You have the next hottest product or service, memorable and targeted ads, and a defined customer base. But what’s missing and keeping you from closing the sale?
Don’t let your next sale get caught in the most common purchasing bottlenecks. From automating lead captures and conducting regular follow-ups, to tracking sales and marketing performance on a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool, there’s a lot more you can do after the sales pitch to close the deal.
Learn more about sales enablement and optimizing your sales process:
Why is an optimized sales process important?
A lot happens after you deliver a sales pitch. While mulling your offer, customers are also comparing quotes from competitors, doing more research on product features, and identifying their needs and priorities against their budget and goals.
In fact, the more time that passes since the pitch, the more time they also have to change their minds. You want customers to make a smart, informed decision — ultimately, completing the purchase for their satisfaction and success. Sales enablement allows you to identify gaps holding up the purchase, such as productivity issues and delays in follow-ups, as well as the quality of customer service and communications.
Documenting these processes in a CRM tool also allows you to identify the team members responsible for closing the sale, empower them with helpful tools and insights to succeed, and establish accountability. Often overlooked in favour of lead generation, sales enablement unlocks purchasing bottlenecks and even stalled leads, allowing you to refine the customer experience and achieve your performance goals.
How can your business or team improve its sales process?
Optimizing the sales process starts with learning what your team is — and isn’t — currently doing right to close a sale. Follow these 3 core steps to learn about stalled sales, and optimize the sales process:
- Interview your sales team: The easiest way to discover gaps in the sales pipeline? Ask your team for feedback, as well as the milestones and roadblocks they encounter. Take note of successful strategies and techniques that individual salespersons employ to replicate across the team.
- Conduct an audit: How are sales closed? Trace the steps from lead capture in your current CRM tool, to assignment to a sales team member, initial contact, and result. Step into a customer’s shoes. What’s missing from the interaction? Did you get all the information you need? How long did it take for the salesperson to follow-up? Are the next steps clearly communicated?
- Identify next steps: Once the gaps in the sales process are exposed, make a clear, action-oriented plan to address them. This includes eliminating ineffective processes and investing in productive ones, as well as obtaining qualified leads and focusing on high-potential prospects, and assessing goals to ensure their relevance in the current market.
Top 4 Ways to Improve Your Sales Process to Close More Business
Sales enablement is hard but rewarding work. The good news is, it provides a wealth of information you need to close gaps in the sales pipeline and succeed in a competitive market. Try these key strategies for optimizing the sales process, and achieve customer success that cements your position as an industry leader:
1. Focus on Long-Term Goals
Sales is a long-term process: it’s a constant, steady cycle of cultivating customer relationships and generating revenue. To succeed, you need a long-term strategy for consistently optimizing your sales pipeline and achieving growth targets. A sustainable sales strategy starts with establishing a productive sales culture that moves away from short-term goals like hitting monthly quotas and commissions.
Instead, focus on key milestones, such as rewards for client anniversaries or upselling and cross-selling existing accounts on value-added investments. Shifting towards long-term success also empowers your sales team to focus on generating high-quality revenue and long-term value for sustained growth, so make sure to reward performance based on these milestones.
2. Implement or Optimize your CRM Tool
The best-performing CRM tool rewards you with valuable insights into your sales process, such as visibility into bottlenecks and team performance. But to generate this feedback, you need to shift from a cookie-cutter CRM implementation towards a fully personalized design.
Optimize your CRM tool to capture and reflect the data you need. Train sales and marketing teams in best practices for use, and establish open communication between the two to facilitate the sharing of funnels, accountability, and planning.
The right CRM tool also allows you to implement marketing automation to capture leads, forward customer information to relevant team members, and send regular sales communication to stay in front of customers. With these automations, you can eliminate delays in follow-ups and establish customer touchpoints.
3. Know Your Customers
Some businesses only get to know their customers when the sales cycle is already underway, then using demographic and psychographic information obtained to inform future audience targeting. But this provides only a partial view into prospective customer segments and areas of growth. Instead, go back to the beginning and build ideal customer profiles and buyer personas.
Consider the demographic and psychographic characteristics of potential customers whose needs and problems can be addressed by your key offerings. Think about their location, age, gender, occupation, income, interests, consumption patterns, motivations for buying, and emotions that trigger them to purchase. Once these key data points are identified, you can build better campaigns that target exactly the right customers, resulting in qualified leads and higher conversions.
4. Track, Analyze, Optimize — and Repeat
The ultimate goal of sales enablement is growth. To achieve this, you need data to track and analyze, and insights to apply in optimizing the sales process. Leverage the combined power of a robust CRM platform and well-trained sales and marketing teams to derive and act on these insights.
Following a full cycle of campaign development, launch, and tracking, you can also uncover key strategies for nurturing and managing leads effectively, as well as improving revenue forecasting. With complete data and actionable insights, you can replicate successful sales processes for maintaining customer relationships, and establish growing revenue goals.
Start with Expert Sales Enablement
There’s more to sales than pitching product features and unique selling propositions. As the backbone of any business, it’s up to a strong sales team to translate the features of a truly leading-edge offering in response to customer needs and close the deal.
In a sea of sales tools and techniques and the race to generate leads, it’s easy to miss out on sales enablement: an under-utilized tool that improves the sales process and optimizes the customer journey. It’s all about staying the course — and improving it, as simple as scheduling regular follow-ups and refining customer service approaches, to key investments like CRM implementation and continuous campaign tracking and optimization.
The good news is, you won’t have to do any of these on your own. Sales enablement experts are here to help, ready to uncover gaps in your sales process and offer expert advice and industry best practices for optimizing the sales pipeline. Together, you can measure performance according to established KPIs — and implement new ones as the business grows.
When was the last time you reviewed your sales process? If you’re struggling with converting leads, it’s time to take a closer look at your sales process and optimize it. Get in touch with the sales enablement experts at Consultus Digital.