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A sales process passes through multiple stages and involves many people handling the customer with care as they show interest in your product or service. The objective of an organisation is to convert the lead into a sure shot sale, and it strives to achieve loyal customers who can trust the goodwill that every organisation wants to build. However, the success of an organisation is based on a robust and efficient sales methodology.
What is a sales methodology?
A sales methodology is a detailed process flow enumerating guidelines to every employee to follow to achieve targets and organisation goals. It conveys how to achieve what needs to be achieved. It is a framework for the salesperson to handle each element in the sales process and directs the approach to follow.
An ideal sales methodology is aligned to the company’s sales goals, and these methods are unique to each business for their industry and each vertical. It is a well-thought and tested plan by the management that is approved to be followed by each vertical in the business.
A sales methodology is mostly used in a B2B setup. Hence, it is pivotal that your sales team has a clear understanding of the achievable goals. Such a plan helps equip your sales force with an achievable, replicable, expandable sales success.
Also read: Types of Sales software
What is a sales process?
A sales process is a map that helps your sales team to follow on a repeated basis. An effective sales process helps covert leads to a definite customer. It is also a way for sharing business best practices with even freshers in the organisations, thus maintaining standardisation across all levels.
This is one of the points of difference between method and process, especially highlighting the advantages of a sales process. The sales process helps backtrack the entire lead from the beginning till the end. And more importantly, it helps anybody in the process pick up the lead, even in between. So it’s an amazing way of maintaining transparency in the entire process, thus helping monitor the management of all the stages.
Stages of the sales process
A sales process includes the following stages:
1. Identifying your prospect
The salesperson plays a crucial role in identifying a prospective customer. It involves scanning through the profile of the customer to understand if they need your product or service. If there is an identified need for the customer, what’s even more crucial is if they have the potential to budget for your product or service.
2. Qualify a lead
At this stage, you prepare to make that initial meeting to have an in-depth understanding of the customer and meet the potential lead at serval points with different management verticals to check how your offering can best suit your customer’s needs.
3. Company research
Understanding the nature of the company’s needs can help you tailor-make the service or product to meet the needs of the prospective customer best. Extensive research can help a sales rep to make their pitch appealing to the customer. Once you identify the company’s challenge, it is easier to position your product or service as a solution that they cannot say no to.
4. Sales Pitch
This is the make or break stage in the sales process. A sales rep’s convincing skills come to use to present your offering as an important step for the success of the prospective customer. A sales rep can take a technical person for this meeting to explain and reiterate the value add to the customer.
Read: Sales pitch script
5. Handling objections
A sales rep must perceive and anticipate the challenges that the customer might pose. Hence a thorough preparation to iron these creases is crucial to convince your customer how to work out with the objections that may show up.
6. Closing the deal
At this stage, the customer is probably contemplating and in the final process of discussions to decide on the products and services you have to offer. This could involve quotations, price negotiations, considering special services and promises to assure the customer.
7. Nurturing the relationship
A company’s goodwill grows based on this stage. Only if customers are happy to know that you walk alongside them by offering customer support, technical or on-site support, prompt responses and action towards complaints would they continue to initiate a second purchase or give reference to others in their clientele. Retaining current customers is far cheaper than pursuing new customers; hence, a constant follow up is important.
Read: how to optimize your sales process – Complete guide
Sales Process vs Sales Methodology
There are a few points that clearly highlight the areas where one is superior to the other. The below table conducts a thorough companion of sales process vs methodology for easier comprehension:
|Sales process||Sales methodology|
|1. These are specific steps taken by the sales force to close a deal with the customer.||1. It dictates the company’s philosophy and growth strategy it wishes to choose through sales.|
|2. It is represented in a flow chart.||2. It is a plan to execute the company’s vision and goals.|
|3. Involves purchase decision by the customer.||3. Involves strategic planning by the management.|
|4. It is a process to achieve targets.||4. It spells the rules of how the selling process should be implemented.|
|5. It focuses on the road map that a salesperson must follow.||5. It focuses on company values and culture to reach its vision and goals.|
Sales process and methodology work hand in hand to achieve business success. Both the process and the methodology gives your sales force the right tools to approach your prospective customers. As much as they sound like similar terms and might be confused to be used interchangeably in our jargon, they are two distinct terms that work together to help every sales rep excel in closing leads.