Mastering the Art of Asking For The Order

asking for the order

asking for the order - Top Question from Google

How do you ask customers for the sale? (The short answer)

You should always remember, people do not like being sold to, but they love buying.  With this in mind the best way to ask for the order, is not to ask for the order.  If you use a consultative sales approach the customer will realise for themselves that there is a good fit between what you are selling and their needs.  The best sales professionals never have to ask for the order.  They simply create the right conditions for the buyer to buy.  

If you are using a traditional sales approach in B2B sales, there are several ways to ask customers for sales, depending on the context and the relationship you have with them. Here are some examples:

  • If you are in a business setting and have already established a relationship with the customer, you can ask for a sale by stating the benefits of your product or service and explaining why it would be a good fit for their needs. For example, you could say, “Our product has been proven to improve efficiency and save time, which I think would be valuable for your business. Would you like to discuss a purchase?”
  • If you are cold-calling or contacting potential customers for the first time, it’s important to be polite and respectful. Start by introducing yourself and your company, and then explain how your product or service can help them. For example, you could say, “Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m with [Company]. We offer a [Product/Service] that can help [Benefit]. Can I schedule a call to discuss how it could benefit your business?”

Overall, the key to asking for the sale or indeed anything, is to be polite, respectful, and informative. Show the value of your product or service, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.

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1. Why it's important for salespeople to ask for the sale?

Not everyone is familiar with, or uses a consultative sales approach.  Therefore, it’s very important for those using traditional sales methodologies to ask for the sale. Asking for the sale is the final step in the sales process, and it’s what ultimately determines whether the salesperson is successful in making a sale. 

By asking for the sale, the salesperson is taking the initiative and putting the decision in the hands of the customer. This can be a powerful way to persuade the customer to make a purchase, and it can also help the sales person to close the deal more efficiently.

In addition to winning more sales, asking for the sale is also a crucial part of building a successful sales career. Sales is a profession that requires persistence, confidence, and the ability to handle rejection. 

Asking for the sale helps sales professionals to develop these skills, and it can also help them to build a track record of success. The ability to ask for the sale has a direct impact on the sales performance of your sales team.

2. Why asking for the sale can lose sales professionals the deal

Asking for the sale is an important step in the sales process, and it’s essential for making a successful sale. However, if it’s not done in the right way, it’s possible that asking for the sale could lose the deal. Here are a few reasons why this might happen:

  1. The customer isn’t ready: If the customer isn’t ready to make a decision, asking for the sale can be premature and can push them away. It’s important to carefully gauge the customer’s level of interest and readiness before asking for the sale.

  2. The customer has objections: If the customer has objections or concerns, asking for the sale without addressing those issues can be counterproductive. It’s important to listen to the customer’s objections and to address them before asking for the sale.

  3. The sales person is pushy or aggressive: Asking for the sale in a pushy or aggressive manner can be off-putting to the customer. Salespeople should be direct and clear in their request, but they should also be respectful and professional.

  4. The customer is dissatisfied: If the customer is unhappy with the product or service, or with the salesperson’s performance, asking for the sale can be futile. In these cases, it may be better to address the customer’s dissatisfaction and try to resolve the issues before asking for the sale.

Overall, asking for the sale is a crucial part of the sales process, but it’s important to do it in a way that is appropriate for the specific situation and customer.

asking for the sale

3. How fear of rejection stops sales professionals asking for the sale

Fear of rejection can definitely stop salespeople from asking for the sale. Asking for the sale is an inherently vulnerable position, and it requires the salesperson to put themselves out there and potentially face rejection. This can be intimidating, and it’s natural for salespeople to be afraid of being rejected.

However, it’s important for salespeople to overcome this fear and to ask for the sale anyway. Rejection is a natural part of the sales process, and it’s something that every salesperson will experience at some point in their career. By accepting that rejection is a possibility and by developing the skills and strategies to handle it effectively, sales people can overcome their fear of rejection and become more successful in their careers.

Sales people can overcome their fear of rejection in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. Develop a positive attitude: A positive attitude can help salespeople to stay motivated and focused, even in the face of rejection. By believing in themselves and their abilities, salespeople can maintain a sense of confidence and resilience, which can help them to overcome their fear of rejection.

  2. Practice effective rejection management: Sales people can learn how to manage rejection effectively by using techniques such as reframing, refocusing, and redirecting. These techniques can help sales people to view rejection in a more positive light, and to move on from rejection quickly and confidently.

  3. Seek support: Sales people don’t have to face their fear of rejection alone. Seeking support from colleagues, mentors, and peers can provide valuable encouragement and advice, and can help sales people to feel more confident and capable.

  4. Learn from rejection: Instead of viewing rejection as a failure, sales  people can learn from it and use it as an opportunity to improve. By analyzing why a particular sale didn’t go through, salespeople can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to overcome similar objections in the future.

By adopting these strategies, sales people can overcome their fear of rejection and become more successful in their careers.

4. How to build confidence in salespeople

Here are some tips for building confidence in a sales team:

  1. Provide training and development: A sales team who are well-trained and well-equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed are more likely to be confident in their abilities. Invest in sales training and development programs that provide sales professionals with the tools and resources they need to be successful.

  2. Encourage positive thinking: Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can help sales professionals to build confidence and overcome challenges. Encourage sales professionals to focus on their strengths and to believe in their ability to succeed.

  3. Set achievable goals: Setting challenging but achievable goals can help sales professionals to feel a sense of accomplishment and to build their confidence. Create a goal-setting framework that provides clear benchmarks and rewards for success.

  4. Provide support and encouragement: Sales can be a tough and demanding profession, and sales professionals often face rejection and disappointment. Provide support and encouragement to help salespeople stay motivated and focused, and to build their confidence over time.

  5. Celebrate success: Recognizing and celebrating the successes of salespeople can help to boost their confidence and to reinforce the behaviours and strategies that lead to success. Make sure to celebrate both individual and team successes, and to provide public recognition for outstanding achievements.

By implementing these strategies, sales managers and leaders can help sales teams to build confidence, improve sales performance and to become more successful in their careers.

asking for the sale

5. Why salespeople feel uncomfortable asking for the sale

Asking for the sale can be uncomfortable for a sales person because they may fear rejection or feel like they are being pushy or aggressive. Additionally, some people may be unsure of how to ask for the sale in a way that is polite and respectful, or they may not be confident in their product or service. Here are some reasons why a sales person may feel uncomfortable asking for the sale:

  • Fear of rejection: Asking for the sale means putting yourself out there and potentially facing rejection. This can be intimidating and uncomfortable, especially for people who are sensitive to criticism or who have low self-esteem.

  • Concern about being pushy or aggressive: Some people may worry that asking for the sale will make them appear pushy or aggressive, which can be off-putting to customers. This may be especially true for people who are naturally reserved or introverted.

  • Uncertainty about how to ask for the sale: Asking for the sale is a skill that requires practice and finesse. If a sales person does not know how to do it effectively, it can make them feel unsure and uncomfortable.

  • Lack of confidence in their product or service: If you don’t believe in your product or service, it can be difficult to persuade others to buy it. This lack of confidence can make it uncomfortable to ask for the sale.

Overall, asking for the sale can be uncomfortable for many people because it involves overcoming these fears and doubts. However, with practice and the right mindset, you can learn to ask for the sale in a way that is confident and persuasive.

6. What are sales closing techniques?

Sales closing techniques are strategies that salespeople use to persuade a potential customer to make a purchase. These techniques can take many forms, but they all aim to help the salesperson overcome any objections the customer may have and to move the conversation towards a successful sale. Some common sales closing techniques include using a trial close to gauge the customer’s level of interest, asking for the sale directly, offering a discount or special deal, and using scarcity or urgency to create a sense of need. Sales closing techniques can be effective, but it’s important for salespeople to use them in an ethical and transparent manner.

Examples of sales closing techniques:

  1. The trial close: This involves asking the customer a question that helps the salesperson gauge their level of interest in the product or service. For example, the salesperson might say, “Based on what you’ve told me, it sounds like this product could be a good fit for your needs. Am I correct?”

  2. Asking for the sale directly: This is a straightforward approach where the salesperson simply asks the customer if they would like to make a purchase. For example, the salesperson might say, “Do you want to go ahead and place your order today?”

  3. Offering a discount or special deal: This involves offering the customer a financial incentive to make a purchase. For example, the salesperson might say, “If you decide to order today, I can offer you a 10% discount on your purchase.”

  4. Using scarcity or urgency: This involves creating a sense of need or urgency to persuade the customer to make a decision quickly. For example, the salesperson might say, “This offer is only available for a limited time, so if you want to take advantage of it, you’ll need to act now.”

  5. In certain circumstances such as selling home products like kitchens and windows, it can help to introduce an order pad or order form to help capture the customers order details.  The visible introduction of the order pad can prompt the buyer into moving forward.  

It’s important to note that these are just examples, and every sales person should use the closing techniques that are most appropriate for their specific situation and customers.

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7. Handling objections in sales

Objections from prospects are common as they try to reach the best buying decision for themselves.  However, in most cases they are not objections, they are simply the buyers way of saying that they require more detail. Nonetheless, the inability to handle objections will cost both the sales person and the company in lost sales. Here are some tips for handling objections in sales:

  1. Listen carefully to the objection: It’s important to understand exactly what the customer is saying and why they are objecting. Ask clarifying questions and pay attention to their body language and tone of voice to get a better sense of their concerns.

  2. Acknowledge the objection: Show the customer that you understand their concerns and that you are taking their objections seriously. This can help to build trust and rapport with the customer.

  3. Address the objection: Once you understand the customer’s objection, provide a response that addresses their concerns. This might involve providing additional information, offering a solution, or addressing any misconceptions the customer may have.

  4. Ask for the sale: After you have addressed the customer’s objections, it’s time to ask for the sale. Be direct and clear in your request, and be prepared to overcome any additional objections that the customer may have.

  5. Follow up: If the customer still isn’t ready to make a purchase, follow up with them at a later date. This can help to keep the conversation going and can increase the chances of making a sale in the future.

It’s important to remember that handling objections is an ongoing process, and every sales person should be prepared to handle objections at every stage of the sales process.

8. What are sales transition statements and how do you use them?

Sales transition statements are phrases that help you smoothly move from one part of a sales conversation to another. They can be used to introduce a new topic, ask for a sale, or overcome objections. Here are some examples of how you can use sales transition statements:

  • Introducing a new topic: “In addition to [current topic], there is another aspect of our product that I think you might find interesting. It’s [new topic].”

  • Asking for a sale: “Based on what we’ve discussed, I think our product would be a great fit for your needs. Are you ready to move forward with a purchase?”

  • Overcoming objections: “I understand your concern about [objection]. Let me assure you that [reassurance/solution to objection].”

To use sales transition statements effectively, make sure they are smooth and natural-sounding. Avoid using language that sounds too salesy or pushy, and focus on addressing the customer’s needs and concerns. By using these phrases to move smoothly from one topic to another, you can help guide the conversation and ultimately persuade the customer to make a purchase.

9. What are the most popular sales closing phrases?

Sales closing phrases or sales closing questions are used to conclude a sales conversation and persuade the customer to make a purchase. Some of the most popular sales closing phrases include:

  • “Are you ready to move forward with a purchase?”

  • “Can I count on you to buy today?”

  • “If you’re happy with everything we’ve discussed, shall we go ahead and get started?”

  • “Based on what we’ve discussed, I think our product is a great fit for your needs. What do you think?”

  • “I’m confident that our product will help you [achieve goal/solve problem]. Are you ready to make a commitment?”

It’s important to remember that these phrases are just suggestions, and the best sales closing phrase will vary depending on the situation and the customer. The key is to find the right questions or phrase that feel natural and authentic, and that helps you conclude the conversation in a way that persuades the customer to make a purchase.

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10. Why a consultative sales approach is important in modern selling

A consultative sales approach is important in modern selling for several reasons. First, it allows the salesperson to better understand the customer’s needs, goals, and challenges, and to tailor their solutions to meet those needs. This can help to create a more personalized and effective sales pitch, and it can also help to build trust and rapport with the customer.

Second, a consultative sales approach is more focused on the customer’s needs than on the salesperson’s goals. This can help to create a more mutually beneficial and long-term relationship with the customer, rather than a transactional one-time sale.

Third, a consultative sales approach is more adaptable and flexible than traditional sales approaches. In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing business environment, salespeople need to be able to adapt quickly and to provide solutions that meet the customer’s evolving needs. A consultative sales approach allows salespeople to do this more effectively.

Overall, a consultative sales approach is important in modern selling because it allows salespeople to provide more effective solutions, to build stronger relationships with customers, and to be more adaptable to changing business conditions.

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How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team – Top question from Google

What is outbound sales?

Outbound sales is the process of a sales team or salespeople initiating engagement with potential and existing customers. This could encapsulate trying to secure new customers, up selling to existing customers, or general account management. In contrast, inbound sales relies on a company’s marketing strategy to drive customer interest, and customers will contact the company to enquire about their services. This blog post will tell you how to build an outbound sales team.

Preparing to go Outbound

In the rush to go outbound many companies either overlook or pay little attention to the core foundation of every successful outbound sales campaign – their value proposition. Without this most campaigns will fail at best, at worst, they will fail you will lose market traction. you will lose your best sales people and you will also lose a lot of money.

A Proven Value Proposition

Many companies make the mistake of trying to scale their sales operations without a proven value proposition with disastrous effects.  Whether you chose to build your own outbound team or to subcontract to a specialist you need a proven value proposition.  The more time and money you invest on proving your value proposition will be returned ten fold in your results.  This does not just apply to Startups.  Those that believe they have already proven their value proposition can equally benefit by refining and fine tuning what they have. 

Words Sell

Whilst most of us would accept the importance of words in the world of Business to consumer few people in B2B dedicate sufficient time and energy to finding the right words to describe our products and services.  Ask and Pay per click specialist who is restricted to 30 characters for the headline and 90 for the description of the importance of word choice.  That’s characters not words.

Technology

We are blessed in the modern sales world with lots of great outbound technologies which makes the outbound process both easier and more productive. From intent data, to auto diallers, to call recording and artificial intelligence there are a plethora of great tools to choose from that will help your outbound team be successful. Be sure to invest the time and budget to arm your sales team with the technology they need.

Sales Leadership

An often overlooked area of business is sales management. Many sales managers have come from a sales background and were at some stage a top sales rep. Unfortunately the skills required for modern sales management are very different to just selling and the position of sales manager is a key hire for any business. Without a great sales manager your best sales reps will leave and the worst reps will stay which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Company culture is hugely important in any business and no more so than in an inbound and outbound sales team.

