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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Cold Calling'>Cold Calling</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales'>Sales</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales process'>Sales process</a>
Sales Strategy
May 4, 2016 | Matthew Cook lock

Each organization’s sales team will have a unique defined sales process that it leans on in order prospect, nurture, and close deals successfully. But what happens when that process is broken or so out of date that it isn’t in sync with the way people buy today? Your sales reps will have difficulty gaining business, sales will suffer, and so will your profits.

As buyer behaviours change, so should your process. Not sure if your process is out of date? Look for these five signs.

1. Too Focused on Cold Leads
In the past, cold calling was very popular. It was one of the best sales tactics organizations had to drum up new business, because there really weren’t other options available. But the internet changed the game, and inbound marketing was created to match today’s new buyer behaviour. If you’re still relying on purchasing lists of leads and cold calling to generate revenue, then your process urgently needs to be updated.

Cold calling doesn’t work anymore, so you need to switch your focus to adding warm leads to your pipeline—leads that are interested in your company and in what you’re selling. When your reps can reach out to prospects who have actually expressed an interest, they’ll have better luck closing deals. Implement inbound marketing to adapt to the new way customers buy and start attracting warm leads, instead of chasing cold ones.

2. Poor Connection Rate
If your sales people are still sending out cold emails to their leads, they probably have a very poor connection rate. Their emails are quickly deleted without even being opened. Why? Because the leads don’t know who they are. This poor connection rate is a big sign of a broken piece of the process.

Prospects will be far more likely to engage with your sales people if they are familiar with them—or at least their company affiliation—first. Sales reps need to prioritize developing a bond and rapport with prospects online before sending out those emails or otherwise reaching out. Taking the time to identify where prospects are active online, engaging them in conversation, and adding value before reaching out will increase the likelihood of a response because the sales rep will no longer be a complete stranger to the prospect.

3. No Follow-Up
Many old sales processes end at the sale. And this is a shame because there are so many opportunities for delighting customers after they’ve purchased. If your reps don’t follow up after the sale, then you need to update your process. Continuing to nurture customers can help your sales people improve your reputation, gain referrals, and generate all-important word-of-mouth marketing. Plus, it can lead to additional sales down the line. After-sale follow-ups are critical.

4. It’s All about the Rep, the Product, and the Company
If your sales process is totally focused on the sale, then you’re going to lose out on tons of opportunities. Today, customers want to be in charge. And they don’t want to be sold to. They don’t want to hear pitches. They don’t care about the product’s distinguished features or your company’s awards or successes. They care about increasing their knowledge and about finding out how your product will serve to meet their needs and help them overcome their challenges.

A great sales process today is one that revolves around the customer. One that uses education and knowledge as power. And one that lets the customer be in charge.

5. You Base Decisions on Gut Instinct, Not Data
Today’s sales teams have access to a wealth of data that was previously unavailable. Using an effective CRM system and keeping track of online behaviours can give your sales people the insights they need for better selling. If you’re still using gut instinct and a hit-or-miss approach to selling instead of using data to guide your decisions, then your sales process is failing you.

Your sales people are only as strong as the sales processes they rely on. If your sales process sucks, is out of date, is broken, or is out of line with today’s consumers, then it’s time to update it. 

About the Author:
Matt-Cook-SalesHubMatthew has over 20 years of sales and sales management experience. He is the founder of SalesHub, an inbound marketing agency that helps companies generate leads, boost revenue, and adapt to the new way customers buy. When he’s not helping companies improve their revenue, he trains and competes in half ironman distance triathlons to “relax”.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

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