“Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal – Jill Konrath
Every business whether small or big wishes to increase the sales of their product. However, this selling journey is incomplete without setting up efficient sales process steps. You will not know where you are heading and what you are doing.
A well-defined step in the sales process adds structure to your sales activities. You’ll get a standardized flow to quickly move the deals ahead in the sales cycle. It keeps you organized and helps in increasing conversion.
A sales process is the set of sales steps that help a sales rep in closing and converting a deal. It acts as a detailed guide for the sales personnel. Sales process is a structured framework for generating more sales with relative ease in less time. It helps in increasing your overall sales efficiency and improving profit margins.
From prospecting to the closing of the deal, everything is streamlined with a sales process. The different stages of the sales process give you clarity and provide a direction to convert a prospect into a paying customer. It is the best way to keep the sales momentum going. With a standardized sales process, it is easier to identify the bottlenecks and tackle them in real-time for winning more sales.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing” – Edward Deming
If you are one amongst the 13% of employees in the USA working in the sales domain, you will be aware of the fact that sales is a challenging job. The difficulty level escalates when you don’t have a proper sales process in place.
Sales success requires patience, persistence, proficiency and a perfect process.
Selling without a sales process is like wandering in the wilderness. You have no clue about what to do next. You are unable to track metrics or predict closure. The negative sales results might convey the message that there is a problem in your sales approach.
In fact, 90% of all companies that use formal and guided sales processes were ranked as highest g performing.
Moreover, studies by TAS group, with reference to Dealmaker index study, discovered that companies that implement a sales process outperform companies that don’t. Adopting a sales process results in the growth of revenue, productivity and helps in forecasting the numbers.
A different steps in sales process can help you locating the problem if it is correctly developed and used. Proper attention to this process can tell you what went wrong and why did you experience a drop in your sales numbers. The distance to close shortens when you have a roadmap in front of you.
By implementing a sales process in your company, you gain edge over your competitors, as per Objective Management Group, 68% of sales people don’t follow sales process at all! Hence, here’s your cue to implement sales process and grow faster!
An effective sales process aids in building a healthy relationship between the company and the customers. It speeds up the sales cycle and helps in improving profit margins.
Here are the benefits of building a sales process:
Following a clear path makes your sales hassle-free and keeps you on track. A well-defined sales process serves as a GPS. It guides you throughout the sales journey starting from the initial contact to the final signing of the contract.
Get a better understanding of your sales and prospects. A formalized process ensures that the efforts are put in the right direction. You can quickly identify risks and take actions in real-time. It helps you in eliminating the activities that yield no results.
Coaching new sales rep gets easier when you have a standardized sales process. You can show them what needs to be done in different situations. They can easily learn the basic steps and get started quickly.
A defined sales process is much more effective for your business, as it outlines the ideal customer profile and buyer persona. Knowing what your prospect wants helps you to have a deeper understanding of the leads and provide personalized solutions.
Sales process allows you to filter out the leads and focus on high-intent leads so you can close deals faster. A CRM with lead scoring feature helps you to score the leads based on their preferences and their engagement with the company. Hence, you can capture more qualified leads and shorten the sales cycle as well.
Sales is all about accuracy, and a visual sales pipeline assists in providing a clear picture about your sales, helping in forecasting the revenue. A well-maintained sales process is highly beneficial as it helps you keep your sales funnel full, resulting in revenue growth and nurtured leads.
Sales process management is the journey of creating a lasting relationship with your customers. This journey is broken into several simple steps popularly known as the “7-step sales process”. Each step requires the utmost attention to convert a potential prospect into a paying customer. Though each company follows a different sales methodology, the crux is almost the same.
Here is how a typical sales process steps looks like:
The first and very crucial step of the sales process is prospecting where you search for new buyers. For successful prospecting, it is necessary to know where to target. Most of the sales reps tend to take this step for granted which is why they fail at it.
50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting
Instead of casting your net wide by approaching everyone, narrow down your search and target specific companies.
You’ve targeted the right prospects? Are you sure?
Always be double assured in sales as one wrong turn can put you in trouble.
Therefore, we have the qualification step in sales process where you try to discover more about the prospects through qualifying questions.
“When reps take the role of a curious students rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage” – Jeff Hoffman
Dig as deep as you can and try to know everything about your prospects to ensure you are on the right path. This step also helps in building rapport and gaining the prospect’s trust.
