Last updated 28 September, 2023.
If companies prioritize closing sales at the expense of providing essential operational support to their teams, it can impede their long-term growth prospects.
The importance of an efficient sales process cannot be overstated — especially when competitors are constantly vying for the same clients and market share.
Who really has time for stumbling over administrative hurdles and grappling with operational bottlenecks?
The answer is, no one.
While every salesperson recognizes that closing a deal is a pivotal part of their role, the intense emphasis on the deal's finalization can sometimes overshadow the essential preliminary steps required to even get to that point.
This underscores the significance of establishing a robust sales operations plan, especially for teams seeking to boost revenue without overburdening their sales representatives.
More to sales than closing deals.
One of the most significant misconceptions is that sales is primarily about persuading or convincing people to buy something they don't need or want.
In truth, effective salesmanship is not about coercion or manipulation. It's about establishing meaningful connections with customers based on trust and understanding.
Trust is the currency of effective sales. A successful sales process typically takes a consultative approach. It entails a deep understanding of customer needs, pain points, and desires rather than pushing products or services onto unwilling customers.
This value-driven approach is the foundation for building trust.
But before you can tailor a win-win scenario that benefits you and your customer, you need to first truly get to know them.
This process has a name: Pre-sales. 🤝
Pre-sales processes encompass a series of critical steps that occur before the final sales transaction.
One fundamental aspect involves the identification of sales qualified leads. It's a meticulous process of sifting through potential customers to pinpoint those most likely to convert.
This step ensures that valuable time and resources are dedicated to prospects with genuine interest and purchasing intent.
Additionally, pre-sales also include preparation and delivery of proposals. These proposals serve as compelling documents that showcase the value of a product or service tailored to address the specific needs and pain points of the prospect.
Building a pre-sales process: where should you start, and how?
If you don't yet have a pre-sales process in place that's connected to your sales tool, you may want to seriously consider implementing one as soon as possible (preferably, yesterday). And if you don't know where to begin, I'd recommend looking into HubSpot.
Getting HubSpot to develop your pre-sales process provides numerous compelling advantages which I'll summarize into three points:
- HubSpot offers an all-in-one solution by providing a comprehensive suite of tools for marketing, sales, and customer service. It allows you to consolidate and streamline your pre-sales, sales, and post-sales processes.
- HubSpot boasts a user-friendly interface and makes it accessible to individuals with varying levels of technical expertise. You don't need extensive coding knowledge to create and manage pre-sales workflows, forms, and lead tracking processes.
- HubSpot's seamless CRM integration ensures that all customer interactions and data are centralized and easily accessible, facilitating a cohesive pre-sales process.
Not to mention, HubSpot's customer-centric approach that emphasizes relationship-building with your customers aligns perfectly with modern sales practices — it's the foundation for creating an efficient and customer-focused pre-sales process.
Let’s take a look at some of HubSpot’s pre-sales features that will enhance your sales process. 👇
Prospecting workspace and lead management
The HubSpot Prospecting Workspace is a dynamic tool designed to enhance your lead generation and prospecting efforts. This feature provides a centralized space where you can efficiently manage and track all your prospecting activities.
And the most exciting part of this workspace is the new lead management functionality!
You can now create leads from HubSpot contacts the same way you would create deals in HubSpot. There's no more hassle assigning leads to relevant sales reps and or workarounds needed to make the pre-sales process work as it should.
Connect your personal email
HubSpot supports the connection of various email providers such Gmail, Outlook, Office 365, and others. You can easily set up the integration when emails are opened and gain access to real-time notifications of recipient interactions with your messages.
This allows you to monitor the performance of your emails and use these insights to adjust your email marketing strategies and improve communication with leads and customers.
But that's not all.
You can also create and send emails using templates and tailoring them to specific purposes such as:
- Sales follow-ups
- Marketing campaigns
- Customer support.
Once templates are created, you can efficiently send them to leads, prospects, or customers directly from HubSpot. You won’t even need to switch between different email platforms.
And as always, you can easily track email performance, monitor open rates, click-through rates, and responses to help you refine your email outreach strategies.
Connect your calendar to Hubspot
An appointment booking process shouldn't be complicated. With Hubspot’s Meeting tool, you can effortlessly create and share your availability with leads, prospects, and clients.
This tool offers flexibility in setting up various meeting types to ensure that scheduling aligns with specific needs, such as sales consultations, product demos, or support sessions.
One of the key features of the Meetings tool is its integration with HubSpot CRM — allowing you to sync your calendars and contacts to HubSpot.
This integration enhances efficiency by eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of scheduling conflicts. You can also personalize your meeting links to make it easier for recipients to book appointments at their convenience.
Additionally, you can also set buffer times between meetings, automate reminder emails, and tailor the meeting experience to enhance user experience and create a more professional and organized approach to scheduling appointments.
Create and edit sequences
Now, let's talk sequences.
Sequences are automated email series that can be tailored to various scenarios in the pre-sales and sales phase.
With HubSpot, you can customize email templates within a sequence, adjust send times, and personalize messages with tokens and dynamic content.
More importantly, HubSpot's sequence features enables you to set conditions that determine the next steps based on recipient interactions. It helps ensure a more personalized and responsive outreach strategy.
Why is pre-sales so important?
Pre-sales is akin to preparing the stage before a grand performance; it sets the tone for the entire show. Just as a well-prepared stage ensures a smooth and captivating performance, pre-sales is essential because it lays the groundwork for successful sales interactions.
Imagine you're planning a dinner party.
pre-sales, in this scenario, is equivalent to planning the menu, selecting the finest ingredients, and setting an inviting ambiance in your dining area. These preparations ensure that when your guests arrive (prospective customers), they are greeted with an enticing atmosphere and a delightful menu tailored to their tastes (proposals and solutions).
Without this careful preparation, the evening may be marred by confusion, disappointment, or missed opportunities.
In the world of business, pre-sales identifies the right customers, understands their needs, and presents tailored solutions.
Just as the well-prepared dinner party leaves guests eagerly looking forward to the meal, effective pre-sales leaves prospects excited about the product or service, making them more likely to become valued customers.
When pre-sales is done, then it’s handed over to sales.
A well-structured pre-sales process cannot be overstated 🖖
If you're still wondering if you really need to have a pre-sales process, the answer is: you do.
Heard of the age-old sales and marketing friction? There is a way to remove that.
Pre-sales bridges the alignment between sales and marketing efforts to foster a more cohesive and synchronized approach in engaging with potential customers.
This alignment not only enhances communication but also ensures that both teams work towards a common goal of providing value to prospects.
Moreover, a robust pre-sales process equips your sales team with the tools they need to excel in their roles with efficiency. These tools encompass a range of capabilities that enables your sales team to operate at their best, such as:
- Lead nurturing
- Email automation
- Lead qualification
When you improve processes, you're empowering your sales team to focus on what truly matters: building relationships and providing tailored solutions to customers (instead of solving friction within the process).
Furthermore, the ability to generate extensive reports on sales activities and actions is a crucial facet of a pre-sales process. For example, HubSpot reports offer invaluable insights into:
- Customer behavior
- Sales trends
- Areas for improvement
What's not to like when you can revisit lagging indicators and looking at leading indicators at the same time to make data-driven decisions, refine your strategies, and continuously optimize your sales approaches?
So, if you're still wondering about the pre-sale process, I'd say, (just) do it (!).
It's the blueprint for success in today's customer-centric and data-driven sales environment. 🤌
And pssssst: If you’re interested in this topic, stay tuned for more (and subscribe to our Advance Insider newsletter to make sure you won't miss any future posts! 👇)