Marketing is often considered as being separate from sales despite the fact that it’s a discipline that encompasses sales. Marketing strategy as a field also includes aligning traditional and online sales processes with traditional and online sales strategies in order to avoid 7 major mistakes:
- Not communicating with the decision-maker
- Putting too much emphasis on closing the sale
- Not following a uniform and rigorous process
- Making a sales proposal too soon
- Not defining targets or objectives
- Not using your best asset: your clients
- Imagining that software programs could replace inefficient processes
1. Not communicating with the decision-maker
Too often companies adapt their offer to the end-user and in terms of qualitative advantages. The fact that the end-user has an issue that necessitates a purchase doesn’t mean the buyer will feel the need to resolve it. It is important to meet directly with the decision-maker. To speak to him about how the product or service will benefit him, mention its qualities, value, advantages and return on investment. Otherwise, he must find out for himself how the product could be useful to him. If this is the case then this must be obvious and clear.
Keep the decision-maker in mind. He is the buyer.
In order to identify and understand his motivations and the buying process, market research must be done beforehand. Once information is obtained, it will be possible for you to articulate your sales efforts with appropriate content, channels and tactics.
2. Putting too much emphasis on closing the sale
Often a website or a salesperson will try to force the sale. Betting everything on the sales pitch rather than clearly exposing the offer and the needs that it will satisfy could simply discourage the prospect and give him a negative impression. Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor and respect the way he collects information so that you may invite him to participate in the sales process. Only a prospect who is convinced about the value of your offer deserves your time. He will come to you if your offer is well articulated and delivered.
3. Not following a uniform and rigorous process
To sell efficiently and avoid exceptions, it is important to standardise the process, management and documentation of sales. Each salesperson has his own personality. But the offer and the method used to turn a suspect into a prospect must be standard. There are frames of reference even if “the exception is the rule.” The director of sales’ role is to ensure the respect of the process by the sales force, and the role of the sales force is to maintain the optimisation of this process within the team.
The same goes for online initiatives. It’s important to present a clear way to request information, to contact a company, to obtain support, to order products and services.
4. Making an offer too soon
For generic products, the price is the price. For products and services in business-to-business sales, things are not so simple as the price depends on a number of variables. A price deserves study and thought. If a prospect requests an offer, this doesn’t necessarily mean he will buy from you and in most cases information exchanged during the first contact requires follow-up.
Avoid investing in hours and hours of work with no hopes of reaping the benefits. Take the time to understand the needs of your prospect. Speak with him, get to know him, discover his needs and qualify him. There is a world of difference between general interest and intention to buy.
5. Not defining targets or objectives
Salespeople are motivated by objectives. Setting financial goals, a number of calls made to prospects, a number of follow-ups and surveys are all goals that can be accomplished by the sales team.
This is also true for your online initiatives. Setting a number of recurring visitors or visitors who invest a certain number of minutes on key pages of your website are also goals that you can set.
Let’s not lose sight of the objective of conversion. A suspect becomes a prospect when he fills out an online form or picks up the phone for an information request. Then, there must be a uniform process to guide the approach and give credit to set objectives. Goals are only possible if they are measured.
6. Not using your best asset: your clients
Letters of recommendation, client testimonials, satisfaction ratings, client logos and awards are efficient tactics that demonstrate your credibility. Doing business is based on trust, an intangible entity that only the credibility accorded by a third party can convey.
If your clients appreciate your products and services, they have no reason to refuse a testimonial of their trust.
7. Imagining that software programs could replace inefficient processes
Despite technological advances, the best management systems like CRMs are not better than the people who feed it with data. The success of such systems depends on responding to simple and clear goals that will bring the people to using them. Everyone should feel that these tools will be useful in their work. Do your homework before proceeding to the set-up phase. Better yet, consult experts. The investment is worth the cost to reduce the sales cycle and improve your performance. This is true offline and online.
Selling is a human process based on an offer and the trust of the client to accept the offer that will respond to his needs. Both traditionally and virtually, it is important to be careful about committing one of the 7 sales and marketing mistakes. Remaining impartial is an essential quality of a valuable sales director.
Entrepreneurs, be prepared to appropriately express your offer to decision-makers and guide the sales process with the help of simple and clear processes. Information systems that are properly implemented will be able to help you answer information requests and successfully convert qualified prospects into clients.