The Consultative Sales Process is an investigative approach to sales. Rather than telling prospects what they need, you ask prospects thought-provoking questions that help them identify their own pain points. Ultimately, with a consultative sales approach, prospects will steer themselves into making their best decision.
Benefits of the consultative sales process
There are multiple benefits to using a consultative sales process. Some of these include
- Increased revenue through both new and existing customers
- Shorter sales cycles
- Competitive advantage over your competitors
- Creation of greater perceived value in the eyes of the customer.
Consultative selling is only successful when sales leadership and the sales force work together for the best interests of their customers. That’s why a true consultative sales process has both a process component and a human component. Let’s dig into each.
6 stages of the Consultative Sales Process
A typical consultative sales process is made up of six stages. Each stage maps out winning behaviours and strategies. The stages should help guide salespeople in qualifying, closing, expanding business, and building relationships.
Each stage should define the objective, best practice activities, tools, models, and customer actions that signal readiness to advance to the next stage (for example, the customer agrees to a meeting in Stage 1, or provides access to the executive buyer in Stage 2).
Here’s an example:
1. Target and Qualify
The customer becomes aware of a business problem. Alternatively, the salesperson creates a pre-stage 1 opportunity by introducing an idea or challenge that is not yet on a customer’s agenda, or raises the visibility of an issue the customer has underestimated.
2. Explore and Assess
Customers assess how much of a priority the issue is, determine their options, and develop decision criteria and decision process. Salespeople can help their prospects by sending them how-to blog posts, offering to run a consultative call, and sending them relevant content resources.
3. Access and Develop Solution
Customers research, compare solutions, narrow down choices, and refine decision criteria. The salesperson must differentiate, focus on business outcomes, and prove value
4. Present Solution and Follow-up
Knowledgeable customers make their selection and negotiate. Skilled salespeople will have already involved Procurement prior to this stage.
5. Negotiate and Close
Customers make the purchase. Salespeople support implementation and follow-up.
6. Implement, Follow Through, Assess Results, and Account Develop
Customers are in an evaluation mode. In the post-purchase stage, customers implement, measure outcomes, and evaluate performance against the sales promise. They decide on the future of the relationship. Salespeople must discuss results, prove value, and build on the rapport they previously created.
How a CRM can help
A CRM system benefits an organisation through the implementation of clearly defined sales processes and visibility of sales activities. This visibility is fundamental to managing sales performance and control of the sales process. This visibility enables management to understand why, when, who and how opportunities are being won, stalled, or being lost. If it cannot be monitored, it cannot be managed. The visibility offered within the CRM system also allows management to make educated business decisions based on hard data. A CRM system will enable structured data to be used to access performance. This assessment should indicate which sales person is out performing others.
ProAptivity are an independent CRM solutions provider. We focus on the implementation, training, and support of highly customised CRM software solutions. Our CRM software supported by our sales training provide customers with the tools needed to deliver successful sales process management.
Fundamentally, we help organisations embed CRM best practice throughout their organisation. This helps organisations become more competitive, customer focused and ultimately more profitable.
If you need help in understanding why my business needs CRM, maybe some of our eBooks could help! Alternatively visit Maximizer CRM for more information. Contact us today on 028 9099 6388 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us today for a free CRM consultation that will assess if your business is CRM ready.