In short, without a proven value proposition and good sales management, you will spend more money and take much longer to get where you want to go. These three areas are an essential component for a scalable outbound process.

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Outbound Sales Strategies

Building an Inhouse Team or Outsourcing

When developing an outbound sales team, sales managers and company owners have two choices. They can build an in-house sales team or they can outsource the process to an external agency or group of salespeople.

Each option has its own positives and negatives, and sales managers and company owners should consider these carefully before making any changes.

Through outsourcing their outbound sales operations, companies can hire people with a proven track record of success that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Outsourcing can be more economic for some companies, as they do not have to resource staff training or office space for them. It can also provide more cost flexibility, as the salespeople will not be tied down to long-scale contracts.

In-house sales teams are much more likely to develop excellent product knowledge over time, which they can convey to prospective clients. Outsourcing can also result in a lack of control of the sales process, and the company cannot guarantee that the leads generated are of a sufficient quality until much later.

There are also concerns that an outbound sales team may not be as “bought into” your product, company or company ethos, and this could be purveyed to prospective clients.

Remember, a poor outbound experience is the fastest way to destroy your brand. Badly executed outbound calls will have a negative impact on your brand and could lose you valuable market traction.

Outbound prospecting particularly cold calling, is very different to responding to inbound sales leads. Your sales team and lead generation strategy should be built with this in mind.

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Outbound Sales Strategies

What are outbound sales activities?

Outbound sales requires salespeople to go to the potential clients. In contrast, inbound sales where potential clients come to the company, either for more information or to buy their product/service.

Therefore, traditionally outbound sales does not include any marketing or product development tasks.

Outbound selling can be very labour intensive, and in the case of cold calling it needs a high volume of calls to have a meaningful impact on sales. This is because:

80% of cold calls go straight to voice mail – Sales Intel

It takes an average of 18 attempts to reach a technology buyer – Gartner

In addition to being labour intensive, outbound sales has a high churn rate in terms of staff. Many companies struggle to retain the people they have, let alone build a high performing team of SDR’s.

Lead generation is the starting point of an outbound sales process. Some company’s will have a dedicated in-house lead generation team, whilst others leave it for their general salespeople to handle.

In most cases when outbound sales is left to general salespeople it simply doesn’t happen. Sales people have a skill of always finding something “more important” to do than lead generation.

Outbound sales is a contact sport, pure and simple and requires salespeople to contact prospective customers. This could be by telephone, email, LinkedIn or face to face, however predominantly this is done via phone and email.

From our own experience SDR’s who use a multichannel approach are much more successful than those who are only using the telephone or email.

Often as part of the outbound sales role SDR’s will undertake what is known as sales qualification process. This involves a salesperson determining whether or not the lead is likely to become a customer or not.

Once the leads have been qualified, leads are typically then passed to a Business Development Rep whose responsible for any form of product demo and closing the deal.

In more traditional sales organisations this may include setting appointments for the companies field sales reps. The length of the sales process will depend on the target market, the industry and the customer.

As an outbound sales person you will be expected to do the following:

  • Research leads
  • Generate new sales leads
  • Qualifying inbound sales leads and build a sales pipeline
  • Setting appointments with potential or existing customers and follow the sales process
  • Follow up proposals
  • Cold and warm calling
  • Cold and warm emails
  • Social Selling
  • Customer service calls, with a view to upselling
  • Product demos
  • Account Management

Outbound prospecting is especially vital for companies with little or no marketing budget. This is this because in these circumstances, prospective customers are unlikely to come to the company in great numbers, and as such the company will have to go to the potential clients.

Outbound sales strategy

Having a great team of outbound sales reps important, but if they don’t have a good sales strategy to follow, they are unlikely to be successful. Creating a sales strategy should be one of your first tasks when establishing an outbound sales team.

A good outbound sales strategy requires the right sales playbook (script, methods etc.) and the right methods to measure success. Opinions on sales scripts vary, but if you develop a good sales script, it ensures a consistent approach and can help new sales reps get up to speed faster.

Our research here at Klozers, find that sales teams with playbooks are 33% more likely to be high performers. If a sales script is used, preparation should be used so the salesperson will appear to be talking as naturally as possible.

Different sales methods should be explored to see if they will result in more successful sales. For example, consultative selling could result in an increase in sales.

Preparation is key for a successful outbound sales strategy. Salespeople should have all of the data, scripts and tools they need before they start calling. They should also have an excellent knowledge of the products or services.

Whatever sales strategy is used, it is important that there are processes in place to monitor its success. If certain aspects of the strategy haven’t been successful, then either the sales strategy can be amended, or extra training and coaching should be organised.

Data can be used to monitor the most successful times to make outbound sales calls. For example, if the data shows that outbound calls are more successful on a Wednesday afternoon, then greater focus should be placed on this time, and team meetings should be avoided at that time.

Outbound and Inbound Sales Support

At Klozers the inbound and outbound sales process that we teach in our sales training is based on the success we have had in our own business. We will show you exactly the sales strategies and outbound methods that we use every day to target customers, qualifying leads, make a sales call, cold calling, cold emailing and drive customer engagement.

Furthermore, if you would like to optimise your inbound and outbound channels we can teach you how we use content marketing combined with search engine optimisation, to turn our website in to a lead generation machine.

We have a number of ways we support SaaS companies. From advice on recruitment and value proposition development, through to telesales, social selling training and strategy training, we can help you win more business, grow your business. and have more fun along the way.

Klozers has been selected among the Top Lead Generation Companies by Designrush

Consultative Sales Training | How Customers Want to Buy

consultative sales training course

Consultative Sales Training – Top question from Google

What is a Consultative Sales Approach?

Consultative selling is very different to more traditional forms of selling, as it doesn’t actually focus on selling. Instead, it focuses on building relationships with customers, listening to their problems and only then, offering them solutions to their problems.

Asking open-ended questions and active listening are key components of any consultative sales approach. This approach works because potential buyers are more motivated to buy products or services that meet their own needs, rather than the needs of the sales professional.

A consultative sales approach truly puts the buyer first. Instead of just selling any old product, or what happens to be on promotion that month, sales professionals using the consultative sales approach will look to sell products and services that match the exact needs of their buyers, which makes for more productive business development results and satisfied customers.

Instead of a scripted sales pitch, sales teams can use conversational skills and listen to their buyers personal and business needs. Only then do they provide advice and guidance, which includes being adaptable to the different challenges buyers may face.

The consultative sales approach is highly effective and can lead to far greater results for your business and better long term customer relations. Using other sales techniques typically results in salespeople chasing leads that are not a good match for the buyer. Whilst they may well win a first order, if the product isn’t right for the buyer and their customers, it is unlikely that they will build long term relationships.

However, using the consultative approach, the sales rep needs to listen to the customer needs and provide meaningful solutions, meaning your new customer can come back time and time again for your product or services.

It has become increasingly popular in recent years as sales reps and sales managers managers have realised that traditional sales techniques have become less effective, because buyers have become wary of sales pitches. Instead of being sold a product, people prefer their salespeople to take a genuine interest in them as a person and their business.

The key components of a consultative sales approach is as follows:

  • Direct route to market
  • Low volume of sales but high profit margins – less popular but still relevant with transactional sales
  • Requires high level of industry knowledge with experienced sales people
  • Higher cost to employers, with lots of training required
  • Medium to long length sales cycles

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset. Instead of going out to sell, salespeople will need to go and have a conversation with potential buyers, in a structured and reputable manner. Building trust first with any potential buyer is a big aspect of consultative selling.

Initially a lot of sales people struggle to adapt to the consultative sales method, as they are almost hard wired to sell products and services via the traditional features and benefits method. However, if you choose to adapt a consultative sales approach, it is important to stick with it, as modern buyers have become more resistant to being sold products.

Steps involved in Consultative Selling

1. Research potential buyers thoroughly before contacting them

Before engaging with potential buyers, it is important that the salesperson researches the potential customer, thoroughly and effectively. If the salesperson is used to a more traditional fast-paced sales environment, taking the time at the onset of the sales process to research may seem like an alien process.

However, first impressions matter, and considering the consultative selling method prides itself on expert knowledge, you need to make sure that you have done enough research. Similarly, consultative selling involves asking probing questions, and without enough research it can be difficult or almost impossible for salespeople to ask probing questions.

2. Define the Symptoms – What are the symptoms of the problem the potential customer is facing?

During this first step the salesperson will try to get an understanding of the issue at hand. Here the salesperson will play a role of expert consultant, where their expertise of the industry can be used to discuss the issues.

It is likely that the buyer may only have a surface-level knowledge of the symptoms, therefore the expertise of a consultative salesperson is vital.

At this stage, it is vitally important that the salesperson doesn’t revert to a more traditional techniques and try to sell products or services. This is because, it is very early in the process, and it is unlikely that the salesperson will have formed a fully rounded understanding of the issues at hand, and could recommend the wrong solution.

3. Root cause analysis – ask the buyer questions to understand and diagnose the underlying causes.

During this stage, the salesperson will need to dig deeper into the problem, and find out what is causing it.

By digging deeper into the problem, the salesperson can use their knowledge to generate powerful questions that will reassure the buyer that they are dealing with an expert in the field, and that they can use their expertise to offer solutions to their problem.

This step can be a really powerful tool to build the buyers confidence in the salesperson.

4. Business impact – Ask how the issue is impacting on the business. Does it impact on morale, performance, profitability or all three?

At this stage, the salesperson and the buyer have agreed on a diagnosis of the issue, and they will now begin to understand how this impacts on the business.

If the issue has very little impact on the business, in terms of profitability or revenue, then it is very unlikely that the buyer will look to make a significant contribution (either financially or with their time) to finding a solution.

If this is the case, or if the salesperson knows that their product or service isn’t the solution to the buyers problems, then the salesperson should cut their losses here.

5. Financial Impact – Find out how much the problem will cost the business if they do not fix it.

Identifying the financial impact of the issue is another major milestone in the consultative sales method. This can be easier to measure in objective measurements, such as monetary values, rather than subjective measurements such as staff morale or culture, which are far more difficult to monitor.

If the financial impact runs into the hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, and the solution only costs £10,000 then this could be a very attractive proposal for the buyer. Alternatively, if the solution costs £100,000, and it would only save the company £10,000 each year, it will be a much less attractive proposition to the buyer.

6. Personal Impact – Find out how the problem affects the buyer personally – how does it affect their day to day job?

Potential buyers are far more likely to be convinced by a solution, if the issue directly impacts upon them. This is why when using the consultative selling skills, it is vitally important to make sure that you are speaking to the right person.

If the salesperson and buyer are involved in a complex sales solution, it is likely that the 6 step process above may need to be repeated. It may also need to be repeated with different departments and stakeholders. Whilst this inevitably adds to the time taken to sell a product or service, patience is an important aspect of consultative sales.

consultative selling skills
Consultative Selling Approach

What do you need to be a good consultative salesperson?

Consultative selling requires some key selling skills which aren’t necessarily associated with more traditional selling methods. This includes:

  • Active Listening – traditionally salespeople aren’t renowned for their listening skills, but under the consultative selling method, using active listening is a key requirement. Not only does it help understand the buyers issues, it also helps you stand out from the crowd. As buyers are being turned off by hard sales pitches, if a buyer needs to choose between two similar products, they may choose for the one with the sales person that genuinely listened to their issues.
  • Emotional intelligence – This covers peoples ability to evaluate, perceive and control emotions. Buying and selling remains an emotional process, and it is important for salespeople to respond to the buyers emotions.
  • Expertise – Because consultative selling requires the salesperson to really delve deep into issues, it is important that sellers are experts in their field. However, no one wants to be overawed with information, so the salesperson will need to communicate their expertise efficiently.
  • Domain knowledge – Similar to expertise, salespeople will need to have a specialised knowledge of the whole domain. Not only do salespeople need to know what their customers want, they need to know what their customers’ customer want.
  • Self-awareness – Consultative salespeople will need to understand and manage our thoughts and the impact that can have on people.
Consultative Sales Training
Consultative Selling Approach

What questions to ask?

Asking the right questions is probably the most important part of consultative selling. Asking aimless questions or having an unstructured conversation with a potential buyer, is unlikely to either build rapport or project confidence. Whilst consultative selling doesn’t involve hard selling, salespeople can still funnel a conversation one way by using structured and well designed questions. Using specialised questioning techniques when combined with active listening and the required expertise can be a winning combination.

There are several types of consultative selling questions. They are:

  • Open ended questions – These are used to gather further information
  • Closed questions – Should be used for confirmation
  • Summary questions – Sales professionals should will summarise or paraphrase the prospective buyers statement and turn it into a question. These are used to confirm the correct understanding of issues.
  • Funnelling questions – These channel the conversation through a particular area.
  • Redirect questions – Sales Professionals should use these questions to control the conversation and move the sales process forward.
  • Opposing redirect – These questions is answering a question with a question back to the buyer.
  • Presumptive questions – Presumptive questions are questions when the salesperson knows or presume the prospective buyer does not know the answer.

Which Products and Services are best suited to Consultative Sales Techniques?

The great thing about Consultative sales techniques are that they can be used in almost any industry, or with any product or service. Our own clients sell a wide range of services from Waste Management through to Aircraft Manufacturing each using a consultative sales approach.

Furthermore, once you have mastered the system it can be as flexible as possible. We have clients using a consultative sales approach and closing deals on one inbound sales call, and we also have clients using the exact same consultative approach to close large enterprise deals through a six month sales cycle.

What is Consultative Sales Training?

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset and as such effective training is vitally important. As a specialist sales provider we offer training in consultative sales, and a range of courses from giving people a solid baseline understanding of the method through to those seeking to master the sales techniques.

As an international training provider we believe that sales teams learn better if they are doing the task, rather than reading text books or watching a presentation, and as such part of our training includes role place sessions. Consultative sales training also cover all aspects of the sales process, including social selling techniques.

It is also important to remember that consultative selling requires ongoing reinforcement training, so you should consider booking in several sessions, to ensure that your sales team do not revert to their natural selling habits.

Outside of training, under any sales technique it is important that sales professionals have enough support and encouragement. This is even more important under the consultative selling technique. Sales coaching from a sales manager between training sessions, can be a vitally important resource.

You can check out our course on consultative sales and book online here.

Selling Information Technology Services | Everything you need to Know

Selling Information Technology Services

Top question from Google - How to sell IT Services

How to sell IT services?

Selling it support services is very similar to selling other intangible services.

  1. Build your brand and make it as attractive as possible
  2. Develop a detailed ideal client profile and create a niche for yourself
  3. Link your intangible services to tangible deliverables that are important to your customer
  4. Lear as much about your products and services as possible and how they impact your customers
  5. Develop your relationship building skills and your emotional intelligence

As a business owner selling technology, managed services or custom development client satisfaction plays a key role in your long term success. Clients expect Rolls Royce service at competitive prices as competition in the technology industry is fierce.

