Once all the information has been gathered and the assessment has been made, it's time to develop with your team the concepts, products, or services that can be offered to your client.
- You've come back from your account visit, questions were asked, you took detailed notes, and you now have some terrific feedback from the customer explaining their needs and requirements. The next step of the sales process involves selecting an existing product, or creating something new that solves the needs of the customer, so that during your next visit, you can make an actual sales presentation. Following a call with a customer, it's common in most companies for a salesperson to report back through a CRM; customer relationship management software, or other account management tracking system.
This enables everyone from marketing and product development, to finance and senior management, to see what took place during that sales call, and to read what the specific needs of the customer are. Depending on the complexity of the customer quest, you may have a perfect product match, or require the support and input from a number of different departments to develop the solution for the customer. A critical part of training for a salesperson is having product knowledge, along with a clear understanding of the capabilities of what your company manufactures, designs from scratch, or provides through various services.
This is an ongoing requirement for a salesperson throughout your career. This expertise required can vary from company to company, and from type of product or service. If you're with a company that makes a small number of medical devices, for example, you might have detailed expertise, down to the skill set of actually being able to train technicians how to use the equipment. However, if you're with a technology company, you probably won't have the skills to know what can and can't be programmed. No matter what, you need to have a really good feel of what your company offers, so that you're able to develop ideas of how to solve a customer's need with a product or service.
You'll also need to work well in a collaborative setting, as a member of a team. That is an important skill that strong salespeople possess. Navigating diplomatically through group meetings to get everyone on the same page and focused is such a valuable skill. Your objective is to be able to work together with various departments within your company to come up with a solution for the needs of your customer. The product development team or the services group will need to review the specifications of your request, and a time table for testing and delivery.
You'll need to work with the finance group to ensure the pricing structure is within the budget of your client, and meets the profit requirements of your company. You need to be prepared, and be skillful, to work across all levels of your company. In an ideal situation, you'll have a quick and easy answer to what the customer needs, but more often than not, that won't be the case. Customers want products or services customized, so creating the right product or service will require a lot of work. You need to work within your company to develop the solution to meet the needs of your customer, and maybe with a variety of options.
Once all of this has been done, and your team is on the same page with the best match of product or service, then you'll be ready for the date to present to your customer. All of the hard work up to this point leads to that exciting day where you get to make the sales presentation.
- Gathering information
- Assessing needs
- Presenting and selling your product or service
- Delivering on your promises
- Following up with your customer
- Reporting and communicating back to your company
- Improving your process continually
- Learning from other sales processes
- Applying your sales process to other aspects of your life