Related

How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value and Cost of Customer Acquisition

on November 29, 2012

Net New Sales: Sell More by Selling Less

on December 17, 2012

A Simple 6 Step B2B Sales Process

The following is an introduction to the basic sales process we teach new sales reps at CAN.  Our 6 step sales process guides them from selecting the right prospects, making first contact, selecting your sales approach, your first face-to-face meeting, determining next steps, and getting the deal closed. I hope that it will help you build a reliable sales strategy you can use to close more deals. (Learn how we predicted who was most likely to enroll at a Top 10 Online University) 

Sales Process Step 1: Select the Right Prospects

Investing the time to carefully select your prospects is essential because you want to make sure that you are investing your time and energy on developing the right opportunities. I recommend looking for people that have the need, willingness and resources to purchase what you sell. Focusing your efforts will help ensure that you invest in providing your prospects with a great client experience. At CAN, in addition using predictive analytics for lead generation, our salespeople spend a lot of time looking through business cards and LinkedIn connections from trade shows and networking events.

Sales Process Step 2: Make First Contact

Once you have selected your targets the next step is to make first contact. Your goal at first contact is to simply get a meeting. This is especially true if you prospect is not familiar with who you are. We have found using a combination of email and LinkedIn messages work the best. One of CAN’s sales reps studied the linguistic patterns behind  our most successful emails and developed the following formula to produce good results when sending requests for the first meeting to prospects:

Greeting + Lead in {positive emotion} + profit/growth hook + Who We Are + the product and results + Outcome for Client + Meeting Request with 2 possible options + Close = Meeting

The following is example of a meeting request email from one of the CAN salespeople;

Steve,
Good morning. We spoke briefly at the alumni center after your presentation on CompanyX and building a start-up within a company. Based on your experience and position at CompanyX, I think you might be interested in my company, Contemporary Analysis.

Contemporary Analysis uses mathematics and big data to predict and influence human behavior. One of our products, Pulse, applies predictive analytics to analyze the profitability, loyalty and activity of individuals in your client portfolio. This allows you to focus your marketing and customer service efforts, anticipate trends in your portfolio, and engineer greater retention and profitability by contacting the right people at the right time. I would like to explore how you could use Pulse and perhaps some of CAN’s other solutions to increase sales for the CompanyX family. Are you available to meet this week or next at our office at 1209 Harney #200, online via Skype or over the phone? I am available on Monday after noon and Tuesday at 10am and 1:30pm.

Thank you,

Jefferson

As a tip, I recommend scheduling your meeting request emails to be sent at 7:00 am on a Monday or Tuesday. This is optimal because most people check their emails when they first get into the office, and on a Monday or Tuesday their schedules are the most open to explore new opportunities. Also, it makes people feel like they were your first priority of the day. If someone does not respond to your email, I recommend connecting with them using LinkedIn or another social network.

Sales Process Step 3: Select your Sales Approach

Once your prospect has agreed to meet with you it is important to prepare for your face-to-face meeting. One of the most important steps in preparing is to select your sales approach. Different people require different approaches, and while it take a little bit of research selecting the right approach will help you make the best first impression possible. The following are 5 typical sales approaches. The key to success is imitation of the person. You don’t want to mock the person, but you want the person to be able to see a little bit of himself or herself in you. If you can successfully do this, the people that you talk to will be more trusting and will connect with you quicker.

1. The Ego: This person wants to feel important, and they will most likely respond to you and possibly purchase your product to satisfy an egotistical need.

2. The Expert: The person considers themselves to be an expert in their field, and will expect you to have a minimum knowledge of their field, or to be an expert if you are approaching them about something in their field.

3. The Good Samaritan: These people are very open to being contacted, but they don’t want to be sold. They want to help out and listen to someone.

4. The Skeptic: With skeptical people you want to lead with facts and figures. They won’t agree to a meeting with you unless you have Case Studies, Testimonials, and or an impressive client list.

5. The Explorer: These people are very open to being contacted, because they love learning about new things. When you approach them about an opportunity, it has to be unique and also be exciting. If it is these to things you will most likely get a meeting.

Sales Process Step 4: The Face-to-Face Meeting

Typically in business-to-business sales your prospects are only able to meet with you once or twice before they decide whether or not they are going to purchase. Because of this, it is essential to make the most of your face-to-face and then move the sale forward using emails and voicemail.

During the first meeting you want to make sure you understand what your prospect the person wants to achieve, what their budget is, and who the key decision makers are. Your goal is to ask as many questions as possible, because this establishes rapport with the prospects and it becomes harder to get answers to the tough questions once you are on longer face-to-face or over the phone.

When learning about your prospects goals make sure to remember that people buy things and companies pay for them. So you don’t want to focus just on the company’s goals, but also the aspirations your prospect has and what pressures they are under. While your solution still needs to produce results for your client the company, helping your client the person will help you win the contract and future contracts.

Sales Process Step 5: Determine Next Steps

During your face-to-face meeting you want to move the call as far as possible towards a decision as possible. However, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get a decision either for a sale or no sale during your first meeting. The following are definitions that the CAN sales team uses to evaluate the outcome of every client interaction, and this helps us determine where opportunities are in the sales cycle. Having clear definitions of where opportunities are in the sales cycle allows our sales team to determine what next steps to take and which opportunities to prioritize to make sure we meet our sales quotas for the next 15, 30 and 60 days.

Advances (Successful): An advance is when an event takes place either during the call or after the call that moves the sale toward a decision. The events need to represent an agreement with the customer that moves the sale forward toward the ultimate decision. Advancements take many forms, but invariably they involve an action that moves the sale forward. Typical advances might include:

  • A customer’s agreement to attend an off-site demonstration.
  • A clearance that will get you in front of a higher level decision maker.
  • An agreement to run a trial or test of your product.
  • Access to parts of the account that were previously inaccessible to you.

Continuations (Unsuccessful): Where the sale will continue but where no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move it forward. Continuations are often a way to politely get rid of a seller. These calls do not result in an agreed action, yet neither do they involve a “No” from the customer. Typical examples would be calls that end with a customer saying:

  • “Thank you for coming. Why don’t you visit us again the next time you’re in the area.”
  • “Fantastic presentation, we’re very impressed. Let’s meet again some time.”
  • “We liked what we saw and we’ll be in touch if we need to take things further.”

Orders (Successful): This is when the lead closes the deal by signing a contract or paying. This is not a “I am 99.9% likely to close,” event. Orders have to be contractual or monetary.

No-Sale (Unsuccessful): This is when a customer actively refuses your principal call objective. Good examples of this are when a client tells you that they aren’t interested, won’t agree to a future meeting or denies your request to see a more senior person in the account.

Your goal is to choose next steps that continue to move the sale forward until you either receive an order or a no sale.

Sales Process Step 6: When and How to Close the Deal

Once you have led your prospect to the realization that they have the need, willingness and resources to purchase what you sell, the simplest close is to simply ask for the business and then wait until your prospect breaks the silence. Even if it takes 10 minutes, they will eventually break the silence, and if they are confident that you have the solution necessary to achieve their goals they will most likely respond by agreeing to purchase what you sell.

 

Learn more about the right sales leads for your business:


Looking for something?