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No matter the size of your business, big or small, your main objective is to increase your product or service sales. After all, without the ability to close deals and make sales, we wouldn’t really be in business, would we?
One of the biggest questions we get is, “what can I do to increase my win rate?” Because let’s face it, it can be difficult to figure out best practices for closing those deals, and if you don’t make those sales, or continue to increase your win rate, your business will become stagnant, and ultimately fail.
We don’t want to see that happen, which is why we’ve put together so many blogs in order to help you succeed and flourish. This one is no different. In this article, we’re going to talk you through seven steps to increase your win rate. And the best way to do that is through a sales process.
What Is A Sales Process?
A sales process is a series of steps that guide a salesperson through the process of converting a prospect into a customer. It serves as a comprehensive handbook for your team that adds accountability and structure to their sales activities. It’s an organized framework that helps your reps to generate more sales with relative ease and in less time. It ultimately helps to ensure shorter sales cycles and higher win rates. When you use a sales process, everything – from prospecting for clients all the way through to the closing stage – is streamlined.
The various stages of the sales process provide you and your team with clarity of direction and a roadmap to follow in order to convert your leads to paying customers. It’s the most effective technique you can use to maintain your team’s sales momentum. A proper sales process makes it easier to discover bottlenecks and address them in real-time.
Why Is Having A Sales Process Important?
A defined sales process guarantees that your team’s efforts are directed toward the operations that earn the most money. Without a process, negotiations are basically just won or lost, and it’s difficult to determine which precise measures are either working for you or failing you.
Five ways in which having a sales process can be important to your business’s success are:
Efficiency In Sales
A sales process helps to make your team more efficient by giving everyone the same steps to work with, and automating certain aspects of the process that can prove to be time consuming and often repetitive. It also allows you to create multiple pipelines, which helps in the managing of your sales process. When everyone is using the same sales process, it eliminates or reduces the chances of error or lack of knowledge of your team members.
Faster SDR Onboarding Process
By demonstrating what your team needs to do in different selling circumstances, a defined sales process can make training new sales reps quick, straightforward, and practically failsafe. When a rookie SDR understands the steps to your sales process, they have the ability to easily catch up to the rest of your team and be successful. According to Nutshell, “This also takes some of the training burden off of the sales manager. When the entire sales team is following the same roadmap, any member of the old guard can pass on their knowledge and guidance to new hires when they’re first getting started.”
Repeatable Sales Model
Having a sales process that is repeatable across your entire team allows for a much higher win rate among your sales team. It also helps to predict your future sales and revenue and gives you a dependable forecast for what’s to come in the future. When you don’t use a standardized sales process, that future is murky at best, but when everyone’s using the same steps, it makes predictability that much easier.
Higher Team Morale
What’s the best way to get your team feeling good about themselves and their work, motivated to continue closing deals, and give them an overall boost in morale? A high win rate, of course. The more deals your team closes, the more they want to close. When they use a standardized sales process that has already seen results, they will be happier in their jobs. No one wants to lose. So create a uniform sales process that will allow them to close deals, and it will boost their morale in no time.
Easier To Improve Upon Inefficiencies
When everyone on your team uses the same process to funnel customers down the pipeline and close sales, you’re able to see which steps prove to be successful, and which may present regular challenges. When you’re able to clearly see the steps which provide value versus the ones that fail to add value, you’re able to make changes on those steps to improve your process.
The only 7-step sales process you’ll ever need + 1 bonus
The journey of building a long-term relationship with your clients is called sales process management. The “7-step sales process” is a popular term for this process, which is broken down into several basic parts. To convert a prospect into a paying customer, each step requires your SDRs to pay great attention to it. Though each organization has its own sales strategy, the fundamentals are the same.
This is our 7-step sales process to help you increase your win rates.
1. Research Your ICP – Many organizations build an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) that outlines their ideal prospect’s demographics, communication preferences, and psychographics (wants, needs, and behaviors). It’s essential to think about how the service or product you’re offering addresses the pain points of your potential clients.
To build your ICP, you must first ask yourself some basic questions about who they are and what they need. These questions can include:
- What buyer information do I have already that can assist me in defining the ideal prospect?
- What are the specific needs that my product or service addresses, and who are the people or companies who have these needs?
- What attributes do my competitors look for in their prospects?
- What are the demographics of my ICP, and how do they interact with businesses like mine?
- What problems does my product or service address for my ICP?
