Salespeople are essential for an organization, especially for small and medium ones.
They bring revenue that keeps the wheels moving and enable a company to scale up. Without them, the remaining teams – operations, accounts, marketing, human resources – would struggle to perform at optimum levels for the company.
The Importance of a Sales Call
Naturally, the most important task for a salesperson is to make sales calls. These could be on the phone, over email, face-to-face, or through any other mediums available.
The type of sales calls can vary from an inbound call to engaging with customers at a showroom or inviting them to an offsite destination. A salesperson in the B2C space might make more than ten calls a day, while one in the B2B space might make less than four.
Regardless of the type or number of calls, the quality of the interaction between the salesperson and the prospect decides whether the prospect turns into a customer or not. If a salesperson says and does the right things, the prospect will move ahead in the buyer’s journey. If he messes things up, the opportunity can end quickly and abruptly, and it can take a lot of time and effort to regain the customer’s trust.
This is why it’s important for salespeople and sales managers to be aware of and improve the activities which a sales call entails to improve the quality of their sales calls.
Activities of a Sales Call
As we’ve discussed above, managing a sales call is an important task for the entire sales team. The outcome – success or failure – depends heavily on it. So here is a simple three-step effective sales process that salespeople and managers can follow:
Step 1: Prepare for the call.
This is ground zero of the process.
Preparing for a call means setting clear goals about what a salesperson wants to achieve from the interaction, how he will take action, anticipate the buyer’s possible responses, and identify alternate activities if things don’t go according to plan.
This simple action has a lasting impact on the overall outcome of not just the call but the entire relationship.
Step 2: Execute the call.
This is when the rubber meets the road.
The execution is when the real situation between the buyer and seller materializes. Many factors affect the outcome. But nothing is more significant than the interaction between the salesperson and the prospect.
In this stage, a salesperson can dramatically increase or decrease the chances of closing a deal. This is why it’s important for him to know what he’s doing and prepare as much as possible for it.
Step 3: Review the call.
Without feedback on actions, we cannot identify the direction we’re headed in.
A sales review helps to identify this direction and correct the course when needed. During sales reviews, the manager and salesperson discuss sales calls and their outcomes and compare them with expected results. The sales manager should focus more on the actions which the salesperson took during Steps 1 and 2 rather than what the outcome was.
Some specific questions that the sales manager can ask a salesperson during the review are:
1. What was the objective of the call?
2. What were the customer’s needs?
3. What information did you about the customer?
4. Which questions did you ask?
5. Which product(s) have you pitched?
6. Which objections arose? How did you respond to them?
Too many sales reviews fail because sales managers don’t ask specific questions or let salespeople get away with the answer, “I don’t remember.” To keep sales reviews effective and salespeople accountable for their actions, it’s essential to make them fill detailed notes in the CRM software and conduct reviews against the same.
A proper review and feedback system is the most powerful tool to help a salesperson improve his performance.
Related: Download our free Google Contact to Spreadsheet Sync Tool here.
Should a Sales Call Always Be Planned?
This is a valid question.
Under ideal circumstances, planning a sales call should be an activity between manager and salesperson. However, this is a tedious task because it’s time-consuming for both parties, and both parties should have time to invest in the activity at the same moment. In the daily scenarios, this is tough.
So a formal call-planning (between the manager and salesperson) can be done before a high-stakes sales call, i.e. when the client is huge, or the risk is higher than usual. In the remaining instances, a salesperson can design and execute the plan on his own either at his office desk or on the move.
The more time a salesperson spends planning a call, the quicker and better he gets at it, and the brighter the chances of a positive outcome between him and the prospect.
What process does your sales team plan and follow to improve their sales calls? Do leave a comment. We would love to know.