“Sales is not about selling anymore, but building trust and educating.”- Siva Devaki
What is sales?
Sales is a successful amalgamation of several processes which eventually result in the generation of revenue in exchange for products and services.
Let’s dive deep into the detailed guide that will give you an insight into the fundamentals, and a lot more with pertinent examples:
A sales plan is a carefully curated document that enlists the process of sales of products and services. This plan is extensive and has all the necessary details such as who is a prospect, what sales process would be taken up for selling a product/service, what is the target for the month/year, and so on. This plan is often the first step of the sales team in any business.
A sales plan is often laid out by experienced sales managers after meticulous research and it has the following details:
- A defined set of goals or targets for sales.
- Sales approaches that would be executed to sell products and services.
- Best practices for the sales team.
- A clear breakdown of the budget and how to utilize it.
A sales plan is often in sync with the marketing plan as both of them together help in achieving the maximum sales. A sales plan is updated quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly as per the business’s needs.
What are prospects
If you are looking for a phone with a good camera then you are a prospect for Apple, Samsung, Mi, and many more such brands. In short, prospects are potential customers that might be interested in your product and qualify some criteria. In the above-given case, you fulfill the criteria where the customer needs a good camera in their phone thus, you’re a prospect to all these brands. Similarly, if you are a property dealer, then someone looking for a new house is your prospect. Sales are all about converting prospects into clients by reaching out to them.
Prospects vs Leads
Although the above terms are often used interchangeably, they are nowhere close in their meanings. Leads are unqualified contacts. But prospects are qualified leads i.e prospects fulfill criteria that leads don’t. Prospects are confirmed that they are interested in one such product as sold by you even if they might not buy it later.
You can get leads from anywhere but they become your potential customers only after qualifying. In the sales process, you first collect leads, then see to it if they qualify as prospects, and then move ahead with the process.
How to find prospects
- Social media: No one would have ever thought that a tool designed solely for entertainment purposes can ever be used for business. But social media proved everyone wrong and flipped the dynamics of sales. Social media platforms are now one of the few top platforms where you can find your prospects. You can reach your prospects through ads or figure out who all are interested, by how frequently they engage with your content.
- Build your network: Networking both online and offline is extremely crucial if you want to find ideal prospects for your business. Networking on platforms like Linkedin, and going to conferences and events will make you meet people you otherwise never would. These are the places where you can reach out to them and have a friendly conversation and can build your bond with them, eventually making them your client.
- E-mail marketing: It is one of the most underutilized ways of finding good prospects. I assure you that every person reads their emails if the subject is intriguing enough. All you have to do is catch their eye by using an interesting subject. You can grab their attention by describing how your product will help them.
- Cold calling: Do not hold back, pick up your phone and reach out to that client you have always wanted to land or seek out a new one. Cold calling is an old-fashioned way and still one of the best ways to find your prospects.
What is a sales pipeline?
Many times you must have heard about the sales pipeline when two or more salespeople are talking. This term is often used by marketing teams as well. In reality, it is a buzzword for any sales or marketing team. A sales pipeline is a crucial tool for sales management and operations.
The sales pipeline is a visual representation of all the leads in the sales funnel. You can get a visual representation of where all your leads stand. If a prospect has been closed or is the pitching process still going, it gives you a clear idea of it all. It also gives a clear account of shortcomings and revenue. You can see where the process is lagging or from where the maximum revenue is coming. It makes the employees accountable and responsible and also makes the tasks a lot easier by breaking the sales process into smaller trackable tasks.
If you do not use a sales pipeline you would be completely oblivious to the efficiency of your sales process. Where do you stand with different leads? Where are you generating maximum revenue from and what are your shortcomings? These are the things of utmost importance for any sales team. You are putting on a blindfold by not using the sales pipeline as you wouldn’t be aware of either of these things. If you want your business to sustain and flourish, having a sales pipeline is a necessity.
How to create a sales pipeline?
Before creating a sales pipeline you will need the following things in your hand:
- Your business’s/team’s sales process: To create its visual representation later.
- Your revenue goals: Having a revenue target in hand will increase your sales team’s productivity and work efficiency. Furthermore, it makes you clear about what you need to do.
- An organized list of prospects: To incorporate that in your sales pipeline to keep a check on every prospect and see what stage of the sales cycle they are on.