2. Prospecting – Prospecting is when you begin your search for potential customers who fit your ICP and are therefore good prospects to sell your product or service to. The best way to start your prospecting process is to ask industry connections or even your fellow sales reps for referrals.
“If you need additional help, use Google keywords related to your product or business and look for relevant sites where potential prospects are engaging via comments or forums. This allows you to collect more information about their needs and pain points. When you identify a prospect you’d like to pursue, find them on LinkedIn or ZoomInfo and collect all available contact details,” says Salesforce.
3. Approach Your ICP – Once you’ve done some prospecting, it’s time to approach your ideal customers through cold calling or emailing them. You can find templates for both cold calling and cold emailing, as well as additional resources, on our blog. Approaching your ICP is the small step between prospecting for leads and qualifying them. It may seem insignificant, but it’s the best time to make a good first impression with your potential clients.
4. Qualify Your Leads – This step is where you ensure that the product or service you offer is going to be a good fit for the leads you’ve identified. This is what many call a “qualification call.” In this call, you’re going to practice active listening – there’s that term again – and ask yourself a series of questions to determine if they’re a right fit for your company. The questions you should focus on include:
- What is the prospect’s need, and how does it match up with your product?
- Are they in the purchasing stage of their buying journey, or will they be soon? What is their timeline for purchasing?
- What is their budget or the maximum amount they can spend on your service or product?
- Are you speaking to the person with buying authority? If not, how can you reach out to the right person?
5. Meet/Present/Pitch your solution – Another incredibly important step of your sales process is the presentation of your product or service. The way this meeting goes can determine whether you will close the deal or not. It is imperative that you tailor each pitch to the prospect with whom you are meeting. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the solution here because not every company has the same pain points or will use your product or service for the same things.
All the research you’ve done in the previous four steps has to come into play here. It’s also important that during your pitch, you focus on the solutions your product brings, and the benefits your prospect will get from it, rather than focusing on the product’s features. Prospects want to know how your product will help them relieve their pain points, not what it is your product does.
6. Handle Objections/Negotiations – It’s an inevitability. At some point (likely many points) in your sales career, you will be met with objections and/or negotiations from prospects. There’s no getting around it. So what you need to do is be prepared for these objections. Again, practice your active listening skills here. Instead of jumping in and once again rattling off all the amazing things your product does, it’s time to sit back and listen to your prospect’s concerns.
According to Salesmate, the most successful sales professionals pause after an objection for five times longer than reps who prove to be less successful. Salesmate also includes five ways to best handle objections:
- Step in the customers’ shoes and understand the situation from their point of view.
- Don’t interrupt the prospect.
- Clarify when you have a doubt to ensure you don’t address the wrong objection.
- Ask a few exploratory questions as there are chances that the prospect might be hiding the real concern.
- Don’t get disappointed with objections.
- Make a list of most commonly faced objections and find out the best possible way to tackle them.
7. Closing The Sale – This is the make-or-break point in your sales process. You will either close the deal or you’ll lose it. To succeed in sealing the deal, you must find the appropriate approach to close them. It would be disappointing to lose after being so close to the finish line, so it’s particularly important to take extra care when handling this step of your sales process.
To do this, you should be meeting your prospect’s expectations and demonstrating the advantages of becoming your client. When speaking with your prospects, choose your words very carefully. Avoid using words like “discount,” or “contract.” You should also avoid saying your company’s name more than four times in a single call. Your prospect knows you’re a salesperson, but they don’t want you to sound like one. If it sounds like you’re reading from a script, you’ll likely lose the deal.
8. Bonus Step: The Post-Sale Follow-up/Nurturing/Education – You’ve closed the deal! Congratulations! But now what? It’s not the time to sit on your laurels and relax. Nurturing your clients is just as important as closing the deal because nurturing allows for a better relationship with your customers, as well as the potential for upselling your products.
Cynthia Barnes, Founder of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals reminds us that the human side of sales is more important than anything. “People buy from those they know, like, and trust.” This is why continuing to nurture those relationships can go a long way. Barnes has created a “Formula of 3s” to help ensure that you’re nurturing your clients the right way, in the right time frame.
Three Days After the Sale: Call or email your client to ensure that they are satisfied with your product.
Three Weeks After the Sale: Check in with your client to see if they have any questions they need answered or product issues they may need help with.
Three Months After the Sale: Check in with the client again to make sure that they are satisfied with your product or service, then ask for a referral
In each of these calls or emails, there is the opportunity to upsell, but don’t be so overt about it, says Barnes, “Leave breadcrumbs. Offer a simple ‘by the way’ that suggests other products and services that might meet their needs.”