1. Building your brand

As you would expect building a Brand in a competitive market like IT is not an overnight job.  There are however, many companies who have successfully entered the market and gained rapid market share by being more agile than existing brands. 

For example, the introduction of Microsoft Office 365 allowed new players to enter the Microsoft Channel while the existing partners continued to focus on Small Business Server sales. 

New companies specialising in Cloud services and SaaS have disrupted the market by starting off with very niche services and expanding out as they grew.

In our experience the best way to build a brand is to first focus on your Inbound Sales Channel which inevitably will raise your awareness in the market and start to generate inbound sales leads.

For more information on developing your Inbound Sales Channel or any of our other consulting services please get in touch with one of our coaches via the contact us page.

2. Ideal Client Profile – who are you selling to?

Success in selling technology will require in depth research and creating your ideal client profile. This is something that most companies either forget or fail to see the importance of.  The result is – if you’re trying to sell to everybody, you will end up selling to nobody”. 

Taking time to thoroughly research your target market and identify the business pains they have that you intent to help them solve is one of the most important parts when selling information technology services.

At Klozers we use both an Ideal Client Profile which is focussed on the types of companies we sell to and a Perfect Prospect Profile which is targeted at the individuals within the ideal client profile that we sell to.

You can access the template below and many more via the SaaS Sales Playbook contained within our Resources section.

Ideal Client Profile Template
Selling Information Technology Services

3. Your Value Proposition – what makes you different?

The reality is that many IT service companies appear the same – one Microsoft Partner can look the same as many others.  Yes, it’s possible to differentiate with the area within the Microsoft stack that you focus on, such as SharePoint or Teams, however, what makes you different to all the other Partners focussing on those same technologies.

How you differentiate your value proposition is key because, unless you get this right, you will be seen as a “me too” player which means that you will end up competing on price.  The best way to discover how you differentiate your business is to research both your target audience and your competition and find the gaps. 

Initially these gaps may seem too small to build an empire, however, they are there as starting points as your brand will evolve over the years.

In addition to your differentiation you should also ensure that you have a strategy to make your entire team Subject Matter Experts. 

Your company and your people should be seen as Thought Leaders and be the first to market talking about new products, services and trends.  You don’t even have to deliver these new services, just talking about them puts your personal and company brand out there.

4. The Complex Sale

It’s important when selling technology services to remember, in nearly every case there will be multiple people in your customers decision making unit. 

Studies show that most technology sales fall into the category of the Complex Sale meaning they will have anything between 14 and 23 potential people involved with 80% of them having senior roles.

The addition of extra decision makers elongate the sales cycle and further complicates the sales process.  Many of the decision makers will be in different departments and often have competing priorities. 

For example, when looking for Marketing Automation software the marketing department will typically want what they perceive to be the best marketing solution. 

The decision makers from sales may want an automation platform that integrates with their existing CRM system.

How to Master the Complex Sale
Selling Information Technology Services

5. Stages of the Sales Process

As with any complex sale it’s important to have a strong sales process that both your team can follow and works for your customers. 

Nearly every organisation has their own unique sales process, however, it’s worth noting, any process is only as good as those implementing it and detail and consistency are king. 

If you are selling to large enterprise organisations it’s important to understand these companies will not change their buying process to match your sales process.  The vendor needs to first understand what the Enterprise Buying process is and then align their internal process with this.   

Whilst having a sales process is important, what’s equally important in our experience is understanding:

  1. What “qualifies” a prospect to move from one stage to the next?
  2. What soft skills do I need to move a prospect from one stage to the next?

My first experience of this was with the 10 stage Microsoft Solution Selling Process (MSSP).  This was not necessarily a bad sales process but little thought had been given at the time as to how you could move prospects through the process. 

Microsoft have since invested heavily in their whole sales process and sales enablement and have some of the best training and support available.

6. Selling a product vs selling a service

Before the advent of the cloud and SaaS solutions, IT was predominantly a product sale.  “Shifting boxes” and “selling tin” were common phrases among IT Sales Professionals.  Selling servers and IT hardware were predominantly products, and the solutions were mostly the mixing and configuration of the different types of hardware with some custom development software thrown in for good measure.

SaaS has changed this forever as fewer and fewer companies have on premise hardware or software.  With everything now hosted in the cloud, many companies now only have Laptops, a printer and a modem on premise.

This move from what was largely a transactional and tangible sale of a product, to a more solution orientated, intangible sale, has proven difficult for many sales professionals as one is

Most people find selling a product much easier than selling a service because your prospects get to see, touch and experience a product.  Human beings communicate through our five senses and these are extremely important in selling.  Next time you’re walking past a coffee shop or your local bakers I’m sure the aromas will be trying to entice you in the door.

Car salespeople love getting potential buyers to sit inside a new car as the small of the new car, the feeling of the leather seats and comfort of sitting down creates a desirable experience for most of us.

Compare these scenarios with Insurance or Pensions or cloud based technology solutions where the five senses are rarely engaged by the “product”.

7. Technology Sales Models

When it comes to Technology Sales Models there are many different models to choose from:

SPIN Selling developed by Neil Rackham in the late 80’s focussed on S – situation, P – problem, I – implication and N – need or payoff.  This is still hugely popular, however, some people believe this SPIN is much better suited to simple transactional sales with few buyers, rather than the complex technology sales of todays market.

Solution Selling as the name says focusses on selling a solution rather than a product and is widely used among technology sales professionals. Solution Selling involves much more time in the early stages of the sales uncovering the prospects needs and pain points and uncovering the underlying problems that are causing the pain.  Furthermore, solution selling is better suited to selling technology services as it also helps uncover different decision makers and stakeholders within the business. 

Consultative Sales Methodology is very similar to Solution Selling, however, where Solution Selling is based around selling a technology Consultative Selling is more focussed on the pre-sales consulting stage and building relationships through empathy.

Whilst choosing the right sales methodology is important these are all things that can be learned.  What’s more important, are the values and work ethics of your team. 

How to Master the Complex Sale
Selling Information Technology Services

8. Selling Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS Sales Campaign in a BoxTraditionally software was sold as an on premise solution and was often customised to the individual company’s requirements.  The advent of SaaS has changed this dramatically and reduced the amount of custom software development undertaken in house.

The Custom Development of software was expensive, time consuming and in some cases took so long that the original requirement had either changed or was no longer required by the time the software had been built and deployed.

SaaS software is essentially a switch on and switch off service allowing greater flexibility with the added benefit of lower entry costs as the software or platform is being resold multiple times.  No more high up from capital costs with SaaS providing the perfect Op Ex solution.

Selling SaaS solutions are different to selling technology services.  Whereby most SaaS sales are focussed on the software, features and benefits and demos these things are sometimes never touched on when selling managed services.

SaaS companies also have a slightly different methodology with most using MEDDIC or even CHAMP.

MEDDIC is probably the best known SaaS sales process with M standing for Metrics, E standing for the economic buyer, D stands for Decision making criteria as in why choose you. The next D stand for Decision making process, I stands for Identification of the pains and lastly C stands for Champion, who will help you sell internally.

CHAMP – is a simpler version with CH representing Challenges, A standing for Authority, M standing for Money and P standing for Priority. 

9. Selling IT Managed Services

Managed Services or Managed IT Services are what we would describe as the Business as Usual IT services that a business needs to keep the doors open.

As a services business very large part of your market will be SME’s and you will be dealing with the Business Owner who may have little or no knowledge around technology.

As always when selling technology risk avoidance for these clients is key as they will need reassurance certain disaster scenarios are covered.

Whereas historically these would have included a lot of hardware sales the modern Managed Services contracts predominantly involve delivering services such as licensing, patch updates, remote monitoring, technical support and advice, deployment and possibly configuration of SaaS software. 

The outsourced managed services model is particularly popular with Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) organisations who typically are not large enough to have their own in house IT Department and therefore outsource the IT function in their business via a Managed Services contract.

The alternative to outsourced managed services is sometimes referred to as a break-fix contract where the customer is simply charged on a form of pay as you go. 

Break-fix contracts now seem to be very rare as most services businesses prefer to sell the security of a Managed Services contract whereby the clients know the costs every month and can plan around this.

Many larger organisations will also outsource part of their IT function but often retain some specialist IT staff to manage the contracts and deal with specialist IT projects unique to their organisation.

Consultative Sales Process
Selling Information Technology Services

10. IT Professional Services

Selling information technology services may involve what’s called IT Professional Services.  These are typically intangible services based around:

  1. Fault Diagnosis and Problem Solving. Let’s pretend that you’re organisations IT system develops a fault and no one internally is capable of identifying the root cause of the problem an fixing it.  You may choose to approach an external contractor who provide IT Professional Services and they will supply a specialist to find and fix the problem. 
  2. Consulting.  With technology moving so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything.  Your organisation may choose to hire an IT Professional Services firm to benchmark where you currently are from an IT perspective and then make recommendations based on your current and future requirements. Examples of this could be moving from On Premise to the Cloud or some form of Business Process Automation.
  3. Bespoke Solutions. Some organisations require completely bespoke solutions designed and built for them.  This may require business analysts, project managers in addition to the technologists in order to achieve the outcomes the client desires.

Both Professional Services and Managed Service contracts are classed as Business to Business (B2B) Sales.  Largely speaking, Professional Services sales tend to be to larger enterprise organisations, with Managed Services contracts more suited to SME and Mid Market companies who have a limited IT Department.

11. Turning your IT Product Knowledge into powerful sales questions

Product knowledge when selling technology services as you can imagine is hugely important, however, it’s not for the reasons you may be thinking. 

Everyone has heard the saying “when you’re telling you’re not selling”.  Modern selling regardless of which sales methodology you are using is based around intelligent questioning.  The value of any sales professional is not in the information they give, but in the information the gather. 

Technology sales people have previously earned a reputation of talking “bits and bytes” which left the non-technical buyers even more confused. 

The most successful Technology Services reps now focus on selling business solutions that solve business problems.  The technology in many cases is completely irrelevant to the user, its what the technology enables them to do that is important.  Those are the reasons people will buy.

Product knowledge in any sale has only two benefits as follows:

  1. The product knowledge should be turned into powerful sales questions that make the prospect stop and think: “wow what a great question”, “wow, why didn’t I think of that”, “wow this sales rep has done this before”, “wow this sales rep really is a subject matter expert”, “wow I wished my sales reps were as good as this one”.
  2. The product knowledge should provide the self confidence the sales rep needs to go into any board room and not be intimidated or fearful.  The product knowledge should allow the sales rep to say to themselves “this company may be great at abc but they need me because I am an expert in xyz.  Without confidence in the boardroom sales people will be outmanoeuvred by both their competitors and savvy buyers.
Selling Information Technology Services

12. CIO’s and other Buyers you need to target.

In many cases the CIO or Head of IT is at the very least involved in the decision making process when selling technology services if not the final decision maker.  This has however, changed for line of business applications over the years, with the advent of SaaS or cloud-based software. 

In some cases where companies have developed very specific SaaS solutions that will only be used within the one department the “Line of Business Head” would fulfil the role of the CIO. 

For example, purchases of a SaaS solution such as Digital Signature software that will be used to allow the companys sales people to get contracts signed digitally would typically not involve the CIO.

It’s also worth noting that studies show 93% of B2B buyers will require a business case before they can make a decision. In general a Business Case usually means that something is going to require board approval which takes us back to the complex sale.

CIO’s are highly valuable buyers and they know this. With many being introverts they often keep a low profile on social media and are difficult to start relationships with.

With this in mind it’s important to be armed with research, data, insights and case studies to demonstrate the value.

As previously mentioned these clients expect and require in depth research before approaching them, a track record of successfully delivering services in their niche with a high level of client satisfaction.

Sales Training and Consulting for B2B Companies

sales training and consulting

Why invest in Sales Training and Consulting?

There are normally two reasons companies invest in our Sales Training and Consulting services. Firstly, they are often in a hurry to find sales growth and are looking for a short cut, a growth hack. 

Often these companies would eventually find the right strategies and tactics themselves, but they may be keen to capitalise on their first mover advantage or satisfy the needs of external investors. 

For these companies we provide a shortcut, we help them avoid the pitfalls and roadblocks that every growing  business experiences. 

When you engage with Klozers your team has access to over 70 years experience in B2B sales and marketing. 

Our sales training can help you get the best out of your team, alongside our consultancy services that will help you deploy the changes identified by our consultancy

Let’s take a closer look at why it makes so much sense to use sales training and consulting services together.

1. Why sales consulting compliments your sales training?

Many companies make the mistake of rushing into training as the solution to improving sales performance. 

Indeed, training may be part of the solution, but it is never the whole solution.  Before any training takes place it’s important to understand the root causes of the challenges within the sales department and only when we truly understand the problems can we prescribe the best possible solution. 

By rushing into training we would be assuming that everything else that affects sales is 100% perfect, and that is simply never the case. 

As with anything, the greater the investment upfront in terms of the diagnosis, the more effective the training will be. 

This is because the training can then be customised to meet the exact needs of the business which makes it much more impactful.

Sales Training and consulting companies

2. Why is Sales Training so effective?

Sales training builds both skills and confidence, and those are simply unbeatable in front of a customer.   

The best salespeople are like athletes and they are hungry to learn more and stay at the top of their game. 

The reason they are so good is that they are constantly looking for an edge, an advantage, and this keeps driving them forward. 

These are small but important things that make the difference and gets more deals over the line.  Our training is designed to keep your team at the top of their game and help them benefit from the very latest insights and industry best practice.

Our sales trainers work hard to keep your team engaged and motivated during training sessions, using a range of mediums to maintain their attention and inspire them.

Your sales trainer will help your team sell more effectively whether that be over the phone, in-person or online.

They can help them improve their lead generation, closing and account management skills, and provide indispensable mentoring services.

3. What happens before training takes place?

Before your training sessions begin, it’s important to identify what you want to get from them. As a sales training provider we offer bespoke services that are based on your specific needs and challenges.

We can provide a full sales consultancy service in advance of any training.  This would typically include an evaluation of your current sales unit in relation to sales maturity and best practice.

We can also provide full training needs analysis so you can gain a better understanding of your requirements before staring any training course.

For sales training to be effective, they need to be delivered in a way that maintains your teams’ attention, which means your sessions will include a great deal of interactivity.

Our sales training sessions include a range of demonstrations, exercises, games and roleplay.

Sales Consulting Services
Sales Consulting Services

4. What is the aim of Sales Training

Our goal as a provider is not to deliver sales training, but to deliver results. 