- A schedule for regular meetings with colleagues: Frequent meetings are necessary for reviewing the sales pipeline and giving feedback to your sales team.
What is the sales cycle?
In layman language, a sales cycle is a simple set of steps that are followed by a salesperson to land a new customer/client. This cycle is often similar for all prospects. Here are its crucial steps:
You cannot sell anything until you have any leads. Leads are supposed to be provided by the marketing team to the sales team. The marketing team often gets these leads from websites, through ads being run on social media platforms, and sometimes leads come through reference.
However, being a salesperson sometimes you yourself have to find the ideal prospects. For finding the prospects yourself you need to have a profound understanding of your brand and the product that you sell. Also, there are a few questions you need to focus upon before reaching out to a prospect:
- What is the exclusive feature of your product that is not there in the competitor’s product?
- How will your product help the customer or their needs?
- Why should any prospect choose your product over others in the market?
Finding answers to these questions will make it easier for you to handle a prospect better with confidence and knowledge. These answers will help you in giving the prospect an in-depth understand of your product and also answer their objections fluently.
Contact probable customers
Now that you have figured out your prospects, it is time to reach out to potential customers. How you have to communicate is dependent upon the type of business or prospect. In some situations reaching out through a cold call seems appropriate while in other cases you might lose a prospect because of a cold call. The best way to reach out to them is through email or via Linkedin these days. While writing a mail or a Linkedin message make sure you are not giving them your sales pitch. All you have to do is take their time and arrange a call with them so you can present your pitch.
Your first email/message should be formal yet friendly and its purpose should be nothing more than seeking an appropriate time for a call.
During this phase of the business cycle, you will need to know about the prospect as much as possible. This interaction might be started in the contact phase of the cycle, yet most of the qualifying occurs during the principal deals meeting or arrangement.
This stage will save you time and assets since you ought to just be pitching to qualified leads. You’ll need to see whether your contact individual is a chief and, provided that this is true, regardless of whether they are really keen on buying your item or administration. In case you do not get to meet the decision-maker directly, politely ask them to connect you with one.
Present your pitch
This is the most important part of the sales cycle. You have fulfilled all the pre-requisites now it is your time to convert that prospect into a customer. This step required a good amount of preparation and it is highly suggested that you prepare a script before reaching out.
You need to present your product in a way that showcases that your product is capable of solving customer’s problems. Keep the following points in mind while presenting your pitch:
- Keep your pitch to the point and as precise as possible.
- Provide them with facts and figures that explain why they should choose your product.
- Give them a crystal clear perspective of how your product will facilitate them.
- Make sure you have an amicable yet professional tone.
- Do not push too hard, it only upsets the customer and makes them suspicious about your product.
- Do not give false hopes or do not exaggerate about your product as most of the clients can easily make out when you are lying.
- Be clear about pricing.
- Always give an open end to your pitch so they have a chance to ask questions.
Subtly handle objections
Your position now in the cycle is to oversee and beat any objections. Even if you have given your best and covered everything, objections are inevitable. Some will say the cost is too high, the terms and conditions aren’t right, while others would not just agree with you at all. As a salesperson, your job is to clear them all and convince them to go for your product.
Try not to be hesitant to request the context of their objection. Does their aversion come from an issue or association previously? It is safe to say that they are as yet conveying a few reservations from a past business bargain turned sour? Listen quietly to what the customer needs to say and tell them you comprehend their interests. Then, at that point reevaluate your pitch to recognize and defeat those worries.
In the event that the cost is causing concern, consider re-examining the data in an everyday breakdown. For instance, if you are selling bicycles, you can justify the cost by letting them know how much different parts of the cycle costs. This will give them an idea that you are demanding a fair and square amount and you do not intend to thug them.
Close the lead
The critical point in time has shown up. It’s an ideal opportunity to bring the deal to a close, which is actually quite difficult. There are a couple of ways to deal with bringing a deal to your business, and they all rely upon how the previous stages worked out.
Your work as a sales rep is to peruse the prospect’s mode or disposition and tailor your end style to coordinate. If the prospect has excitedly paid attention to each word you’ve said and you feel like you’ve set up a decent association, you can utilize a more straightforward approach: “Alright, so let me simply get the administrative work reviewed, and we’ll pick a conveyance date. How does that sound?”