Setting appointments is as difficult as a Greek puzzle. You need to take each step smartly to convince the prospect to meet you. Meetings are the best way to display the value proposition of your product or service.
Appointment setting consumes around 75% of the total sales efforts
Sounds like you cannot excel in this sales process step without breaking a sweet. Yes, it is a tiresome task, but it is worth the effort. You’ll get the full attention of your prospects. So, do all that it takes to secure an appointment.
This is a very important sales process step where you can influence a buying decision. Sales presentations help in nurturing leads.
Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
During the initial steps of the sales process, you’ve understood the concerns and problems of the prospects. Now, it is time to present your product as a solution to them.
Show them how your product can help streamline their business. Here you can either show the sample of your product or give them a demo. Presentations are an opportunity to prove your product’s excellent capabilities so make the most of it.
Sales objection is one common hurdle that almost all the sellers face in their sales journey. No company will easily invest in a solution.
Maximum buyers are caught up in the dilemma of whether to buy a product or not. I am sure even you too might have hesitated before purchasing an expensive product. So, don’t instantly reach a conclusion that the prospect is not interested. There are reasons behind their objections.
“Treat objections as requests for further information” – Brian Tracy
Sales objections are a challenge that you need to handle tactfully. Listen to objection calmly instead of jumping in and responding to the objection instantly. Give your prospects a chance to explain their concern.
Don’t abandon a sales deal straight away, find out what’s bothering your prospects. Pause after an objection and think before responding to it.
Successful sales professionals pause immediately after a customer’s objection for 5X longer than their less successful peers.
This sales process step is the make-or-break moment. You either seal the deal or lose it. Finding the right way to close is pivotal to taste sales success.
From the opportunities accepted, 29.3% closed, which means that the average SDR 29.3% is responsible for about 11 deals per quarter
After getting so close to the finishing line, losing would be disheartening. Wouldn’t it? So, handle this step with extra care.
Try to meet your prospect’s expectations and show the benefits of being your customer. Be selective with your words and phrases while conversing with your prospects.
Avoid the below words:
Persuade the prospects to take the right action. Use the right closing techniques and tactics to get your potential prospects to sign the dotted line for becoming a paying customer.
Here are some closing techniques that can help
Closing isn’t the end of the road. Keep delivering value even after getting the precious dollars from your prospects.
“Don’t celebrate closing a sales, celebrate opening a relationship” – Patricia Fripp
Don’t forget your customers once you win the sales and start focusing on achieving your targets. Nurturing them even after a successful closure is important to retain them for a longer time.
An existing customer is a path to reach new customers. So, don’t take them for granted. Besides if they have a negative experience with your product, they might share it with their networks too.
As we all know the bad worth of mouth spreads like wildfire. Ensure your customers receive the benefits you had promised during the initial steps of the sales process.
A well-defined and rightly built sales process can help your business grow. So, ensure you avoid any kind of errors and do everything right.
Here are the things you should consider doing for building a successful sales process.
There is a lot to learn from your past sales. Therefore, turn back and analyze. Study your past deals and understand the steps that lead to a successful conversion. See how the deal progressed from one step to other.
Once you are clear with all the steps, you need to define the metric for each stage. Build benchmarks to stay on the right track. You’ll know where you are going wrong and what do you need to improve.
There are specific steps that you need to follow to close a deal. But what do you need to do at each step? Set clear qualifying criteria for each step to move forward and complete the sales cycle without any hassle.
If you want to improve your sales process, you need to study your currently sales process first. Find out how effective your current sales process is and how you can optimize it for better results.
Do you need to add or remove certain steps from your sales process? Or does a specific stage is taking extra time? Analyze the past deals to examine the execution of your current sales process.
Key performance indicators are crucial for every business, as they help in determining the objective of the business and measure the performance against the objectives.
KPI is a measurable value that reflects how effectively a company is achieving its goals and objectives. Moreover, you can utilize various KPIs at different stages of your sales process to analyze and evaluate the success.
To succeed in sales, you need to go to great lengths and put in more effort than usual. Explore and try new things to make your sale process more efficient.
Here are the best practices you should consider following for making your sales process profitable:
There are certain parts of the sales process that are repetitive and time-consuming. To increase efficiency and productivity consider automating these tasks instead of doing them manually. Several sales automation tools can help you in making your sales process smoother and faster.
