We just did a post on going down the funnel in a sales process, and now it’s time to wrap it up. The final stage. Cue the drum roll and kick the “LinkedIn thought leaders” out of the room. (That’ll be the next post we do, by the way.) Let’s make the sale. Remember, this blog series was all about the buyer journey and what you can do about it.
Sales Process: The Final Stage
As you get him down the funnel, you turn a prospect’s main position from “active” to “OK, this needs to be done now.” In the final stage, you close. It goes from “I’m committed to doing something now” to “I am committed to doing something now with you,” and those final two words get you paid.
How do you get this commitment?
Because the prospect is very far along by this point — knows he needs a new solution, knows you’re offering one — this is a relationship-driven stage. The one major element you can introduce here that wasn’t previously introduced, though, is a proposal or estimate. That wouldn’t have made sense in previous stages, but here it makes perfect sense. It’s actually what the prospect probably wants, because now a percentage of their decision is going to be around cost. (It shouldn’t be around cost and should be around value, but the business mentality of some people will never change.)
This actually is the first and last stage in your sales process where everything is about your product – not before! So you need strong support from your technical pre-sales team. Life demos, workshops and consulting sessions as well as PoC (proof of concept) are essential to prove that the product delivery what you have promised.
This stage is also about building relationships on several layers — technical/user, sales/decision-makers and management/sponsors — time for dinners, drinks and workshops — and making sure the proposal and estimate are fair. That’s how you’ll go from “down the funnel” to “close.”
A note about retention
We live in a world with a ton of digital noise. There are 293,000 Facebook status updates every minute, for example. Close to 1 million new articles on LinkedIn per month. It’s much harder to stand out because now seemingly everyone has a “personal brand.”
Now, of course you’re not going to make a multi-million dollar B2B sale on Facebook. That’s not my point. My point is that one important aspect of this stage is to focus on the relationship-building, because ideally this person — who was once a prospect — will become a full-time, long-term customer. No one wants to cultivate a series of “one and done” sales. You will make money, but it’s by no means predictable revenue.
That’s why the relationship-building aspect of this stage is crucial. This person is no longer “your prospect.” They’re now becoming “your partner.” Big deal there, especially on the path to predictable revenue. And it will never be that easy for you to grab this customer’s attention again.
So there’s the sales process
Without going super inside, we recapped it for you. Go back through the articles if you want.
Up next: let’s take down some LinkedIn influencers!