So you have a great product and you have defined and validated your target audience(consumer segment). How do you deliver your brand/SKU to the customer(brick & mortar/online) and make it available for your target consumers to buy? The next P, Process, covers this aspect.
The sales process followed in any organisation influences execution in store and how the brand/product is perceived by the consumer. As for your customers, it is crucial to make sure you’re easy to do business with, meaning you’re efficient, helpful and timely.
The sales process followed directly impacts execution, including delivery of your brand/SKU to customers, in-store availability, placement on shelf, how communication with the customer is managed, new product launches and so on. An effective sales process will include all aspects of the 7Ps and describes the series of actions or fundamental elements that are involved in delivering the SKU to the customer, for the consumer to buy.
By making sure your team has a good sales process in place, you will also save time and money due to greater efficiency, and your standard of service to customers will remain consistent and high, which is excellent for developing a great brand reputation and to build a great relationship with the customer.
The more seamless and personalised your sales processes are, the happier your customers will be. Customers typically feel frustrated or dissatisfied by late shipping, additional costs, poor communication or a lack of support and when brands/SKUs run out of stock in store.
Every part of the customers’/consumers’ journey has to be seamless and efficient.
Regularly assessing, adjusting and adapting your sales processes will help to structure your sales efforts so that your team can function at optimal efficiency. A great way to do this is to borrow from the tech industry. Map your customer and consumer journey on a regular basis. How does your brand get to the final user? What are the various steps in the journey to the final user/consumer and what process do you have in place that facilitates this? Prioritise elements that overlap with the customer/consumer experience.
The more specific and seamless your sales processes are, the more smoothly your sales teams can carry them out. If your sales team isn’t focused on navigating procedures, they have more time to build great customer relationships, enabling the business to grow.
Some elements to consider are as below:
- Is your customer carrying the right levels of stock? If too little, how much more needs to be ordered and why? If too much, how can you help the customer reduce this before stock needs to be destroyed/written off?
- Is your logistics solution cost-efficient and timely? What does your scheduling and delivery logistics look like?
- Will your customers run out of product at critical times?
- If you are an e-commerce business, do items ship reliably from your website?
- How often do you meet with the customer’s team and how do you communicate price changes, POS artwork changes and packaging changes to customers?
- What technology do you use? How can your customer access it? Do they need access?
If you get more than one complaint about any element of the sales process, understand what’s going wrong and develop a solution.
When you get your sales process right, your sales team will
- be more productive, manage more customers and also have better relationships with customers as a result.
- maintain or gain market share for your brand. Fewer customers delist your brand/SKUs as your team responds immediately to consumer needs/feedback.When people love your products, they experiment less and so remain loyal to your brand.
- receive feedback from customers and consumers, and ensure it reaches relevant decision makers within the organisation. Feedback helps you change what needs to be changed, and helps your business grow.
- sell and deliver the right volumes of your brands/SKUs so your customers are neither overstocked nor understocked.
This includes any technology sales teams use in their normal course of work. This ranges from sales intelligence solutions teams use to calculate sales volumes through to merchandising apps that monitor shelves.
If your sales process is efficient and any sales technology you use is in keeping with the process and with market conditions, your brand thrives and so does your business.
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up an efficient sales process or how to maximise sales team productivity using the right sales technology and tools, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org