5 Ways to Tweak Your Business' Sales Process to Generate More Revenue No matter how smoothly your sales process runs, there's always room for improvement.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Is your sales process really helping your organization maximize its potential revenue? It's a question well worth considering, especially when scaling your sales team. Complacency in sales can be problematic, to say the least — and failing to address known issues can be even worse.
Regardless of the size of your organization, understanding the necessary adjustments to your sales process can go a long way in helping you land more customers and increase your revenue.
1. Make demos focused on benefits — not features
In their book Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager write, "The latest and greatest equipment means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature translates into lower costs, quicker delivery or something else of value. Being established 100 years ago means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature can be translated into a benefit of reliability and a guarantee of being in business in the future. […] Benefits sell. Benefits clearly answer customer questions, such as "what's in it for me?" or "what results will I get that will improve my current situation?"
This mindset is especially pertinent when offering a sales demo to a prospect. Focus on all the features your product provides, and you can easily overwhelm them. Demonstrate its true value and potential impact by focusing on benefits, and you reveal how it will solve their problems.
Making your sales process focused on benefits requires extensive buyer research. But when your team understands the actual problems prospects need to solve, it will be far easier to make a successful pitch.
Related: 5 Secrets to Winning More Sales
2. Shorten the free trial period
Many SaaS companies offer free trials as part of their sales process, the idea being that giving prospects hands-on time with their software can be the most compelling sales pitch of all. This is true — to an extent. Most SaaS companies average around a 25% conversion rate from their free trials.
While that conversion rate is certainly good, it can be improved upon. One common pitfall is that providing a full month for prospects to test the software can actually be too much time. This can reduce the sense of urgency, especially among prospects who simply want to get a closer look to see what your solution provided.
Instead, offering a shorter trial period (such as seven to 14 days) can create that sense of urgency that drives prospects to actually use their free trial. This can encourage a deeper dive that makes them more likely to convert.
3. Use CPQ (configure, price, quote) tools
One of the best ways to enhance your sales process is to use a CPQ (configure, price, quote) tool to streamline your team's ability to generate accurate quotes for prospects. These programs use automation based on a set of rules preprogrammed by your company, such as acceptable discount thresholds, product customizations and other factors.
In a DealHub case study, one company was able to increase its average deal size by 15% while decreasing quote and contract errors by 95% by using a CPQ to enact automated pricing mechanisms. By preventing pricing errors and ensuring consistency in the quoting process, your sales team will have an easier time following pricing standards and guidelines so they can close deals faster and achieve appropriate revenue earnings.
4. Offer additional plan options
Most SaaS providers offer monthly plans, as lower prices and the lack of a long-term commitment can seem more customer friendly — in fact, it's estimated that 70% of SaaS companies only offer monthly pricing options.
In reality, you can improve your sales process simply by also giving customers the option to choose from annual pricing plans. An annual plan can lower customer churn and increase their lifetime value by ensuring that they will remain customers for an extended period of time. This will also improve your organization's cash flow and make customer acquisition costs more manageable.
Many of the most successful SaaS platforms understand prospects' potential reluctance to sign up for a yearly plan and counteract this by offering a discount for annual plans. Providing more options (and offering the right incentives) can lead to more conversions and more long-term sources of revenue.
5. Focus on your existing and former customers
It typically costs between six to seven times as much to acquire new customers as it does to retain existing customers. Needless to say, your sales team should be dedicating a significant amount of its processes to how it will generate more revenue from your current customers.
One of the best ways to do this is through upselling or cross-selling. For example, if your business offers multiple subscription tiers, you could upsell a customer to go to a higher-paying tier.
As with the initial sales pitch, upselling and cross-selling pitches must be tailored to the individual needs of the client. This time, however, your team has information on past interactions and how they are using your current services, making it easier to custom-tailor the pitch. Increasing the lifetime value of existing customers can be far less cost and time-intensive, and has higher odds of success.
Creating a better sales process
By following these best practices for enhancing your sales process, you ensure a better experience for prospects and customers, as well. This doesn't just help you close more deals and earn higher revenue off the initial sale. It helps ensure that your customers will stay with you for the long haul — which will perhaps have the biggest influence on your lifetime revenue of all.