Posted: June 22, 2010
How to track sales success: part 2
Match your selling cycle to customer buying cyclesGeorge Tyler
(Editor's note: this is the second of three parts. Read part 1.)
Increased efficiencies for sales people usually mean more sales per day or week. The more that you can automate the tasks of the sales force, the more time they spent pleasing the customer, and more time in front of them. All sales tools must be easy to update from any wireless devices. Sales people want efficiency in their lives, and they will spend as little time as possible entering data.
Maybe the future sales tracking tools will allow voice entry and then be automatically transcribed for the database. Then the sales people would just speak into their phone for 1-2 minutes after a call. All future actions would be scheduled and the call report finished.
Part of the tracking process is capturing information about the customer. Customer information includes customer dynamics, demographics, history of interactions between your companies, customer needs, buying habits and how often the customer is touched. Touching a customer or prospect includes face-to-face discussions, phone calls, emails, ordinary mail, your website, blog postings, tweets, and other information your customer can find out about you. Do you know what your customer is posting on their blogs, websites or in tweets?
The focus of your selling cycle is to match the buying cycle of your customer. The first step the customer goes through is identifying that they have a need to solve a problem. Your sales force must identify the customer's problems before they can start their selling. Listening is an important attribute at this stage. By listening to what the customer says, types in an email, posts on a blog or a tweet, or places in printed material, you can learn plenty about your customers.
Once the customer has found that they have a problem, they gather information. During this stage of the buying cycle, specific information must be fed to the prospect. Too much irrelevant information forces the prospect to look elsewhere for a solution. The whole company can be involved in providing the right information such as product benefits and features, demonstrations, trials, customer support, referrals, etc. During this gathering stage, the desire for a solution builds within your prospects, as they want a solution. Experienced sales people will build upon that desire and direct it towards their solutions. Tracking the interaction with an automated tool will increase the efficiency of your sales process.
Knowing the buying cycle is paramount for success and you need to map this cycle to your unique customer. Some significant points to know about your ideal customers are:
Size (revenue & employees)
How do they buy?
What problems do you solve for them?
Who are their ideal customers?
What are their key products?
Who else sells to them?
Why would they buy you over your competitors?
The more you know about your customers, the more you can please them during the buying cycle and after they have purchased your product. Knowing the correct information, you can follow up with them with the right information at the right time. Your touches to your customers will determine the relationship with them.
As you touch your customers, you need to understand who else touches them (departments and other employees in your company). In addition, it is important to know how and where the touches take place, and how these touches correspond to the buying cycle (need, information gathering and desire). Tracking this process is helpful for success, and today's automated tools can do just that.
George Tyler, a serial entrepreneur, has developed the only consulting practice that focuses exclusively on strategic alliances and the implementation of the powerful Alliance CompassTM to accelerate global revenue growth. Using his assessment tools and the Alliance Compass, companies form strategic alliances that increase their business. His experience in marketing, sales and management has lead to successful strategic alliances for hundreds of companies. Call today for help in growing your company. Contact information: George@3rdEagle.com, linkedIn.com/GeorgeTyler, Twitter@GeorgeTyler, 303.482.7583, http://www.3rdEagle.com