One of the common themes we discuss on this blog is the idea that sales are hard. Today’s consumer is smarter, more knowledgeable and more cynical than they’ve ever been. Consider the different forms of media the average person can engage with on an everyday basis: TV, internet, video games, billboards, magazines and newspapers. And now, realize that on every one of those mediums, someone is constantly trying to sell something. We’ve reached a saturation point with advertising and promotions, which means that patience for sales pitches is at an all-time low. So yeah, sales are pretty tough.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to have a sales process that is as effective as possible. Great sales people can "sell ice to an Eskimo", as the saying goes, but you’re not going to have a staff full of great sales people. However, with an effective sales process, all of your sales people will still be able to get the job done. So how do you know if your sales process is working? Here are four ways to find out.
1. You follow up with leads regularly
Follow up is a huge part of sales, and you should have a detailed process for how to keep engaging with leads. Are your sales people following up at certain intervals (for example, a week after first contact, then two weeks later, and so on)? Are you giving your sales people the proper tools to assist in their follow-ups? If you engage in content marketing, then your sales people should have some content at their disposal, which they can use to pique the interest of their leads.
2. Sales people work efficiently and effectively together
In order for your sales people to work well together, you need to have a lead tracking and scoring protocol in place. Ensures that interactions with leads are recorded, so that any sales person can pick up where someone else left off. This kind of adaptability allows your sales team to function as one collective unit, instead of a bunch of separate individuals.
3. Your sales people have a good close rate
Lead conversions are one of the most important aspects of your business, because converting a lead into a sale is what creates revenue – and that’s what this is all about, right? Regardless of your product or market, a conversion rate isn’t going to surpass about 10 percent. If your conversion rate is substantially lower than this, then you must reevaluate your sales process. A close rate of 2-3 percent is inadequate and unsustainable.
4. Your sales people aren’t (that) frustrated
I’m of the opinion that sales people are eternally frustrated, at least a little bit. A good sales person probably wants to have a close rate of 100 percent, so any missed or failed sale is a source of frustration. Considering that a 100 percent close rate is impossible, that means frustration occurs on a regular basis. But if your sales people are abnormally frustrated, either by the process or their effectiveness, your sales process may be the cause. There are certain features and strategies that every sales process should utilize, but the most important requirement is that a sales process works for your business. Talk with your sales team about what works and what doesn’t, and help tailor your sales process to meet the specific needs of your company.