A sales process is a crucial part of any successful sales team. It provides a framework for reps to follow so they can consistently close deals. By having a strong sales process in place, you can help your team succeed and reach their full potential.
Why build a sales process?
By having a sales process in place, you can ensure that your team is making the most of every lead. A sales process is essential for any business that wants to convert potential leads into paying customers.
Without a sales process, your marketing team’s lead generation efforts would quickly go to waste. By having a sales process in place, you can ensure that your team is making the most of every lead.
A standardized sales process can help new reps learn best practices and what to do at each stage of the sale. This could lead to more efficient selling and, ultimately, more closed deals.
When you build a proper sales process, you’re providing your team with a common framework that makes it more efficient to close deals. This not only saves time and energy, but also allows you to focus on the most important aspects of each sale. In the end, this means more money for your business.
7 Step Sales Process
The sales process can be broken down into seven distinct steps.
The process of finding and contacting potential new customers is called prospecting. It’s an important part of most sales reps’ workflows and something they do every day.
When prospecting, you might research people on LinkedIn or Quora. You also might go to conferences or networking events.
You can also prospect by asking current clients or colleagues to refer individuals who might be interested in your product or service. This is a great way to get leads from people who are already familiar with your work and may be more likely to convert into paying customers.
2. Connect and Qualify New Leads
The Connect step of the sales cycle involves sales reps reaching out to those early- and mid-stage leads to gather more information.
Once you’ve identified a new prospect, the next step is to qualify them. This means deciding whether they are a good fit for your business, and whether they will likely move further along in the buyer’s journey.
A sales rep can usually determine a qualified lead over an initial “connection” or “discovery” phone call (or sometimes over an email) by asking questions such as:
“What is your timeline for making a decision?””What is the budget for this project?””Who else is involved in this decision?”A qualified lead is typically someone who:-Has a defined need or problem-Is actively seeking a solution to that problem-Has the budget and authority to make a purchasing decision-Is ready to buy in the near future
3 Research each lead and their company
Now it’s time to research each lead and their company.
By researching your prospect, your sales reps can better tailor their pitch to their needs, making them more likely to close the deal.
The crucial part to making a successful sales appointment is to understand each of your prospective client’s challenges, needs, and problems. Once you’ve established this, you can explain how your productservice is the solution.
1. Speak with other people at the company in different departments to get a holistic view of the business and its objectives.2. Understand the company better than the individual prospect who works there.3. Establish your product or service as the solution to their challenges and needs.
The sales presentation is when your sales rep shows your prospective customer what your product or service can do for them.
This part of the sales cycle is time-consuming and is usually saved for when a prospect is highly qualified. That’s why the “connecting and qualifying” step is so crucial.
You don’t want to waste any of your sales reps’ time if it’s preventable.
Customize your pitch to each individual customer.
A rep might bring an engineer or executive to the meeting with them to demonstrate the level of service the customer will receive when doing business with your company. This would allow the rep to answer more technical questions the customer might have.
This also allows your reps to answer more technical issues that they may not be best equipped for.
5 Handle Objections
It’s common for a prospect to have objections, which is why this is a step in the sales cycle.
Your team should be ready to handle any objections that come their way.
Listening carefully to your lead’s questions and objections to your product can help you tailor it to better fit their specific needs.
Through research and preparing your presentation, you should identify the potential objections to your proposal, such as the cost, the implementation process, or other aspects of the contract.
6 Deal closing
The late stage of the sales process involves any activities that take place as the deal nears completion. This can vary from one business to another, but can include things like delivering a price quote or a proposal, negotiating, or gaining the approval or agreement of decision makers.
A sale is an agreement between a seller and a prospect, where both parties benefit.
Once a sale is made, the sales rep receives their cut of the sale, and an account executive or customer service rep takes over.
7 Nurture and Continue to Sell
While the end goal of sales is to close a deal, it’s not where reps stop helping customers.
Not only should sales reps confirm with customers that they have received what they’ve ordered, but they should also be responsible for helping transition the customer to whoever will be in charge of their onboarding and customer service.
The final stage of the sales process involves continuing to follow up with customers and reinforcing the value that you provided. This also provides the opportunity to up-sell and cross- sell, and to secure referrals.
How to Create a Sales Process
The best way to create a sales process is to start at the end and work backwards. This will ensure that all stakeholders are brought aboard and that the steps of the process are outlined clearly. Once the buyer’s journey is mapped out, changes can be implemented and tested to see if they are effective.
The process of mapping out sales processes is the act of walking your team through every step of the process and ensuring that it’s relevant to your industry, your sales process, and your customers.
By analyzing your sales team’s performance, you can identify areas that need improvement. This helps you develop a sales strategy that aligns with your business goals.
When you’re mapping out your sales process, it’s important to answer the “why” behind every decision you make. Your sales process is the foundation of everything your team does, so it’s critical to get it right. By understanding the reasoning behind each step in your process, you can ensure that your team is always moving forward in a productive way.
1. Know where you are heading
Keep your plan specific but simple.If you want to be successful in sales, you need to have a clear destination in mind. Sales process mapping can help you achieve this by setting goals for your sales team. Keep your goals specific and simple for the best results.
Keep things simple and to the point.
The company, “Fred’s Vegan Foods,” is planning on increasing their sales by 5% in the next quarter.
2. Bring abord all stakeholders
Your sales goals can’t be met without the help of other departments. Marketing, Product, Customer Service, IT, and more all play a role in your process.
Involve these key stakeholders in your sales process.
