Sales are the crux of every business. But, with the sheer amount of competition today and the changing needs of consumers, it’s harder than ever to prove your product to potential prospects.
For many brands, there are a wealth of challenges that come with sales. Issues, like identifying good leads, the need to build trust and credibility, and providing the right information at the right time, can make it tricky to create a seamless sales system.
Consumer needs have also shifted dramatically since the pandemic. Priorities have changed and people are increasingly placing emphasis on their satisfaction and experience over price. It’s no longer enough to undercut the competition; you have to pitch your product as the best fit for a prospect’s unique needs.
Try these strategies to build a plug-and-play sales process and increase sales to give your business the best chance at success
Understanding whom you’re talking to and whom you’re trying to reach is the first step in creating the right messaging and providing a sales experience that meets the needs of the consumer.
If you don’t know the pain points and struggles that your audience is facing, you can’t provide them with a relevant solution. On top of this, if you try and speak to everyone, you end up resonating with no one.
There are several ways you can get to know your ideal persona. Building out a persona profile will give you a concrete reference to check each time you write a new sales message or follow up with a prospect.
People buy products and services that solve their problems. The goal is to tap into what your audience is struggling with the most so you can pitch your product as the solution. Think about what roadblocks they come up against on a daily basis, what makes them tear at their hair in frustration, and what’s holding them back from getting where they need to be.
For example, sales managers often struggle to align their efforts with the marketing department, which can lead to mixed messages and underperforming campaigns.
Once you know what your customers’ biggest challenges are, you can think about how your product tackles those challenges. List out the ways it might help, from saving time to speeding up their processes to saving them money.
Let’s say your product is a time tracking app. It can help project managers track every second so they can more realistically hit their deadlines and it can help visualize several projects that are all underway at once.
These two questions give you everything you need to figure out what motivates your customers to buy. It’s likely a combination of frustrations and challenges and the need for something that eases those pains.
Don’t limit your persona profiles to simple demographic information like age and location. Instead, dig deeper into psychographic tendencies that show who your customers really are, what they’re interested in, and what drives their decisions.
To do this you can:
Today, if you want to make a sale, you have to take the focus off making a sale. It sounds counterproductive, but the goal should be on solving prospect problems. The sale will naturally come after that.
Competition is rife today. If you don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, consumers have plenty of other options. Knowing where you stand in the market and what makes your product unique from the rest is crucial for securing sales and increasing customer retention.
Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is what makes your product different from other, similar products. This can be price (cheaper than the rest), it can be an additional feature your product has (like live 24/7 support), or it might be that you target a very distinct segment of the market (construction project managers, for example, rather than project managers in general).
Compare your product to others in the market and spend some time listing what makes your product unique.
People buy into stories. They are what connect us to other people and brands, so it’s important that you craft a narrative around your product that prospects can relate to. This might be a unique way your brand started or it might focus on your values and mission for sustainability.
Buffer is renowned for its transparent brand story. They’re keen advocates of shorter workweeks and creating a better work-life balance, and this comes across in everything they do.
“Within your own company, look for winning moments that happen after the sale, and incorporate them into the brand message,” says Howard Breindel, Co-CEO at DeSantis Breindel. “Instead of selling software, sell the certification system that turns your team into experts. Instead of selling services, tell the story about your five-star customer support.”
Connecting with customers often goes beyond text on a page. In fact, visuals communicate information 60,000x faster than text, giving you a fast line to your customers’ hearts. Turn your brand story into a compelling video that showcases the unique qualities of your brand and resonates with customers.
For example, Headspace uses this video to highlight their company culture and what makes them different.
While it’s exciting to land a brand new customer, it’s your existing customers that create the foundation of your brand. In fact, 65% of your sales will come from existing customers, and repeat customers spend an average of 31% more than new first-time buyers.
What’s more, existing customers become loyal and are more likely to recommend your products and services to their inner circle. Your goal is to nurture these relationships and provide existing customers with a stellar experience to ensure they keep coming back.
Do this by:
Regularly ask existing customers for their feedback on your products or services. Send out well-timed surveys, ask for reviews, and reach out when a customer contacts support.
