This is my fifth and final note in a continuing series discussing the five considerations that sales reps must employ when selling in today’s world. They are pull versus push marketing, media choices, disciplined timing, selling cycles and buying cycles. Today, we’ll look at selling cycles and buying cycles.
Tailor your campaigns to target customers at different points in the selling cycle such as prospecting, solution selling or closing. Different messages are needed at different times.
As you move through the selling cycle, your goals change and develop. Early on, you are generating leads, contacting decision makers and establishing credibility. These stages all require reaching out to a broad market, contacting many prospects with broad messages. Intermediate stages of the sales cycle include needs discovery, presenting a solution, demonstrating value, handling objections and closing the sale. Each of these steps is targeted to a well-defined prospect with the message honed to moving the prospect forward. Finally, growing your relationship after the initial sale also focuses on one or a few customers, but with expansion in mind.
Each of these sales stages has a different set of actions geared toward specific outcomes. Your presentations and messages must reflect the stage that you are in.
Also tailor your campaigns to target customers at different points in the buying cycle – information gathering, developing trust, engagement, buying or post-sale.
Buyers progress through their own stages in the buying process. The buying cycle closely mirrors the selling cycle, but from the buyer’s perspective. The buyer first becomes aware of a need and conducts research for identify his or her options. Next, the buyer assesses the options and justifies the purchase before making a purchase decision. Finally, the buyer makes the purchase and, afterwards, assesses the value of that purchase.
Like messaging throughout the sales stages, you must also understand where your customer is in their buying process and tailor your messages and actions to meet the customer’s needs at each stage. Make sure to align your selling cycle with your customer’s buying cycle. If you get out of sync, your sales efforts will either slow down or fail altogether.
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