If the client is happy and satisfied with your product and with their relationship with you, they’re far more likely to come to you for new solutions.
How To Improve Your Sales Process
So now that we’ve laid out a simple 7-step (plus one bonus) sales process, how can you go about improving the sales process that you’ve already got in place?
Let’s take a quick dive into four ways in which you can improve your sales process and increase your win rate.
Define The Desired Objective For Each Step
Go through each step of your sales process and write out what you want that step to achieve. What are your objectives for each step? Are you meeting them? If you’re not, how can you improve on them in order to ensure your objectives are met? Once these objectives are clearly defined, you will be better able to tweak the steps as necessary.
- Keep a list of actions at hand to advance a prospect from one phase to the next.
- If there are any hiccups in the deal’s development, you’ll know which part of the sales process requires the most attention.
- You’ll save time and know exactly what has to be done to get the deal to the next stage as quickly as possible.
Measure the Outcome/Details/Results of Each of Your Current Steps
One of the best things about having a defined sales process at hand is your ability to track your results and outcomes from each of the steps in the process. Analyze your previous deals and learn what leads to successful conversions in those instances. Examine how the process went from one step to the next.
Things to take note of or do when measuring your outcomes and analyzing your results are:
- Create a list of satisfied consumers and learn about their characteristics.
- Discover the precise reason for the customer’s decision to invest in your product.
- Pay attention to the timing of these closings and see when your customers often buy a product.
- What aspects of the product most appeal to your customers?
- What is the average time it takes to close a deal?
Devise a Plan to Close the Gap Between the Desired and Actual Outcomes For Each Step of the Process
Now that you’ve got your objectives for each step set, and have analyzed the data from past successful transactions, you’re ready to close the gap between your desired and action outcomes. What worked last time, but isn’t working now? Has your team switched up any part of your sales process? Put a written plan in motion that will allow you to figure out how you can go from where you are to where you want to be. Define your key performance indicators and use them to analyze and evaluate your success. And then change what needs to be changed in order to succeed.
Apply Incremental Changes to Each Step Until the Desired Objective is Reached
Don’t rush! These changes don’t need to be made overnight. In fact, taking giant leaps is likely a surefire way to inhibit your success. When you make a list of small, incremental changes for each step, it makes it easier for your reps to follow and apply these changes. Huge leaps will serve no purpose other than to confuse your sales reps and hinder their performance. Don’t forget, there are a lot of letters between A and Z. You can’t skip over the entire alphabet just to get it done faster.
Sales Process Tips For Ultimate Success
We’re almost there! Your success is so close you can almost taste it. So let’s just go through a couple more quick sales process tips to ensure that you and your team are successful in closing those deals.
Be Persistent – This is another one of those things we’ve talked about many times before. Be persistent but not a pest. You don’t want to bombard prospects with emails or calls every day until you drive them nuts. The best rule of thumb is to wait at least a week between follow-up calls or emails. It’s a difficult time frame to get perfect because any more frequent and you’ll come off as pushy and they’ll end up not wanting to talk to you at all, whereas if you wait any longer, you run the risk of your prospect forgetting all about you.
Develop/Offer Customer-centric Solutions – Again, you want your customers to focus on what your product can do for them, and what the benefits are to choosing your product. This will create the best possible experience for your customers, and will, in the end, create brand loyalty. If they know that you are looking out for them, and are able to offer things that they need as they need them, they will have no reason to go anywhere else.
Build Relationships – Clients want to be seen as more than just a number sign. To do this, you need to build personal relationships with them. Get to know them as people, not just clients. If, during a conversation, a client offhandedly mentions a museum they’ve been wanting to check out, or an industry-relevant subject they’ve been thinking about, send them relevant links to these things. This will let them know that you’re thinking about them, and you were listening to them when they were speaking, not just calculating the next time you could fit a new fact or figure about your product into the conversation. Building relationships with your clients will create loyalty to you and your company.
We know that increasing your win rate is one of the most important things to you and your company. We all want to build our portfolios and close as many deals as possible. The best way to do this is by creating a uniform sales process that can be followed by everyone on your team, no matter how new or seasoned they are.
A good sales process can make a huge difference in the number of deals your team closes, so your best bet is to follow the above mentioned steps, and use them as a guideline to craft your own sales process that works for your company and team.
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