sales process_cover

Sales Process: A Guide to Maximise Your Sales Performance This Year 

What is a sales process?

A sales process, also known as a sales cycle, is a repeatable procedure undertaken by a business to secure prospective customers. Sales processes involve a fixed series of steps with the ultimate goal of converting a lead into a closed deal. Few individuals actually stick to a structured sales process, particularly not when it becomes tedious. Nevertheless, defining a proper sales process goes a long way in boosting sales performance and reducing time/resource wastage.

Let’s first delve into two different categories of marketing:  

  • B2C marketing refers to a business-to-customer sales process. Examples of organisations participating in B2C sales include Nike, Starbucks, and even the children’s enrichment centre across your street, which market goods and services that meet consumers’ needs. 
  • B2B marketing, on the other hand, refers to a business-to-business sales process. Examples of organisations participating in B2B sales include Amazon Business, Kickstarter and our very own no-code platform, Forma! These organisations market goods and services directly to other businesses instead of individual consumers. 

B2B and B2C sales are similar in that both require proper customer relationship management (CRM). In both cases, for starters, sustained engagement with customers should be maintained, but the ways in which you carry this out are not the same. Here’s a brief chart highlighting the differences between the two types of sales: 

sales process_b2b vs b2c

The 7-step Sales Process 

In general, an effective sales process can be marked by seven steps as follows: 

  1. Research and Preparation
  2. Qualifying  
  3. Reaching Out 
  4. Pitching  
  5. Overcoming Resistance 
  6. Closing the Deal 
  7. Following-up

Step One: Research and Preparation 

The very first stage in making sales requires research and preparation in identifying potential customers. Depending on what you sell, you will have to narrow in on the pool of buyers most likely to take interest in your product or service. To do this, you can create a chart listing out customer demographics, such as the target age, gender and occupation. 

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and brainstorm ways to appeal to them. Be very familiar with what you are selling and know your competitors well too, so you can figure out how to stand out from the rest. 

Step Two: Qualifying 

This next step happens once you’ve managed to generate leads. A lead refers to a customer who likely fits your target demographic and has expressed interest in your product/service, such as through signing up to create an account with your platform. Qualifying your leads means gathering more details about them and determining how far their interest lies. 

Once it is more or less affirmed that the lead is keen on making a purchase, this turns them into a prospect. From there, the prospect is carried into the next stage of the sales process. 

Step Three: Reaching Out

Start building rapport with your prospects! Begin with simple introductions, warm them up to making conversation, and provide greater elaboration about the product or service you are providing. Prompt them to ask questions as well so you can find out where their needs lie. Making a good first impression matters if you want to gain their trust, so remember to stay friendly, genuine and professional! 

Step Four: Pitching 

Once you have a better understanding of your prospects’ interests and a relationship has been established, proceed to present what you are selling. Try to relate the service/product to the client to drive engagement and create a meaningful need for it. It may also help to try cross selling to other related products/services that might enhance the value or effectiveness of the item they are interested in. 

(Disclaimer: It helps to read the room. Don’t press prospects to purchase irrelevant items, or anything more than they want to. There’s a fine line between cross selling and hard selling!)

Step Five: Overcoming Resistance 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you might be met with some hesitation or objections in your sales process. In fact, you should have already identified potential resistance in the first stage of research and preparation. 

Instead of viewing it as a problem, take this chance to get to know your prospects’ concerns better and propose possible solutions to help tackle them. Share the objections raised with your marketing team and work together to overcome them. Letting your clients know that you take their concerns seriously is another way to boost your credibility in CRM. 

Stage Six: Closing the Deal 

After all the above have been handled, it’s time to close the deal. This step involves entering into final negotiations or payment procedures which benefit both ends, establishing the terms and conditions, as well as ensuring your product/service is successfully delivered. 

Stage Seven: Following-up

A sales process doesn’t just end once you seal the purchase! Keeping in touch with your clients and maintaining a good relationship can contribute to further deals and customer references. Make sure you keep a record of your customer contact information and continue to connect with and engage them through newsletters, promotional updates and social media. 

Mistakes to avoid in your sales process

Sales Process_mistakes

Now that you have a clearer idea of how to execute a sales process, it’s also important to be aware of possible mistakes that could turn prospective clients away and destroy the foundations of your CRM. 

  • Hard selling. One of the biggest turn-offs customers experience is being pressured to make a certain purchase. This doesn’t mean the customer wasn’t initially interested though. Sometimes, salespeople get so caught up with wanting customers to make a purchase larger than the prospect intended, they end up turning the prospect away entirely. 
  • Over-promising. Don’t make promises you can’t keep for the sake of enticing your prospect. Know your limits as a salesperson, be genuine and stick to what you and your product/service can offer. Avoid exaggerating the capabilities of what you are selling, especially if you don’t want to run a corrupt business built on lies. 
  • Talking more than you listen. Don’t get too carried away with the excitement of trying to sell your item. Leave some space for your client to share their concerns, talk about their expectations and ask questions. Remember that it’s always about the customer!  
  • Losing control of the conversation. As much as it matters to let your clients talk, it’s also vital to stay in charge of the pitch and not let your clients lead instead. That way, you are more in control of the direction in which the sales process is heading and are able to navigate more smoothly towards closing the deal. 
  • Forgetting the call-to-action. Some salespeople can deliver charming pitches but shockingly lose out at finally sealing the deal. Your end goal is ultimately to generate purchases, so stay true to the process, even if it simply requires you to be direct and ask the prospect if they’ve decided to make payment. 

Having a strong sales process pays off. 

In doing so, you also have to factor in both the benefits and potential pitfalls. If this guide has helped you, feel free to share it with your team to start maximising sales!

Take your organisation beyond! Work towards executing a seamless sales process with Forma’s no code, business automation platform today.