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How to Revolutionise your Sales Process PART 2

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In PART 1 we looked at the ‘Buyer Process’ so now let’s consider the customer focused ‘Sales Process’. For reference, below is the infographic we created which presents the new, evolved buyer and sales processes.

Also, if you need convincing as to why you should be using a formal sales process like this, check out The Harvard Business Review’s great ‘Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue‘ blog.

buyer process

1. Nurture

Also known as Lead Nurturing, this is the process of building relationships with potential prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready. Therefore, buyers should have a continuous flow of relevant content throughout the buying process. If carried out effectively, when stimulated, customers should automatically think of your business first.

As mentioned previously, nowadays, buyers typically do their own research and don’t reach out to a sales representative until at least half way through the sales process. Therefore, marketing and sales must collaborate throughout every stage in the revenue cycle to provide potential customers with high quality information and content that is timely, relevant and responsive to their situation.

Using our broken down car example discussed at the end of PART 1;

A local garage could nurture their potential customers through developing their local online presence in 3 inter-linked ways;

  1. Social Media Marketing: Develop and promote their company’s social media presence (e.g. Awareness Campaign on social media which offers customers who follow and share their pages and provide an email address a small discount on their next bill when using the garage) and provide regular, high reader-value content (e.g. offers, quick tips, car related content).

For some more great tips check out ‘20 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros‘.

  1. Content Marketing: Write useful, interesting and relevant blogs which can be shared on social media and used to subconsciously promote your business (e.g. An Educational Blog Campaign consisting of 4 blogs posted over a 1 month period teaching readers the ‘Top Tips’ to not get knocked off by cowboy garages – Not only educates readers but helps generate trust for your business).

Check out ‘10 Ways To Create Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing

  1. Email Marketing: If anything, 2015 should be the year of the email. A recent study proved email as 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter (Source: McKinsey & Company).Thus, the more potential customers email addresses (with email marketing permission) gained, the larger the marketing audience. Every time the garage interact with potential customers online or face to face, provide any kind of information or offers, they should get an email address in return. In addition, they should document as much information about their potential customers as possible (demographics, sociographics etc). What this then generates is a highly valuable and detailed customer data list which can be utilised to send highly personalised and segmented, drip fed email marketing content to.

Check out ‘20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails’ for more great tips.

This 3-part lead nurturing combo is deadly. If maintained and carried out effectively, this garage will be the first thing on the mind of anyone in a 5 mile radius that has issues with their car.

2. Consider

This sales process leaps to action in the ‘problem definition’ and ‘not in market’ buying processes. Wasting time trying to sell customers a product or service which isn’t relevant or suitable for them is a waste of both parties time. Time and resources are gold dust. To ensure both are being used effectively, salespeople need to quickly analyse if they can solve the potential customer’s problem. If they can then they need to guide them through the next part of the sales process, if they can’t, or they can’t find another department which can, they should move on.

3. Evaluate

You should always stay one step ahead of the game. When a customer is in the ‘options’ stage, they’re trying to understand what choices they have in terms of solving their problem. After they have come up with their options, they will evaluate them to find the best fit. Therefore, at the options stage of the buying process, an effective sales person should be evaluating options to pre-empt the best fit for the buyer.

Their job is to expand the customer’s understanding of the available options. Instead of pushing the customer into a predetermined solution, they are offering the customer a clear route to arrive at the best solution to the specific situation. This way, the customer can objectively compare products, features and sources of supply which will ultimately lead to the purchase.

Depending on the individual, the options they consider will be highly influenced by their buying persona (role, objectives, obstacles, fears and desires). A world-class salesman would evaluate the buying persona(s) present and create a well thought out list of options, ready to fulfil their needs in the next stage.

Using our example;

When a decision has to be made about which garage to go to, and which battery to buy, there’s not much of a sales opportunity as you just want a battery fitted, that works, as quickly as possible. However, let’s say you did push the boat out and decide to buy the sporty BMW M4 with all the trimmings. This creates a sales opportunity. And let’s say you have a partner who pokes  their nose in the buying process. This now creates an additional persona which needs to be guided through the sales process.

Your partner wants a nice comfortable car which has enough room to fit the children in. You want exactly the opposite. When you and your partner walk through the BMW Dealerships doors, a world-class sales person is instantly analysing each persona and thinking how to come up with best-fit options that fulfil the needs of both personas.

Through asking lots of well thought out questions, an effective sales person can fine-tune these options and help guide the buyers through to the next stage of the buying process.

4. Solve

So, you’ve come up with a well thought out set of options fulfilling the needs of each buying persona, what next? Well, the buyer has moved into their ‘evaluation’ stage, meaning they are weighing up the options available. This is where you can really focus on the benefits (not features) of your solution and how it fits in with all the buying personas needs.

This is where you use the customer’s previously drafted list of preferences and present the product features in the same order. Preparation is key, as a salesperson, you need to prepare for any objections the buyer might have and be ready to respond effectively.

You must be ready to establish whether the objection is valid, or purely a misconception so that you can provide relevant information, explanation and justification in a logical, credible and motivational fashion, drawing on the most appropriate points of your offer analysis.

5. Confirm

You’ve done all the hard work and you’re on the final hurdle. This stage is similar to ‘The Close’, however, if you have carried out the sales process effectively you will merely be confirming which product or service the buyer would like from the well thought out solutions you have offered them.

This is where you summarise the benefits and confirm the customers understanding. However, don’t be lulled into complacency; you must ultimately confirm the order as no sales conversation should ever end without an agreement on some sort of next step. There are varying methods to confirm a sale, here are a few examples;

    • The Ask for it Confirmation. ‘Mr. Smith, I would like to do business with you today.’
    • The Pressure Handshake Confirmation. ‘£XXX, do we have a deal? (hold hand out for handshake)’
    • The Process of Elimination Confirmation. ‘So you like X, Y, Z is that a deal?’

6. Purchase

Your final step is to prevent buyer’s remorse. After the order has been signed, you should follow up by reassuring the buyer of the next steps they will go through in line with the product or service they have purchased. In essence, the entire sales plan is designed to make every sales call objection proof.

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

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