Therefore we believe the goal of Sales training is to help you meet a range of sales goals faster than you would if you were to continue without any intervention.

Not every company’s needs are the same, but businesses often invest in sales training because they want to improve their staff’s sales skills, close more deals, create more conversions, make their staff feel more supported, improve morale and boost the average value of their sales.

However, ultimately all of these lead to one overall benefit – an improvement in results. Some companies invest in training because they have identified a particular problem that needs addressing which is being caused by a skills gaps within their businesses.

Training may also benefit your team if they seem to be lacking direction, or are feeling unmotivated. A lack of motivation can often occur because staff are unclear on what their roles are, or because the current strategies they are using are not working.

In many occasions this is why Sales consultancy is a perfect fit alongside sales training as it can also help you identify and deal with additional challenges.

5. How can a Sales Consultant help our business?

A sales consultant will help your business by taking a close look at your current situation, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and helping you make positive changes to drive revenue growth.

If you are not currently meeting your sales targets, our sales consultants can help you find out why this is happening and develop strategies to address the issues.

Our experienced consultants can help with optimising your sales processes and ensuring you get the maximum conversion ratios from the leads you are generating.

With our years of experience in B2B sales our sales consultants can introduce you to specific resources that will support your business.

These can include lead generation, marketing, sales tracking, and training programmes and software that will give you a better insight into how your sales team are performing.

Sales Consulting System
Sales Consulting System

6. Adding Sales Experience to your Leadership Team

When you are immersed in the day-to-day running of your company, it can be hard to assess your situation objectively.

It’s often impossible to find anyone around you who is not objective as your team all have a role which in some way will make them subjective. 

Our sales consultants aren’t just there to identify problems that you weren’t previously aware of, we are completely hands on and happy to work alongside your team to implement any solutions.

Where applicable we will highlight your strengths and help you make the most of the resources that you currently have. In most cases this revolves around the creation of a sales plan, which we work with you to develop and if required are happy to help with executing against the plan. 

Our consultants will work with you to help you improve relationships between departments and colleagues. For instance, we are often called upon for detailed advice on aligning sales and marketing departments so you’re delivering coherent messages to your customers.

Indeed aligning sales and marketing is one of our most popular services.

7. Which Companies benefit the most from Consulting Services

We typically have two types of customers of our consulting services.  The first are larger organisations who already have a Sales Plan in place. 

They need help executing and delivering against the plan as they simply lack the internal resources to do this themselves.

The second group are those looking for external and objective advice.  In some cases they have seen a substantial decline in sales recently or aren’t meeting their targets they need to reach and hence are reaching out for support.

These businesses hire us because we have a track record of turning companies around. Alternately you may need external support if you have experienced changes in your industry and you’re struggling to keep up with your competitors.

Companies also may hire us because they feel missed sales targets are starting to affect morale and staff retention rates.

By investing in training and consultancy services, you can show your team you’re determined to improve and start achieving more.

8. Build a Selling System

It’s also common for companies to invest in sales consultancy services because their sales processes are confused and unclear, with team members pulling in different directions.

We are a huge advocate of having a selling system. Finance has a system, operations have a system so why not sales. Building a repeatable scalable selling system is simply a must for any business.

By mapping this out we can help your salespeople to understand how and where they can influence buyers and sell to people on different parts of their journey, helping you secure more sales.

Our consultants can also help you gain a richer understanding of the data available to you, from both your marketing automation and CRM platforms

In many cases our clients either don’t have enough data or they are overwhelmed by data, and miss out on the most important parts.  Either way we can help.  

In Conclusion

Sales is an ever changing environment and more and more businesses are improving their performance, staff retention rates and workplace morale. 

For most of use this means competition is tough and by investing in our sales training and consultancy services we can give you that edge you need to not just compete, but win.  

Sales consultants and trainers can provide invaluable mentorship, help you identify and eradicate weaknesses, and help you make the changes that you need to not only survive but prosper.

Our team can breathe new life into your organisation and inspire people throughout your company. Whether you’ve been missing your targets or are simply ready to build upon recent success and take your business to the next level, there are many great reasons for hiring sales training and consultancy professionals.

If you are ready to hire a sales trainer, sales consultant or both, come and talk with us.

 

Sales and Service Training Courses

If your business is typical, up to 80% of next years revenues will come from this years customers.  Despite this many organisations give little or no thought to customer service, viewing it merely as a cost to the business. 

In many cases customer service is a cost to the business, however, survey after survey shows customer service as a core component of your brand.  In certain cases some brands who understand the commercial value of great customer service, use it as an opportunity to cross sell and upsell, thus driving additional revenue into the business.

There are so many great statistics for investing in sales and service training once you look into it, it’s difficult to ignore. As an example studies show that 82% of customers leave because of a poor experience and of those 73% leave because of a reaction to rude staff. 

Structured and well supported training can help your team meet your customers expectations and even exceed them. The right sales and service training can make your team more adept at winning customers’ trust, whilst boosting your teams confidence.

The best sales and service training programmes are designed to help companies move away from customer service and towards customer experiences.

 

How can Sales and Service Training help my team?

Often the biggest challenge in business is winning new customers.  Given that’s the case it surely makes sense to do everything possible to not only keep those customers, but to maximise the revenue from them. 

Most service issues have a simple root problem, for example, 55% of customers are leaving because of delays in resolving a dispute and 51% are leaving because of poor staff training.  What’s possibly most important to note, is that all these problems can be easily remedied.

Sales and service training can give your team a system to measure, track and consistently improve your customer service and sales.  This will help change the mindset of your team, enabling them to make a real impact by being able to identify what matters most and take action to improve. 

When done correctly training can enhance your workplace culture substantially and provide your sales team with additional skills that can benefit them personally throughout their careers.

 

Why Sales and Service Training is Important

 

Sales and Service Training

Close More Deals and Learn New Skills

Most companies are unaware of the potential sales opportunities they have with existing customers. With repeat customer spending up to 67% more, sales and service training is more than just handling complaints and returns. 

A big part of resolving customers problems should be finding new solutions to the problems customers encounter.   In most cases the problems that customers experience are actually the best opportunities for cross selling and upselling.

Training can introduce your team to new strategies and tactics that they may simply never come across before. In addition to external input, there are often great lessons that can be shared internally, and these should be captured and documented for the benefit of others. 

Training will help your team become more familiar with your own company’s best practices. In a well structured sales and service training programme, your staff will not only learn new techniques, but also find out why they are so effective and which situations they should be deployed in.

 

Benefit from External Sales Specialists

Often a key benefit of sales and service training is that it gives your team a chance to take onboard new ideas and strategies from outside the business.  In many cases they are more open to learning from external facilitators with an in-depth knowledge than from internal colleagues.

Sales and service specialists can give your team more than just the skills they need to engage potential customers in meaningful conversations.  They can help you explain on your customers terms why your products and service may be a good fit for them.

Sales and service training will help your team use the product knowledge and information that they have about your products and services, and turn this into powerful questions that make the buyer want to buy rather than them having to sell to them.    

 

Retain the Best Staff

Many companies are now switched on to the fact that it’s easier to retain quality staff when you invest in training courses for them.

If your team members feel you aren’t investing in them, there’s a high possibility that they will move to a company that will. Investing in training shows your employees that you are eager to help them improve.

When staff receive quality training, they tend to feel more supported, which in turn boosts their confidence. Recruitment costs to replace team members can be incredibly expensive and take up an inordinate amount of management time.  

It’s therefore important to try and keep hold of the employees that you have already invested in and continue to develop them.

benefits of sales and service training

 

Sales and Service Training

Should Managers attend Sales and Service Training?

Sales Managers are responsible for the day to day activities and performance of those activities for members in their team

Your Managers set the bar in terms of what is acceptable performance and what is not.  With this in mind, it’s important that sales managers attend every sales and service training along with their staff so they can hear the information first-hand.

When managers know exactly what’s covered and agreed during training, they can ensure their staff apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios and coach them if they are struggling.

Sales training often includes an element of goal-setting, which is yet another reason why it’s so important for managers to attend. It’s important for the managers to set realistic, yet achievable goals, rather than targets that are out of your team’s reach. 

Failure to do this will simply harm the confidence of the team and demotivate them.

 

Increase your Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Training like everything else in your business needs to deliver a return on your investment.  Whilst not everything should be judged by customer service scores, any service training should ultimately  improve your customer satisfaction ratings.

Customer expectations are arguably higher than they have ever been and today’s customers expect to receive high-quality service more than ever before.

If they have a bad experience with a member of your team, they’re likely to make their opinions public and Social Media can amplify bad news like never before. 

Customer Service training will not only teach your team to deliver the best customer experiences possible, but also turn your happy customers into advocates for your brand, thus generating new business referrals.

 

Omnichannel Customer Support

Modern customer service training often starts before your customers have even made a purchase.  In most cases your customers first interaction with your brand is either your website or social media pages. 

It’s important to include these as part of your wider customer experience strategy. This is supported by many statistics for example, using three channels instead of one for marketing campaigns results in a 287% higher purchase rate. 

Providing Omnichannel customer support helps your team keep your clients happy across a range of channels and mediums. It can help them communicate with your customers better not only over traditional channels like the phone, but also via live chat, email, social media, SMS and other platforms.

The most successful customer service teams around today adopt an omnichannel approach with research showing that companies with an omnichannel approach experience a 23 fold increase in customer satisfaction.

We believe it’s really  important to include these areas in your service programme. Many companies are failing to meet their customers’ expectations which makes it easier for you and your team to stand out from the crowd and win business from them.  

 

Sales and Service Training Course

 

Sales and Service Training

Build Expert Product Knowledge

No matter the industry customers want to deal with experts and not agents who are simply following a call centre script.

Sales and service training encourages your team to get to know your products inside out so they can answer any and every relevant question they might be faced with.

If sales reps don’t have the knowledge that they require, they are more likely to leave customers feeling frustrated, with the customer going on to air their feedback publicly.

The more your reps know about your products and services, the better they can address customer pain points and explain why your solutions are the answer to their problems. 

 

Enhance Customer Loyalty

Repeated studies show that customers tend to be much more loyal to companies that offer outstanding customer service. Many of today’s customers say that customer service is more important than price when they’re deciding who to do business with.

By investing in sales and service training, you can attract and retain more customers and gain a real edge over your competitors.  Part of your overall programme should include how you plan to collect and share customer reviews. 

With 70% of people taking action based on customer reviews this is an essential component of every sales and customer service training.

 

Resolve Disputes Quickly

Delays when resolving complaints can often be the straw that breaks the camels back with 55% of people leaving a brand because of delays in resolution.

Sales and service training can help your reps resolve complaints quickly which is important when dealing with angry and frustrated customers.

Training can help them show tactical empathy when they are dealing with an angry customer and enable them to steer the conversation in the right direction, no matter which medium they are communicating on.

Understanding active listening skills can turn your team into better, more helpful listeners that pay close attention to what your customers have to say and then use the skills and information they have to deliver the best outcome possible.

 

 

Customer Service Training

Unlike traditional customer service training courses, Klozers provides the latest in business simulation software, that allows your team to experience a 2 year customer experience transformation program in 1 day.  

Our state of the art business simulation goes way beyond basic communication skills and helps your sales team understand customer expectations, sales process, and what truly drives sales performance across the organisation. 

Designed specifically as a holistic cross departmental our customer service courses are designed to engage everyone from your front line sales team, product and services teams and company management.  

The customer service training includes two options as follows:

Enterprise Customer Service Training

SaaS Customer Success Training

Please contact us for further information.  

customer service training courses

In Summary

How important is retaining your existing customers? 

How valuable would the extra revenue be if your customer service team were actively cross selling and upselling throughout their day?  

Investing in sales and service training will make your staff and customers much happier. If you look after your staff they will in turn look after your customers. 

If you feel you need to make improvements in these areas, please give us a call. We would love to work with you and make the sales and service goals you have in mind a reality.

12 Critical Objectives of Sales Management

Objectives of Sales Management

The Objectives of Sales Management

There are many objectives and goals for sales management and the importance of each will vary from business to business. 

Business to business sales can be complex, with many variables and whilst the obvious objectives of revenue, profitability and growth are important it’s easy to argue a case for the plethora of other objectives such as customer satisfaction, team morale, employee retention. 

Effective sales management is the key to running every successful sales team. When sales management is executed correctly, the rest of your enterprise benefits.

Sales managers are responsible for inspiring teams, leading by example, maximising profits and providing customers with the best experience to make sure they return for more.

We’ve resisted the urge to include the all to common piece around smart goals, because we assume your past all that and looking for something more meaningful. 

So, we’ve listed below what we believe to be the main objectives of sales management, enjoy.

1. Sales Plan

We’ve listed sales plan at the very start because of it’s importance.  Without a plan it’s difficult to track progress, meet or exceed your goals and align your sales team around those goals. 

Quite simply, the sales plan ensures that not only is everyone on your company boat rowing in the same direction, it ensures that the boat itself is going in the right direction.

As with any objective or goal, the sales manager should be measured on the execution of the sales plan. 

For some reason the majority of companies do not have a sales plan and miss out on the many benefits they bring.

2. Sales Strategy

Strategy is listed in the dictionary as “an approach” and although it sounds simple coming up with the best approach or strategy to how you gain maximum market penetration with the budget available to you is never easy. 

At best if you nail your sales strategy sales will take off and at worst you will find that sales become like wading through treacle.  An eternal hardship that consumes any profits you dreamed of as it sucks the life from your business.  

Once you’ve agreed on a strategy you need to review this on a monthly basis and adjust as required. 

Beware however, of changing your strategy before it has had a chance to mature or you might just end up going round in circles.  

Once you’ve decided on your sales strategy the next challenge is aligning all your resources including the sales team and executing on that strategy. 

How to manage sales activity

3. Reporting and Metrics

Before you start to implement and share your strategy and sales plan you will need to give some thought as to how you are going to measure your progress. 

Data is the new oil and Sales reporting is an essential part of the modern sales managers day to day activities. 

Your reporting system should  tell you everything from how well your reps are performing on a daily basis, to the cost of customer acquisition on your latest sales campaign.

Reports will tell you which areas you are succeeding in and areas need your attention. You should draw up a list of baseline sales metrics and then from there you can measure progress towards your targets.

In almost every scenario, you will be asked to generate Management Reports for your board and these will include things like your current sales funnel/sales pipeline which will provide information such as how many live deals you currently have in your funnel, the average size of each deal and the average length of the journey through the funnel.

It’s critically important that you not only can generate the right reports, but that you can interpret the results in a meaningful way.

4. Sales Performance

There is no one individual who has as much influence over sales than the sales manager. 

