As a solopreneur, you are likely accustomed to doing everything yourself. In fact, you may set routines for practically everything in your business. But do you have a sales process that you follow? For solopreneurs who work alone, the temptation is to simply market and sell in a haphazard way, without any clear process. While you may achieve some sales in this way, it is not the ideal.
According to a study for the Harvard Business Review, conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, B2B companies that defined and followed a formal sales process experienced 18% more revenue growth compared to companies that did not have a clear process.
“Developing your sales process is a key step in developing your strategic capability,” says SalesStar Global Head of Learning, Alex Chan.
What is a Sales Process?
According to HubSpot, a “sales process” is “a repeatable set of steps your sales team takes with a prospect to move them from early stage to a closed customer. A good sales process helps your reps consistently close deals by giving them a framework to follow.”
As a solopreneur, you don’t have a team of sales reps handling the sales chores for you; it’s all up to you. But that is all the more reason you should have a defined sales process. A defined sales process allows solopreneurs to simply follow a predetermined plan, saving time and boosting your effectiveness. No more random efforts at selling that produce only mediocre results.
What Does a Sales Process Include?
The common stages of the sales process include:
Prospecting is the process of gathering new leads with which to begin the sales process. Prospecting might involve online research on sites like LinkedIn or Quora or interactions on social media. It also might take place at conferences or industry events. And you can prospect by asking current clients for referrals of others who might be interested in your product or services.
Contacting leads to gather information and judge their worthiness for moving forward is the second step of the sales process. This commonly happens during a call, although some sales methods use indirect ways to qualify leads, like using predetermined questions from automated chatbots or information gathered from landing pages.
Learning more about a prospect as they progress through the sales process can help you offer a more tailored experience, and improve the likelihood of a sale. Researching is an ongoing process that begins when you form sales personas for designing your campaigns. As you get to know your ideal client, you learn more about their most pressing needs or desires, and use those to better dial in your sales methods.
A typical stage of many sales processes is to feature a presentation or demonstration of what is being sold. This stage is time-consuming, so it typically comes deeper in the sales process and only for well-qualified prospects. This can happen in person, or through automated processes like video that do not require a solopreneur to be present. As a solopreneur, you will want to automate as much of the sales process as possible to save valuable time.
This is it! This is the point of sale or completing a contract. Closing should result in a mutually beneficial agreement between the prospect and the seller. Your product or service is provided to the lead, now your client, for agreed-on terms. You are then compensated for what you have provided. Congratulations! Now it’s time to begin the process all over again with a new prospect.
Sales Processes for Solopreneurs
As a solopreneur, your product or service may not allow you the time to personally follow every lead and nurture it through the sales process. And, you may not have enough time with a growing, busy company to handle all the leads. That is where automating as many of these processes as possible can help you.
Sales automation is the process of streamlining manual, tedious, time-consuming tasks in the sales process so you can focus less on the process and more on selling. These are mostly administrative and data entry tasks that consume much of your time on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Automating your sales process is a practical way to use technology to improve your sales results. Sales automation saves solopreneurs time and money—both of which are invaluable to your business.
Do you have a sales process? How do you handle the sales process in your solopreneur business? What tasks do you automate to streamline the process? We’d love to hear your advice or experiences with a sales process. Share your comments in the space below.