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    Steps in Personal Selling Process & Data-Driven Marketing

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    1) What are the steps in the personal selling process? How would you generate leads and handle objections?

    2) Identify and describe the three primary types of data-driven marketing programs.

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    A. The steps in the personal selling process involve the following:
    1. Prospecting. This is the process of searching people or institutions who are most likely to benefit from the product or service being offered. The company collects the relevant information such as their name, addresses, phone, purchasing history, and other data that is essential to the company.
    2. Pre-approach. As the term implies, this is the stage when the sales person gathers more detailed facts about a prospect such as the ability to buy, the need of the product, accessibility, likes, dislikes, financial status, etc. By learning more about the prospective customer, the sales person will gain more confidence in approaching him or her because he knows more information and he will be able to plan for an effective approach or strategy and at the same time, prevent serious errors that might hinder the success of the selling process.
    3. Approach. The sales person meets the prospect in person to understand him better. This is the most delicate and critical stage of the selling process and determines its success or failure.
    4. Presentation and demonstration. The core of the sales process, presentation is the result of a sales person's efforts to win the prospective customer. It will be plethora of articles and information as well as effective communication of the product or service and how it can be beneficial to the prospect. To demonstrate is to provide testimonies and proofs of the product's or service's features and performance.
    5. Overcoming objections. Once the prospect starts asking questions, commenting and raising objections, the sales process starts. Objections are important because it is a sign that the prospect is starting to be interested in the product or service. The sales person's knowledge and experience of the product or service is tested every time he presents something and there is sales resistance or reaction from the prospect. An objection arises when the prospect is not yet ready to buy and needs more information or has an adverse reason not to purchase the item.
    6. Closing. After all the sales talk and responding to prospect's reactions, the closing is the final stage wherein the sales process has to end. It is either a success or a failure on the part of the sales person. Someone who has self-confidence, positive attitude and thorough knowledge of the product or service is most likely to successfully close the deal. (Sharma, M.)
    To generate sales leads, here are a few ideas that can help:
    • Article marketing or providing content for your product or service
    • Join social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and interact with the other members who might be interested in your product/service
    • LinkedIn has a B2B Lead Generation group that might help. Other sources are e-conferences of sites with similar niches.
    • Motivate visitors of your website by giving free information so that you can get their personal data such as their email add and add them to your list of prospects
    • For brick-and-mortar stores, other media channels can also be used to market, e.g., television, radio stations, sponsoring events, etc. (Centres.Smu.Edu.Sg)
    Objections are common but when a prospect starts raising an objection, it can be a root to the buying decision. A trained sales person knows the techniques in handling sales objections. He knows the common reasons for objections such as price, product, service, company, or competition. Responding properly to the prospect's objections is a good way to overcome it. Among the proper responses are
    Pausing, smiling, and asking, "How do you mean, exactly?"
    Asking the prospect politely for a good reason to an objection, e.g., "I understand you must have a good reason for saying that. May I know exactly what it is?"
    Knowing how to respond to common objections. One is when the price is too high, an effective sales person would respond like this: "I understand what you mean but then the others felt same the first time they know of the price but when they started using the product... ", then start explaining. Oftentimes, objections are not actually about the price and a good sales person will have to know what exactly is the real reason. (BrianTracy.com)
    B. When companies have generated data, they can use them for creating marketing strategies.
    1. Raw data can be examined to draw conclusions about them. Various organizations use them to make better decisions they can use for their business as well as verify or invalidate existing theories. Companies use Big Data, Data Analysis, or Real-time to examine groups of information for marketing purposes. These are technology tools and processes that can store and analyze data according to the company's needs.
    Some companies use Big Data Analytics to access huge data sets easily, and for shorter response times when using real-time data. They don't need any scientists or statisticians when they have this program and the software usually has prebuilt algorithms that are useful for statistical data analysis.
    2. Oftentimes, companies also use market segmentation wherein they divide a target market into subgroups of consumers or businesses that have common needs and interests. Once they have the group segmented, they design and implement strategies to better target their prospects.
    3. Once the companies have segmented the various groups, they can select which segments to serve. Selection depends on various factors such as analyzing the segments that have already been well served by other companies. These segments would be difficult to acquire. Naturally, you would want to try to appeal to segments that might need your product or services and haven't been served by the competitors. The next step would be positioning which is implementing the results of our targeting decision. An example of this is the way Apple has positioned itself as the manufacturer of user friendly computers and gadgets. From there, Apple focused on advertising this and were able to target the right market. (Consumer Psychologist.com)
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