Every day the Manager sets the bar between what is acceptable and what is not, in terms performance from their team. 

They are responsible for not just managing, but also the training, coaching and development of the sales team. 

Every salesperson wants to sell, every salesperson wants to be part of a winning team and the sales managers that succeed are those that focus on 2 things:

  1. They do everything they can to help salespeople sell more
  2. They do everything they can to develop their salespeople.

Unfortunately, as the manager has the power to make everything a success, they can also be architects of their own failure.

5. Key duties of the Sales Manager

Sales managers are tasked with developing sales teams, coordinating all operations within sales departments and identifying and implement the right sales techniques to deliver success.

Although the aim is to meet sales targets, it’s not uncommon for these aims to be surpassed.

The right sales management processes can give you a substantial edge over your competitors and ensure your company is thriving rather than simply surviving.

As a minimum the sales manager should address the following areas in their plan. Strategy, Process, People, Channels, Technology, Customers and Leadership

Sales Management Framework
Objectives of Sales Management

6. Team Morale

Morale is extremely important when it comes to building a winning sales team. The more inspired and confident your team are, the more they will achieve.

This is why it’s so important to ensure each member of your team feels listened to and respected. The easiest way to do this is by including them in the sales planning wherever possible. 

Provide real-time information on as much as possible including things like the exact costs to the business to employ them, the profitability of your sales and how many deals they need to close to breakeven in terms of their own cost to the company.

Transparency is essential, so make sure each member of your team knows how well you’re currently performing.  

What’s also important in terms of morale is being completely fair and not having any personal favourites in the team. 

It’s normally easy for managers not to have favourites, however, many find it more difficult to deal with disruptive sales reps and often ignore them rather than look to resolve the problem. 

Often times the most disruptive sales reps can be a top performer but you will still need to let them go if you feel they are damaging the overall morale and productivity of the team.

It’s incredibly important to foster a positive workplace culture where workplace friction is addressed as soon as it arises.

7. Setting realistic but ambitious targets

When it comes to setting your sales targets it’s vital to strike a balance between being ambitious and being realistic.

If your targets are unrealistically high, your sales team and your sales team fall so far behind that they don’t believe they can hit those targets, they will quickly become demotivated. 

We recommend that you include your sales team as part of the planning process to help you set your sales targets. 

By doing this you are much more likely to get buy in from the sales team and as the manager, you can still guide the team to create targets that are challenging.

Unrealistic targets will only serve to  damage morale substantially and in turn, this will lower the overall performance of the team.

Managers should guide and coach their team members through the entire period of the targets to help ensure they remain on track and re-motivate them if they begin to lose confidence.

Managers typically have lots of experiences and skills that they can draw on from when they were a salesperson that will support their sales reps.

8. Building a sales funnel

Creating a sales funnel that continually is topped up with new, high quality sales leads is one of the most important objectives of sales management.

A sales funnel, also known as a pipeline is used to outline each step a customer takes throughout their journey towards making a purchase.

In B2B sales the salespeople are responsible for moving the deals or opportunities through the sales funnel. 

There is nothing more demotivating to sales reps than the struggle to fill the sales funnel with new leads.  It’s therefore important that you work with your marketing team to ensure a continuous flow of good quality sales leads.

If you are using Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to generate their own sales leads then you must give them the strategies and tactics to generate those leads. 

Tactics like cold calling and cold email campaigns do work but they on their own it is a slow way to scale your business. As the sales manager it’s your responsibility to break the entire sales process down into easy, manageable stages.

Sales funnels enable salespeople to remain organised and in control, especially when used in conjunction with a good CRM system.

With the right CRM dashboards in place Sales reps can easily see the progress they have already made towards their sales targets. 

This in turn will inspire them to continue focussing on moving deals through the sales funnel.

9. When can I expect results?

In our experience every overnight success has taken years of hard work to get there. With that said, you should see early indications of success in months, not years.  

It’s important to manage expectations and collectively agree what success looks like in the initial phases. 

This is why we are such advocates of creating a sales plan that everyone can align themselves behind. 

Your sales plan should identify what we call the lead indicators rather than the lag indicators for success and you can start tracking them immediately.  

It’s unlikely your sales management will deliver exceptional results immediately but with planning, patience and persistence you will slowly turn the ship around.

Trial-and-error can play a big role in helping you create the right sales process for you.

Even when you start seeing the results that you’ve been aiming for, you should always be prepared to make amendments as customer behaviours and requirements, technology and markets change.

10. Motivating your Sales Team

As a sales manager, you will be tasked with overseeing things like data, technology, processes and sales pipelines which you may or may not find easy.

However, often the biggest challenge is people management and listening to your team is very important. 

It’s essential to ask your team what drives them and what their personal goals are and then tie them into your own business objectives.

Not every member of your sales team will be motivated by money alone, so try to find out what else drives them and why they were interested in a career in sales in the first place.

It’s also essential to deliver additional support for those members working remotely during any lockdown period.

Some team members will be comfortable working from home, whilst others will prefer to be out in the field visiting customers and working in a busy office environment.

11. Do great salespeople make great sales managers?

One problem many companies encounter is that not all great salespeople make a fantastic sales manager.

Being a sales manager requires a whole host of different skills not required by salespeople, and it may take time to start seeing success once you’ve moved from making sales to overseeing them.

Most of the key tasks assigned to sales managers are strategic versus the tactical skills required by salespeople. 

For example, data analysis is hugely important for every sales manager, as is planning, strategy and people management. 

In addition, identifying realistic goals, hiring the right salespeople, creating incentives, arranging ongoing training and learning and matching the right kind of guidance to specific individuals in your team are all important.

12. Learning & Development

It’s easy to overlook training as a Sales Manager because there never seems to be any free time for developing your team or indeed yourself. 

Training falls into the category of important/not urgent and because of this it often gets overlooked.  In nearly every case the salespeople who don’t want training are those that need it the most.

Learning and development starts by hiring the right salespeople and only recruiting those who are driven and determined with great people skills.

The team that you inherit may be very different from this and it’s your objective as the sales manager to improve the team that you’re working with over the coming months or years.

It’s also important to seek out coachable people as these people are great learners and will continuously improve given the right support.

You will encounter people that already have good sales skills but seem unwilling to continue learning or taking feedback and this can become a problem. 

These people not only don’t want to learn but they don’t want others to learn either and can sabotage and undermine your leadership. 

Under these circumstances, as long as you have done everything possible to try and support these people if they still refuse then you will have no alternative to letting them go.

If you’re able to offer real-time information that you can display in the workplace, you should certainly do this as this creates incentives and keeps your salespeople’s eyes on the ball.

Transparency is essential, so make sure each member of your team knows how well you’re currently performing.

In conclusion

Sales managers are arguably the single most important part of your sales team and the right manager will help you achieve outstanding results when they build an exceptional and focussed team that they take the time to support.

They will ensure the organisation has the right people, structures, technology and sales processes in place progress which can be tracked and clearly visible for all the stakeholders. 

By ensuring team members remain willing to learn and committing to learning more themselves, sales managers can deliver real success, even in the most competitive markets.

Sales Negotiation Training

Key Negotiation Skills – Introduction

There is a common misconception that sales negotiation skills are only required towards the end of the sales process.  The part in every sales process where costs and terms are agreed.  Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it’s also true that the best salespeople are negotiating all the way through the sales process.  In fact every Professional salesperson negotiates, every single day which is why it’s an important part of any training programme

From negotiating with their children on what to have for breakfast, to negotiating with a Partner on where to go for dinner.  In between times they will negotiate workloads with their line managers, negotiate meeting times with co-workers, negotiate dates & times for appointments with prospects and lastly negotiating sales contracts, project delivery and aftercare contracts.  In short, Negotiation is actually unavoidable, and the ability to Negotiate is a core skill for every Salesperson.

Planning for Sales Negotiations

Like most things in life when it comes to Negotiation knowledge is power.  The more information you have and better prepared you are then the more likely you will achieve a successful negotiation. Follow the information below to discover how to research and plan your next negotiation.

Sales Negotiation Goals

These are the needs, wants and desires of the parties involved in the negotiation.  In business this can be complicated as not only may both sides have differing goals, but parties within each side may have differing and even conflicting Goals.

Goals can be subjective for example “We need to increase the confidence of our people.” or they can be more objective like “We need to reduce our overheads by 10 this quarter”.  Either way it’s important to know both your own Goals and that of the other side.  Important questions you must ask are:

  • Have we identified all the Goals?
  • What are the Prioritised Goals?
  • What are the Business Goals?
  • What are the Personal Goals?
  • Are there conflicting Goals?
Business Goals Examples Personal Goals Examples
Strategic Security
Change Satisfaction
Growth Peer Pressure
Improvement Financial Gain

Please note Goals are NOT the same as outcomes.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

The Outcome is the Negotiated agreement that they come to.

Negotiation Options

These are all the possible solutions that satisfy the goals of both parties.  They are all possibilities that both parties agree or say Yes to.

By investing time to explore all the Options then you are more likely to find:

  • Alternative solutions
  • Enable both parties to achieve their goals
  • Reach the Best Possible Agreement (BPA)

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria for Negotiation

Criteria are the “terms” of any possible Option

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

Get expert Sales Negotiation Training from our Sales Coaches

CNA – Cost of No Agreement

Not all Negotiations end in an agreement, it is therefore vital before entering into any Negotiation that you first work out what the Cost of No Agreement is for both parties.  The costs of no agreement can be both Objective and Subjective.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (Objective) however he has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate (Subjective) for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business (Objective) but knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed (Subjective) if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

The Subjective Cost of No Agreement can be more powerful than the Objective ones as people make decisions emotionally and then justify their position intellectually afterwards. 

BATNA – Best Alternative to No Agreement

Not all Negotiations end in an Agreement, it is therefore vital before entering into any Negotiations that you first work out what the Best Alternative to No Agreement is.  In some cases you may well experience that the other party is so entrenched in their position that they have no desire to Negotiate.  BATNA is typically but not always, an alternative course of action that can be taken if no agreement is reached.

BATNA helps you prepare for a Negotiation by:

  • Helps prevent you from agreeing to something you will regret
  • Defining your Minimum Possible Agreement (MPA)
  • Provides you with a Plan B
  • Helps prevent you from over or underestimating the your own and the other party’s position
  • Helps you understand where the leverage is
  • Identifying alternative Options

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (CNA) and has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business and has spent £3,000 with Solicitors and Accountants thus far completing his due diligence on the company. 

BATNA – George is in discussion with his Lawyers to explore the possibilities of a Management Buyout for the business.  Mike knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

Concessions for Negotiation

A concession is something given to the other party in furtherance of the agreement.  These concessions should be identified in advance and segmented for both parties in terms of:

High Value – High Cost

High Value – Low Cost

Remember – Never give anything away without receiving something of equal or greater value in return.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (CNA) and has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business and has spent £3,000 with Solicitors and Accountants thus far completing his due diligence on the company. 

BATNA – George is in discussion with his Lawyers to explore the possibilities of a Management Buyout for the business.  Mike knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

Concessions – George is prepared to spend 3 months of his time ensuring during the handover period which is Low Cost to him as he will be retired but High Value to Mike as he is new to the industry and recognises the benefit of George’s experience.

Mike is prepared to move quickly which has no cost to him however this is High Value to George as the last thing he wants is a long protracted sale.

Negotiation Strategies

Aggressive Tactics

  • Shoot the hostage
    • This strategy is extremely aggressive as it involves an immediate offer to walk away with no deal which is designed to throw and unsettle the other party.  This is often delivered in a reluctant tone “we don’t want to do this but…”,
  • Delaying tactics
    • When time is clearly on one parties side the process can often be deliberately slowed which is extremely effective when there are cost implications if talks over run.  This tactic also applies if the other party has another meeting or needs to leave.  The negotiator deliberately talks around the subject to delay the real conversation and then uses time to put pressure on the other party to come to an agreement.
  • Poor Me
    • This strategy is used to play the false victim that needs rescued by the other party.
  • Last Minute.com
    • As the name suggests this strategy involves the Negotiator agreeing to a solution right up until they are required to sign and then withdrawing.  The withdrawal is usually followed up quickly with a counter offer at dramatically reduced terms.
  • Misleading/lying
    • Often Negotiators will make exaggerated claims or even lie so without hard data to support them you should discount these.  They may also issue warnings and threats or make matters personal to unbalance you.
  • Missing People
    • Everyone knows the importance of having all the Decision Makers in the room but Negotiators may even turn up with complete strangers.  In sales some companies will remove Sales People from the final negotiations.  If the Sales People have a relationship with the other party they could be more empathetic and weaker negotiators.  Turning up without warning with complete strangers also unbalances the other party.

Co-operative Tactics

  • Agree on the Process
    • Spend time up front agreeing the process and format of the Negotiations including what’s in scope and what’s not.
  • Win Win Agreements
    • Most professional Negotiators accept that any final agreement must be fair and sustainable for the life of the time period.  In most business scenarios it should never be win at all costs as this destroys relationships.
  • Matching Rights
    • Offer the other party the right to match any solution that you receive.  For example if one of two business partners decides to sell their shares to another party they may have the agreement that the other party gets first refusal if they match the offer.
  • Contingent Agreements
    • These are simply agreements based on future events.  Financial Bonus may be tied to Performance.  Football transfer fees can be include Contingent Agreements that provides the selling club additional revenue if a player is sold on and or if a player is capped by their country or simply makes a certain number of appearances.
  • Multiple Offers
    • When multiple offers are placed on the table this allows both parties to indicate preferences and encourages creativity as a winning hybrid offer can be formed.  Placing one offer on the table often leads to a refusal and a stall in the process.

Sales Negotiation Checklist

1.  Be prepared to walk away.  Sales Negotiation is 70% Mindset and 30% Strategy and unless you are prepared to walk away, no strategy will help you.

2.  It’s not what you charge it’s what your worth.  Thoroughly research the market and discuss with the buyer the Value you bring to the table?

3. Take council from colleagues and external advisors and agree a pre-meeting strategy for the negotiations then PRACTICE.

4. Never give anything away without receiving something of equal or greater value in return.

5. Never enter a Negotiation without first providing your price and outline terms in advance, to anchor the prospect to a higher number and terms.

6. Where possible in high value deals do not include your sales people in Negotiations, as they will be emotionally involved in the sale and not objective.

7. Ensure everyone in your team have agreed in advance your trade-offs, your concessions, and your best alternative to a negotiated settlement.

8. You must be comfortable with silence and at most only talk 30% of the time, as the more you talk the more information you are giving away.

9. If it’s not Win Win then you run the danger of the prospect backing out or failing to implement your agreement, then the lawyers are the only winners.

