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The 7 Step Sales Process

The 7 Step Sales Process

The Origin of the Sales Process

While the business of selling goods and services has been around for thousands of years, it is important to note the history of the sales process.

It is thought that the first structured sales process was developed by John Henry Patterson, of National Manufacturing Company (later National Cash Register, or NCR) in Dayton, Ohio. He applied his philosophy on developing “scientific” methods and procedures that led to great efficiency in manufacturing to other aspects of the business such as sales.

By the late 20th century, Patterson had developed a huge sales force motivated by sales quotas and complete with territories. Patterson organized and created the first sales training event in 1884, and established the first sales training school in 1893. He taught a very simple sales philosophy which is still used to this day and is the underlying framework for the Seven Step Sales Process:

  1. Identify the customer’s problems
  2. Develop a specific value proposition
  3. Demonstrate how the solution will fit
  4. Ask for the order

 The 7 Step Process For IT Sales

You can utilize the Seven Step Sales Process to effectively sell IT Solutions to your prospects and customers. The Seven Step Sales process is a step by step methodology to ensure consistency and predictability in selling a product or service. The Seven Steps are:

  1. Preparation
  2. Warm-Up
  3. Qualifying
  4. Presentation
  5. Overcoming Objections
  6. Closing
  7. Follow-Up

Each step in the process is equal in its importance to increasing the odds of earning a prospect’s business.

When the steps are executed out of order or not followed through correctly, the prospect can feel pressured or uncomfortable with making a commitment. For example, a prospect will not buy a product or service (Close) and certainly not continue to buy (Follow-Up) without first knowing how that solution or service will provide value (Objection).

Most objections are simply misunderstandings or a lack of information which may be the result of and improperly conducted customer meeting or demonstration (Presentation). It is very difficult to present value without first understanding and uncovering what pains the customer is facing and whether or not the proposed solution will make sense for them (Qualifying).

It is impossible to get answers to some of the tough questions asked during the needs development or qualifying phase of the process without first developing rapport and credibility (Warm-Up). The most successful first impressions/warm-ups are developed from understanding and forecasting what the prospect might need in advance (Preparation).

A successful sales process for IT Solutions provides the framework for continuous improvement and growth. While simply executing the steps of the sales process will not ensure success, it will allow for more consistent results and the ability to forecast growth and scalability.

The Seven Step Sales Process works more effectively when combined with the consistent practice of sales skills through role-playing each phase of a sales engagement. Sales professionals who practice regularly are more able to navigate a customer from introduction all the way through earning commitment by reducing risk and positioning their value proposition according to prospects’ or customers’ specific needs.


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Posted in: Sales, Sales & Marketing

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MSPU Improving Your IT Marketing Outcomes By Establishing Your Target Market – Review

What does it take to become a Best in Class IT Solution Provider Marketer? To answer that question we need to first understand the definition of a Best in Class Solution Provider: your pre-tax net income is in the top 25% of all other solution providers in your same predominant business model.

There are many factors that affect your ability to become a Best in Class Solution Provider, and your marketing sophistication and effectiveness is the most important. Without an effective marketing strategy to maximize your lead generation outcomes, your overall growth and success will be limited.

Once you’ve determined your deliverables and pricing strategy, establishing the right target market is one of the most critical decisions you will make. The good news is, if you examine your existing client base, chances are you are heavier in one or two verticals than any other vertical you currently support.

Many Managed Services and IT Solution Providers subscribe to an indirect, passive referral-based marketing philosophy that leads to supporting any customer that is referred by others; or happens to come knocking at their door, regardless of their vertical. This approach is not always efficient and profitable, and it will eventually catch up with you. In addition, scaling your business becomes much more difficult, as you cannot forecast sales pipelines or predict growth with any accuracy

When you are spread across many different verticals, supporting each of these customers’ myriad line of business applications, network infrastructures, specialty hardware and vendors becomes costly and challenging. Because of the lack of standardization in your customer environments; and its resultant negative impact on efficiencies, will be forced to continue hiring additional engineers to support your customers. This will eat into your profitability and hinder you from reaching Best in Class profits.

A better approach would be to strengthen your lead generation outcomes by establishing a Direct Marketing approach to target ideal prospects in your desired verticals to standardize on the types of customers you support. This will increase your efficiencies and profitability, as your engineers will begin to specialize on these customers’ specific hardware and software solutions and understand their workflows and procedures, allowing them to deliver services much more rapidly and effectively.

The goal is to choose one or two verticals that you would like to specialize in, and become a subject matter expert in them. This will lead to faster sales cycles, the ability to command higher fees for your services, and supporting common environments that your engineers are experienced in supporting. This will result in the need for less staff to support more clients more profitably.

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Posted in: Marketing

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