What is your mission as a business manager or entrepreneur? Which are the community's most pressing problems can your business help solve? As a sales manager, are you able to communicate your businesses' Why, What, and How to an uninterested fifth grader?
The key to success in sales management is understanding your mission (or product) and using clear communication to cultivate relationships and to network with prospects that you can eventually convert into clients.
In the race against time and resources, the sales management strategies that have brought you thus far cannot take you further. In order to grow your book of business and close the most rewarding leads, you'll need a new approach that makes use of new digital tools.
In this post, you will discover the seven core steps in modern effective sales management ecosystem — from finding and qualifying leads, through making your presentations, to actually closing deals.
1. Understand the Product
The greatest undoing for most business or sales managers who never get to go far is failing to understand or appreciate the products that their business is dealing. The most important step in closing any sale is to understand both the technical and non-technical aspects of the product you are pushing. Even then, it is not uncommon for managers to get too caught up in the monologues of the great features of the product to the point of failing to link its benefits with the needs of the target market.
A wise sales manager understands that communication are the backbone of any sale. Such a professional should be passionate enough about selling a product, but the potential customer should never be left out of the sales process. This means that the communication progression — from selecting the right communication channel to explaining the relationship between the product and customer needs should be well choreographed.
2. Prospect with Modern Tools
The most effective modern day sales management processes are mostly based on two things: smart networking, complemented by sophisticated prospect management. Sales prospecting systems based on a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) are increasingly being adopted by seasoned sales and business managers for many reasons, the most notable being that it's the latest practical solution to getting a consistent inflow of high quality leads.
A proven CRM system lets business and sales managers handle and manage their prospects productively on the cloud, constantly filtering their prospects and in the process improving their sales outcomes. Unless you aren't in the sales management business for long-term success, you should consider a CRM system that incorporates useful messaging tools to improve your prospecting over time.
3. Opportunity Assessment
Getting all your quality leads in one place is one thing; converting them to customers is an entirely different game that begins with opportunity assessment. Since prospecting is the search (or hunt, if you consider yourself a a go-getter) for new customers. The key to effective prospecting is knowing just where to look, and what makes a "potential customer" based on your industry.
The general rule of thumb is to profile your existing customers in order to easily distinguish between leads, prospects, and qualified prospects. If you deal in different products, you may need to create potential customer profiles based on experience, and determine which ones are promising enough to pursue and which are not.
A point to note, some powerful CRM platforms offer Standardized Client Profiles for different industries as a standard feature that you can improve on to suit your business' needs.
4. Make your presentation
Your sales pitch is essentially your 15 minutes of fame — seven seconds if your presentation is entirely web-based. The truth is that regardless of your industry, most potential customers are constantly bombarded with sales pitches, causing even legitimate customers to form an automatic resistance. This means your presentation should be founded on psychological communication tricks to compel the prospect to get interested in the first part of your presentation.
There are many ways channels reach different customers: phone calls, email campaigns, scheduled meetings, and even social media. This is where you will need a CRM platform to manage all your communication and to set up a call center for phone prospects. While there is no single secret to effective multi-channel communication that will keep the prospect interested in the first few minutes of your presentation, knowledge and confidence in your product is most important.
5. Arm yourself for the right approach
There's nothing as fun as running your entire sales management campaign from a single platform that has all the features and tools you need to track your success. Whatever approach you choose to make your presentations, it's vital that the CRM platform you use offers such features as calendars and reminders, phone and email integration, document and email templates, mass email campaigns, and communication history tracking tools.
If you adopt a sales call or mass email campaign, the CRM platform you go for should be properly equipped to help you in intelligence gathering that adds on to the information already collected during the prospecting stage. Regardless of the sales marketing channel used or the results, make it a habit to keep detailed notes for every potential customer, and alongside it notes on subsequent actions such as follow-ups.
6. Closing the deal
A sales manager who considers the product they're selling in terms of how greatly the customer will benefit inevitably closes more deals than those who simply memorize product features and regurgitates them in a self-aggrandizing monologue. Since the closing moments should come in hot right after the presentation, it's important to focus on the client's understanding the product rather than getting an immediate order.
CRM is instrumental in closing such deals because it largely involves discovering the different obstacles each potential client faces. Some may place an order for your products instantly, while others may need time to think it over. Some corporate clients may set up a meeting with a committee, giving you a chance to sell to a whole new set of clients. In many cases it may feel like the sales management process hit the wall due to the indifference of poor quality leads.
Whatever the closing situation, your CRM platform should anticipate it and provide the tools you need to conquer the next step of the sales process.
7. The Follow-up
Proper follow-up, especially on non-committal but willing customers, can double your closing ratio if you do it right. Since a relationship is built between the sales manager and the prospective customer during the pitch and presentation, a follow-up will either solidify or scuttle the relationship. To ensure your success, you must stay on top of the prospect's mind through persistence to nurture it further. Be careful, however, not to come off as nagging or bothersome to unresponsive potential clients.
A CRM system with task management, calendar and reminders, notes, and built-in reporting features will make your closing a walk in the park at this stage.
InfoServ CRM is a great example of a fully-featured CRM platform complete with all the standard features and a lot more, including a customizable dashboard, task manager with to-do list, and an easy-to-use mobile app. If you would like to see how a full-featured customer relationship management platform looks and feels like, click here to see what the team at InforServ have built.