Contrary to what many think, creating a sales process is extremely important to revenue generation.
It keeps your sales team on track and ensures your reps use tactics that have been proven to convert leads to customers.
Plus, it results in higher sales and profitability.
In fact, research by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a defined sales process have 8% higher sales growth than those that don’t.
“Businesses with a defined sales process have 8% higher sales growth.“Harvard Business Review
With this in mind, it becomes clear that companies without a sales process need one.
Throughout this blog, we cover each stage of a 5 step sales process that has helped many successful companies increase sales and grow their operations.
Before we dive into things, however, let’s review: what are the five steps of the sales process?
- Final Pitch
Now that we’ve covered this, let’s take a closer look at each stage of the 5 step sales process.
The first part of the 5 step sales process is prospecting.
This is the part of the sales cycle where you find people to sell to.
Since sales teams can reach out to anyone with even the smallest digital footprint, the choice of who to prospect is almost endless.
But more choice isn’t always better, so here’s how to narrow things down and strategically prospect:
Identify your best customers
When choosing sales prospects, you want to look for people who resemble your best customers.
These are the people who:
- Buy from you the most
- Leave you amazing Google reviews
- Refer their friends to you
- Champion your brand
While you might have a good idea of who these customers are, you’ll want to back up your assumptions with data. To do this you’ll want to turn to your CRM solution as it will help you see who in your customer base:
- Converted the fastest and at the lowest cost
- Is a frequent customer
- Spends the most with your business
Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll know who your best customers are and can now look for key points that tie them together.
Find similarities between your best customers
Now that you’ve established who your best customers are, you’ll want to look for similarities that unify them.
Doing this will help you narrow down the prospecting pool and maximize your ability to convert leads into customers.
You’ll want to look for characteristics your best customers share, such as their:
- Job title
- Education level
Once you’ve found some patterns in your best customer list, you can now use these insights to inform your sales strategy.
During prospecting, you’ll want to reach out to people who have the characteristics of your best customers. This way, you can focus on the prospects who are most likely to buy from you and generate the most revenue for your business.
Now that you’ve found people who are likely to buy your product or service, you’ll want to make sure they can actually purchase it.
To qualify your prospects, here are 3 questions to get you started:
- Does this person have a need for what I’m selling?
- Do they have the money to buy my product?
- Do they want to make this purchase in the immediate future?
Once you’ve identified prospects with a budget and need for your product, it becomes much easier to prioritize which leads you should put the most energy into.
The next element of the 5 step sales process is to nurture the prospects in your sales pipeline.
To do this successfully, you need to be strategic and purposeful in how you follow up with potential customers.
The first step in doing this is to keep an accurate record of all the touchpoints you have with a lead.
And while pen and paper can capture these details, they’re not your best bet.
Using a solution with activity tracking such as Method:CRM will ensure that all prospect communication is documented and associated with the right contact.
This kind of visibility into nurture efforts allows you to see exactly when and how you last got in touch with a lead.
Using this information, sales teams can create nurture strategies based on a lead’s communication habits and preferences. And in turn, they can maximize the effectiveness of their nurture efforts.
4. Final Pitch
As we approach the end of the 5 step sales process, let’s look at how to make a great sales pitch.
The trick here is to prepare for and personalize your sales pitch as much as possible.
To do this, you need to review all the notes you have on a potential customer and put yourself in their shoes.
You want to think about how your product will bring value to this person specifically and then echo these benefits in your sales pitch.
You also need to prepare to handle objections from your buyer as well as go head-to-head with your competitors.
This means thinking of every reason your buyer may not go through with the purchase and creating a strong argument as to why this isn’t a viable option.
The last part of the 5 step sales process: closing.
Now that you’ve brought a lead through the sales funnel, it’s time for them to take the plunge and purchase.
And while this may sound simple, it often isn’t.
Despite your best efforts to qualify, nurture, and share the value of your product, many buyers can still be on the fence at this stage of the sales cycle.
Here are some tips to help you overcome buyer hesitation and close the sale:
- Use social proof like customer testimonials and case studies to confirm their decision to purchase
- Highlight how the benefits of your product outweigh its cost
- Make buying as frictionless as possible with online, self-service options like customer portals
5 Step Sales Process Recap
A critical part of any company’s success, here’s the 5 step sales process you need to follow to grow your business.
- Prospecting – Look for and find prospects who are similar to your best customers.
- Qualification – Use qualifying questions to prioritize your leads.
- Nurture – Track all nurture activities to get the most out of your efforts.
- Final pitch – Personalize your pitch to your potential buyer and prepare to overcome any objections.
- Closing – Give potential customers the information needed to make a decision they’re happy with.
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Image credit: Christina via Unsplash