In terms of your sales funnel, what do you consider the most important part? If you said closing the deal, you’re not alone. Of course we all want to close the deal and make the money. But, in terms of how to get to that all important closing, most businesses draw a blank. A blanket term from your marketing or planning teams, or even management called your sales strategy is usually passed around. Right now, ask yourself – do you have a clear, proven strategy that can repeatedly be attributed to closing your deals? Do you have fail-safes and a researched map that is guaranteed to take you to the top? Most sales teams are energetic go-getters ready to take action now and plan later. Sales are exciting for the sales team and most believe in learning by doing, unfortunately this is costing you time and money. Your team needs a solidified strategy to avoid the utter chaos of when a detail goes wrong or a plan turns out to be a failure. These strategies are a proven way to get the job done correctly, fast, and with a few plan b’s and c’s to help you along the way.
Before going into any sales strategy, there are universal components that you and your team will need to clearly define in order to set a solid foundation for success. First and foremost, differentiate your marketing strategy from your sales strategy. Most people will think that these two components are the same, but they are actually compliments to each other. Your marketing strategy involves getting your company out, exposure through social media campaigns, TV, print, word of mouth, etc. All aspects that will plant the seed of an idea into your prospects’ minds. Your sales strategy is how to get and finalize the sale.
Next, what is your vision? Not yours specifically, but the company’s mission and vision for the future. You are the face of the company and your goals should be in line. Where does your mission meet your vision and where do you want this company to go? By knowing the end goal, the road map to get there will come easily. Thirdly, have a clear revenue goal in mind. Not only should you know the specific numbers, but you should know why it will support your company vision and every step of the road to get there. Once you have a solid foundation laid, it’s time to switch focus to your ideal customer. Clearly defining your buyer personas and as specifically as possible, will help to find and target your top ideal prospects as quickly as possible. Saving you time, money and head-aches.
Strategy 1: Refresh and Re-image your Customer Profiles/Buyer Persona
Right now, you’re most likely targeting based on an age range, demographics, and where your target customer is looking online, but there is so much more information available to help you pinpoint your market exactly.
Usually your customer profile takes the quantitative data that your company has collected and pieces them together as a combination of data. Your customer is a person, their company is made up of people. Your persona should create more than a net for a robot, but an identity for humans with emotions and shifting concerns. Due to the increase in details readily available your buyers persona now has the potential to flow into an intricate story, allowing you to understand the emotional aspects of the sales process as well.
With this new buyer persona, your company will more readily get inside the heads of your customers. This brings the added benefits of knowing pain-points and barriers to the final sale ahead of time. Be warned that this persona is not static and will have to be re-evaluated and refreshed over time.
Buyer Persona: Males, Ages 25-35, College Educated, Mobile Internet User, Prefers News By Internet
Refreshed Buyer Persona: Tyler, Aged 32, Bachelors working towards second degree/interested in more training, Single parent of two who spends most time online using mobile device mostly on Facebook & Instagram. Enjoys basketball and recreational sports in his free time and keeps up with the news.
Strategy 2: CRM
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is software that enables the tracking and sorting of customer information helping to nurture them through the sales funnel from leads to customers. Using CRM software, you can better target each customer persona at their unique position in. A prospect does not want nor find interesting what your loyal customers do in terms of information and a CRM can differentiate and regulate sending of your materials that you deem fit.
Your company knows that every lead is at a different position, some ready to make the jump to customer while others teetering on the edge. CRMs allow you to rate leads using a unique scale that allows you to categorize the quality of the lead and level of interest so your sales team will be ready to strike while the metal is hot, decreasing sales time and increasing your revenue.
The most useful tool of a CRM sales strategy is the optimization of the entire B2B sales process by organizing all of your data into a neat and easily readable database. All of your leads, tests, dates, sales, and other data that your team spends countless hours recording and assessing will be organized and presented for quick viewing. Most offer customized reports that help to further speed up your sales process.
- According to Salesforce.com utilizing a CRM system increases sales up to almost 30%
- According to Annuitas.com by using a CRM business see over a 450% increase in the quality of leads.
- According to SiriusDecisions.com, over 65% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally.