Bringing together his marketing team, customer service team, product manager, and distributor, Fred is able to affect his sales’ team’s success rate.
3. List the Sales Process Steps
Now, let’s walk through the sales stages that apply to you.
What methods were successful, and where did you fall short?
With your stakeholder’s help, you can map out what steps are involved in your sales process. You can then identify which teams are involved in the process and which action items they can perform.
For example, the marketing team at XYZ Company mapped their six sales stages and jotted down the action they took at each stage.
The sales team looks back over the past year to see where they can make improvements to their new sales process in order to meet their goal. By understanding which steps in the process need work, they can make changes that will lead to more successful sales outcomes.
4. Map the customer’s journey.
Now, look at your sales processes from a customer’s perspective. On the same doc, write down what actions customers take and what their reactions are to your process.
Keep the buyer persona of your customers in mind when communicating with them.
The sales department at Fred now uses their buyer’s journey map to map out their process.
By analyzing where their teams are experiencing inefficiency, what actions are working, and where they can improve, they can better meet their goals.
I5. mplement changes and measure
Once you’ve mapped out your process from both the buyer and seller perspective, it’s time to test it out. You won’t know if it works until you measure your results.
After implementing his sales strategy, Fred and his team walk customers through each step of the process. They pay attention to how the customer reacts, and they adjust their approach accordingly.
As they progress through each phase and get closer to their goal, they adjust their processes that aren’t working well.
Now that you have your map, you can identify the key points in your process with a sales flow chart.
Common Mistakes When Developing Sales Processes
Let’s look at some of the most common errors that people make when developing a process. By avoiding these, you’ll be able to develop a workflow that is ideal for both you and your clients.
1. Leaving Your Sales Process Open to Interpretation
It’s essential to define specific, concrete actions that move your business’s prospects from one stage to the next. This ensures everyone on your team is clear on what needs to be done to progress a sale.
If you don’t identify and document the specific actions that need to be taken at each stage of the sales process, your sales team is likely to misinterpret what they need to do to move a prospect through to the next stage. This can lead to them mishandling part of the process, and ultimately losing out on potential business.
After you’ve defined your sales process, it’s important to document it, share it with your team, and practice it regularly. Role-playing exercises are a great way to reinforce the valuable techniques your team should take away from each step of the process.
2. Focusing on one sales methodology
While some sales teams prefer to stick to a single, tried-and-true sales process, other teams like to study multiple different processes, and incorporate elements from each that they think will be most effective.
It’s important to keep abreast of the latest changes, so keep an eye out for updates.
As the needs of your buyer and your company changes, your approach, methodology, and way of managing sales will change.
Your entire sales cycle is constantly changing.
3. Forgetting Your Sales Process is a continous work
Your sales processes will never be 100% finished or perfected. Instead, you should constantly be working to improve your process.
In addition to regularly tracking your metrics, you should schedule regular meetings with your sales reps. These meetings will help identify any major issues or problems in your sales process.
Always be working on your process. Your clients’ experiences will improve, and your sales team will be more efficient.
4. Not Aligning Sales Plays with overal Sales Process
The sales plays are useless unless they’re aligned with the overall sales process. The reps should write down each action they take at every stage of the process.
By integrating your selling process with your sales pitch, you can ensure that your entire sales team is as effective and efficient as they can be.
5. Leaving out Marketing and Sales Alignment
It’s important for marketing to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in sales so they can better support the process. This includes knowing which prospects are more likely to close, which industries are less profitable, and which market segments have potential.
Your marketing team members should have all of this info so that they can better understand each part of the sales process.
The marketing team can play a vital role in supporting the sales process by providing better prospects and lead nurturing materials. When it’s time to continue nurturing the customer, they can even take over that responsibility by creating drip campaigns. This alignment between marketing and sales is critical to any organization that wants to be profitable.
Sales and marketing alignment is key to any organization’s success. By working together, sales and marketing teams can create a more efficient and profitable sales process.
If you want to stay aligned with your marketing organization, you can schedule monthly meetings or use an all-in-one solution like HubSpot. HubSpot houses both marketing and sales tools in one platform, making it easy to keep track of your progress and goals.
6 Focusing on Close Deals
While sales are about closing the deal with the customer, it’s more important to provide value to your customer first. This hopefully will result in you being able to close the deal.
Even if a prospect doesn’t seem interested in purchasing your product, you must continue providing value throughout the process if their business needs can be solved by your product. By keeping the focus on the prospect and their needs, you increase the chances of closing the deal down the line.
When researching a prospect, your reps don’t just look at the size of the business, but also at the leadership team.
They deliver their sales pitch in a way that makes it seem like they’re offering a solution to a problem the prospect is having.
Focus on delivering value to your prospects at every step of the sales process and not just on making quotas and closing sales.
7. Failure to Measure KPIs
Not keeping track of your sales performance metrics or not monitoring your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a great way to make your process less effective. Make sure to monitor these after making changes to your workflow.
While it’s important not to get too caught up in the numbers, they can give you a good indication of your success. You can then use this data to help you understand what’s working well and where you could improve.
While it may seem like fewer deals were closed in one quarter, the average contract value (ACV) actually increased by $1,000. This is a boost in performance and should be taken into consideration when analyzing your sales process.
You can automatically track these KPIs using a sales dashboard like the one included in Sales Hub. This way, you can use your CRM’s performance metrics to adjust your sales process accordingly.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the different stages of the sales funnel, it’s time to tailor them to your own product and customer. Next, you’re ready to turn yourself from a sales person to a selling machine.
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