To survive, every business needs to generate profits, which ultimately means selling. Companies with long sales cycles need to optimize their consultative selling processes. Workflow automation and BPM are a key tool to improve these kind of sales. This is why Flokzu cloud BPM is so important when automating your consultative selling processes.
This article won’t cover spontaneous sales or short-cycle sales. We will focus on long sales cycles, typically supported by consultative selling processes that require customer relationships and long term commitments.
We can model these sales as a process in which different members of the company participate during different stages of the sales process. This is because they are named “Consultative selling processes”.
Consultative selling processes
In a previous post we explained why it is important for any company to manage their business processes. It is essential to identify the stages of the consultative selling processess to maximize sales and make the company succeed.
While there may be as many processes types as businesses, we decided to highlight the three most common consultative selling processes. Automate, measure and improve these processes. It’s the only methodical way to compete and grow.
1. Identifying potential sales
Identify interesting scenarios that could lead to a sale. For example, an encounter with an acquaintance who expresses a need, a call from an interested person, an email requesting additional information. It is not a business opportunity yet. It needs to go through several steps to become one. Ideally you should have a process where you register all these initiatives and provide follow-up with these steps (modeled in standard BPMN):
• Identify the potential sale: establish contact with the interested part and register the initiative with its main details (contact information, potential customer, etc.)
• Evaluate the initiative: Is it an opportunity? Check if the customer has a budget and identify the decision maker. This step may require several interactions.
• Initiative became an opportunity: If the evaluation was positive, it became opportunity. The initiative as such ends.
• Initiative rejected: If the evaluation was negative, it did not become an opportunity. The initiative as such ends.
2. Commercial opportunities
This process may begin in two ways: an initiative that became an opportunity (as a continuation of the previous process) or a specific need of a customer. Next step: a qualified seller writes a business proposal based on the customer’s needs.
There are standard proposals, which go directly to the customer (e.g. via email) and there are others that are more complex and require approval from the manager or supervisor. To simplify things, let’s say that the client can only do three things: buy, reject the proposal or request modifications.
All these steps are shown in the previous workflow. Analyzing the steps has major advantages:
• You can see which proposals are recent, contact those customers who we sent the proposal to but never got an answer (typical problem of sales teams: sending a proposal and never ask the client about it).
• It is possible to make a sales forecast based on the quoted projects. We can anticipate operational, stock, financial requirements, etc., all fundamental aspects for a company with limited resources.
• Build a sales team that is coordinated, properly distribute clients and amount of work.
3. Closing the sale
Once the opportunity is recognized, the sale has to be closed. It is important to ensure customer satisfaction to lay the foundations for a long-term relationship. The closing of the sale is supported by the following steps:
• Arrange sale details: define the terms of the sale, set the deadlines, delivery method, etc.
• Delivery: this step should not be considered finished until the product/service is charged, because that is the true indicator of customer satisfaction.
• Evaluate the sale: this step is often overlooked, but it is extremely important. The seller meets with the client, assesses the project / service, hears objections, and lays the foundation for future work. New opportunities may arise from this meeting.
• Sale satisfactory completed: the customer is satisfied. The project / service is considered closed.
• Sale completed with objections: define a plan to improve those objections. The project / service is considered closed.
After reading this article, some might think that selling is intuitive and you learn it on the go. That is somewhat truth, but it is also important to improve the efficiency of the selling process. Faster sales manage resources better and improve customer satisfaction. This is essential for the development of a company with consultative selling processes. Generate long-term relationship to reduce the cost of future commercial transactions. Defining the processes involved in a sale helps improve efficiency. To simplify this task, you can use Flokzu and BPMN.
Finally, a great advantage of automating processes is the ability to objectively measure the results. That way it is easier to evaluate your team work using KPI’s. For example, possible indicators of the three mentioned processes are:
1- Number of initiatives obtained to measure how much interest generates our product / service.
2- Number of opportunities that became a sale to analyze if we are closing sales effectively.
3- Number of projects successfully completed to see if we are running our business well and generating the desired long-term relationships with our customers.