Your IT sales process is critical to the health of your business. When gaps occur in your pipeline, they open the door for competitors to steal a sale from prospects that have stalled in your sales cycle, and you risk losing the revenue you need to grow your business.
Many IT businesses must compensate for these trouble spots in their sales process by investing more time, effort and resources, which undermines bottom-line growth.
Here are eight tips for repairing these problems in your IT sales process and helping your business continue to grow:
- 1. Map Out Your Buyer’s Journey And Adjust Your Strategy
Buyer behavior has shifted dramatically in the B2B sector, with more and more buyers and procurement teams doing their own online research before contacting potential IT vendors.
This changing behavior doesn’t mean that advertisements, tradeshows and in-person sales calls no longer matter. But it does mean your lead generation efforts and IT sales process must adapt to meet these new behaviors and expectations.
The good news is that B2B purchasers are still looking for long-term relationships with a trusted partner. Early in the lead generation process, position your sales team as experts and potential business partners. Once you have a contracted engagement, set expectations for how that partnership should evolve as you move forward, and make necessary adjustments to strengthen those customer relationships.
- 2. Know Your Prospect
When reaching out to a prospective customer, it’s critical to your IT sales process that you understand your prospects at a deeper level than ever before. Your sales team must be prepared to investigate the prospect’s general business needs as well as the specific pains experienced by their IT department.
No matter what type of IT products and services you’re trying to sell, a deep knowledge of your prospect ensures that sales reps present your offers in ways that address your prospects’ pain points. This demonstrates how much you value their business, and lays the groundwork for reps to effectively overcome sales objections that may arise later in the process.
- 3. Focus On The Value Of Your Service
Many sales teams focus only on the results of increased market share or triumph over a particular vertical, but that isn’t going to improve your IT sales process. Instead, focus on what your prospects and customers really care about: how your service is going to solve their problems.
When talking with prospects, your salespeople should help them envision how your service solves their pains and makes their work easier. Offering 24/7/365, U.S.-based customer service, for example, is often more attractive to prospects than a long list of product features or potential upgrades.
- 4. Understand Your Competition’s Capabilities
Everyone knows it’s important to keep a sharp eye on your competitors. For a successful IT sales process, you need to understand prospects’ common objections to your competitors’ software as well as to your own offering. It’s essential to pay close attention to trends in the industry and marketplace and to identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
For example, while offering a lower price may be one tactic for gaining a prospect’s business, offering superior capabilities is a better way to differentiate your company from the competition. If you’re continually upgrading your products and services to overcome prospect objections, then you’ll outpace your competition on every single sale – sometimes regardless of price.
- 5. Build Your Presence On Multiple Marketing Channels
Your company needs more than a single sales channel to reach today’s buyers. For an effective IT sales process, your company needs to build a presence across multiple online and offline channels.
Your prospects expect to interact with your company in a variety of ways, so be sure to provide multiple options for them to research your offerings and business and close the deal. Without these options, you won’t be where your buyers are looking, and they may question your legitimacy and ultimately search for other solution providers.
- 6. Evaluate Customer Acquisition Cost And Not Just ROI
Analyzing each of your sales and marketing channels on a consistent basis helps you determine which ones are delivering the best return for your time and money – and which channels are failing the ROI test. But ROI isn’t the only relevant metric for your IT sales process.
One of the easiest ways to compare your channel performance is by measuring the cost per customer acquisition. To calculate customer acquisition cost, you need to account for all costs that led prospects along their journey, from initial contact to a finalized deal. If you only measure the costs of the final, closing channel, you won’t have an accurate picture, creating problems for your IT sales process.
- 7. Evaluate Your Sales Pipeline Before Ramping Up Further Lead Generation
Without leads, your business doesn’t close sales, so it’s important to keep constant watch on the lead generation aspect of your IT sales cycle. But before you start ramping up your lead generation efforts, assess your company’s lead consumption rate. This lead consumption rate is different for every business, and depends on the industry and sales cycle. In general, a typical B2B company uses 300 to 600 leads per month, per rep.
Once you identify your lead consumption rate, consider building a demand generation program that meets or exceeds your rate, so you always have enough leads for a strong IT sales process.
- 8. Make Sure Sales And Marketing Are Working Hand-In-Hand
For a successful IT sales process, your sales and marketing teams must be on the same page, not working in isolated silos. This starts with creating a certain degree of overlap in your campaigns.
For example, if you’re conducting a cold-calling campaign alongside an email marketing campaign, your marketing efforts should naturally cross over to some of the same prospects. This overlap helps to maximize lead generation and sales, because you’re reaching your entire target audience, not missing out on prospects who happen to fall through the cracks between your channels.
No matter what mix of marketing and sales channels your business uses, a strong IT sales cycle is essential for consistently closing sales and growing your bottom line.
Need warmer leads in your IT sales pipeline? Download this industry guide from Invenio Solutions® to start converting cold calls into prospects who are ready to buy.