10.  Negotiation is between human beings, you must therefore be familiar with Human Psychology, DiSC, Neuro Linguistic and Programming.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

saas sales funnel

1. What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a sequence of actions, events or stages that a user goes through before purchasing a product or service. Sales funnels are designed to allow marketers to track, record and optimise the sales process to improve results.

You can learn more about our SaaS sales training here.

2. How to build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your SaaS sales funnel is an essential part of your Apps success. If you’re offering SaaS apps then creating a repeatable, scalable and trackable sales funnel is one of the important steps that you need to take.

Sounds easy? Then think again. The sales funnel is where many start-ups transitioning into revenue generation struggle, and in many cases fail.

Before starting to build your funnel it’s worth first considering where you are in your app journey.

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

3. The three main stage of SaaS development

Unfortunately, in sales there is never a one size fits all solution, and the starting point for how to build a SaaS sales funnel is dependent on where you are, in the terms of the three main stages of a SaaS business?

Are you at:
Phase 1: the start of the journey whereby the Founder and primary team are still trying to establish product/market fit.

Phase 2: where the founder and primary team members have proven product/market fit and are proving they can implement systems and processes that others can use to sell.

Phase 3, the final hurdle where you have a proven product market fit, you’ve identified and proven the right systems and processes for scaling and you are now ready to scale your sales, focus on client acquisition and build up your MRR.

The strategies you use for building a SaaS sales funnel will vary depending on exactly what you learned in Step 1 above.

So for the purposes of this exercise, I will assume you are at Step 1. If you are still struggling to build a sales funnel at steps 2 and 3 then either you missed something at step 1, or something has changed that has made everything you learned at step 1 stop working.

4. Build a marketing funnel before your sales funnel

With any business it’s important that you provide the optimal conditions for your sales team to be successful. In the SaaS world it’s not enough to have a great website, you need a website that:

a) can be found by your products and services in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
b) can be found by the problems you solve in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
c) can convert web traffic to marketing qualified leads

Many companies ignore this and rush to build an outbound sales team. The fact is that every potential prospect that your outbound Team gets interested will then go to your website to do further research.

Unless the web experience is equal to or greater than the prospects experience with your outbound team they will immediately switch off.

To build a marketing funnel you must create “compelling user first content”. This is content that the user is actively searching for not the content that your sales and marketing team want to push.

You SaaS marketing funnel is an essential part of your Inbound sales strategy. To do this successfully you will need to create high quality content at each stage of the buyer journey as shown below.

The content should subtly tell your brand story and the success you have brought to other users. Turn your early adopters into the Heroes not you.

TOFU – Top of funnel
The first part of your sales funnel otherwise known as TOFU is the awareness stage of the funnel. The prospect is aware of the problems they have and is investigating solutions.

Your website must have content that speaks to these problems and position your company as the Subject Matter Experts. The most popular content here would be:

How to guides
Explainer videos
Blog posts
Lead Magnets

At this stage, the prospect is in research mode, not buying mode and is simply gathering information.

Your prospect may not even be interested in solutions at this stage as they are still trying to accurately self-diagnose their own problems. It’s unlikely that your prospect will want to talk to sales at this stage.

We recommend you use marketing automation to track which articles/pages your prospects enter the site on as this is the problem that is top of mind for them. Knowing this can make it easier for sales to have a relevant conversation with them.

You may also have some success engaging the prospect with chatbots on your site, however many will want to remain anonymous at this stage.

Middle of Funnel
The middle of your sales funnel is when prospects start to evaluate specific solutions based on what they learned in stage 1. Middle of funnel content would include:

Presentations
Demonstrations
Case Studies

In practical terms they will have created some form of shortlist of potential suppliers, and they will then dig deeper into the details of each potential solution.

At this stage the prospect may still not engage with you as they are often simply researching on behalf of other people within their own organisation and their priority is still information gathering.

Bottom of Funnel
By the time your prospect has reached the bottom of your marketing funnel in many cases they have already “bought into” one particular supplier or solution.

They have made their decision largely on their web experience of the brand, your sales messaging and your ability to position yourself not only as a though leader but as a thought leader in that understands their problems.

Bottom of Funnel content would included things like:

Pricing
Comparison tables
Testimonials
Reviews

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial if you offer a strong Call to Action (CTA), whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with sales.

The image below shows where a simple marketing funnel transitions into a shopping cart and the more complex B2B sale transitions into a lead for sales.

Success lies not in choosing the right model, but building your own model based on data and trial and error.

Simple SaaS Marketing funnel
SaaS Sales Funnel

Most marketing software now tracks user behaviour on your website and may use lead scoring to alert salespeople when the best time to pro-actively reach out to prospects.

From our own experience the timing is nearly always to early and a well-defined lead nurturing programme is equally effective.

In order to do this you should build into your marketing an at least three different lead magnets that will help you turn your web visitors into a subscriber so you can keep in touch.

5. Advertising to fill your Sales Funnel

Many companies successfully fill their sales funnel via advertising. Digital advertising has matured to a level that allows significant tracking and reporting allowing you to within a matter of weeks understand what your Conversion Ratio and CAC will be.

In the first instance we would advocate “Re-targeting Campaigns”. This is simply the process of placing adds in front of people who have already visited your website.

Studies show retargeting is seven times more effective than new campaigns which is why we advocate this as a starting point.

This strategy works extremely well with a strong content marketing campaign. The most popular add channel for B2B would be LinkedIn, however, many companies have also done well with Facebook and Instagram.

Needless to say this would be defined by your audience. Advertising can be used in simple funnels to drive sales and more complex ones to drive new enquiries for sales reps.

More complex sales may need a defined sequence whereby users click on and advert to receive a lead magnet with each lead costing $3.

If you subsequently manage to convert 5% of these new leads you can then attribute $60 per sale from advertising to your CAC.

You can build a trackable sequence or model from any activity not just advertising. For example, events, webinars and telesales allowing you to understand which activities are the most cost effective not only at filling your funnel, but actually converting into orders.

6. How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel will vary depending on your sales strategy. Are you selling your App direct or are you selling through partners? Which channels have you decided to focus on initially?

1. Identify your Perfect Prospect Profile. This is the sales reps version of a marketing persona. It includes everything that a marketing persona would include, plus some additional information that helps sales understand and communicate at a deeper level with the prospect.

Sales Prospect Profile Template
Sales Prospect Profile Template

2. Build your sales messaging. Part of the product/market fit is understanding what business and or personal problem your product solves.

In our experience the most successful SaaS services are business solutions that solve business problems.

Once you understand how this relates to your own product/service at a deep level you can start to build your sales messaging.

This is the words and nuanced language you have proven that prospects connect with. It’s not enough to know about your own business and solutions, you should know about your customers.

You should know exactly how your solution helps your customer save money, make money and make their life easier.

3. Lead Generation Campaign.

Once you have identified your target prospects and built your sales messaging you will need to start work on a Lead Generation campaign.

There are two main approaches to Lead Generation as follows:

a) Inbound Lead Generation. Inbound lead generation campaigns are where the prospect contacts you first. The may fill out a form on your web page, telephone you or email you. In order to generate inbound sales leads you will need to do some form of content creation, ad campaigns, webinars, referral programmes or SEO.

b) Outbound lead generation. Outbound lead generation campaigns are where you reach out to prospects via telephone, email, direct mail, events or account based marketing. Outbound campaigns invariably means you will have to build an outbound says team which can be expensive.

The majority of SaaS companies use a combination of inbound and outbound, however, they nearly always have an emphasis on one more than the other.

As a very rough guide, SaaS services that are lower cost and targeting SMEs, are marketing led and have a predominantly Inbound focus.

SaaS services that are more expensing and targeting Mid-Market to Enterprise organisations will have a more sales led approach via Account Based Marketing.

7. What are the Stages of a SaaS Sales Funnel?

saas sales funnel
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The stages of your sales funnel are simply a series of steps that your prospects move through to place an order.

These stages can vary greatly and there is no one funnel that you can apply to every app. Even if the stages are the same the method by which you move prospects through the funnel may vary.

Your sales funnel is a great place to start collecting data in order to measure performance and make improvements over time.

In general, prospects should move through the sales funnel as quickly as possible – this is called the sales cycle or pipe speed.

Measuring the speed that prospects move through the cycle allows you to identify blockages in your funnel and areas where prospects slow down.

These “sticking” points are where you should look to make improvements.

8. When do I demo my SaaS product to customers?

The timing of SaaS app demos within the sales process has been the subject of discussion for many companies.

The answer unfortunately to the question is “it depends”. Many companies successfully demo their app at the start of the sales process, however, there are equally many who demo at the start and then have their prospects disappear into the black hole of voice mail and unanswered emails.

In short the cheaper and simpler the solution, then the earlier in the process you can demo and the more expensive and complex the solution the demo should be pushed as far back in the selling process as possible.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The reality is that there is a tendency for Entrepreneurs and salespeople to rush to demo their app, hoping the demo will convince the prospect to sign up.

Even if the prospect is qualified and a good fit, a demo without any form of diagnosis of the prospects pain is in danger of losing the prospect.

Your prospect needs to know that you know and that you understand their world. This can only be achieved via intelligent and targeted questioning. If you want to speed the sale up, slow the sale down.

The demo is usually the salespersons greatest point of leverage and if you give it away to soon you will lose the leverage and in all likelihood the prospect.

As a general rule of thumb – push the app demo as far back in your sales process as possible.

Demos cost time and money especially for complex sales where more often than not a bespoke demo is required.

Any bespoke demo must only be delivered to the senior decision makers on the prospects buying team. If appropriate you can even have two demos within the sales process – there are no rules other than if it works do it.

Most sales reps make the mistake of using this part of the sales process to explain the benefits of the product in more detail.

When you’re telling you’re not selling. Use intelligent probing questions to get the prospect to tell you how the solution will solve their business pain.

You should avoid talking about features that you believe to be relevant to them. If you didn’t uncover this in the discovery stage of the sales process it’s inherently risky to introduce anything new further down the process.

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial, whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with a sales rep.

In order to demonstrate they have undertaken due diligence they will always speak to two or three potential suppliers.

This isn’t necessarily to beat a supplier down on price, but sometimes they need to validate to the wider purchasing group within their organisation why they have a preference.

App trials are also a good way to get users to sign up, however, the conversion ratio of trials to close is usually poor in most SaaS cases.

Depending on the pricing you could offer a managed trial, so they can evaluate your software while you manage them further down the sales process.

During a trial, the prospect can see how the product will work for them in practice. It’s important to time the trial wisely and ensure you have agreed in advance what happens if the trial is successful.

We’ve created the graphic above to try to explain visually how this might work for your organisation.

It’s worth noting in the example, the majority of your CAC will be marketing, whereas in the more complex funnel your costs will include marketing, sales + customer onboarding.

9. SaaS Sales Funnel examples

The sales funnels below are examples. You should NOT replicate these unless they fit with your sales process.

They are designed to be a starting point for those looking to develop a sales funnel.

As you can see from the graphic, there are many alternatives to the stages that go to make up your sales funnel depending on the type of funnel you are creating.

For purely digital funnels you could have:

Lead Magnet Landing page – where prospects arrive after clicking on your advert
Confirmation Page – confirming your free offer, trial or purchase
Upsell page – where prospects have an opportunity to add additional services or upgrade
Checkout page – where prospects pay for the service
Congrats or Thank You page – where you can sign post prospects with the appropriate next steps.

B2B-Sales-Pipeline
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

10. SaaS sales funnel metrics

When it comes to metrics we believe these are the common sales operations metrics and KPIs that most people are familiar with. Needless to say these metrics are important and you should be recording and reporting on them.

LTT – Lead to trial conversion
This is the number of leads who have converted to a trial.

DCR – Demo conversion ratio
The number of demos that successfully convert to the next stage in the sales process.

TTS – Trial to sale conversion
This is the number of prospects on the free trial who have converted to paying customers.

LTV – Lifetime Value of the customer
This is the average total value a customer will spend before leaving the service. Ironically this can be more difficult to measure the better your product is because, without customers leaving you will not know how long they stay and their total value to the business.

Churn – Number of customers leaving
Customers will leave and that’s not always a bad thing. If the customers who leave fit your ICP (Ideal Client Profile) then you have a problem. Customers who leave that don’t fit your ICP may be freeing up valuable resource that can be spent on your ICP.

MRR – Monthly recurring revenue
The monthly recurring revenue gives you an overview of your success, however, it’s only an overview and you need to look at the details within the data to gain a more accurate picture.

ARR – Annual recurring revenue
The annual recurring revenue gives a good overview of the business, but like the MRR you should study all the data to obtain a more accurate picture on the health of your venture.

Sales Cycle – The time from initial contact through to a closed order
This is typically short for lower value simpler solutions and longer for complex Enterprise sales. For example a sales to a Tier 1 bank may take 18 months from initial contact to close.

CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost
It’s important to understand how much it costs you to acquire a single customer. In an ideal world you would discover this in the initial phases of the business when you are proving the value proposition. Without this figure it’s impossible to put in the systems and processes to scale the business as you won’t know how much you can spend on the front end marketing and sales.

Negative Churn –
Negative churn is a powerful growth metric which indicates that the revenue from upselling and cross selling existing customers out strips the revenue lost when customers leave.

11. SaaS Proposal submissions

After the final demo, you should never offer to send a proposal.

Proposals cost time and money and if your prospect is interested they will ask you for a proposal.

If your prospect doesn’t ask you for a proposal then it tells you that they aren’t interested in working with you and you need to move back up the sales process to understand where you have gone wrong.

When the sales process stalls it’s rarely because of something you have done wrong at that moment – more often, it’s something you missed earlier on in the sales process.

Make sure you’re confident all the benefits of the software have been clearly explained to them and mapped out against their stated needs.

Where possible, always get your White Knight to help you co-create the proposal and sense check a draft version with them in advance of sending the official copy.

Before sending your proposal you must have a clear understanding of what the next steps are if you win or lose.

Without this you are most likely to spend the next three months chasing ghosts in voice mail.

12. Pricing your SaaS contracts

Many companies provide limited or no pricing at all on their website because they don’t want their competitors to see their pricing, or they think it will scare away potential customers.

You should be proud of your price and the value you bring. Let the competition undercut you and tie up all their resources on unprofitable deals.

People rarely buy the cheapest solution, so allow your prospects to undercut you.

If you’re still anxious about having your pricing on your website then think about how you feel when you are researching a solution you are interested in only to find the pricing page is littered with POA.

If you’re like most people you find this really annoying and quickly move on to the next potential supplier.

Lastly, another advantage of proudly displaying your pricing is that it qualifies out anyone who is not prepared to invest at that level.

This can save you lots of time and resources with prospects who simply have a different budget level.

