Is Your Sales Process Fit For Purpose?

This is a guest post from our sales enablement partner, Flowbird.

In an ideal world every selling situation would play out perfectly: the customer is drawn in by your witty advertising and cutting edge marketing campaign, and is throwing cash at you faster than you can say ‘SOLD!’

Sadly, if your sales team isn’t following the right sales process, it isn’t fit for purpose, and things can quickly fall apart.

If you’re not already using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, then your sales problems aren’t really a surprise. CRM is vital to your sales process – regardless of the business sector you are in. CRM manages all of your customers’ information, including their contact info, their call and email activity, what they’re buying and when they’re buying it.

Being able to track exactly what each customer wants and needs means that your business can serve them better, building good customer relationships, creating trust and brand loyalty, and leading to customer retention and boosted profits.

For your sales process to be successful, it will help your team to have a series of defined steps in place. CRM is going to allow you to create targeted email and social media campaigns, but having a series of steps in place that will allow you to move customers through the sales funnel is going to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your CRM software.

The sales process varies from industry to industry and from company to company, but, generally, the process is around 5-7 steps long and starts before making contact with a potential customer or client, and ends after the member of your sales team has completed the sale – and CRM is going to help you with all aspects of that, including:

Generating Leads

Generating leads is step one, and is where your CRM software really comes into its own. CRM will streamline and automate your marketing, helping you to qualify those all important leads and nudge them towards the sales funnel.

Once your CRM has identified a solid lead, in other words, a company or individual who has a clear need or desire for your product or service, they can work towards determining whether this potential buyer has the means to complete the sale.

Doing Your Prep Work

Ok, so you’ve got a potential customer in your sights. Now it’s time to do the prep work in order to make that sale. That involves knowing absolutely everything there is to know about not only your product and service, but about the market and industry in general.

This way, whatever your customer might ask, you’ll have the answer. Your CRM software will alert you to why exactly your potential client wants or needs your product or service, meaning your sales team can prep even further.

Making The Right Approach

Another way your CRM software is going to be invaluable when it comes to your company’s sales process, is when it comes to the way in which you approach your leads.

The more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your approach to them on a personal level, whether that be through email or phone call, via SMS or social media. Being able to pique the individual customer’s interest is what good CRM is all about, and you’ll be amazed at how effective a personalised approach can be when it comes to increasing sales.

Dealing With Questions And Complaints

We already touched on this a little when we said it’ll be covered in your prep work, but it’s worth mentioning in a bit more detail because it’s such an important part of the sales process.

Being able to come up with solutions to customer complaints or concerns can be the difference between making a sale and them coming back for more,  or them buying nothing from you and heading off to the competition instead – and no doubt telling their friends and family about their terrible customer experience along the way!

Again, CRM is going to come up trumps for you here. Having all of your customer information in one place is going to help you to know your individual customers better, making it much easier for you to personalise your responses and build trust. Research shows that it’s the way a company handles customer questions and complaints that has the bigger impact on a customer’s experience, and whether they would use your company again, rather than there being an issue in the first place.

Helping You To Close A Sale

Ah, the all-important closing – when the customer decides that, yes, this is the product or service they want, and it’s YOU they want it from.

In order for your sales process to be successful, it needs to lead to this moment. CRM is going to be vital in enticing your customers to close, because it will give you clues on what you can offer the individual to get to the closing stage – whether it be a free gift or service, or a points/rewards loyalty scheme, for example. It’s also going to help you to know how and when they are likely to pay.

Following Up

If you think your sales process is over just because cash and products/service have changed hands, then you couldn’t be more wrong.

The knowledge you’ve garnered from your CRM software gives you the tools to follow up with your clients and customers to check that they are happy with their product or service, and offer them further support if needed. Your sales team will also be able to use that feedback to sell to them in future; either upgrades or similar products and services that might benefit them. Once you know what your customer is buying, you can target your marketing campaigns in order to get them back in that funnel!

If you don’t think that your sales process is fit for purpose, and you’re interested in finding the right CRM platform to suit your company, give the expert team at Flowbird a call. We can be as involved in the running of the software as you like, and know all the best ways to use it to your advantage, to generate leads, increase sales, and boost profits!