To improve your sales process, there are tools and techniques you can implement to make these changes easier for your company. If your salespeople aren’t equipped with the resources they need to succeed, your organization will suffer from employee turnover, trouble with quota attainment, and low sales morale.
As a sales leader you need to focus on helping your staff do what you hired them to do – close more deals. In this article, we’ll explore three key strategies that you and your sales team can implement to improve your sales process and boost your company’s bottom line.
3 Key Strategies That Will Improve Your Sales Process
1. Training, Training, and More Training
The first and most important thing you can do to improve your sales process is to train your team on a regular basis. This is not something that you do just once.
Yes, your initial training lays the groundwork for most of the conversations that your reps will have and it gives them the tools they need to tackle client questions and concerns that regularly manifest during a sales pitch.
Beyond that, you also need to offer training every week. You need to be available to work with your individuals for just a few minutes at a time, once a week. Then offer group training every two weeks where you focus on a different small group of sales representatives each time.
Staggering your training like this allows you to give reps the tools they need to improve their sales process without taking them all off the phone at crucial times throughout the day.
That said, what should your focus be during these training sessions?
A good way to make sure you’re providing the most impact is to look at specific KPI’s that your reps are measured on and use training as a way to improve these metrics.
For example, if your reps are struggling to set appointments, work on prospecting. Or, if they’re unable to get verbal commits on prospects, focus on framing your solution and building value in the prospect’s eyes. If they have trouble with contract negotiations, work on closing skills.
By breaking down your sales process, finding out where your team needs the most help, and helping them cover any gaps, you’ll be well on your way to improving your team’s numbers.
Realistically, potential leads want to be told what they said in a slightly different way. Leads that are calling you are doing so for a singular purpose. They want an answer or a solution to their problem and they need to hear what that problem is and how your company is going to solve it.
As such, your sales team needs to be focused on nothing more than uncovering these problems and offering solutions.
Teach them to use phrases like:
- I just want to make sure I heard you correctly…
- It sounds to me like your biggest issue is…
- So, you’re having problems with…
Effectively your staff needs to reinforce that these are real problems. They can do so by repeating their problem back to them to solidify in the mind of the client that your company has a solution.
Building a Relationship
Your training also has to focus on building relationships. A sales process needs to function at every step of the sales funnel and it can only do that if from the get-go trust is built with the potential leads.
Most people won’t make a decision the first time they talk to one of your representatives but that doesn’t mean that your representative shouldn’t continue to focus on that potential client.
However, they have to continue in the right way. Reps must accurately represent your company and pay attention to the sales funnel. They also need to focus more on cultivating a long-term relationship with a client rather than focusing on the sale and scaring them off early on.
Teaching reps to do this improves your sales process by shifting the goal from a money-focused close to an education-focused relationship.
2. Persistence is Important
But why does this type of long-term thinking matter? Because persistence closes more deals, and here’s the proof:
- 2% of sales are closed with the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are closed with the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are closed with the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are closed with the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are closed with the 5th contact or more
This means that reps should think of every new lead as someone they have to follow up with at least five times before a sale happens. It takes persistence to improve the sales process at every step and companies have to teach their representatives to focus on building client relationships so that they can stay motivated during the third, fourth, and even perhaps the fifth point of contact.
Consider that 27% of sales calls are never actually followed up on. That means 27% of calls leak out of your sales funnel which indicates a terrible sales process.
Another 80% of sales representatives never reach out more than four times which is incredibly shocking when you consider that 80% of sales are closed at the fifth point of contact. That means the 80% of sales representatives who don’t reach out for a fifth time could theoretically make 80% more sales if they were willing to put in the effort for simply one more phone call.
Teaching this to your staff will improve your sales process across the board.
3. Educate Clients
At each stage of the sales process, your staff needs to focus on education. Every lead needs to be educated. Cold calls, somewhat warm calls, even hot calls that are inbound still require education. Callers want in-depth explanations. Potential leads that your reps meet should receive solution explanations that are good enough to convince them to make a purchase. A brief two minutes phone call, a single email, or one meeting won’t suffice.
So what do you do?
You can create educational resources that can be provided to your leads, including things like:
- Case studies
- Sales letters
- Data sets
- White papers
- Live demonstrations
Most of the time something as simple as this can make or break a deal. But don’t let your sales representatives simply text or email a potential lead telling them that resources were emailed and the lead should call once they have read through the data.
This type of outreach at any point in your sales process is incredibly disengaging and passive.
So give reps the tools they need to engage so that they share that information in person or through a live virtual format so that they can go over it. They should make sure the potential leads understand it and address any questions they have, and educate them.
Doing this will help provide the opportunity to answer a lead’s questions and demonstrate the value of your company. It will allow your representatives the opportunity to handle any objectives, show their company expertise, and ultimately establish trust. This does make the process for each sale in your sales pipeline longer but it gives more control and closes more deals in the long term.
Overall, you can improve your sales process if you focus on careful planning, preparation, and give your sales staff the data and the tools they need the focus long term on successes for your company.