. Sequenced Sales Process: The sales process then shows actions and activities needed in the Buying Process Map.  These are the actions and activities the sales person must perform.  By mapping the buying process to the sales process, it gives clear direction.  These activities help pull the buyer through their individual buying process at the appropriate speed. 

Consider the following example which highlights each stage of the buyer process in bold. Then consider each Sales Process explanation which follows next week in PART 2 to understand how and when they should be used effectively.

Your car works fine on Monday (Not in Market). Your car won’t start on Tuesday. You are now Stimulated to fix this problem. The AA man comes and tells you your battery has had it, you now know the Problem Definition. You now have to weigh up your Options to solve the problem.

Do you get a new battery or go all out and splash out on that new BMW M4 you’ve been eyeing up for the last 6 months. You Evaluate the options and decide your partner might kill you if you bought the M4, so you choose to buy a new battery (Final Recommendation).

You then choose a garage to buy the battery from and fit it (Final Approval) and then the AA man takes you there to get it fitted (Implementation).

At each buyer process stage marked in bold, there are 6 relevant sales processes which need to take place in order to complete a successful sales cycle. Watch out for a detailed explanation of this in next week’s blog – How to Revolutionise Your Sales Process PART 2

Find out how your Sales Team can make more Profitable Sales and start your Benchmarking Journey now with SalesBenchmark

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