The selling process can become complicated when you consider all the moving parts. Following up with leads alone may turn into a complex web of phone tag and email chains. To keep the pipeline flowing smoothly, it helps to simplify your sales processes as much as possible. You don’t want to annoy current or potential customers or put up roadblocks to your sales reps’ success.
As a leader, what can you do to make selling more efficient for everyone involved? Simplification not only helps your team close more deals, but also creates better client experiences. Let’s look at four ways to streamline your sales process below.
1. Take Advantage of CRM Tools
A customer relationship management solution is there to manage your client information. Yes, this includes leads as they travel through the sales funnel. While you might be using your CRM to track lead and customer activity, you could be overlooking a few capabilities.
CRMs come equipped with a wide range of features and add-ons, often including tools to streamline document handling. Closing sales, signing off on contracts, and approving invoices require several people to sign on the dotted line. If you’re waiting on email attachments and external platforms that don’t sync with your CRM, you’re creating more work.
Why not use an integrated CRM feature to capture electronic signatures on documents? You can create custom templates, have the documents sync with your CRM, and set up automated reminders. Your sales team will see when documents go out to specific contacts and when they’re ready. If there’s a delay or looming deadline, notifications remind the team to follow up. Integrated document management features make the paperwork side less of a headache.
2. Train Reps to Overcome Your Prospects’ Top Objections
For most sales reps, the hardest part of the job usually comes after they contact a lead and establish rapport. Once a rep delivers their pitch, it’s up to the other party to respond. Sometimes, this “response” is radio silence, which can make a salesperson wonder if their follow-up messages are too persistent. But more likely than not, the other side will raise a few objections.
Preparing your team for those objections and ways to move the conversation along can make their jobs easier. If they know what’s coming and have the tools to handle it, they won’t waste time on fruitless efforts. Training your reps on objection-handling techniques, such as asking probing questions to better understand the person’s concerns, is a start.
Give your reps steps for having conversations about the reasons most contacts offer for not moving forward. While you can train the team to handle general responses like “not having time,” go beyond these. Based on feedback and your direct knowledge of past interactions with prospects, list the top reasons sales conversations about your offerings stall. Develop your company’s objection-handling training from this list so your reps can efficiently move discussions forward.
3. Identify What Qualifies a Lead
The leads your team gets through your sales pipeline might be marketing-qualified. They meet target market criteria and express initial interest in your products. Maybe they signed up for an email newsletter or are avid readers of your company’s blog. But does this make these contacts sales-qualified? Are they ready for a call?
They may not be. And sending these leads to your team to add to their list of prospects might do more harm than good. Sales reps’ time won’t be best spent on contacts who need more nurturing. Plus, unleashing phone calls and pitches on unqualified leads can alienate them. This makes everyone’s job in marketing and sales harder down the road.
Instead, come up with distinct criteria for sales-qualified versus marketing-qualified leads. Based on successful prospecting efforts, what makes a lead more likely to convert? Once you have guidelines, establish a system for funneling contacts from one department to the other. Your process should include criteria and steps for handing leads back to marketing in case they need more cultivation. Automate the handoff process with CRM workflows and lead categories.
4. Automate Touchpoints
To be successful, your sales team needs to focus their time where it will be well spent. Repetitive tasks usually don’t fall into this category. Sending out confirmation emails, product information, and educational resources might be critical to prospecting. However, it gets to be time-consuming when reps must create emails from scratch, attach product guides, and look up links.
Automating routine touchpoints creates efficiencies so the team can focus on what’s most important. Creating email templates for standard communications and integrating them into automated workflows saves time. Your reps don’t have to hunt down brochures and sales sheets from a content repository. They also don’t have to type out or copy and paste the same email text multiple times.
CRM workflows can streamline your touchpoints so they automatically send communications based on specific criteria. One might be a thank-you email after a sales call. Another could include links to online product information to remind leads of your solution’s top selling points. The workflows you set up can also nudge your reps to reach back out to leads with a phone call. If the email goes unanswered, the reminder prompts your team to revive the conversation so leads aren’t abandoned.
Sales managers don’t want their team members to spin their wheels. It’s not beneficial for anyone or anything, including the company’s bottom line. Revising your sales process so it’s more efficient means your reps can increase the number of deals they close. They’ll have the tools and time they need to do what matters most.