When we think about the traditional sales process, from prospecting to closing the deal, we often think of it as a linear chain of events, with a start and a finish. But there are many reasons to suggest why we have been thinking about the sales process all wrong. For the benefit of customers, and sales staff, we should actually be thinking of the sales process as a cycle - and here's why.
Sales process as a cycle - for the customers
When developing or updating your company's sales process, you should also take into consideration the steps for following up with a customer after they have made a purchase. Once your sales team closes a deal or secures a prospect, what happens next? Is the customer passed on to an onboarding team, or is their information stored in a CRM for follow up?
You may want to consider how you can best keep existing customers in the sales cycle so that you can better promote and generate future sales. In fact, recurring and repeat customers often improve marketing and sales ROI, since you're getting more future sales from initial lead generating activities.
You'll probably want to think about how your company defines customer success as part of the sales process. What activities or support will they want or need in order to make the most of your products or services, and what will encourage them to continue to be customers of yours? When you can anticipate needs of existing customers, you can be more likely to secure future sales from them.
Thinking of the sales process as a cycle can also help sales staff achieve better relationships with the customers. When they consider what is mentioned above, they may approach customers in a different way, ensuring that existing customers are well taken care of and may be better positioned to secure those repeat sales. When it comes down to it, a good sales experience will make the difference to whether or not someone will give you business again in the future. By encouraging sales staff to approach their prospects this way, and follow up with existing customers after a sale has been made, you are more likely to deliver that great experience.
Sales process as a cycle - for sales staff
Thinking of the sales process as a cycle is also beneficial for your associates on your sales teams. Rather than seeing a sale as the end goal where they finish and start the process all over again, a cyclical sales process means improvement is continuous. When we talk about sales success at Goalplan, we often think of it in terms of finding weak spots and addressing them in real time. This way, when an associate secures a new lead and moves to make a sale, the lessons learned from evaluating the previous cycle can be implemented.
When the sales process is approached as a linear set of activities, it can be easier for sales associates to get stuck in repetitive patterns, rather than seeking upskilling, learning new tactics, or experimenting in ways to find better methods for closing. When sales teams are evaluated on performance not just in regards to conversion rates, but even on their ability to learn and grow, you can make an environment that is conducive to constant improvement.
Job satisfaction often has much to do with an employee's feelings of responsibility, trust, potential opportunities, and loyalty. By investing in your sales staff's performance and coaching, by showing them how to create better relationships with customers and allowing them to own their sales process and performance, you can also increase the chances of them feeling happy in their roles.
When it comes to sales, your organisation stands to gain a lot from implementing a cyclical sales process instead of the typical linear sales process. You'll find that it benefits customers who may become more likely to make repeat purchases, and that it also benefits sales staff who will use the cycle for constant improvement.
Want to find new ways to inspire your sales staff to promote the sales process cycle? Take a look at our Better Sales Meeting Checklist to see how you can motivate your staff.