by Charlotte Ewer
Creating an effective and solid sales process is vital for any transactional business. It maps out exact goals from beginning to end and allows full analysis of the tools used to make sales. This process also helps to keep consistency while pointing out areas for new opportunities and potential growth.
A sales process is a plan that a company creates in order to generate, manage and close sales. It helps sales teams to see how they can make a sale from start to finish and allows them to be aware of each step required to achieve a sale. This process also ensures that clients are handled effectively and efficiently with salespeople selling to their full potential.
Clear and defined strategies for making sales are the absolute foundation for your sales process. There is a large variation of strategies that can be used to help drive sales so it is valuable to research which strategies will work best for your business. It is important to look at what tools and technology you can use to aid your sales team in delivering the process effectively. For example, being active on social media channels creates an easy way for potential new customers to access information about your business, ask questions and enquire about new business. Social media channels also make progress and analysis simple without needing to create tools internally.
Something very important to consider is how you will prepare your sales process. Who is your target audience and how are you going to draw them to your website to make a purchase? For example, your sales approach should be different depending on the demographic you are aiming to sell to.
If your demographic is adult men aged 50-80, then your process will
differ to a site who’s target audience is children aged 5-13. This may seem
like a simple observation; however it is important to consider how this will
change your approach to selling products/services.
This step is your first point of call with a potential customer so it’s all about making that perfect first impression and using your sales skills to grab their attention. The most popular form of directly prospecting new customers is phone calls but investing time and money into new opportunities like trade shows could bring high value to your business.
Some may think of it like an audition; you have a minimal amount of time to show your potential customer that you are the right fit for them and will always have their best interests at heart. You may want to write a script or a brief plan to ensure that you address all the key benefits of your business and play to your strengths.
Collating data helps to create reports used to analyse the success of each stage and identify potential gaps that may need further improvement to achieve more sales. In addition, keeping records of prospects and contacts can help keep the process accessible and clear for the whole sales team to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Below are some examples of sales-related data that can aid sales process analysis:
Organisation of your sales process is vital so that sales representatives are knowledgeable of the process and can carry it out with confidence and efficiency. Consistency in the way sales are made means that every step is addressed and all information needed is acquired. Ensuring that all potential clients are treated with the same care and attention also helps to assess where there may be some gaps or areas for development in your sales process because you can universally analyse which strategies are working for your customers.
Although you need existing data to create a sales forecast,
it is a very effective way of measuring how sales can progress and which times
in the year or any timescale that you are achieving the most sales. Assessing
customer demand over a time period allows you to identify gaps where sales may
be dropping so you can add tools and strategies to your sales process to keep
purchases consistent and driving forward. Using historical data and looking at
trends throughout the year means you can calculate how you believe sales will
progress and this gives you time to create ways of driving future sales. For
example, around the Easter period, perhaps your sales dropped last year because
other businesses in your market provided new customers with an Easter offer but
you did not, so this is something you can consider offering during that time
the next year and see how much this will aid your sales in advance.
No matter what you are selling, your first sale does not mean your only sale and effective aftercare can increase the likelihood of you making other sales with new customers. This is an opportunity for you to offer other products or services that may be of interest to your customers. You may also offer a loyalty scheme, reduced prices for the next purchase or further information on the product/service you have just provided. Showing customers that you care even after they have made their purchase allows for potential to build customer relationships and rapport which is valuable to many, especially now we are in a progressively automated world where a lot of customer service is computer generated and processed.