Written by   |   Oct 25 2020   |   Read 131 times

Those who've worked in the sales department can attest to how gruelling sales prospecting can be. Convincing a stranger to hand over their hard-earned bucks in exchange for a product or service can turn your stomach in an instant.

The thing is, selling is a daunting process- one that shifts and evolves often. Turning a prospect into a repeat client is like trying to strike a moving target. On a stormy day. With your eyes closed. There's no such thing as a fail-proof sales method but there are steps you can take to massively boost the possibility of getting the YES every time you pitch a new lead.

I'm talking about adopting CRM software for the entirety of your sales process. Customer Relationship Management system can fine-tune your sales process, helping your small business move a new lead from a mere prospect to a client to a brand ambassador!

So are you ready to act and build a sales pipeline that works?

Step 1: Finding Prospects

The first step in the sales process involves identifying potential buyers to add to the top of your pipeline, otherwise known as lead generation. New leads can be generated through interactions with your website, networking events, trade shows, social media interaction, referrals, online research, inbound marketing methods or buying lists of contacts that meet your ideal customer demographic.

Once you have your list of prospects, you can then attract their attention by acknowledging a problem they're already facing in a compelling email (assuming that you have their permission to contact them). Make sure you've done your research before to ensure you can offer a more personalised experience when they respond.

With an all-in-one CRM tool like Act!, you can automatically nurture prospects based on interactions with your emails and then monitor your prospect's progress as they make their way up the sales pipeline.

Pro Tip: Attach a short video introducing your services or products in your prospecting mail. This aids in capturing the prospect's attention and are highly likely to receive (positive!) feedback from them.

Step 2: Prospect Qualification

As you fill-up the sales funnel with prospects, you have to make some difficult choices about which ones are actually worth your time and effort. Adding CRM technology to your sales funnel makes it simpler to know which leads represent the highest value overall and should be prioritised as such.

For example, your qualification process can be as follows:

  1. Prospects acknowledge the service and the need for it.
  2. Determine prospect challenges and how the service can solve it.
  3. Determine the decision-makers.
  4. Understand the roadmap for that particular company, if they have a budget and timeframe for the service implementation.

If your high-converting, high-value clients are the SMBs in B2C, you will allocate those demographics (such as budget/timeframe/business need) in your CRM. If a specific lead matches those criteria in their profile, your CRM will qualify them and alert you that the lead should be a top priority.

Pro Tip: When crafting that email, be sure to send case studies of clients with similar challenges and pain points. This aids prospects to better understand your service/product and also helps to build credibility and trust.

Step 3: Quoting Newly-Found Leads

Pitching to qualified leads about the conditions of the agreement as well as pricing is a pertinent stage in the sales pipeline. Multiple deals are closed or lost here, depending on how expertly the negotiations are handled. Sales personnel must do everything possible to "lure" prospects and close deals when quoting.

Implementing a CRM in your sales process allows you to create a professional-looking quote that is tailored for the prospective client. Prior to quoting though, it's important to evaluate all client metrics available in your CRM, including past interaction and demographic insights. With these details, it'll be easier to propose a deal that best fits their needs and budget. Keep in mind that the more customised the pitching process, the more valued the prospect will feel.

You can also utilise your sales CRM to create solid deadlines for pitching quotes to make sure that no deal hits the wall. But how exactly do you do this? Easy, just assign yourself tasks with definite timelines. Sign off tasks only when they've been achieved, and your sales reps are ready to move onto the next level. If the prospect doesn't give feedback, set a new reminder with a fresh deadline, but this time with more emphasis on follow-ups.

Step 4: Closing The Deal

Convincing your prospective client to agree on a quote and close the deal can be a complicated process. Fortunately, the CRM process gives your inside sales team a better way to estimate and get the timing right when finalising the deal.

Data insights retrieved from previous won and lost deals will aid your team to better strategise on the deal you're currently handling. First, use sales health KPIs to determine the average amount of time that deals take in any particular stage of the prospecting.

If a deal has hit a brick wall or isn't quite moving up the sales funnel at the expected pace, you might want to rethink your process. Determine which particular stages are taking longer than normal and try and work out why that is the case. Once you've mapped out the origin of the problem, you and your sales team can tackle it expertly - and hopefully, seal that deal!

Step 5: Reflection

The ultimate level in the sales CRM process is a reflection. Basically, where you look back and brainstorm on the steps leading up to the deal being won or lost. Without a system that provides real-time data metrics and captures trends, collecting useful insights from your wins and losses can be relatively hard.

Whether you close the deal or not, a sales-centred tool makes it easy for your inside sales reps to reflect on the experience and derive valuable insights. After all, you want to know how such metrics will impact your sales team for future prospecting.

Better still, you can compare vital metrics, such as average sales acceleration for that particular campaign to your current prices to identifying hidden factors in the final result. Be specific why the deal never materialised- maybe your rates were too pricey, or the client preferred competitors. Tracking the obvious reasons why leads fail to return value can be really important in understanding how to sharpen your sales approach.

If you do seal a deal, a CRM will facilitate sharing of data at the cross-department level. You, as a business owner, will easily share the new client's information to the relevant staff so they can offer the very best to the new customer.

Pro Tip: In the event of closed lost deals, a CRM helps your sales team to nurture and hopefully revive them. You can keep prospective customers on the loop by staying connected and sending updates about pricing changes and product/service upgrades.

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Take your sales process to the next level with an all-in-one CRM. Act! CRM is a tried-and-tested platform for creating a sales CRM process that provides real-time industry-specific insights, streamlines tasks execution through automation, and accelerates sales. Sign up for a free trial or take a look at the video below to see how Act! helps you to manage your sales opportunities.

Cate Dempsey

As Managing Director, Cate Dempsey manages the strategic direction of the business along with the day to day management of the core team for Act Today.

Starting as CRM Consultant in 2001, Cate has an inside view of what clients need and want when it comes to CRM. Cate is able to bring her client facing experience into the strategy and decision making process, enabling Act Today to be very focused on customer experience and satisfaction.

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