Prove your brand through powerful testimonials from existing customers and ask them to share their results with you so you can create case studies that showcase your authority.
Freshsales shines a light on not just how it helps its customers but also on the end results. Keeping the center stage on what your customers achieved using your product is a strong purchase driver for decision-makers.
Provide existing customers with personalized upgrades and relevant product recommendations based on their past purchases and interests.
Freshdesk shines a spotlight on additional features existing customers can unlock if they upgrade their subscription.
Your marketing and sales teams are integral touchpoints in the sales cycle. Both teams bring different skill sets to the table that ultimately contribute to the increase in revenue. Without a solid marketing team, your sales department wouldn’t get the leads they need to convert, and without a high-performing sales team, the effort your marketing team put into finding new prospects becomes a wasted effort.
While both teams have very different roles, they are reliant upon each other in the sales process:
Your marketing team builds awareness for your product and services, educates fresh leads, and nurtures them with the right resources
Your sales team takes those leads, demonstrates how your product can help them, and converts them into customers
However, a lot of brands make the mistake of disconnecting the two departments and having them work in silos. This causes a lack of visibility, poor lead quality, and vague revenue attribution.
When you align the sales and marketing team you create a seamless journey that takes prospects from awareness through to the decision-making stage without any friction. Keeping both teams in the know means they can provide the right resources at the right time to provide a personalized experience for each lead. Additional benefits include:
A better understanding of the customer and their needs
A tighter, well-defined strategy that straddles multiple channels
Clearer mapping of the customer journey
An increase in feedback from customers and the ability to implement that feedback
A personalized experience for each and every lead
Using a CRM can bridge the gap between departments by providing a central place where everyone can access customer information. This means the marketing team can input information about a customer like which channel they came from, what their initial interactions were like, and what content they were most interested in. Then, the sales team can take this information to use on sales calls and in their outreach to provide a specialized experience for the lead.
The math is simple: the more leads you generate, the more prospects you have to convert.
However, quality plays an important role in this. There’s no point generating 500,000 leads a month if they aren’t your target customer and they’re not going to convert. In this case, you’d be better off focusing on getting 5,000 qualified leads that fit your ideal persona profile.
Optimizing your website for inbound leads means implementing keyword research to attract searchers and push your site up the search results, but also creating high-quality content and resources that educate leads.
The content you create should match the challenges and pain points your ideal persona has and it should answer some of their common questions. Think about the topics they are searching for and produce content that meets those needs.
Creating optimized content that taps into the needs of your audience forms an integral part of search engine marketing, which boosts your ranking in the search engines and ultimately generates more click-throughs.
You can track the success of your optimization efforts by monitoring several key metrics. These include:
Overall website traffic: how many people visit your website in a certain timeframe
Search engine ranking for your most relevant keywords: where your website pages rank for key terms your audience might be using
Bounce rate: how many people drop off your website
Average page views per session: the average number of pages a visitor looks at while they’re on your website
Most CRMs have a marketing automation feature that you can connect to your website analytics. This can automatically send communications to leads that have landed on your site and interacted with certain pages. For example, if a prospect visits the pricing page, a CRM can capture this information and allow you to set up workflows to notify you when it happens again in the future.
Your sales process is essentially the steps your brand goes through to sell your product or service to customers.
It begins with the initial contact you have with a lead, which could be through a blog post, an email, or a Facebook ad, and goes right the way through until the final sale.
While the process can be similar for brands, it will vary depending on whom you’re targeting, the amount of time it usually takes to convert a customer, and the kind of product you’re selling.
For example, the sales process for a small business will be very different from a company trying to reach enterprise customers. SMB customers are easier to contact since there are less rigorous internal processes and fewer decision-makers which makes the sales cycle shorter.
With enterprise customers, the sales cycle tends to be longer due to the multiple stakeholders involved and more complex internal processes.
Having a sales process in place means your sales team has a framework to use when selling your product. It gives them the key information they need to provide to leads based on past experiences.
