A sales process is the steps a salesperson takes to guide a prospective buyer from initial contact through to purchase. There are typically five distinct stages in a modern sales process: prospecting, pre-qualification, presentation/demo, handling objections, and closing the sale.
You also must follow up with the clients after sales. As you will discover, each stage requires a different skill set and strategy. To be successful, you must learn how to manage each stage effectively. Here’s how to prepare.
Have The Tools Needed for Each Stage
Each stage requires a unique set of tools. Have an effective CRM system for prospecting and a solid understanding of your target market. Online lead management requires different tools for data collection, internal collaboration, tracking, automation, and organization.
You must capture the leads’ critical details such as name, company, contact information, and budget. Doing so makes it easier to qualify and follow up with the lead properly.
Pre-qualification is the process of determining whether a lead is ready to buy. During this stage, ask qualifying questions to determine whether the lead is a good fit for your product or service.
You also need to establish whether they have the budget and authority to make a purchasing decision. Tools such as questionnaires, Needs Analyses, and ROI Calculators screen leads, establishing whether they are ready to buy.
Consult experts in your field for recommendations on the best tools for each stage. You’ll avoid mistakes such as investing in the wrong tools or those that do not integrate well with your sales process.
Know What Your Clients Need at Each Stage
To be successful, you must understand what your clients need at each stage in the sales process. At the prospecting stage, generate awareness and educate prospects on the potential solutions. You’ll achieve this through content marketing, such as blog posts, infographics, and eBooks.
At the pre-qualification stage, prospects want you to let them know whether your product can resolve their issues. This is done through needs analysis and discovery calls.
At the presentation/demo stage, they need you to elaborate more on your products and how to use them. Offer this through product demos, case studies, and proposal presentations. The ultimate goal is to close the sale and get them to sign on the dotted line at the closing stage. Use closing techniques, such as the assumptive close and the trial close.
Finally, provide post-sales support, such as product training and onboarding, for clients to successfully experience your products. Understanding what your clients need at each stage provides the right solution at the right time. It leads to repeat business, more referrals, and a successful sales career.
Learn The Skills Needed for Each Stage
Each stage requires a different skill set. Prospecting requires research skills to find the right audience and contacts. It also requires networking skills to build relationships with prospects.
You must hang out where prospects are to get your business or products known. Pre-qualification requires active listening skills to understand the prospect’s requirements and needs. It also requires questioning skills to probe beneath the surface.
For a successful presentation/demo stage, have solid public speaking skills to engage an audience and deliver a clear message. It also requires strong product knowledge to demo properly.
The closing stage requires negotiation skills to close deals and overcome objections. After-sales support needs account management skills to ensure clients are happy and using your products successfully. Developing these skills takes time, practice, and mentorship. Assign tasks to different team members to get the best results.
The sales process can be long, and you might not see results immediately. Don’t give up too soon. It takes time to build trust and relationships with prospects. It also takes time to close deals, especially big ones.
Keep analyzing your results, making adjustments, and pushing forward. Listen more to your clients and learn from your mistakes. The sales process is a journey, not a destination.