Sales best practices
Lesson #1: The Sales Process
August 1, 2018
This is the first lesson in the series “Outbound Sales for Beginners”. These lessons are targeted to founders and sales people that want to learn how to create a repeatable and scalable sales process. Outbound sales is a sales process where the sales rep sources, contacts and closes a prospect that might have never heard about the product they are selling. More specifically we are going to focus on the outbound sales via email, we will not be discussing cold calling. The main focus of this first lesson is to define and briefly describe the Sales Process. A sales process is a specific, concrete set of actions that you need to follow to close a new customer.
The various steps involved in an Outbound Sales Process are:
- Lead Generation, Prospecting
- Outreach, Cold emailing
- Sales Call, Demo, Lead Qualification
- Closing! Sign Contract!
- Deliver, Nurture! Customer Success.
1. Lead Generation, Prospecting
Prospecting, also known as Lead Generation, describes the process of sourcing contact information of potential new clients. Before prospecting it is important to have a clear idea of your target customer profile. You should have good answers to the following questions: What types of companies are you targeting? Who is the decision maker for your product at these companies? Prospecting involves online research on sites like LinkedIn or crawling the web in search of customer information. Ideally, you want to find accurate customer information like job title, email, location, Linkedin profile etc. This information can be used to filter leads as well as to personalize email campaigns later.
2. Outreach, Cold emailing
Cold emailing is a very effective and popular outbound sales tactic. It consists of emailing prospects that you previously had no contact with. When writing cold emails you should focus on keeping them short, relevant and personalized to your prospects. It is not uncommon for a sales rep doing outbound cold emailing to follow up with a lead 7 times within a 30-day period. It is important to include one clear call to action in every email.
3. Sales Call, Demo, Lead Qualification
You turn a cold prospect into an opportunity when, given information about your product, they accept to do a sales call. This is a typical stage of many sales processes in which the sales rep does a product demonstration and qualifies the opportunity. The first sales call is oftentimes the first live contact with the prospect, so it is important to be prepared and have the perfect demo for that buyer persona. Learning more about a prospect and their company as they progress through the sales process can help sales reps offer a more tailored experience, and improve the likelihood a deal will close. Ask about their problems and why they chose to talk with you, let them do the talking and understand what it would take for them to become a customer. It is important to have clearly defined next steps at the end of the call.
4. Closing! Sign Contract!
This stage refers to any late stage activities that happen as a deal approaches closing and you are about to turn an opportunity into a new customer. This step of the sales process varies a lot from company to company and may include things like delivering a quote, negotiation a proposal, upgrading from Freemium to Premium etc. Remove any adoption barriers in this step. Give clear proposal and make it easy for prospects to sign a new contract or to upgrade their account. Be persistent!
5. Deliver and Support, Customer Success
Congratulations! At this point, you have managed to close a new client. Now it is your turn to deliver on your promises, give your new customer the best possible experience and wow them. Once you have wowed your customer, ask them if they have friends or colleagues that should be doing business with you too. Have your customer convince the referral why they should meet with you. This is a great way of finding new opportunities.
Monitor, measure and tweak every step of this process. Small improvements in one part of the process can have a significant impact on the number of new clients you close at the end of each month.
These are the most important steps of a sales process. Monitor, measure and tweak every step of this process. Small improvements in one part of the process can have a significant impact on the number of new clients you close at the end of each month. Having a clearly defined, efficient, scalable and repeatable outbound sales process is one of the main recipes for success.
Now you have a high-level picture of the sales process. The sales process can change slightly from company to company but it usually entails something like this. In the next lessons, we are going to dig into each step of the sales process. Stay tuned for the next lesson: Lead Generation, Prospecting!
Here is the outline of this series:
- The Sales Process
- Lead Generation, Prospecting
- Outreach, Cold emailing
- Follow-up, Always Follow-up!
- Sales Calls and Lead Qualification
- Deliver and Support, Customer Success
- Ask for Referrals! Referral Marketing!
- Sales hacks!
- Refine, Repeat, Scale!
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