The development of a company undeniably passes through the development of its sales. If your sales increase, your business prospers. On the contrary, if your sales process doesn’t get good results, your business stagnates.
To boost your sales, you need specific tools and good salespeople. Generating sales as an entrepreneur is hard work. A prospect rarely becomes a customer with the wave of a magic wand. You will have to apply effective methods to push a prospect to action, to convince him of your values, of the quality of your products or services. Then, You will achieve sales figures that will not only generate revenue, but also profits.
It’s never too late to implement changes to increase the performance of your sales process. Even if you already have a solid trading plan, there are always areas that can be improved.
Here are 6 suggestions for optimizing your sales process :
1. Map out your current sales processes
Most companies have an informal sales process. Everyone somehow knows who does what and how. The first thing to do is to map these informal processes to formalize the different stages of your sales process.
Among the stages of the sales process, you find :
- generate leads, potential prospects
- send price offers, collaboration proposals
- confirm the sale
- deliver the product or service
- receive final payment
2. Invest time and resources in sales forecasting
Sales forecasting frustrates many sales managers because of the uncertainty involved. But improving your methods can help you clarify your overall sales strategy and make informed changes to your process.
If your current forecasting process isn’t producing accurate results, consider investing in new tools. Many sales organizations find it helpful to run multiple scenarios or to rely on multiple tools when forecasting. Set aside time every month to review your forecasts so that you’re maximizing their utility.
3. Define your key performance indicators (KPI)
Formalizing your sales process will allow you to track your leads as they progress from stage to stage. KPIs will allow you to measure how many leads are successfully moving through your sales funnel. You’ll also know the average time it takes to get a sale from start to finish.
Some of the most common KPIs include :
- sales to date this month
- sales to date this year
- overall time in the sales cycle
- closing rate
- burn rate (How much money you are spending in your sales process.)
- average sales price
- lifetime customer value
- customer acquisition cost
- churn rate (How many customers repurchase your products/services.)
4. Follow-up and measure performance
Holding sales meetings is a good way to ensure a regular review of sales data. The goal of the meeting should be to determine what opportunities are in the pipeline and how leads are moving through the process.
Your KPIs can also be used to measure individual performance. Employees generally appreciate transparency and knowing how they are judged.
“Data collection and its management is a habit you have to stick with. Otherwise you won’t have that window into how your sales are going.” Chris O’Shea, BDC Business Advisor
5. Use technology to simplify monitoring
It is important for your measures and your commercial development to centralize the information of your prospects and customers and to keep this database up to date. Your customer database can take the simple form of a spreadsheet but can evolve into more complex software.
A good customer database will allow you to :
- store all your contact information in one place
- share and communicate about your prospects within your sales and marketing teams
- manage the different stages of your sales process
- automate the monitoring of your KPIs
6. Start forecasting and increase your sales
You can think of your processes as a funnel or pipeline. By measuring your conversion rate at every stage, you’ll be able to determine the inputs required to reach your sales objectives.
After mapping your sales processes, establishing your forecasts and setting up your monitoring tools, you can boost your sales.
- by increasing your purchase volume (vary your products and services)
- by offering discounts for larger orders or free delivery for orders above a certain threshold, for example
- by improving your conversion rate (sell more and more often)
- by modifying your sales script
- by creating more attractive offers
- by providing additional training to your teams
A business process adapts and improves every day. Methods and technologies are constantly evolving. Find out more and get support to make the most of your sales efforts.