There are numerous pricing strategies available to you, however, from our experience the only thing that is guaranteed, is that you will change your pricing.

As a basic rule of thumb if your prices are set too high for a short-term contract or paid trial, the prospect may fail to experience the full benefits of the software before the contract comes to an end, and they may decide not to renew.

Where possible you should reward prospects during the trial period for adding information and using the service.

For example, offer a shorter trial and incentivise users if they complete their profile/account set up.

Offer a further free period encourage them to use the product for example if they upload data into the system.

The idea is to “onboard” your new users step by step and make your product as sticky as possible.
If the prospect does want to go ahead you should use contracts with digital signature to speed up the sales process.

Never send contracts in emails or links to digital contracts as these can be easily ignored.

Arrange to get the prospect on the phone and talk through the contract with them. Once they have agreed to everything in the contract simply ask them to sign while you have them on the phone.

This way you retain control of the sales process.

13. Why the sales funnel is so important for SaaS providers

Many businesses have failed after struggling to implement a sales funnel. Marketing and selling SaaS products can be incredibly challenging, and chances are your target customers are already overwhelmed with offers from competing software vendors.

Think about which part of the buyers existing budget you are going to win revenue from. What direct or indirect competitors will you take budget away from?

You may be competing with some of the biggest and most powerful brands in the world that are providing generic solutions to the same problems you solve.

This means you need to offer something distinctive that your customers actually require.

A CB Insights study said 42% of SaaS start-ups fail because they’re offering products their target customers don’t need.

Convincing potential customers your software offers genuine value is essential.

14. Managing prospects expectations

Creating a sales funnel is all about building a journey all the way from web visitor, to subscriber and through demos and trails and ending with the contract being signed.

Your sales funnel should emphasise each of the key stages your prospects will travel through on their way to an agreement being made.

Be open, upfront and share the stages of the process in advance with your prospects.
You should pay close attention to any points of friction that might occur as your prospects travel through your sales pipeline.

This will give you the opportunity to make improvements to your funnel moving forward.
What’s most important is that you record all the data points in your sales funnel.

This will help you make decisions on facts rather than your gut feelings. It can take time for your sales funnel to become fully effective, and you may need to make several refinements before you have a truly optimised sales funnel.

Many customers don’t have a rich understanding of what they need when they first encounter you. Provide solutions not just products by helping prospects make the connection between the two.

What’s also true is users often buy what they want not what they need.

This is why it’s so important to ask targeted questions in order that you can accurately determine what their needs are so you can position your software in the most favourable way.

These questions will also tell you how near or far away they are to making a decision.

15. The Rise of SaaS solutions

It seems like everything in the world is now powered online by SaaS Applications. From Netflix and Amazon Prime to LinkedIn and Microsoft M365 we are now surrounded by SaaS solutions of one description or another.

Financially SaaS makes sense as it avoids heavy capital expenditure up front and de-risks the solution.

After all if it doesn’t work you are typically only ever locked in to a maximum of 12 months. Other advantages of SaaS include the way that it is normally quick to deploy and requires no maintenance on the part of the client.

Upgrades are normally delivered automatically, with clients generally being offered guaranteed levels of service.

Backups and data recovery are usually carried out on behalf of the client, so they can focus on what they do best, safe in the knowledge that everything’s being handled by the software developers themselves.

Lockdown has turbo charged SaaS
Remote working was on the rise even before the pandemic, so the fact that SaaS products allow individuals to work and collaborate from anywhere has only served to embed SaaS even deeper in our every day lives.

There are thousands of new products SaaS products being developed in every country around the world so competition is fierce, however, there is no apparent end to the appetite of consumers and business to SaaS solutions.

A coherent sales funnel could be the difference between your product being a viral success and being forced to return to the drawing board.

The Complete Guide to Channel Planning in Sales Management

Channel Planning in Sales Management

What are sales channels?

Sales channels are simply the routes to market you choose to sell your products or services. Channels fall into one of two main categories: indirect channels where you sell via a third party such as Amazon or direct channels whereby you sell direct such as via your own company website.

What are Direct sales channels?

Direct Sales channels are where you sell direct to the consumers of your product or services. In B2B Salesforce.com sells direct to all their consumers throughout the world. They have no partner, reseller or affiliate network. Many people credit the Salesforce business model as the first successful direct sales channel model for a global SaaS brand.

What are the benefits of Direct sales channels?

The benefits of Direct sales channels are they allow vendors to remove the margins associated with distribution partners, and therefore lower their price to consumers. It allows them complete control over their sales process and provides them direct access to their consumers to build relationships and brand loyalty.

What are Indirect sales channels?

Indirect sales channels are channels where you sell through a third party. For example, Amazon is an indirect sales channel for many manufacturers in the B2C world. Microsoft sell licenses through a network of LARS (large account resellers) who sell licenses to commercial businesses. In B2B there has been a trend to move away from selling indirect as brands seek a direct connection with their consumers.

What are the benefits of Indirect sales channels?

An indirect sales channel can provide fast access to consumers who already have a relationship and brand loyalty with your partner or distributor. Indirect sales channels can provide a faster and lower cost access to local markets that would be difficult and expensive for you to reach.

In some cases a Partner network may form an essential part of your distribution and post sale support. The benefits of Direct sales channels are they allow vendors to remove the margins associated with distribution partners, and therefore lower their price to consumers.

It allows them complete control over their sales process and provides them direct access to their consumers to build relationships and brand loyalty.

Examples of Sales Channels

Direct Sales Channels Company owned website Retail
Outlets
Salespeople Telesales
Indirect Sales Channels Dealers & Distributors Franchised Stores Manufacturers Reps eCommerce & Auction Sites

What are digital sales channels?

Digital sales channels can be direct and indirect and include selling direct from your own company website, selling indirect via an affiliate programme, selling via Value added resellers, selling via value added resellers.

What is a Channel sales strategy?

Part of Channel planning in Sales Management includes strategy which simply means what approach will you take to sell? This can be very simple or very complex depending on many variables.
For example:
Products/services that need more post sale support such as cars have primarily been sold via Dealer networks. (This is changing)
Products and services that need less support may be sold direct such as video editing software.
Products and services that need customising to meet customer needs may be sold via Value added Resellers such as enterprise software applications.
Products and services that need local distribution may be sold via traditional field sales such Pension Products (IFA’s).

As you would expect there is no one size fits all, however, every manufacturer/producer has the same simple goal – How do I maximise market penetration for the minimum cost?
They also have the same problem – how do I consistently motivate, incentivise and coach my channel to sell more?

How to Choose the right sales channels?

If you do want to reach the right customers in the digital age, you need to choose your channels wisely and find out where your audience is.

Whilst this isn’t the most creative strategy we suggest the following starting point for choosing the right sales channels:

a) What channels are your consumers on?

b) What channels are your competitors on?

In many cases when vendors try to engage on multiple channels they simply dilute their efforts, so it’s wise to limit the number of channels you engage with.

Whilst outsourcing sales to your channel undoubtedly allows you to save from hiring your own direct sales team, every channel as to be supported.

Supporting and enabling your sales channels takes time and money if you want to do it right.

Once you have selected the right channels and become present on them, you should be able to help whenever your consumers are using their favourite platforms.

With this in mind you should research your consumers before choosing which channels you want to use. To create the right channel strategy for your brand, you will also need to decide on the best way to introduce and promote your products and services.

What’s right for one consumer, company and channel won’t always be right for another. For instance, Facebook is typically more suited to the consumer market whereas LinkedIn is more suited for Business to Business.

How does market segmentation affect sales channels?

Market segmentation affects sales channels as you will inevitably have limitations on the budget and resources available.

As an example you may sell via a network of distributors in order to target SME’s but retain the option to sell direct to large Enterprise accounts who want to deal with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

By segmenting the market you can maximise your penetration and minimise your cost of sales.

At the most basic level you should segment your target markets into three groups based on revenue.

Once you have segmented your market depending on the resources you have available you could have the highest revenue producers in group A as Direct sales managed by you the vendor.

Group B could be managed via distributors and group C could be classed as un-managed and in effect they become a self service channel.

Channel Planning in Sales Management

Should I choose Multichannel vs Omnichannel?

In most cases if you have a range of sales channels, it’s usually a wise move to unify various teams within your enterprise and create a multichannel strategy.

There can be many benefits of bringing the channels together into a multichannel sales strategy such as, to align or even differentiate pricing, to reduce overheads or maximise profits.

Where Omnichannel differs is when done correctly, the end user has a seamless brand experience across all channels. Rather than focus on the sale the customer journey and loyalty become equally important.

Practical examples of this could be a Live Chat operator checks and shares the stock availability in a store to allow the customer to pay and collect locally.

A successful channel management strategy is likely to see internal and external teams come together to drive more brand engagement, which in turn drives sales.

How do I develop sales channels?

The best way to develop your sales channels is via extensive research and testing. This doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thorough.

After you have identified the channels, you should run a series of tests to see which channels perform the best. Only once you have data and facts can you begin to develop your channel sales strategy.

Please note: when testing channels it’s not enough to use lead generation data alone. The sales leads may never convert to sales so you must take into account revenue generated versus COCA (cost of customer acquisition).

Every sales channel should have a growth plan in order to maintain existing sales and provide future growth.

What are the best sales channels for small business?

The best sales channel for small business are web based because they allow them to scale quickly and remove many of the traditional barriers to sales such as geography, travel and people.

A small, well optimised website can compete with much larger international brands.

What are the best sales channels for SaaS?

The best sales channels for SaaS Businesses are to have one direct sales channel via your website and then have two indirect sales channels.

Of the indirect channels the first would be a referral programme and the second would be a partner or affiliate programme.

Please note the channels mentioned above are sales channels and should not be confused with marketing channels which are completely different. For example LinkedIn is a great marketing channel for SaaS however, you cannot sell anything on LinkedIn (currently).

You would need to take the sales leads from LinkedIn and direct them to your website or partners in order to generate a sale.

What are the best sales channels for B2B?

The best sales channels for B2B are direct via salespeople for enterprise sales and web based for products and services aimed at SME’s.

Most businesses need a combination of the above. You should also use partner and affiliate programmes when targeting SME’s to help widen your market penetration.

How do I Build product awareness across various channels?

Channel marketing involves supporting sales teams so that awareness around a product is raised. It also focusses on increasing customer knowledge so potential buyers are ready to interact with members of your sales team and in effect further along the buying process before they talk to sales.

Channel marketing strategies can focus on educating the prospect on the potential problems and implications not just building product awareness.

If a product already has a high profile, your strategy may be centered upon maintaining awareness of what’s great about your product and what makes it different from those offered by your competitors.

How do I use sales channels to Understand consumers?

Todays consumers and customers are arguably more informed than ever. They are able to access all the information they need from wherever they are.

As long as they are connected to the internet, they can source important details about your products and services within just a few touches of their screens.

As part of your research into understanding your consumers you should:
a) research online groups and organisations using tools like LinkedIn groups
b) run test campaigns with new distributors before committing to long contracts
c) Use distributors insights and customer relationships to gather market knowledge
Look for common pain points in online discussions and forums
c) run quick polls to test engagement levels
d) run “test” campaigns to see what messaging works best.
e) run surveys to better understand consumer needs.
f) focus groups

Consumers expect brands to have a rich understanding of their needs, be consistent and enhance their lives.

There are many channels you can use to reach your customers in the modern world, and it seems new ones are appearing all the time. Developing a quality channel planning strategy is essential, but most companies can’t build a strong presence on each one.

How to make the right investments in your channel?

Supporting and incentivising any channel can be expensive, so you will need to budget wisely.

Avoid spreading yourself to thin when you are building a channel marketing strategy – its better to focus on one or two channels and get them optimised before adding channels in that you may not have the time or budget to make profitable.

For example many companies choose to be present on each and every social media network they can think of, but it may be more effective to focus your efforts on the ones that your customers are using the most.

Marketing on any channel can be expensive, so you should start small and test everything before committing to larger advertising spends.

How do I create distinctive Channel campaigns?

The single, most powerful way to engage that vendors can use to engage their channel is to generate new sales leads for them to close and make money from.

Brands should avoid replicating what their competition are doing and be innovative both with their products and the way they present them to the market. Differentiation is key, as simply copying your rivals is unlikely to be successful and places you in the “me to” category where consumers use price as the differentiator.

Furthermore, what’s right for your competitors may not be as effective for you, so it’s always best to build strategies that are specifically aligned to your needs, circumstances and the requirements of your customers.

By all means you can take inspiration from what others have done, but it’s wise to ensure your strategy as a whole is unique to your brand.

It would be unusual to hire an Accountant who is neither qualified nor experienced, so in order for your Channel Sales Planning to be successful you may need to seek out external help.

It may not be possible to achieve what you want to without assistance from outside specialists who know the pitfalls from experience.

Beware of larger Brands

As new entrants to channels and markets making the right decisions at the right time is critical. Often large brands will dangle the potential of large orders in exchange for exclusivity. This may or may not be the right move for your brand. Every decision need to be evaluated on its merits with the wider context in mind.

For example the most common pitfall is where exporters rush to sign up International dealers who immediately “park” the new product or service.

They never intended to sell it but equally they didn’t want anyone else selling it in their territory.

It’s easy to get legal agreements that preclude this sort of thing from happening, however, you will still lose market traction, money and time while the lawyers from each side make money bringing the contracts to an end.

Do you go with the market leader and become a page in their catalogue, or do you go with the disruptive new entrants who are out to make a name for themselves?

It’s no surprise that the most successful multichannel marketing strategies have seen companies working with channel partners who understood their needs, but are also aligned by culture and values.

Social Media Platforms as Channels

Social Media cannot be ignored but equally, you should be very careful choosing any social media as part of your channel sales strategy.

These platforms exist to make money, and they will use any data your company pages, your employees and customers generate to sell to your competitors.

In addition, Channels you don’t own carry an inherent amount of risk.

Millions of Companies built up their presence on Facebook only for them to sell their customer data to their competitors.

Millions of companies built up their presence on Facebook only for them to be locked out and their pages closed.

That’s not to say they were wrong, you can make hay while the sun shines if that’s the best, most efficient route to market.

If you do decide to use Social Media you should partner with a data specialist, so you can get the insights you need to create profitable campaigns and drive your business forward.

They can provide an objective view to help you make the right decisions.

It may not be easy to get everyone on board with your new strategy initially, but they are likely to become more enthusiastic when they can see clear evidence that your methods are working.

Is offline marketing still important?

It’s vital to keep your consumers at the forefront of your mind when creating a multichannel marketing strategy.

Offline marketing remains relevant for many businesses, with some older consumers more likely to encounter your brand in newspapers and magazines rather than online.

