A flawed sales process can unravel all the goodwill created by your brand.
I’m acutely aware of this lesson today. I’m ramping up to launch my new book, Sticky Branding, in January and I’m engaging service providers to help me promote the book. On my desk are two proposals for different services with equivalent fees. One is a one page agreement, and the other is 17 pages.
I signed and returned the one-pager the day I received it. The 17-pager, on the other hand, hasn’t been signed. The firm’s sales process has been overly complex and time-consuming, and we’re 45 days in without a decision.
Your brand and marketing create the conditions for a sale. But a flawed sales process can tear down all that good work.
4 traits of an effective sales process
Your customers do not have the time, nor the interest, to deal with an ineffective sales process. They expect better:
Above all else, your customers want to work with experts — people who can help them identify and solve their issues. They don’t need a “relationship.” They need someone who knows his stuff, can get to the point, and deliver real value.
Respond immediately to every customer request. They don’t want to wait 2, 5, or 10 days for someone to get back to them. They want a response right away.
Your time is precious, and so too is your customers. Create anxiety to make decisions and move forward. There’s no need to muck about with one more call or one more demo. Get to the next step.
Does it take longer than 3 minutes to read one of your brochures or proposals? If so, they are too long.
A proposal reinforces what you talked about. The customer doesn’t need to read executive bios, company history, why you are excited to work with them, or how your products are a fit for their business. Get to the point. Reinforce what you will deliver, and provide the terms and conditions.
Look for decision-jams
Is your sales process hurting your brand? To find out, look for decision-jams in the buying cycle:
- Are there places your customers are pausing or getting stuck?
- Do you receive a lot of rejections or fall-offs at certain points in the sales cycle?
These decision-jams could indicate your sales process is flawed. Find these jams and eliminate them. Make your sales process live up to the expectations your brand is setting.