A less excited or speculative prospect will require a gentler, more nuanced approach. Keep in mind, you’ve established the framework through the past stages in the business cycle concerning why this business or client needs your item, so return again to your central matters and help the possibility to remember why they took your call in the first case.
Recollect that in light of the fact that a deal isn’t shut during the main meeting/call, that doesn’t mean the deal is finished. A few items can require weeks or months to sell. The business cycle is as yet moving until either a deal is made or a prospect decays to continue any further.
Do not forget the referrals
You are a salesperson and your task is to look for new prospects everywhere. An opportunity to request references is just in the wake of bringing a deal to a close. Your new client is amped up for their deal and in a situation to suggest new customers as well. Save some time and energy, and inquire as to whether they have any companions or associates that may likewise profit from the item or administration you sell. You can likewise request references later on as your business relationship develops.
Every sales cycle is distinctive. Some deals might take months to close while you might crack others in minutes. Consistency and constant work on your skills are what matters and what will help you land clients.
Types of sales
B2B sales simply refer to business-to-business sales. In this type of sales, businesses sell their products to other businesses rather than individuals. These sales involve more ticket value as most of the time the services provided through these sales essentially facilitate the functioning of other businesses.
- How do you think huge brands like Gucci, Versace, TATA, etc. handle their public relations, social media profiles, and keep their websites updated? It is not them, it is the hired digital marketing agency that works for them.
- Companies that help other companies in recruitments are also an example of B2B sales as they are selling their services to another business.
- If we look around us and try to find some instances of B2B sales then, your nearby grocery store is the perfect example. They buy their products from wholesalers and sell them to individual customers. Here the wholesalers are involved in B2B sales.
- MyOperator itself is a brand that works on B2B sales.
B2C sales is the short form of business-to-customer sales. Here the businesses sell their products to individuals. These sales usually involve smaller transactions than B2B sales as here the product is being sold to individual customers.
Businesses like Myntra, Amazon, food outlets, cosmetic brands all exercise B2C sales.
Ordinarily, a Sales agent is answerable for keeping up with relationships with the current customers and creating new orders. This is known as inside sales. Basically, you try to sell more of your products to your existing clients.
For instance, if you buy an iPhone then sometime later, apple might as well suggest you buy an apple watch.
After staying in a hotel for a few days, you might get calls from them later as well. In these calls, the salesperson is usually telling you about their new offers or packages. This is an attempt of inside sales while also maintaining the business-client relationship.
These are the sort of deals that are considered conventional sales. The agent collaborates up close and personal with the client. The salesperson keeps a regular check on the prospect until they convince them to opt for their products.
The agents invest more energy in the workplaces of the clients instead of their own office since collaboration is to produce the business. A salesman is relied upon to act naturally spurred and result arranged to be effective in the work of outside deals by meeting the objective. Outside sales require some amount of effort because firstly, you are seeking a new customer. Secondly, you have to be more regular with them and keep tabs until you land them. Finally, most of the time you have to go an extra mile for the client.
Consultants are the individuals that are specialists for an accomplished proficient and have huge information about a specific topic for a particular field. Advisors work just in specific fields like administration, schooling, bookkeeping, HR, promoting, Public relations, designing, science, finance, and so on
There are two sorts of advisors that are inside experts and outside specialists. The individual who works inside the association and is additionally accessible on his spaces of specialization where different offices need him is an interior advisor while somebody utilized remotely by the customer for his specific mastery on an impermanent premise is called an outside expert.
The essential capacity of the advisor is to give consultative selling by introducing reports, stating facts and figures, and speak from experience. Consultative selling has become extremely famous with top administration of the greater part of the association. These days even clients lookout for a consultant in businesses before buying their product. Consultant sales have changed the dynamics of sales. As now one needs to have extensive knowledge of their product before selling it.
I am certain that you must buy a lot of products online. So whenever you are buying online do you need to get involved with the company in any way? I am guessing no. It is more like a virtual supermarket where you pick what you need to buy without any interference. The only difference is here you do not need a cashier either.
If a brand sells its product exclusively online, through a website, or any application then it is e-commerce sales. Myntra, Flipkart, and Amazon are the biggest examples of this.
Jr. Content executive
Srishti loves reading and writing. If she is not with the books, she is probably out playing badminton. She is a fitness enthusiast and likes to indulge in creative chores.