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Is your sales process really helping your organization increase potential revenue? It’s a question worth considering, especially when you’re growing your sales team. Complacency in sales can be problematic to say the least – and failure to address known problems 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 finding more customers and increasing 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 potential customer unless that feature translates into lower costs, faster delivery, or something else of value. Being founded 100 years ago means nothing to a potential customer unless that feature it can translate into the benefit of reliability and assurance of business in the future. […] Advantages sell. Benefits clearly answer customer questions, such as “what’s in it for me?” or “what results will I achieve that will improve my current situation?”
This way of thinking is especially relevant when you are offering a sales demonstration to a potential client. Focus on all the features your product has to offer and you can easily override them. Show its true value and potential impact by focusing on benefits and discover how it will solve their problems.
Focusing the sales process on strengths requires extensive customer research. But when your team understands the real problems the prospect needs to solve, it will be much easier to make a successful pitch.
Related: 5 secrets to increase sales
2. Shorten your free trial
Many SaaS companies offer free trials as part of their sales process, the idea being that giving potential customers time with their software can be the most compelling sales pitch of all. That’s true – to an extent. Most SaaS companies have an average conversion rate of around 25% from their free trials.
While that conversion rate is certainly good, it can be improved. One common pitfall is that giving potential customers a full month to test software can actually be too much time. This can reduce the sense of urgency, especially among potential clients who simply want to take a closer look to see what your solution has to offer.
Instead, offering a shorter trial period (such as seven to 14 days) can create that sense of urgency that gets prospects to actually take advantage of their free trial. This can encourage a deeper dive that makes conversion more likely.
3. Use CPQ tools (configuration, price, offer).
One of the best ways to improve your sales process is to use CPQ (configure, price, quote) tools to streamline your team’s ability to generate accurate quotes for potential customers. These programs use automation based on a set of rules pre-programmed 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 reducing bid and contract errors by 95% by using CPQ to introduce automated pricing mechanisms. By preventing pricing errors and ensuring consistency in the quoting process, it will be easier for your sales team to follow pricing standards and guidelines so they can close deals faster and generate adequate revenue.
4. Offer additional plan options
Most SaaS providers offer monthly plans, as the lower prices and lack of long-term commitment may seem more beneficial – in fact, it’s estimated that 70% of SaaS companies only offer monthly pricing options.
In reality, you can improve your sales process by simply giving customers the option to choose between annual pricing plans. An annual plan can reduce customer churn and increase their lifetime value by ensuring they remain customers for a longer 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 the potential reluctance of potential customers to sign up for an annual plan and counter this by offering annual plan discounts. Providing more options (and offering the right incentives) can lead to more conversions and more long-term revenue streams.
Related: 6 super simple tricks to get much more sales
5. Focus on existing and former clients
Acquiring new customers usually costs between six and seven times more than retaining existing customers. Needless to say, your sales team should dedicate a significant amount of their processes to how to generate more revenue from your current customers.
One of the best ways to do this is to sell additional products or upsell. For example, if your business offers multiple subscription tiers, you could sell a customer a higher price to upgrade to a tier that pays more.
As with initial sales, upsell and cross-sell ads must be tailored to the client’s individual needs. This time, however, your team has information about past interactions and how they use your current services, making it easier to customize your presentation. Increasing the lifetime value of existing customers can be far less cost- and time-intensive, and has a higher chance of success.
Creating a better sales process
By following these best practices to improve your sales process, you ensure a better experience for potential customers as well. This not only helps you close more deals and earn more income from your initial sales. It helps ensure that your customers stay with you for the long haul — which may have the biggest impact on your lifetime income of all.