The IT sales cycle can be an overwhelmingly complex process, but it doesn’t have to be.
By applying a scientific method to your sales approach, your team benefits from a streamlined cycle and your IT or software sales prospects experience a smoother transition to your product or service.
Here are six steps your sales team should implement for a smoother (and more scientific) IT sales process from start to finish.
Step 1: Define A Narrow Target
In software sales in particular, it’s essential that you define a narrow target persona to help you better qualify potential prospects. When your persona is too broadly defined, your team spends too much time tracking down the right person within a prospective business rather than spending that time warming the lead and closing the sale.
In addition to defining the position title of your persona, be sure to define their company size as well to ensure they have the budget to support your business software or IT solution.
Step 2: Flex Between Influencers And Decision Makers
Having a well-defined persona is essential to lead generation and qualification, especially in IT sales. However, your sales team also has to be flexible once they have a solid prospect on the phone.
Especially in the world of software and IT sales, the key decision makers often cross paths with C-suite executives. Just because your offering is IT-related doesn’t mean your team should only pursue IT-specific personas. In many cases, your desired IT contact is in charge of implementation and influencing the purchase decision, but the C-level executive might make the actual decision.
Step 3: Hire And Train Around Metrics
When hiring and training new IT sales staff, it’s just as important to retain a scientific, metrics-driven mindset in your hiring and training processes as you do for the rest of your software sales cycle. Each new hire should take an assessment that rates them on key sales skills like aptitude, logic and aggression, and then you leverage this data to make better future hiring decisions.
Your sales training process should be equally metrics-driven to ensure you’re reaping the most returns from your investments in employee professional development.
Step 4: Track Your Team Closely
While it’s standard practice for IT sales organization to track the performance of their sales team, you need to go a step further and track additional data if you want to outpace your competitors. Start by letting your salespeople experiment with new approaches to your sales cycle. Then, analyze the successes and failures of those experiments to improve your team’s best practices overall.
In similar fashion, if one of your salespeople is significantly outperforming the rest of the team, analyze his or her script, sales data, objections management techniques and overall approach. Then, use this information to improve the rest of your team’s workflow.
Step 5: Measure Every Part Of The Sales Funnel
The most important step in making your IT sales cycle more scientific is to track every piece of data involved in the sales funnel. Regularly review factors such as which decision maker is the best sales fit, which lead lists are (or aren’t) worth purchasing and which level of contact frequency results in the most closed sales.
Also, measure your data along industry verticals. If you’re doing well in a particular industry, drill down into your sales data until you know which factors or practices are contributing to success and implement them across other targeted industries.
Step 6: Implement A Feedback Loop
If you have an outsourced sales or lead generation partner, you need to create a 360-degree feedback loop that ties together your entire sales cycle. Once a deal is closed, in-depth feedback allows your IT sales team to adjust for a better understanding of the vertical, the buyer persona and the product itself.
In addition, feedback shouldn’t just come from your sales and marketing teams but also from recently closed prospects themselves. This first-hand feedback straight from the customer is immensely valuable in improving your IT sales cycle from start to finish.
Making your software or IT sales cycle more streamlined starts with solid science. Use this six-step formula for a smoother sales process to start generating warmer leads and closing more deals.
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