Despite the lockdown and increase in hours people are spending online offline should still be considered.

For example advertising at large, televised sports events may fit with some brands.

Multi-channel marketing is focussed upon utilising various digital and traditional channels in order to reach your customers.

Additional channels that you can utilise to target your customers include text messages, social media, email marketing, chat, social media, direct mail, TV, radio, video marketing, podcasts and your website.

Studies suggest that most companies that use strong multi-channel marketing strategies keep around 89% of their customers.

How do I set clear channel sales goals?

To build a successful channel planning strategy, you need to have clearly defined goals in mind. You can only start creating your strategy once you have set your goals or objectives.

Once you have determined your goals, you should create a sales and marketing plan. If the goals and objectives are the destination the sales plan is the roadmap that you follow to reach your goals.

The plan will help you to start deciding which channels, how to engage those channels and which KPIs to track.

Part of this planning requires you to get a firm idea of who your customers are so you can find a way to connect with them, so you will need to carry out substantial research.

Where possible you should be automating your processes using software like marketing automation, email marketing, ad buying programmes and CRM systems, which track the interactions you have with your consumers.

For example marketing software can start creating profiles for customers from the moment they first interact with your brand online.

These profiles are then updated as they continue to interact with salespeople on and offline.

Consistency in Channel Planning in Sales Management?

Many people mock McDonald’s, however, there are many things they do extremely well, and we can learn from. For me, one of the pillars of McDonald’s success has been their consistency.

No matter where you are or who serves you, there is a level of consistency not just in the food, but the whole experience.

Your users experience should remain consistent across every channel. This means your tone of voice, logos, colours and so on should be the same on each channel.

If you don’t have a unified brand experience, this could leave your consumers confused and confused people don’t spend money.

Achieving this level of consistency is difficult when you sell via Indirect channels like partners, distributors or franchisees.

Car manufacturers spend millions annually on marketing and training with their dealer showroom network to try to achieve this type of consistency.

You need to find a way of tracking your results so you can see how well your campaign is working. Analytic software will give you key information on your performance on each channel and give you the insights you need to make changes to your campaign.

Some ideas that you can choose to measure would be:

Net Promoter Score to measure brand loyalty
Repeat purchase scores to measure quality and service
Upsell Ratio to measure sales

How to Write a Sales Plan in 8 Easy Steps (with FREE Template)

How to Write a Sales Plan

In this article we will cover...

 

1. How to write a Sales Plan

Few businesses manage to meet or exceed their sales goals without a sales plan, or should I say successfully create a Sales Plan and execute it.

Creating a sales plan helps you to establish your sales objectives, and outline the steps you will take to reach them.

A typical sales plan will include information on how the growth will be achieved (this is sometimes referred to as your sales strategies and tactics) and how sales will be measured.

Measuring the sales of your product or service may seem simple, but there are often important indicators and metrics other than revenue that can and should be used to measure the success of the execution of the sales plan.

Your plan may also feature details about target customers and their pain points, the sales process, roles and responsibilities, revenue targets, revenue goals, business goals and a sales and marketing strategy for your products and services.

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the benefits of a sales plan you will take the next step and grab a free download our template in order that you can start creating a sales plan for your own business.

2. Different types of Sales Plans

Unfortunately, given all the differences between industries, companies and products there is no single plan that can be applied to every business. There are 3 main differences you should be aware of as follows:

1. Customer Base – are you selling to an established customer base where you need to manage existing accounts or are you selling to a greenfield territory where you need to focus on opening new accounts? In reality, it’s often a mixture of the two.

2. Market Movement – is the market stable enough to allow you to repeat what’s delivered your sales numbers in previous years or is the market changing and forcing you to change at the same time?

3. Business Strategy – the sales plan needs to meet or exceed the objectives of the business plan. The plan therefore needs to be aligned with the company mission and overall business strategy. If part of the business strategy is to divest risk from one income stream, the sales plan needs to reflect this.

Sales are the fuel that powers the ship, however it’s the business that decides where the ship is going.

3. Increasing Your Sales Revenues

At times sales can seem very complicated, however, it’s worth remembering there are only three ways to increase sales revenues as follows:

a) Increase sales by selling to accounts aligned with your ideal target customers

b) Increase sales by selling more to current customers

c) Raise your prices

The growth in your Sales plan must reflect at least one of the above, but preferably all three. You must also allow for “churn” as every business no matter how good they are will lose customers over time.

Even if you do nothing wrong customers will go bankrupt, they will be taken over, they will move away and you will lose business.

Reducing customer churn may well be part of your growth strategy. Anything you can do to increase your Customer Lifetime Value is always worthwhile and will stand you in good stead in the future.

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4. Preparing for Success

Sales plans are primarily designed to help you achieve more sales. They should include information on what your current situation is, what you are aiming for and what you need to do to make your vision a reality.

Sales plans are like a roadmap your team can follow to achieve success. Without this roadmap they will take longer to achieve their targets as they move slower and possibly even in a different direction.

A more focused and driven team

A key benefit of every sales plan is that it can help make your team members more focused on achieving a specific goal, or series of goals.

Once a sales plan is in place, your team should have a firmer, more coherent idea of what your aims are. They should also have a more specific idea of what steps they personally need to take to achieve them.

Sales plans can also help you prevent a decline in sales over time by keeping your team focused and delivering a constant sense of purpose.

They can also help you make the most of your team’s specific capabilities and assign roles to the most suitable employees.

Creating confidence

Confidence is an important, yet often overlooked part of the sales success in any organisation.

A well written Sales Plan will give confidence and direction to the sales team and once you have a robust sales plan in place, you’re more likely to attract or keep investors and other stakeholders on-side.

The sales plan should also include information on the likely and possible challenges you envisage and how you plan to overcome them.

Clarity and coherence

Sales plans should be straightforward, so they can be easily understood by people outside the sales department.

There is no point filling your sales plan full of sales jargon which some team members may struggle to comprehend.

It’s essential that your sales plan firmly outlines your plans and goals for the period that it covers in an easy-to-read format.

If you would like help creating and implementing your sales plan we offer a full sales consultancy service and would love to talk to you about how we can work alongside your team to drive revenue growth.

5. Frameworks for a sales plan

We’ve put together a framework for your Sales Plan in Microsoft PowerPoint so it can double up as a presentation document. It includes easy to complete sections on:


1. Review – Learning what’s worked and what hasn’t from the previous year is an essential part of any sales plan. This way we can repeat or increase what’s been working and reduce, eliminate or adapt what didn’t work.

It’s also wise to look at your past data when setting targets. Do you have a good track record of hitting your targets? If you have failed to reach your aims in the past, do you know the reasons for this?

By closely assessing your past performance, you can optimise the chances of your latest campaign being a success and avoid setting unrealistic targets.

2. Sales Team – salespeople are a key part of the sales success in any organisation and should always be included in the plan.

In addition to showing past performance you should demonstrate how you plan to support them over the life of the plan by way of training and coaching.

Details of the training should be recorded in each employees PDP (Personal Development Plan) and Coaching should be recorded in individual coaching worksheets.

There may be times where every sales person has similar development needs but at as a minimum the coaching should always be bespoke.

3. Strategy – this is simply a high level statement on how you will approach selling to your market. The details such as goals, priorities and milestones of the strategy will be laid out in the Objectives section of the sales plan.

An example of a Strategy would be the Big Bets or Blockbuster strategy. Imagine if you were running a movie company and you were choosing what movies to invest $100,000,000 in over the next 12 months.

Would you take your $100,000,000 and invest £1 million dollars in 100 films or would you invest £10 million and try to create 10 blockbusters?

Perhaps your strategy is to move your customer base from Mid Market to Enterprise accounts. Your strategy might be to expand your portfolio to meet more of your customers needs and keep the competition out.

Your strategy may be the opposite and you might want to reduce and streamline your portfolio.

Removing choice allows you to focus sales and marketing resources and lower operating costs. We’re great fans of the Blockbuster strategy because we love the focus and simplicity it brings.

We accept there is an increased risk when you focus on fewer options, however, there should be some form of validation in your Blockbuster strategy. Will the next Bond movie be a hit? Well based on previous Bond movies yes.

So the majority (not all) Blockbusters should already be proven revenue streams that you are simply doubling down on.

4. SWOT analysis – thi is where you can document your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to help form and validate your sales strategy. Please remember the SWOT should only refer to your sales strategy.

The SWOT serves as proof that you and your team have undertaken some critical thinking around your sales strategy and have taken the time to think each aspect of the strategy through.

Once you have completed a SWOT analysis you can use the data to form a strategy that minimises the Weaknesses & Threats and maximises the strengths and opportunities.

5. Objectives – Your sales plan must be based around genuinely achievable targets. It will be much harder to get your team to embrace your sales plan if your aims are unrealistic or unreasonable.

It’s fine to be ambitious, but your goals still need to be realistic. Unrealistic or unachievable goals will only serve to demoralise the sales team and lead to them giving up.

Your aims and strategies need to be measurable so you can track the progress that you are making. You must include research that supports your aims, especially if your targets seem particularly ambitious.

Setting growth targets/objectives in the plan


Growth targets in a sales plan can vary wildly. Some sales plans are based on what the company wants to achieve over the next quarter, whilst others have longer-term 12 month goals.

It would be unusual to have a sales plan that was longer than 12 months as markets and customers can change so quickly.

Your sales plan needs to be agile enough to respond to these changes quickly. The best sales plans will feature detailed information on which activities need to take place and what kind of resources need to be used in order to generate success.

A simple method for sales forecasting would be to take the previous years monthly sales figures and then add 20% to each month. This provides a monthly sales target that accounts for any seasonal changes, and after 12 months will have delivered 20% annual growth.

It’s normally best practice to list separate sales objectives for:
product mix
new customers vs existing customers
sales by region
sales by vertical
individual sales reps

Whilst tracking each element may seem overkill, this allows you to quickly adapt your sales plan and implement contingency plans if required. For example, if one vertical is under-performing you may choose to divert resources into other verticals that are more active.

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing Kotler
How to Create a Sales Plan

6. Sales Tactics and Techniques – after Strategy and planning comes the tactics. These are quite simply the approaches you will use to deliver the objectives of the sales plan.

Your sales tactics should call out the tasks and activities the sales team will be doing on a daily basis to implement the plan.

Tactics could be as simple as changing the sales messaging to match a new market or retraining customer service teams in up-selling existing accounts.

Perhaps you want your sales team to invest more time on Social media using tools like LinkedIn to identify new prospects or your interested in starting a cold email campaign.


7. Metrics – it’s important to agree on what success looks like how you will measure it before you start any project.

There are lots of great systems and tools available for this, however, you should make a list of tracking methods that you will be using for the duration of your plan.

These can include your selling strategies, techniques used for monitoring and performance metrics.

Where possible:
a) use existing systems and tools like CRMs that are already in place and being used, so you don’t get dragged into a software implementation project.

b) the recording of the measures should not create any additional workload for the salespeople as they are then less likely to complete them.

c) where possible use lead indicators and not lag indicators. Examples of a lead indicator could be the number of qualified new sales leads created and a lag indicator is the monthly revenue.

Whilst the revenue is important if we wait till the end of the month to get the revenue figures and we miss the target it’s too late.

Measuring the lead indicators allows us to take corrective action before the lag indicator is missed.

SaaS companies often track subscriptions to their app which is important but the lead indicator could be as simple as the number of visitors to the website.

You wil need to make a list of tracking methods that you will be using for the duration of your plan. These can include your selling strategies, techniques used for monitoring and performance metrics.

We use Sales Scorecards to record and track KPI’s, however, there are many different methods to track KPI’s from simple spreadsheets to online apps.

8. Budget – sales and selling costs money. Whether it’s a simple Linkedin Sales Navigator subscription or a 6 figure Expo in Las Vegas everything in sales costs money which needs to be budgeted for.

Budgets will vary greatly from one company to another, however you should always attempt to quantify the costs in advance.

Companies that do not have formalised budgets for Sales and work on an ad hoc basis are by nature lower down on the Sales Maturity model.

If you plan to spend a considerable figure during the period, you’ll need to justify this to your stakeholders. The plan should include detailed figures to illustrate where your budget will be going.

If you’re investing in new resources during the period, add an ROI analysis to your sales plan to help justify the investment.

You may also wish to budget for unforeseen costs such as recruitment, should a sales person leave unexpectedly you need to replace them.

If you’re not given the required budget, you may need to make changes to your sales plan, but you don’t necessarily need to scrap it completely.

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6. Sales Plan Content

Your sales plan shouldn’t only consist of text. Wherever possible it’s worth have the document professional designed.

If you choose to use a template like ours you need to include your own branding as a minimum. It’s common for lists, tables, graphics, screenshots and charts to be used to convey key information about the company’s aims and the market you serve.

The sales plan should also feature research about what’s currently occurring in your industry This means it’s important to include statistics based on the latest research.

It’s also advisable to research your existing customers and targets market before you start creating your sales plan.

Depending on what sector you’re based in, there may be more demand from one market segment than there was in previous years.

Conversely, groups you were previously targeting may not be as interested in your products and services as they once were. Wherever possible do research so you can back up any positions you have taken.

Remember, your document doesn’t need to be incredibly formal, but it does need to be coherent and easy to comprehend.

7. Encouraging Buy In

Once you have completed your sales plan, you’ll need to present it not only to your team but your stakeholders and relevant managers too.

If you can’t get these on board, your plan is unlikely to be effective. The more convincing your sales plan is, the more enthusiasm you can generate.

The management is also more likely to release your budget if you can present an impressive well-thought-out sales plan.

With this in mind it’s always best to include other people in the creation of the Sales Plan. Getting buy-in from Sales people will be much easier if they helped create the document and senior management are much more likely to allocate budget if they have been included in the whole process.

With this in mind it’s worth asking your salespeople to create mini-plans and forecasts specific to their territory and then rolling these into the master plan.

This is a good way to develop ownership and responsibility within your sales team and provides a good reference point for future coaching.

A well-designed and executed sales plan can take your business to the next level. Just remember to keep it realistic and comprehensible so others ‘buy-in’ to it.

Whether you are a new business, a small business, a mid market or enterprise organisation the benefits of a well written sales plan are high. When done right your sales plan will position you for both short term and long term success.

Often an effective sales plan will play an important part with aligning the sales team’s activities and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals and moving forward.

Free Sales Plan Template

Download a free template so you can start enjoying the benefits of strategic and effective planning.

The free template is available for download as a Microsoft Word document to get you started.

This template is one of over 30 sales tools and templates available in our sales playbook.

 

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Klozers provides B2B sales training and coaching throughout the world.  Check out your nearest location or book a free consultation here.