This article was sponsored by HubSpot for Startups
Starting a business can be exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying all at once. Between bringing on investors to fund your business in the early days, to creating a scalable plan that will allow you to grow well into the future, there are a number of smaller (though no less important) tasks that could fall through the cracks if you aren’t paying attention.
You’re doing your best to ensure that your business will succeed, but have you ironed out your sales process?
If your sales team doesn’t know your product inside and out, isn’t prepared for the call, or doesn’t know how to overcome objections and then ask for the sale, you may be leaving money on the table and potential customers out in the cold.
Creating a sales process will help you (and your sales team) approach potential customers with confidence and increase your close rate.
What is a sales process?
Simply put, a sales process is a series of steps a salesperson or team will take when moving a prospect from a potential customer to a satisfied customer. These steps generally include:
- Connecting and qualifying leads
- Research & Discovery
- Handling objections
- Closing the deal
- Nurturing and continuing to sell
Having a structured sales process in place will help you more effectively close deals, more easily train your sales team, identify the stages of the process when your prospects lose interest, and save time by eliminating those prospects who are not a good fit.
How to build a sales process
Now that you understand how important a sales process is to your business, how do you build one that works for your company?
- Understand what your team is already doing.
If you’ve been doing business for any length of time, your salespeople likely have a specific way they handle sales calls. You can use this information to see what is working and what could be done better.
- Determine your target personas and research your prospects.
These people or businesses may have expressed interest in the past, or they may match the demographics, or industry of existing clients. Once you figure out who they are, do your homework and learn whatever you can about them, their business, and their needs.
- Outline the buyer’s journey.
This is especially important in B2B environments (more on that later) with a lengthy buying process where you may not have access to the decision-maker for some time.
- Identify what qualifies the prospect to move forward or exit the sales process.
Not every prospect will be a good fit for your product or service. You can use the BANT framework to determine whether or not to proceed:
- Understand objections and how you’ll overcome them.
Objections are inevitable. Be ready to demonstrate your solution and discuss what will happen if they do not buy.
A sales process must be clearly stated and communicated across your salespeople. You also need to have close communication with your marketing team to identify what makes a lead a “qualified lead” and ensure that your top of funnel stays full of high potential customers.
The process of buying is an ever changing landscape. As you learn what works and what doesn’t, your process will inevitably change. It’s more important than ever to be empathetic with your sales process which includes these three key components:
- Identifying buying stages that are factual and inspectable
- Matching the way the buyer likes to purchase
- Focus on educating – don’t just “sell”
How a B2B sales process differs from B2C
Audience matters. For a B2C environment where you are selling to a consumer or end-user, you will most likely be selling directly to the decision-maker or someone who has access and influence over them. This sales process is often more simplified as a decision can be made independently and you are able to build trust with the individual who will be making that decision. Your personas should focus on the ideal buyers’ personal attributes, and physical and emotional needs.
However, depending on your industry, you may be selling in a B2B (business to business) environment. In this case, the sales process is likely more complex and the person you are speaking to may not be the decision-maker. Researching your target personas and outlining the buyer’s journey become increasingly important before attempting to close a prospect. Your personas should focus on the roles in the purchasing business’ organization and have a deep understanding of the pain points and motivators of the buyer. Regardless of a B2C or a B2B sales process, it’s critical to focus on providing value to your prospects rather than just closing deals.
HubSpot for Startups
Building out your sales process can be daunting for any startup, but it doesn’t have to be. Tech Nation is a proud partner of the HubSpot for Startups program. As a member of this program, you’ll receive masterclasses, free resources, and discounts to purchase software to help your business grow better. Apply for the HubSpot for Startups program here.