This is the fourth video in our series on how to sell software to businesses, and we discuss the subject of how to structure the sales process that you use.
Don’t Sell the Product
When we start to look at a common sales process, we can clearly label the first step as our first time contacting or reaching out to the prospect, and the last step is the prospect purchasing the product that we sell.
When we are able to look at these two steps, it can be easy to see that a lot of our communications with prospects can jump to focusing on the last step of the sales process and trying to get the prospect to purchase what we sell. If we are not directly asking for the order, we might still be trying to validate interest in purchasing the product.
It is understandable to try to sell the product, and it is probably what your natural instincts will tell you to do. You have a product to sell, so go out and talk to prospects about your product and see if they want to buy what you sell.
But the problem with that is that there are a few steps between the initial contact and the prospect purchasing the product, and we can improve our odds of successfully getting to the purchase step by focusing more on these steps than getting the prospect to purchase.
Three Sales Process Steps
We break the sales process down into three steps:
- Initial Contact
The initial contact sales process step is the first time you interact with the prospect. This could be a cold call, a cold email, meeting at a networking event, communicating on social media, talking through a website chat window, etc.
The initial contact should be fairly brief and between two to five minutes. You might certainly talk longer than that in this first interaction, and that is OK, but that may mean that you have progressed to the next sales process step or that you might be moving too slowly and taking too much time.
The goal of the initial contact is not to sell the product, it is to sell the prospect on moving to the next step in the process, which is talking more in the conversation.
The second step in the sales process is the conversation, and this is where you and the prospect will talk more to learn more about each other. The conversation step could be between 15 and 60 minutes in length.
The goal of the conversation is to identify if the prospect is a fit with what you sell, build interest, and close for the next step in the process, which is the explanation.
The third step in the sales process is the explanation step, and this is where you can explain to the prospect how you can help and what you have to offer. The explanation step could be between 15 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the complexity of what you sell.
The goal of the explanation step is to build interest in the product that you sell and to close the prospect on purchasing what you sell.