Ariana Shannon is the Marketing Director at SalesIntel. SalesIntel provides the most accurate and affordable b2b data.
A sales process is a necessity for organizations wanting to increase sales productivity, performance, efficiency – and most importantly, improve the close rate. It not only helps keep the sales momentum going, but it also adds a good structure to all your sales activities. But what is a sales process anyway?
Well, I’d define a sales process as a series of steps that sales teams follow to turn potential buyers into paying customers. It basically helps a salesperson to move prospects from the awareness stage to the closed deal stage. It’s important to regularly optimize your sales process to make the most of it.
Also, you can’t expect the sales process you created several years ago to bring you the results you need today. Things keep changing in the business world, and your sales process should be able to adapt or be optimized to drive revenue through increased deal closing. Here are five ways to create an optimized sales process to close more deals.
1. Take the effort to understand what increases your conversion success
I’d always start with the basics if I were to optimize my sales process. Begin by studying the customer journey to understand how your prospects convert into customers. Know what it takes to successfully close a deal.
- Talk to your salespeople and know what tactics, power words, tone, and tools they used to advance prospects to the next stage in their buyer’s journey
- Learn from your past. Examine your past closed as well as lost deals to list down the do’s and don’ts. Check the cadences used, product features most highlighted, key reasons for purchase, etc.
- Create ideal customer profiles using your existing CRM data, customer analysis, B2B data, and market research data. Use them to know who (and how) you need to target that are likely to become buyers
Ensure that your sales process has well-defined steps and goals for each stage. You don’t want your salespeople to get off track but have a clear roadmap to closing more deals.
2. Put target audiences front and center and foster deep relationships
One of the secrets to optimizing a sales process for increased deal closing is taking a customer-first, relationship-led approach. Instead of holding my company’s banner the first time I approach a prospect, I’d rather prefer developing a meaningful relationship with them. Take one step at a time and put yourself in the prospect’s shoes, and you’ll have a better chance to convert them.
Also, when you approach a customer for repeat sales, cross-selling, or upselling, take advantage of the bond they already have with your company. Look to increase trust, focus on adding value, understand their pain points and needs, and show how your solution can benefit them. 76% of B2B buyers and 63% of consumers expect companies to know their unique expectations and needs.
3. Use sales enablement for a more streamlined and strategic sales process
An important part of optimizing a sales process is to equip the sales team with everything they need to ensure a prospect’s smooth conversion into a paying customer. With sales enablement, you can achieve exactly that. 76% of organizations realize a 6-20% sales increase because of sales enablement. Further, sales enablement helps organizations gain a 49% win rate on forecasted deals.
Provide your sales team with the required training, documents, content, templates, scripts, tools, and other resources to crush their goals and targets. For example, I’d invest in B2B data or sales intelligence to boost the sales process by enabling my salespeople to:
- Create smarter, data-driven sales strategies and speed up sales cycles
- Engage prospects with more personalized conversations
- Focus on high-value accounts instead of low-interest, unqualified ones
- Use high-quality data to improve everything from prospecting to deal closing
- Track buying signals to prioritize leads and know in advance what they’re interested in
4. Bring sales and marketing closer to each other to increase closed deals
Sales and marketing teams have the common goal of finding or attracting prospects and converting them into buyers. This ultimately translates into increasing business growth and revenue. Considering that a sales process has almost the same objective, it makes more sense to me to see salespeople and marketers working in lockstep than being siloed from each other.
Did you know? Organizations with sales and marketing alignment see 38% higher sales win rates and are 67% more efficient at closing deals. Sales and marketing alignment or “smarketing” is an intelligent strategy to optimize the sales process. It does so by allowing sales and marketing departments to:
- Share goals and collaborate on overall KPIs
- Agree on a buyer persona and develop a single customer journey
- Have open and consistent communication
- Ensure consistency in value demonstration and messaging
- Collaborate on customer retention and post-sales activities
- Use customer feedback to gain key insights about motivations, pain points, etc.
5. Leverage automation to create a faster and seamless sales process
Let’s face it, a B2B sales process can become very complex very quickly. This is especially true when there are several moving parts, longer sales cycles, multiple stakeholders involved, and higher price points and buyer’s risk. Thanks to automation, your sales team can save a lot of time and effort and become more efficient as they advance prospects across the sales process.
I wouldn’t shy away from providing automation tools to my salespeople if they can help optimize the sales process. Here’s what you can do with automation:
- Reduce time-consuming and manual sales tasks
- Automate outreach campaigns and follow-ups, even based on triggers
- Manage sales opportunities in real-time and automate lead generation and nurturing
- Assign leads and sales tasks faster and in a streamlined manner
- Keep track of the sales process and sales rep performance and create insightful reports
Optimizing the sales process is a wise move when you’re looking to improve deal closing and profit margins. A good piece of advice doesn’t harm anybody. I wouldn’t mind trying out the powerful strategies discussed here if I were to build an optimized sales process to close more deals.
When you begin putting these tactics into action, don’t forget to identify and resolve bottlenecks in your sales process. For example, if your leads are calling it quits early in the sales process, determine the root cause. Find out the particular stage at which leads frequently drop out. Check if your sales reps are nurturing leads enough to move them toward deal closing.
Lastly, make it a point to regularly measure the performance of your sales process. This helps you know whether your sales process is really optimized to meet your deal closing targets. Some of the key metrics you can measure are sales forecast accuracy, sales process adoption, sales cycle length, average on-target earnings, lead to opportunity conversion, and opportunity to close rate.
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