Maybe you are starting a new business, or perhaps you are an established business in the process of increasing your sales with the ever-changing times. Either way, you must face facts; the past ten years have seen dramatic changes for B2B sales teams.
Salespeople and buyers relate differently to one another, which has directly impacted the sales process. Modern buyers no longer respond to sales tactics that worked a decade ago. The days of cold calling are basically over. It’s time to:
- Formalize your sales process
According to a Harvard Business survey companies that defined a formal sales process enjoyed an 18% difference in revenue growth over companies that didn’t. With the promise of that kind increase in sales, why wouldn’t you take the time to lay the foundation for a sustainable sales process?
First, Let’s Nail down the Definition of a Sales Process
A sales process is a set of predictable, repeatable steps a salesperson takes with a prospect to move them down the sales funnel to become a customer. It’s a detailed map of expected interactions sales reps will follow with each new prospect.
Standardized stages and milestones are understood by everyone from your sales leaders to front line sales reps. The process also shows the sales team where a particular deal is in the process and how they should be managing deals in each stage.
What Does It Mean to Have a Defined Sales Process?
The typical old-school sales process entails the following:
- Cold calling for initial contact
- Making a pitch
- Being transferred to the decision-maker
- Doing another pitch or demo
- Laying out the proposal
- Closing the deal
Adopting a New Process
Although this process can still be used to good effect, it is a rather generic one. If you don’t want generic sales performance, then it’s time to move on and adopt a new approach.
Also, consider this, today B2B buyers are taking the lead in the sales process. This means some parts of the old-school process have become inefficient and may even be a waste of your time.
According to Google’s research, 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. They conduct an average of 12 searches before engaging on a brand’s website.
Forrester Research shows 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. This means much of the buying decision has been made before there is any direct contact between you and the buyer.
Where to Begin Building Your Sales Process?
Today’s process starts from the perspective of the customer. Align your process with how your customers move through their buying process. Know the following:
- Who is my customer?
- What are my customer’s pain points?
- What are the gains for which they would pay?
- Does my proposition solve their pain points?
- Is my product offering features that will add value to their businesses?
Next, consider the unique buying process of your customer. In their simplest form buying processes are similar, but each company has their own.
Basically, the buyer:
- Defines a need
- Searches for information
- Evaluates their choices
- Finalizes the purchase
After identifying your buyer’s buying process, determine the specifics of what they do at each stage. Your sales team and even clients can be great resources for gaining these insights.
Knowing your customer’s buying attitudes and defining their main decision points will give you what you need to anticipate your next right move.
Now Let’s Shift the Focus Back to Your Sales Process
Create an exceptional sales process by following these steps:
- Define your company’s sales stages.
- Define objectives for each stage. Base these on targeted outcomes, goals, and objectives.
- Select actions for each step that will promote the customer to the next stage in the buying process.
- Choose the tools salespeople need to achieve their goals.
Now that you have a standardized process, your whole team can repeat it efficiently. All that is left to do is to evaluate the process regularly and tweak as needed!
As you move forward with implementing your brand new approach, keep a few things in mind. B2B buyers are much more actively involved in the sales process than they used to be.
They are not passive participants. Most are quite savvy. They don’t just trust what the sales rep says, and they do their due diligence.
Entering the Sales Funnel
Because information is so readily available in our modern world, prospects enter the sales funnel at much later stages. Sometimes already ready to buy.
Even though this is true, buyers still want to have personal relationships with salespeople. Find ways to use technology to make and maintain those connections rather than dilute them.
Information sharing is essential in today’s market place. If your sales and marketing teams are still separate entities, makes sure that they share information. Not sharing across teams can be harmful to your business.
Putting the work in on formalizing or modernizing your process is well worth the effort. Now not only will your whole team have a specific process to follow, but you are now on your way to a boost in sales!
We’ve Been There
The Waterways has been in business for over two decades. Our sales process has been ever-changing and shifts and evolves with the times and technology.
At the center, however, is our devotion to our customers. Our customers’ needs always come first. And our process is simple:
- We will connect with you.
- Assess your needs.
- Offer you the perfect solution!
And don’t worry—we will be available to you after your purchase to provide training, technical support, and prompt response times.
This way, you can run your business worry-free knowing Waterways is always there when you need us! We want to see your business succeed!