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Implementing sales best practices for successful selling should not only lead to higher levels of sales performance but also in more loyal customers. They are a set of guidelines baked into the DNA of the business to help the sales team run effectively and efficiently.
We all accept that the digital era has demanded a shift in the way salespeople sell. Even a small SaaS monthly subscription can have multiple decision makers and extended sales cycle. Then the sales teams have to be active in multi-channel selling, overcome the barrier buyer, changing business needs, and prospects who are increasingly well-informed.
Sales leaders today seem to have more questions than answers. No article could cover the topics to help build your sales plans. However, here are our sales best practices that just might help:
Sales Best Practices.
Create a customer journey. These are all the stages and touch points to which a customer passes through in their relationship with a business. Most salespeople are probably familiar with most of these stages, for example Awareness, Discovery, Evaluation and Decision. It can be easy to dismiss the value of plotting out this journey. However, as change is the only constant, none of us should lose sight of how important it is to walk in our customer’s shoes to understand their pain points and challenges. It’s not enough to observe that buying has become more complicated. We must make the moves necessary to lead the customer and help them navigate the journey.
Sales Best Practices - Map out your sales process.
A comprehensive sales process encompasses all major customer interactions from prospecting to selling to nurturing.
Salespeople that stand out have moved beyond identifying problems and proposing “solutions. Instead, they focus on understanding the business results their customers want to achieve, and then act as a partner to accelerate the results. A sales process should focus on delivering a bundle of values from the business to the buyer. Value delivery and not value exchange is the key.
So, the end result of your sales process will allow salespeople to.
Open meaningful conversations with a customer.
Understand the business issues of the customer.
Help customers to understand these issues.
Build an effective solution.
Link the proposed solution to the issues.
Understand the psychology of selling.
Psychology tells us that people do not like making tough decisions, so we need to make buying easier. At the most basic level, it is important to understand that most people buy for one of two reason –– they buy to move closer to pleasure or to move further away from pain.
To improve selling opportunities, we need to understand the buyer, their pain, what they want to gain and then we need to add value to open up the buyer to change. Selling today is all about recognizing the true motivations of buyers and aligning your presentation and solution to match their needs and desires.
Sales Best Practices - Share the sales strategy.
Your sales strategy is simply about putting in place goals and tactics, then adopting courses of action and allocating your resources to achieve the selected goals and tactics. The question is, do your sales team understand this? The first output when sharing the sales strategy is to outline the goals around sales, pipeline metrics, customers, market fit, market appeal, value proposition and your sales plans. The second output to share is the list of essential initiatives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your selling steps to achieve the goals. This should ensure everyone in the sales effort is aligned.
Be clear on customer target selection.
Every salesperson should know their ROSE – return on sales effort. Sales success is more likely to come from figuring out which businesses would understand your product or service and recognize the most value in using it. The typical output of a customer target selection is a customer persona, which outlines salient descriptors of your target customer, which are relevant and helpful in making strategic decisions. Rather than identifying the unique needs of one individual — you’ll need to identify the unique needs of multiple people along the purchase decision making line.
Deciding on the right target customer is both art and science. The art is defining the target customer in a way that gives your value proposition a listening ear and allows you to differentiate versus competitors.
Sales Best Practices – understand your value proposition.
Your value proposition, is the "what" and the core of your business activity, composed of your products, services, promises and pricing of the business. It is the acid test in sales to make sure salespeople have something to say, which answers the customers “Why Listen” and “Why Care” questions if they were to consider a buying journey.
If customers believe they will get more value out of your value proposition than your competitors, over time you sales team will win. To get buyers to listen to your sales conversations, you need to ensure that everyone understands the value propositions for your product or service that has both sufficient points-of-parity (POP) and points-of-difference (POD).
Create a “Respect” charter.
Being able to show professional respect to internal and external customers is a key component of not only employee retention, but customer retention, satisfaction, and repeat business. Studies indicate that key behavioral “themes” are present when showing respect. This applies both on and off the job. The respect charter can include areas such as, acknowledging others, listening, being courteous, being empathetic and being accountable.
Sales Best Practices - Understand the buyer whys.
When developing your own customer journey map, remember the “five W’s” of investigation:
Who? B2B buyers purchase in teams. Think about the prospective customer as a portfolio of buyer personas who each play different roles in the collective advance toward a decision.
Why? What outcome is the buyer looking to achieve? What need or pain is the buyer looking to ameliorate?
When? Buyers have different needs at different stages of their buyer journeys. It’s important to understand the buyer’s context and identify the questions that need to be addressed at each stage.
What? What content can you provide to address buyers’ questions? How does the buyer want that content packaged? Where?
Where does the prospective buyer seek information? This includes all the various channels and vehicles in the classic marketing mix, such as websites, webinars, and events.
Everyone in sales is a storyteller.
Train salespeople to tell compelling, visually powerful “why change” stories using the 3 C’s. Context. Contrast. And Concrete. Context is story telling to highlight the gaps in the buyers current situation and how they can block the buyer from achieving their objectives. Contrast is highlighting the pain they feel and the value they will receive. It is a “To and From” approach. Concrete is providing proof and data to translate the sales presentation to a digestible format.
Sales Best Practices – Improve the sales habit loop.
To change your organizations sales habits, you need to change their sales habit loop. The sales habit loop consists of a cue, routine, and reward. The first step is to understand the cue and then change the routine. Habits are choices that we continue doing repeatedly without actually thinking about them. At one point, they started with a decision, but they eventually became automatic.
The key word here is ‘habits’. In order to have sustainable change and growth, you need to look the salespeople habits – what do they do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, which affects their ability to win business? At a time when products and services are often at relative parity, these [game-changing sales habits] can be the primary differentiator in the success of a sale."
We hope your enjoyed reading these suggest sales best practices to improve your sales results and sales training in these telling time. Best wishes.
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