Sales drive every business. Defining and streamlining your sales process is an ongoing challenge as technology is constantly evolving and creating new opportunities to improve the productivity and effectiveness of your sales team.
As inbound and social media marketing have increased lead generation, some of those leads may not be qualified. Whether it's visitors to your website simply converting to receive your free premium content, or buyers who don't fit your target market, lead quality can go down.
While you may be getting more leads, qualification becomes more important. Leads that will never close can have a negative impact on your numbers as well as frustrate your team.
As a result, it's important to streamline your sales process to both handle the increase in volume, and better qualify leads. Here are five ways to streamline your sales process to improve close rates and increase the productivity and efficiency of your sales team.
Examine Your Current Process Define A Plan
According to Hubspot about 50 percent of sales teams do not have a defined sales plan. This is a huge number, and simply defining a process can catapault your sales team ahead of the competition. Create a sales process plan by:
- Outlining and defining steps that your team will take from conversion until after the lead is closed.
- Implement training to set-up and review these steps to ensure that the entire team is on the same page.
Lead qualification means aligning your marketing and sales teams in order to define the qualification process and determine when a lead is ready to be passed from marketing to sales.
By defining the process, leads can be pre-qualified and moved when they are ready to enter the final stages of your sales funnel. This can reduce the instance of selling to leads that will never close and keep your team focused and on point.
Refine Buyer Personas
Your ability to attract qualified leads is determined by marketing and they buyer persona's they have developed. Fine tuning this aspect of your marketing is best accomplished by clearly defining the problem that your product, service or company can solve for customers. Your sales reps need to show value, not just sell features.
Showing how your solution can add value is the key. Understanding your customers buying journey is critical to developing effective effective personas. By addressing this issue and marketing to the right audience, you can improve the quality of leads, and the efficiency of your process.
Implement “Big Data” Technologies
The ability to successfully capture, analyze, manage and act upon customer data is critical to understanding your market. This data contains the insights into customer buying habits and behaviors you can use to further refine lead quality and better manage prospecting efforts.
Analytics can help your organization to determine who to target, how to identify the most promising and profitable activities and customers, and which buyers are most likely to respond to your efforts.
This can help you to focus your sales teams efforts on the most promising and profitable leads, further streamlining your process.
Use Social Platforms to Attract and Engage Potential Customers
Streamlining your sales process begins with attracting the right customers into your sales funnel. Social platforms provide opportunities to “meet” customers, engage with them and introduce them into your sales funnel.
By using your targeted personas, you can present your message on platforms where your target market communicates.
By engaging with customers and gathering feedback on social platforms, you can increase brand identity, and gain authority.
Customer feedback on these same social platforms will drive like-minded individuals to your sales funnel, and allows you to target potential customers at the right point in their decision making process. Better quality leads means higher closing ratios, and a streamlined process.
Implement Automated Sales Systems
Studies have shown that businesses that do not use automation spend 71% of their time and resources planning and defining processes. By automating time consuming repetitive tasks, you can free up your sales team's time to focus on the important activities that generate more sales and increase revenues.
Automation is one of the key steps towards refining and streamlining your sales process. Sales force automation provides your team with real-time data, sales figures, opportunities, complaints and other data that allows managers to quickly take action, make the necessary adjustments and optimize the efforts of their team in the field.
Streamlining your sales processes is a worth while effort that can help you stand out from your competitors. Arming your sales team with the tools and data they need and defining the steps necessary to take a prospect from interest to close, while better identifying high-quality leads can focus your efforts, streamline your sales process, increase your close ratios and better grow your business.