Over the past few years, the retail landscape has changed a lot, and even more so after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has led to an acceleration of the change in people’s consumption habits, which is forcing companies to reach levels of digitization that were not expected to be seen for another 5-10 years (depending on the region of the world).
In sales, digital tools allow us to measure each of the stages in our commercial process. This will be key due to the new habits mentioned above and will facilitate the detection of points of improvement on which actions must be taken for our business to grow.
The Evolution of the Sales Process
The sales flow follows the AIDA methodology. Having this in mind, we will analyze the following phases to represent the Critical Client Flow (CCF):
- People outreached (Attention): here we take into account all those people who have come to consume our content or who have discovered our company’s existence.
- General information request (Interest): having heard or read about us, the user interacts with us just for informational purposes.
- Request for specific information or offer (Desire): the person wants to hire our services but needs to know some details more to be convinced.
- Closing (Action): the user becomes a customer as he/she makes their first purchase.
- Loyalty (repurchase rate): after having made the first purchase, the customer has repeated the purchase at least once more within a given time.
In addition, there is a key factor in this digital era:
- Average purchase ticket: it refers to the total cost of the products or services purchased by the customer in each acquisition. This is a key measurement in e-commerce, but it can be extrapolated to any type of company.
Digital Sales vs Analog Sales
Commercial departments were measured solely by their turnover while the rest of the process received a highly subjective evaluation by the members of these commercial teams.
Nowadays rules of the game are changing very fast. The user already does a large part of the sales process alone, sometimes even completing 100% of it without consulting with any seller, as in the case of many e-commerce sites (e.g. AMAZON).
A clear example would be TESLA which, although it has its dealerships, the purchase must be done 100% online so you go there only if you want to see their vehicles firsthand. If you rather, you can go through the entire purchase process without interacting with any salesperson and customizing your purchase as much as you want.
IMPORTANT! We do not mean that you have to abandon analog sales… What we want is that you think about changes that are happening around you. People are adopting new ways of purchasing in which interaction with salespeople is not required, so you should rethink your company’s sales strategy to be able to accommodate digital sales along with the conventional one. Which one should you focus more on? As almost always the answer is: it depends. It depends on the sector in which your business is located, the target audience, …
Digital Transformation of your Sales
Due to the current situation, you have to optimize your sales process and to do so, you have to place your company’s resources where you can make the most of them. Can you imagine what would happen in case your salespeople could focus all their efforts on the closing process, interacting only with qualified potential customers? The reality is that, on many occasions, a lot of time is wasted dealing with users who don’t want to buy. Maybe they are interested in what we offer but they don’t even want to hear about sales yet… That’s why for those first phases you should automate the process as much as possible until the audience gets closer to the buying stage.
Currently, the customer performs 70% of the sales process alone (researches on their own), therefore, the strategy for the digital transformation of your sales would be aimed at (models discussed below):
- Automate lead acquisition and activation: this automatable phase would be equivalent to the Attention and Interest stages of the AIDA model. Read on to learn more about the different ways to automate.
- User Activation (Lead Processing): this one would refer to the Desire and Action phases. This is where sales automation can be complicated, becoming impossible depending on the business developed (the more complicated the higher the average purchase ticket is usually).
- Customer Loyalty (Lead Nurturing): we will try to increase the number of recurring purchases made by our customers, this can also be “easily” automated. This will correspond to the Keep and Growth phases of the linked article.
Depending on the case (industry, available resources, etc.), all phases could be automated.
Benefits of the Sales Automation
This automation would apply especially to the initial phase of the sales process and the post-sales phase, where the aim is to build customer loyalty. Loyalty is key, as it is 50% easier for a customer to buy from you again than to acquire a new one, in addition to saving 33% in customer acquisition costs (CAC).
How and why should we tackle this digitization? We answer you with different automation tools that you could use and what advantages they would bring to your business:
- Chatbot on your website and/or social networks: answer questions from your community quickly by using bots. Users usually ask the same questions, so you can configure these answers and if something more specific is required, give the option to contact someone from the sales team for more information.
Note the importance of response time to user interactions… The only way to reach this answer speed is through bots.
- Newsletter: maintain regular contact with your community so that when they are ready to buy they think of you. This process can be made 100% automatic if desired using email marketing tools.
- Optimization of campaigns through bots: as online advertising campaigns are carried out, we accumulate data about them. Using bots we can make them search, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for prices below normal to launch a campaign that will bring us better results at a lower cost.
- Real-time data analytics: if we want to analyze the data we obtain to optimize, for example, the content we offer to our users so that it has more impact, see the performance of certain campaigns to know whether to reinvest in them because they provide great results compared to others or whether to cancel them and why.
Grow your Business with Data
The digital world allows you to measure every stage of the sales process if you want to, but is it needed? The answer from our side is clear, YES.
If you want to grow you are either very lucky or you have to get better at what you do and how you do it. Since the first option, as we well know, never happens, let’s assume that you are also interested in reading more about the second alternative.
All possible measurements are required to evaluate and detect points of improvement that, after applying some strategies, will make our business grow.
Let’s assume that our process is divided into the 6 phases mentioned above (already discussed in The Evolution of the Sales Process) and let’s see how they approach changes if you have all the data mentioned above.
According to the conventional process if you wanted to double the turnover of your business, what would you think you need? You would probably say double the number of people you meet with and to do that you need to increase your number of salespeople. This is because you can measure every little, assuming you did measure something, you would measure the number of new customers or the number of visits to potential users you have made, for example, little else.
Let’s see how the situation changes by using measurements of your digital sales process. The first row will be the starting point, don’t focus on the numbers, the important thing is that you look at the growth factors indicated in blue.
The conversion rates from one phase to the next one are shown below. Again, the important thing is not these numbers, as each business will have its own, what is important is that you keep the idea that you have to improve in all phases, not just in one.
As you can see, doubling your visits to clients or conferences is not a matter of doubling your turnover. It is about detecting what can make you improve 15% in each of the phases, is it still difficult? Yes, but it is what will allow you to grow your business faster.
You have to be aware that if you only grow in one phase that improvement adds up but if you improve in several phases the effect is multiplicative. See for yourself by doing the numbers.
If you have any doubts about this concept do not hesitate to contact us.