Not all sales efforts are created equal, nor do they always turn into a sale. Top-performing sales reps often rely on a channel sales process, known as a sales funnel, to track customer behavior and habits throughout the purchasing process. Consider the sales funnel as a roadmap of your customer’s journey – from the moment they first show interest in your product to the moment they make an actual purchase – with stops along the way intended to hone in on and improve your customer’s experience.
In this blog, we will outline the seven stages of the channel sales process and sales funnel to maximize your sales team’s strategy and efforts.
Also called lead generation, this initial stage of the channel sales process is where you seek potential customers. After determining several factors such as whether they want, need, or can afford what you’re offering, you will then decide if they “qualify”.If so, you move to the next stage in the process, preparation.
Now that you’ve identified your customer’s needs, it’s time to prepare for the initial contact. In this stage of the channel sales process, you develop your pitch to present to the customer, taking great care to describe how your product or service will be the solution to their problem.
With your pitch top of mind, this is the stage where you actually make initial contact with your customer. There are several ways to approach your customer – email, phone, or face-to-face – and throwing in a bonus such as a free gift or trial to review your products or services helps to hold engagement.
Once you’ve interacted with your customer a few times, you’re ready to make your case about how your amazing product or service will solve their problem. Think outside the box – don’t feel obligated to pull together a snazzy PPT just because this is the “presentation” phase. At this point in the sales process, you should know your customer well enough to know how to engage them.
So, you thought the channel sales process was going to be easy? Just because you have a potential buyer, and what seems to be the perfect circumstances, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually close the deal. Be ready to face challenges and answer any concerning questions from your customers. And, don’t lose faith if you aren’t able to close the sale. Instead, use it as a learning experience to build on your strengths and weaknesses.
You’ve drawn in the customer, uncovered their problem and provided a solution with your presentation. Now it’s time to close the deal. In this stage, the customer will give the final “yea or nay” on your solutions. If they’re buying what you’re selling, then a proper closing technique is in order to officially seal the deal. This is also the perfect opportunity in the channel sales process to offer that free gift or bonus we touched on in the Contact stage.
If your plan is to retain repeat, loyal customers, then follow-up is essential. Let’s be honest – it’s more cost-efficient to secure repeated customers than to acquire new ones. There are a bunch of reasons why you should follow-up after closing a sale. First, you want to know if your solution helped your customer with their problem. If not, you can offer them an alternate solution and maybe throw in a rebate. On the other hand, if they are satisfied, the fact that you followed up with them increases the chance of them becoming a repeated customer. Either way, following up is a win-win.
There are a variety of channel sales management tools on the market to align with your sales strategy for maximum efficiency and return. Computer Market Research’s channel sales solutions are designed to enable partner sales teams, eliminate channel conflict, and much more.