Strategy 3: Humanize Your Pitches and Results
Most of your sales pitches will start with how the company will save your prospects money thanks to a variety of packages. You pitching is numbers and increased ROI, which is the obvious end goal of every sales company. Your prospects will not feel like you’re really there to help them and better establish your company’s vision in the market.
By identifying and understanding each companies’ unique pain points and providing solutions, you’ll better connect with the person behind the numbers. Your prospects want to be treated as a person with a concern who is looking for a solution. This heavily relies on a fully developed and well researched buyer’s persona. This allows you to know the lay of the land before the conversation even beings.
Round out your pitch by expressing how your solutions will resolve their pain points without numbers, showing that you truly care about the issue instead of the revenue you’ll generate.
“Hello, I’m X with Y. We’ve done some research and notice that your company need some assistance better reaching out to customers in the Y district of town. Fighting through the clutter is hard and Y has just developed new programs that will reach your customers easier and help relieve the stress of finding people who matter to you.”
Strategy 4: Become a “Yes Man”
After careful planning and reviewing, it’s time to make the call. You already know your pitch in and out, ready to asses pain-points, use convincing verbiage, and offer the perfect solution to their company’s problems. That is until your potential prospect asks of something that is a definite no or simply outright impossible.
What do you do? Under the stress of a normal situation and when not planning for, the normal response is to simple say “Sorry sir/ma’am, we don’t offer that”/ ”Sorry, no.” Think back to how you feel when someone tells you “no.” You don’t lose confidence in the person who is speaking to you but instead become more embarrassed in yourself for asking the question or having the issue.
You’re already facing the challenge of getting through to your prospect, that last thing you want to do – and what potentially will lose the deal – is to tell them that something isn’t possible. Do not in any way lie to make the deal, do not make false promises, and absolutely do not mislead the customer. That is illegal and poor form for every company. Any lies will be revealed publicly or to upper management later on due to the ease of access to information and need for constant review.
That being said, there are thousands of other ways to say “no” without losing a prospect’s trust. The end goal is to provide the prospect enough information to establish confidence in themselves to either say yes or pass the good word to upper management for the final decision. Make clear that every level of management at every section of the sales funnel needs to be treated with the same upmost respect and “yes” mentality.
Negotiate, understand, stall, express your want to try to make something similar happen, but do not say no. There is always a solution, some are just harder to come by then others.
Example Alternatives to No:
– “I understand that you want X added, with the direction we see your company going in this can be accomplished by Y instead.”
– “That’s an excellent question and all too familiar, in my experience X actually improves upon this and our company specializes in those improved tactics.”
– During longer face-to-face sales, stall and take moment to negotiate with your team to see if the opportunity is truly available.
Strategy 5: Tell An (Exciting) Story
When you explain that you’re in sales or start into your sales pitch, most reactions are normally the same. Sales seems to have developed the unfortunate rap of bleak, distant, and money-driven. Not many people are willing to waste their precious time on a boring or uneventful conversation during their packed day.
So how do you captivate your audience? The same way truly successful salesmen have been doing for centuries – tell a story and make it exciting! There are numerous benefits that come with weaving a story into your pitch. First and foremost, your potential customer will get hooked early on in the conversation and be in a much happier disposition throughout the conversation. An added bonus is that their mood will help keep yours lighter as well.
Second, your story and in turn your sales pitch will be more easily and readily remembered in your prospects’ mind. This helps miles after your conversation ends, even if it ends in a decline or a maybe, your story will be stuck in their head. The beauty of this strategy is that it can used in every and any level of your sales funnel, leaving a perfect time to weave the best story that addresses all pain points and throws in exciting examples for everyone in the prospective company. Be someone that your prospects not only enjoy working with, but advocate for others to join in as well.
HP’s “The Wolf” takes the not-so-interesting topic of printer security and turns it into a captivating trailer with Christian Slater as the villain “wolf” hacking into a specific companies printers distracting the “sheep” until he can feed on the information printed and take exactly what he needs. Not only is the trailer interesting, but clearly defines the need for something not many know about and how HP is there to be the hero.
B2B sales is an intricate process with numerous constantly evolving strategies that utilize a combination of changing technology with irreplaceable person to person contact. These strategies are amazing landmarks for effective strategies but as previously mentioned need to be tailored to meet specific needs and constantly reevaluated.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]