If selling starts to feel like a guessing game, it’s a sign that you might need to make some changes. Success in sales is more science than luck – any uncertainty can be a nightmare for setting sales targets and ensuring pipeline accuracy.
With this in mind, here are five ways to take the guesswork out of selling.
1. Follow a sales process
A sales process is a set of well-defined steps that every sales rep follows when trying to make a sale. It encompasses everything from initial contact to closing, as well as post-sale follow-ups and account management.
The main benefits of a sales process are predictability and consistency. When everyone is following the same process, there’s less guessing and more certainty. Just make sure your sales process actually works (watch out for red flags).
2. Map out your customer’s buying journey
Selling will definitely feel like a guessing game if you’re in the dark about your customer’s buying journey. Don’t be left wondering what your customers will do next. Instead, take the time to carefully map out their journey so you have the best chance of predicting their next move.
“Journey mapping takes a lot of time and research, but it’s well worth the effort,” says Grant Holland, SalesStar chief executive – Australia and New Zealand.
“It puts you in your customer’s shoes so you can better understand (and anticipate) their objections and challenges.”
3. Set measurable goals
Goals that are difficult to measure can feel a lot like guesswork. Are you on track? Or are you putting in a lot of work for little to no return?
Research shows that 33 per cent of sales people do not set meaningful goals. This makes it difficult to track progress and set accurate forecasts.
Make sure all your goals are easy to measure so you can keep a close eye on progress. Analyse data on a regular basis so you have a deep understanding of your sales performance and can make accurate predictions. Remember: numbers rarely lie.
4. Test and adapt
Despite best-laid plans, what works one year might not work the next. Always be willing to adapt your sales strategies if they stop being effective.
“Extraordinary sales leaders are highly strategic. They know how to pivot if the market changes or a challenge arises,” says Grant.
“They are always testing new methods and adapting to real-world problems to stay ahead of the pack.”
5. Pay attention to research
Whenever you feel uncertain about your selling methods, refer to the experts. There are some incredible sales research groups out there such as the Objective Management Group and the Sales Executive Council. Professor Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, is also another excellent source of information.
We draw extensively on research, as well as hands-on experience, to provide our clients with proven, relevant sales support. Our entire business model operates on a “no guesswork” basis – you can trust us to put the science in sales.
Learn more about the science of sales and how to take your sales to the next level with our free ebook: Highly Profitable Sales Leadership Tools for 2017.