You've built a great team. You've honed your products and services. And you've invested in a website that showcases your business' best features. But sales are still dragging. What gives?
The problem might lie in your sales process itself. Friction can manifest in a variety of ways, including:
- Low win rates
- Inaccurate forecasts
- A sluggish sales pipeline
- Few qualified leads
- A high churn rate
If you notice these problems—or want to make sure your sales run as smoothly as possible—it's time to identify and eliminate friction.
Read on to review five key ways friction can creep into the sales cycle—and how to avoid them.
Improve Your Client Onboarding Process
What happens when you land a new client? If your onboarding process takes too long, you're leaving money on the table.
When your onboarding is efficient, customers get quicker access to your products or services. It can also impact when customers enter your billing cycle.
Delays can mean customers aren't getting what they paid for—or paying, for that matter.
Another common issue involves the information you collect from customers. Does your onboarding involve a lot of frustrating back and forth? Or do you collect everything you need to get customers started on Day 1?
Your onboarding process is an important part of your overall digital strategy. Striving for efficiency can reduce friction in your sales process, and persuade customers to stick around.
Create Strong Company Culture
Everyone has a sales team horror story. Maybe a former manager set wildly unrealistic targets. Or maybe a scheming colleague swiped a client right out from under someone. In a competitive field, it doesn't take much for a sales team to become toxic.
Sure, it's unpleasant to work in a cutthroat environment. But did you know it can add friction to your sales process, too? When a sales team doesn't work as a team, internal turnover rates can skyrocket.
This has two key negative effects. First, a revolving door of salespeople means that institutional knowledge disappears.
Second, your customers won't develop deep relationships to your sales team. How can you expect customer loyalty, if your own employees aren't loyal to your company?
Fortunately, a healthy recruitment pipeline can help you avoid these issues altogether. By hiring a collaborative team, you can work toward your sales goals together.
Focus on Increasing Client Retention
Landing new clients is only part of the sales equation. It's just as important to persuade your existing clients to stick around.
We've mentioned churn rate a few times—but what does that mean, exactly? Your churn rate describes client retention. Companies with a low churn rate have steady, loyal clients who stick with them month after month.
Companies with a high churn rate, however, bleed clients left and right. If clients are jumping ship soon after onboarding, your sales cycle has some serious friction.
There are a few ways to increase client retention. Start by asking questions such as:
- Is there a mismatch between what you're selling and customers are receiving?
- Are your services inconvenient to adopt?
- Do customers find your products user-friendly?
Increasing client retention can help you maintain an efficient, frictionless sales pipeline.
Protect Your Online Reputation
Today, the sales process begins before customers have any contact with your representatives. The truth is, your online reputation can have an outsized impact on your entire sales process.
Clients aren't immune to the power of online reviews and social media. These crowdsourced resources provide an inside look at your company. A handful of negative reviews can sour potential customers' opinions before you ever reach them.
If your online reputation needs improvement, start by reviewing negative feedback. Once you've resolved any issues, request online reviews from past and current customers.
Before long, your online reviews will be an asset—not a friction trap.
Understand What Clients Want — and Deliver
Some of the best scenes in Mad Men involved Don Draper gearing up for a big pitch to a client. There was always some suspense involved. Would Draper dazzle the client by nailing down what they wanted, or miss entirely?
A low win rate can signal that it's time to reevaluate your pitch. Instead of showcasing your favorite selling points, take a step back and think of it from your customers' POV. Customers want a pitch that will:
- Accurately identify a relevant problem
- Empathize with their goals
- Suggest an attainable solution
- Offer evidence for past success
If your sales process forces customers to ask lots of follow up questions, or fails to pinpoint an urgent need, you have unnecessary friction.
Fortunately, CRM software can help you resolve these issues. By reviewing customers' conversations and feedback, you can begin to reframe your pitch. Repositioning your products or services slightly can drive big results.
Don't Let the Wrong Software Hold You Back
You can never fully control how customers behave. But you can get a head start by investing in the proper digital tools for your sales team.
It's time to break up with outdated spreadsheets and gut-feeling guesswork. Investing in modern CRM software will help you identify—and resolve—pain points in your sales process. The end result will be a sales cycle that's friction free.
Ready to start building out your CRM? Check out GoSite's Contact Hub today!