Every business needs to know how to build and manage a high-performance consumer acquisition engine. Translation: manage your sales pipeline to close deals that require the proper organization of your sales pipeline. The sales cycle is a process that consists of individual steps the account manager takes with a prospect, from initial contact to closing the deal.
Depending on the industry, the duration of the sales process can vary. And while consumer marketing and peer-to-peer referrals have streamlined the sales process, statistics show the process averages 5-10 interactions before purchase.
So how do you streamline that process? We’ve compiled vital sales stages to walk the potential customer from lead to closing the deal.
Finding the Prospects
Identifying your target market is vital in the sales cycle; however, that hardly means cold-calling. First, identify the qualities your desirable customers share, then consider where how to find this market.
Gathering the prospects’ information comes from web forms, email campaigns, and even phone calls. Inbound, content marketing and social media help generate qualified leads, reduce time spent on the phone, and significantly shorten the sales pipeline.
Qualifying the Lead
One of the most critical sales funnel stages, lead qualification, occurs during the first call or contact form. This essential information gathered can be analyzed to gain insight into prospect behavior and identify buying patterns.
Setting up a Meeting
The more interactive the appointment is, the more engaged your lead becomes. As the world evolves to a more remote and digitally centered process, the art of conversation and “in-person” tactics becomes a differentiator. Here are a few critical tips to nailing the meeting:
- Create focused and relevant dialogue and listen to identify critical needs from your prospect.
- Leverage your findings to align their needs with your product, and determine how it solves a problem or bridges a gap.
- The sales cycle is less about selling and more about educating: create and provide relevant content for your users, such as white papers, tutorials, and guides.
- Avoid the “show and tell” approach, and speak less about the technical aspect and more about the benefits.
Handling the Objections
You’ve snagged the lead and set up the call. Have you prepared for the objections? If a customer asks the what-ifs, consider this a sign of interest and education. A customer who no longer sees value will not waste time asking questions. Here are a few ways to resolve your lead’s concerns:
- Be open, and listen to the customer. Gather valuable intel and understand the circumstances.
- Repeat the problem and clarify any questions.
- Ask fundamental questions to address the bigger picture and identify the real objection.
- Be direct. Address the issues head-on and be compassionate and honest about the details.
- Do not rush. Take time to understand the barriers to purchase and approach with thought.
Closing the Deal
Often the easiest or the most difficult, the next step is closing the deal. It may be necessary to implement additional closing techniques that require more setup time or lead nurturing.
Implementing Additional Sales Tools
Even the best salesperson needs a little help — often in the form of having all data, content, and details in one place. Implementing the right CRM for your company provides a sales engagement platform to not only organize your data but also save time and cost:
- CRM equips organizations with the tools essential to generate more qualified leads;
- It accelerates the ability to gain sales and marketing decisions based on robust client and lead analytics;
- The tool creates, tracks, and manages cross-channel marketing campaigns;
- It allows access to pipelines, contacts, calendars, and sales reports allowing sales reps to focus efforts on selling.
In today’s sales climate, a deep understanding of the interactions with your lead is critical for optimum close rates. Managing each stage will help the sales team stay focused and organized to nurture leads and close more deals.