3 Ways to Set Prospect Expectations During the Sales Process

b2b salesSales professionals have always been focused on closing the deal, and who wouldn’t be with a quota to hit? But since social media and review sites are among the first places prospects visit when looking for a solution to their problem, sales professionals need to shift some of their focus to customer success. This has become a critical part of the sales process now that buyers have the ability to publicly criticize poor service or product quality.

So how do you guarantee a positive customer experience or avoid a negative? As a sale professional, you must set proper expectations during the sales process. Failing to do so could result in lost customers and poor online reviews, leading to more lost business.

How to Set Expectations with Your Prospects During the Sales Process

1. Identify your buyer persona profiles

Buyer personas are defined as profiles of your best customers. In order to determine who to target and the best way to speak to these people, you need to identify your buyer persona profiles.

Uncovering the characteristics of your best buyers is crucial in terms of focusing on the right prospects. It’s also critical for developing targeted content, product development, sales follow up, and anything related to customer acquisition and retention. In fact:

  • Best practice demand creation strategies that include more personalized & customized messaging built on personas yields 2x the average sales pipeline (source: SiriusDecisions)
  • Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (source: Aberdeen)
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (source: Aberdeen)

Download the worksheet to help create your buyer persona profiles. Once you identify your buyer persona profiles you can begin to fuel your B2B contact database with new, targeted prospects matching the characteristics of your best buyers.

2. Create a disqualifier checklist

Not every lead or prospect is going to be someone you can sell to. Not everyone is the right fit for your product or service. Maybe their company is too small… or maybe they’re too big. They might be in the wrong industry or maybe they’re not anywhere near ready to implement your product or service.

Know and understand who your target market is and sell to them. Don’t waste time selling to a prospect who’s not a good fit. Time is money. Don’t be afraid to disqualify prospects who won’t be successful using your product or service.

To avoid closing deals with the wrong customers create a checklist of disqualifiers. This will also help you determine if a prospect is qualified or not before you even pick up the phone.

3. Define what a successful customer looks like

If you truthfully think a prospect is going to be a bad fit once you’re already in the middle of the sales process, don’t be afraid to bring this up. Long term trust is extremely important and can lead to referrals. By selling to a poor fit you’re creating distrust and a bad reputation.

Ask your prospects what their goals are before jumping in and telling them what they need. Gaining a better understanding of their goals helps you understand if they’re a good fit, as well as provide them with a solution you know will lead to success.

It’s your job as a sales professional to be able to define what a successful customer looks like and learn how to have the conversation to figure it out.

Do you need help with setting expectations during the sales process? ZoomInfo can analyze your existing data to help you identify your target market. Let ZoomInfo help you grow by contacting us today.

This post was originally published by ZoomInfo on February 12, 2016.