Creating a professional sales competency in your business is the single biggest success hack there is. I’ve seen firsthand the impact that a professionalized sales process can make. Not only can it make you a lot of money, it can also completely change how your company is seen by investors, competitors and potential customers.
It’s easy to tell when a business hasn’t developed its sales core competency. They give off the impression that they are just “winging it,” reinventing the process for every prospect and opportunity as they go. At best, this is in inefficient and wildly inconsistent way to generate sales. At worst, it can prevent real traction and turn off both prospective customers and investors, contributing to premature failure.
Professionalizing your sales efforts is a matter of creating a repeatable, efficient and scalable process. It’s a system you can teach every sales rep you hire, and which will deliver consistent results. Creating that kind of competency takes time, and an ongoing investment in improvement.
In this article, we’re going to look at the very first step in the process: The Customer.
Sales isn’t just a matter of convincing a customer to spend their money with you. If you want to have a strong foundation for your sales, you need to understand your customers. You need to know who your customers are, have a deep understanding of their needs, and have a realistic view of your acquisition costs.
Let’s take a look at these, one by one.
- Who are your customers? What are the common traits of the people who will buy your product? The more clearly you can define your ideal customers, the easier it is to create a compelling value proposition for them. Even if you already have existing customers, it’s possible to have an unclear understanding of who they are and what they need.
- How does your product or service fit their needs? What does your company provide that solves your customers’ problems or make their lives better? What makes it a better fit for those problems than the solution offered by your competition?
- How will you reach them? What channels will you use to connect with new customers? Once you’ve gotten their attention, how will you demonstrate to them that you have the solution to their problem?
Once you have a foundation built around understand your customers, it becomes much easier to craft a self-supporting, professional sales structure. You can start create realistic models for reaching those customers, and generate customer acquisition costs that are accurate to the dollar. Knowing those costs enables you to nail down the cost of your sales efforts, from marketing costs to staffing budgets.
This is more than just a best practice, it’s a control lever for your growth and profitability.
We’ll explore this process in a bit more depth in part two.