Technology continues to grow and get smarter, and businesses must adapt to it and improve their processes, including sales.
The selling process is a system that can be taught, developed and continuously improved upon. When you follow clear, step-by-step actions and have a working knowledge of your product or service and the person who will be buying from you, the system will nearly always result in a sale.
Going back to the basics is always a worthwhile exercise. No matter how experienced you may be,there is always something new to discover or remind yourself of.
If your sales team has trouble selling efficiently, you’re going to see your company growth drop,which isn’t good for anyone.
In general, sales reps spend a significant amount of time on admin work — scheduling meetings,setting up reminders, sending emails, and other small tasks that take serious time out of their day that they could be spending closing deals.
So, how can you streamline your sales process in a way that all of that admin work still gets done, but your sales team has the time they need to close deals? For many companies, a CRM is the answer.
Check out the next 7 tips to streamline your sales process:
1. Streamline Marketing to Sales Hand off Process
For most companies, the hand off from marketing to sales is where leads fall through the cracks. Whether your sales and marketing teams aren’t communicating or your sales team is just too busy to follow up on all the leads marketing sends over,it’s easy, and common for leads to fall out of the sales funnel during the hand off from marketing to sales. A CRM can solve the majority of these sales drop off problems. The first fix is to notify your sales team. When the marketing team decides a lead is ready to move up to sales, a CRM can automatically alert your sales team of the move. This is a great way to eliminate lost leads who drop out of the cycle because no one contacts them.
The next fix is to help your sales team see immediately if that lead is actually ready for your sales team or not. A CRM shows your sales team exactly where a lead is in the buying process. The CRM will track every contact marketing has with that lead, giving the sales team a good idea of how warm the lead is, and how ready they are to buy. With a quality CRM, transferring that lead back down to marketing is a snap. Your sales rep just reassigns or recategorizes the lead, and they’re back in marketing’s “to nurture” bucket.
For many companies, a significant percentage of marketing leads do not convert to sales. This is partially handled with sales and marketing alignment, but a CRM is also a very useful tool to make no one is losing track of those leads.
Implementing a quality CRM not only helps make sure those leads get through the sales process, but it helps bring your sales and marketing teams together, and understand better what both teams need to effectively reach their goals.
2. CRMs Increase Prospect Visibility in the Sales Funnel
Your sales team is busy. There’s no getting around it. As long as your marketing team is delivering leads, your sales team is busy contacting them all,establishing which of your products or service is the best fit for each and then getting through the actual nurturing and closing process. A CRM streamlines your sales process by offering greater visibility on all of those prospects in the sales funnel.
CRMs make it easy to see where every prospect is in the sales funnel, at any given time. If your sales team is managing their leads with a post-it note system, a notebook,or any other method, they’re probably letting leads drop out of the sales funnel. And it’s not their fault — we’re all only human!
But, a CRM can help resolve this problem, and make it easy for your sales team to prioritize the warmest leads above leads who still need a bit of nurturing.
· Organize leads by priority. Most quality CRMs allow you to segment leads based on how qualified they are, and where they are in the sales funnel. When your top-priority leads are listed right at the top of the page, your sales team doesn’t even have to think about who to call first.
· See at a glance which leads have been contacted, by who, and when. Another key visibility benefit that comes with a quality CRM is that your sales reps can see at a glance who has contacted what lead, and when.They’ll be able to see which of your resources a lead has already received, and what information they might still need to make a final decision.
Increased visibility thanks to a quality CRM leads to a more effective, efficient sales process. When your leads are automatically organized by industry, job title, interest level, and more,your sales team can spend more time on what they’re best at — closing deals.
3. Automated Tasks Help Streamline Your Sales Process
Even though it’s necessary, sending out product catalogs, brochures, and pricing guides is repetitive and time-consuming. Your sales team already knows that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every email, but they do have to take the time to copy-paste their text, change the names, attach the documents,and then finally send the email. A CRM can automate these repetitive tasks so your sales team has more time to actually sell.
Quality CRMs offer tools like automated workflows, follow-up emails, chat bots, and more, so your leads still get the quality service they need to feel nurtured and supported through the sales process, but your sales team is freed up to use their time for more important tasks. For tasks that CRMs can’t automate, they can send automated reminders. Your sales reps have to talk to any contact multiple times before they close a deal. Your CRM can automatically remind sales reps when to make those calls so that no leads fall through the cracks.
4. Easy Reporting
One of the greatest benefits of a CRM for any sales team is the data it has to offer. In addition to supporting your sales team, your CRM is constantly collecting data. Data about your clients, how long they take to close,what content offer brings in the leads most likely to close, and what sales tools are most effective at closing those sales.
All of that data, combined and compiled for you by the CRM, helps you interpret your sales team’s success, and further streamline your sales process for even better results.
5. Sales Leader boards and Productivity Reports
We’re a big proponent of teamwork. As a growth agency, we’ve seen that companies who encourage their sales reps to work together tend to do significantly better than companies with sales reps who are all using different sales tactics, and even different sales processes.
Advanced CRMs, like HubSpot, are designed to give you and your sales team all of the data you need to optimize and streamline your sales process as a team. Sales leader boards and productivity reports are one great way to do that.
They show you which of your team members are doing great, and which might be struggling with your new sales process or CRM. You can use these stats to bring your whole team up, by asking those at the top of the leader board to share what they’re doing to close so many deals.
6. Make that customer a part of your customer retention program, and don’t forget to follow up.
When you’ve completed the sale, make sure to get your customer’s contact information and set up a follow-up schedule. Your goal is to establish a long-term relationship to help cultivate loyal, repeat and referral business.
Once a customer is in your database, you’ll be able to keep in touch on a regular basis with newsletters and special promotions, and you’ll be able to track their purchase behaviors. You may wish to follow-up with them in a few days or a week to see how they’re enjoying the product or service, and if they have any questions you could help them answer.
You should also be sure to ask satisfied customers to be part of your referral program, or if they would mind providing you with a testimonial. This is great for building brand trust.
7. Discuss the problem, need, want or desire in detail.
Now that you’ve begun to build a relationship with your prospect, you can start to ask open-ended questions to establish what their needs and wants are. You could ask them what brought them into the store, or why they are looking for a particular product or service.
Once you are clear on what they are looking for, ask more open-ended questions to gain a better understanding of the features, price range, and complementary items that would be suit their objectives.
· Listen to their statements, and repeat back what they’ve said to show you understand
· Ask questions to clarify their statements, and to show you are listening
· Ask open-ended questions to keep them talking. Learn as much as you can about their needs and unique purchase motivations.
· If you are sure the customer will make the purchase, as specific questions about size, color, and price range.
Generating a sales leader board and a productivity report also helps give you a better picture of where your reps are spending their time. A CRM is designed to organize and store all of your sales team’s information and data in one easy-to-access location. In addition to providing exceptional visibility, a CRM helps streamline your sales process by handling the repetitive tasks that take time out of your team’s day of selling. The goal is to enable your sales team with all the tools they need to be able to sell better, and more efficiently, and when implemented properly, that’s exactly what a CRM does. This makes it easy for your sales reps to see at a glance whether a lead is ready for them, or if they’d rather send them back down to marketing.
Sales is a system that can be created,improved, taught and perfected, the important thing to remember here is that everyone needs to enhance and refine their sales skills on a regular basis. A routine review of sales 101 is helpful for even the most natural of salespeople.
Consider creating a poster of the sales process with tips under each step, and posting it in the staff room or on your staff communications board. Visual reminders and passive access to resources can have a lasting impact on your staff’s performance.