A simple sales process might look something like this:
Prospecting: identifying potential leads and their needs
Qualification: qualifying those leads
Demonstrating: showcasing how your product can help solve pain points
Evaluation: choosing the right option for customers based on their unique needs
Negotiation: back and forth with a customer to determine the right product package or deal for them
Closing: sealing the deal and signing the contract
Nurturing: creating ongoing communication and engagement with customers to check they’re happy with the product
It’s important that both your marketing and sales teams have access to the information and resources they need at each stage of the process. Knowing what step comes next speeds up the sales cycle and increases efficiency and productivity because you aren’t having to start from scratch every time.
CRMs can be really useful here for pushing leads through the sales process. They can track how a customer landed on your website, store their contact information, automatically send nurturing email sequences, and provide AI-powered insights to hone in on the best leads and serve deals that will definitely convert.
The buyer journey is similar to the sales process, except it’s looked at from the perspective of the customer. While the sales process can follow similar steps, the buyer journey can look wildly different for each customer depending on their unique needs-how they found out about your brand to their decision-making process.
An inconsistent buyer journey can disrupt the customer experience and affect sales. Think about it: if a lead lands on your website and struggles to find the information they personally need, they’re likely to go elsewhere. Each touchpoint a prospect has with your brand is a unique opportunity to serve them an experience that answers their individual questions and requirements.
To create a seamless buyer experience, you need to be able to match a customer’s needs when they crop up.
For example, one lead might arrive on your site already determined to buy your product because they received a glowing recommendation from a friend. In this case, they might simply want to schedule a demo call to discuss their options with your sales team. Another customer might be way further back in their journey and need reassurance through content and case studies.
Using a CRM can help track the different touchpoints your customers arrive at and what they need at each stage. For example, the customer who is at the start of the buying journey might trigger a nurturing email sequence when they download a guide to learn more about a challenge they are facing. Then, they might visit a product page but leave to compare it to competitors. The CRM can automate the process and send a notification to the dedicated salesperson who can then engage in a contextual conversation.
The saying “try before you buy” is used for a reason. People are hesitant to invest in something if they don’t know how it works or how it will help them. On top of this, today’s buyers are well-informed and educated. They carry out their own research and compare at least two brands before they dive in and make a purchase.
Offering a free trial, a sample, or a personalized demo can show customers what it’s like to invest in your product. You can promote the features of your product as much as you like, but customers are going to get a real feel for how it’ll solve their pain points until they use it themselves.
“We decided to stop telling prospects how great our service is and start showing them instead,” says Stephen Hetzel, the co-founder of BidPrime. “We did this by offering limited-time, no-cost, no-obligation test drives. This shift in strategy quickly paid off, with prospects seemingly overnight converting at a substantially higher rate. In short order, we were able to meet our sales targets.”
Freshsales has a free tier for potential customers to get a taster of the product.
Sales enablement is the process of giving salespeople the information, resources, and tools they need to do their job.
Without this information, they’ll struggle to provide the right content and context to customers and will therefore inevitably lose out on sales.
Having the information they need at their fingertips gives salespeople everything they need to be more efficient.
So how can you enable your teams?
Email templates: provide sales templates they can customize and send to warm leads
Call scripts: make sales calls easier with pre-planned sales scripts so your teams know the best cold call opening lines and how to keep prospects engaged
Regular training sessions: provide sales teams with new information and new capabilities of the CRM they are using
Onboarding training: help your sales teams welcome new customers effectively by coaching them on your messaging, how you approach prospects, the internal tools you use, and where they can find relevant resources
Quality lead identification: cheat sheets and persona profiles that help sales teams identify the hottest prospects
Create battle cards: provide information and swipe files that make it easier for your team to carry out competitor research, product research, and USP research
CRMs help streamline the entire sales process by providing powerful automation capabilities and storing each individual customer’s information to personalize their experience.
With a CRM, you can:
Automatically capture inbound leads
Reduce lead response time by sending automated replies
Get a 360 view of prospects to enable contextual selling
Help your sales team identify the most interested and qualified prospects
Categorize deals based on whether a prospect is likely to close, is at-risk, or has gone cold
Provide the next best steps for salespeople to take
Automate mundane activities to save time and create more efficient processes
Sales are integral to the success of your business. Increasing your sales means increased brand awareness, happier customers, and higher revenue.
To start improving the number of leads you convert, try:
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