After we’ve captured our lead, the next step is to put them through our sales process and hopefully convert them into a customer. ‘Sales’ is obviously a massive topic and we’re only going to scratch the service in this article but hopefully we can give you some idea of how to structure your sales process for success.
We’ve broken this article down into four sections;
- Your sales process
- Selling mediums
- Sales tactics
- Other considerations
We’ll look at each in detail.
Your Sales Process
Your sales process should be tailored to your business and strengths. It will likely have several different parts or stages that move the potential customer from lead to sale.
For example, a typical service based business might have something like;
- Contact lead with further information about service
- Set up a time for a meeting/quote/consultation
- Send/make a proposal
- Sign agreement
Whatever it is, you should have your sales process documented and you should be recording your success rate of moving leads through the process so you can analyse the data and improve over time.
The ‘selling medium’ is the method and/or place where the sales process occurs. You might use just one medium or several.
- Webpages – information and sales copy, downloadable documents
- Manual email – manual conversation and/or sales documents attached to manual emails
- Email marketing – one to many emails
- Marketing automation – automated one to one emails based on user actions (may also include email marketing functionality)
- Private messaging – manual conversation via live chat
- Phone call
- SMS – usually automated but sometimes manual
- In Person – e.g. a meeting or conversation in your office or store
- Snail mail – marketing materials, offers, tenders, proposals etc. sent my snail mail
- In person event – trade show, other event
- Online event – e.g. webinar (one to many), demo (one to few), presentation
The sales tactics are the techniques you use to actually move leads towards the sale. At the most basic level, you might simply explain your products and services and leave the potential customer to take the next action but that’s only likely to be successful in a small number of cases. To get maximum results, there’s a number of ways to nudge people towards the action you want them to take.
- Build Trust – money back guarantees, ascension model, credibility, thought leadership, trust seals
- Social Proof – subscriber/follower/customer numbers, “as seen in,” testimonials, social profile links
- Scarcity – limited time, limited quantity, limited time and quantity
- Value proposition – proposal, pricing, positioning, brand
- Follow up – follow up, follow up, follow up
- Profit maximisation – tripwire, up sell, cross sell, repeat purchases
- Segmentation – lead scoring, surveys/quizzes, marketing qualified lead (MQL), sales qualified lead (SQL), BANT (budget, authority, needs, timeline), progressive profiling
- Lead nurturing – progressive profiling, email sequences
- Try before you buy – free trial, test drive, free sample, free demo
These are some other considerations you need to keep in mind when formulating and carrying out your sales process.
- Expectations – manage expectations so that people aren’t disappointed when it comes time to deliver. A good mantra is ‘under promise, over deliver’
- Decision makers – make sure you’re speaking to the decision maker, otherwise you’ll always be going through a third party which will be slower less effective than dealing with the decision maker directly
- Terms – what terms and conditions will your deal have and how will they be decided? Do you need to get a lawyer involved? Do you need a contract? These are all things you need to have a process in mind for
This is the end of the line as far as the lead generation to sales process is concerned, but there’s one more topic we need to cover: sales optimisation. We’ve mentioned it many time; you need to be recording your data as you go so you can analyse and optimise. In our article on Optimising the Lead Gen and Sales Process will be covering some of the many metrics you should be looking to improve.