The Pipeline Guest Post - Megan Totka
You’ve just earned your company a big contract and you’re about to look amazing in front of the boss. You worked hard for that sale, but what if it didn’t have to be so difficult? What if you could earn more sales from customers that already know, like, and trust your brand?
You can, by using every stage in the buy cycle to your advantage.
What is the Buy Cycle?
There are five stages a customer goes through when deciding whether or not to work with your company. The way you engage with the customer from introduction to deal-closing handshake has a dramatic impact on your sales success.
Creating a touch plan before, during, and after the sale is crucial. It’s easier and cheaper to retain loyal customers than to start from scratch for every sale. By developing long-term relationships, you optimize your marketing efforts and get the most from your customer base.
Here’s how you can incorporate full-circle sales at each stage in the buy cycle.
Awareness, Consideration, and Preference
Before a customer buys from you, she has to know you exist. This is the awareness stage. Once she finds you, your customer immediately begins considering whether your business meets her needs. She researches to decide whether she prefers you over your competitor.
Effective sales teams are intimately familiar with how to work with the customer at each of these stages. Your marketing team plays an equally critical role.
During this process, sales and marketing teams must work in harmony. With consistent, integrated communication, both teams can put together informative materials to address the customer’s problems, concerns, and questions. Scatter helpful content on your website and online to reach your buyer at the time when she needs it the most.
Once you’ve convinced your buyer to open her wallet, you’ve made the sale. However, the sales process does not and should not stop there.
During the sale, your team has the opportunity to increase revenues by adding on valuable services. By upselling an existing customer into a better package, extra services, or more features, your company leverages an already eager buyer. This makes you more money and establishes greater loyalty to your brand. By not offering more during this stage in the buy cycle, you lose a tremendous opportunity.
Sooner or later, your customer will want to buy more. By anticipating this need, your company wins another sale.
Far too many companies neglect this part of the buy cycle. Many teams think that once a purchase is made, the customer will automatically return for future needs. Not so.
To sell better and sell more, your company needs to nurture existing customers. Send regular emails, keep in touch on social media, and reward your customer’s loyalty with exclusive offers. Continue to sell to your buyer even after she purchased. This will increase her loyalty to your brand and her likelihood to buy from you again in the future.
Using a dynamic online CRM like Insightly helps you track communications with your customers across all departments. You can identify gaps in the sales process, opportunities throughout the buy cycle, and new ways to drive bigger revenues from existing customers. Your company saves money over the cost of finding and developing new prospects by leveraging your current customers.
About Megan Totka
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.