With an automation tool you can:
Every growing business faces the challenge of handling all the leads; you may have multiple sources for capturing leads, but are you able to connect with all of them? A fragmented process results in leads falling through the cracks, making you lose potential customers.
In fact, salespeople who contact the prospects first get 30-50% of sales. Interesting, right? Unfortunately, only 7% of them respond within 5 minutes, making it difficult to turn them into customers. A streamlined lead assignment process ensures that every lead is connected with so you no longer miss out on potential customer.
One of the vital aspects of any sales pipeline is effective outreach, and salespeople are constantly sending emails, texts and what not to stay in touch with their customers and prospects. With automation, you can track your email performance, find out the email click and open rate to know whether your campaign is working well or not.
Moreover, you can set up automation based on triggers, so whenever your prospect opens your email, you can set a delay and send another email with resources to engage further.
If you want to grow, it’s crucial to keep a check on your sales performance. Automation also provides insightful reports on your sales so you can forecast your revenue. Moreover, it also enables you to track the performance of your sales reps and find out which rep is putting more effort and how effective it is.
A sales script can guide you in moving a prospect further in a sales process. You will know what to say for attracting the customers. Sales scripts reduce stress and increase confidence in sales reps. It bolsters sales communication and aids in making a good impression on the prospect.
For sales script success-
Don’t just create and assume that your sales process is working. It is necessary to keep an eye on your sales process for optimizing it in real-time. Track it and find out if there are any roadblocks that you need to overcome.
You can’t overcome any challenges if you don’t recognize them in the first place. When you have a 360-degree view of your sales pipeline, you need to pay attention to where the deals get stuck in the sales pipeline. Is your team spending more time negotiating? Is the deal not passing through the closing stage? Well, you can find out the bottlenecks and put more effort towards resolving them to ensure a smooth sales pipeline.
Sales enablement is highly underrated, and we feel that it should be utilized more often. When you provide your salespeople with essential resources, templates, and other informational documents for prospects, they’ll be able to save more time when prospecting. Ready-to-use templates help in personalizing the conversation based on the interests of your prospects to capture their attention.
Have you successfully set up your sales process? Great! Now you need to measure its performance by looking at a few key indicators. Examining the below points will help you get a clear picture of your sales process and how it’s performing.
You’ve got leads, now what? You also need to keep track of how many leads are engaging with your company. Setting up sales sequences for follow-ups saves the time of your salespeople and increases the effectiveness. You can do A/B testing and find out which outreach approach is helping your campaign and work on optimizing it.
Converting prospects into customers doesn’t have to be so difficult. Recognize their challenges by tracking their behavior and preferences, and provide a personalized solution that can help them. Offer them product demoes, free trials, etc. so they can try out the product or service.
Does your prospect need more information on your product or service? Then you can share links or downloadable eBooks and guides about your company to provide a clear picture of what you offer.
A successful sales process will always have a short sales cycle. You need to be aware of which stage of your sales pipeline is taking long and figure out a way to resolve the issue. Healthy sales cycle is short and effective, ensuring customer satisfaction and higher retention/
Your salespeople are the one working with prospects and adapting to the sales process. So, ensure you take their feed on the sales process, whether they’re facing any issues with it and simplify the entire process for them.
If your salespeople are not able to understand the sales process, you can set-up training sessions
Sales process also forecasts the numbers; if they’re anywhere close to the actual numbers, then you’re doing it right! An accurate sales forecast is highly beneficial in revenue growth.
While the two terms sound identical, they’re both entirely different and have process of their own. So, it’s imperative to not get confused between the two.
Sales process is a step-by-step series of actions that salespeople initiate to capture leads, engage, negotiate and close the deal.
Sales methodology is an approach that salespeople take to implement the entire sales process and how it can help you grow your business. The framework in a sales methodology is a set of tools and processes that a sales rep implements in a sales process.
So, the sales process is how your team carries out the actions to eventually convert a prospect into a lead, while sales methodology is a framework of different sales approaches that your team takes before finalizing the most effective one.
You have a successful sales process but along with that, you need a strong strategy to succeed. Here are the top sales methodologies that can support your sales process and help you in selling effectively.
To ensure a solid sales process, it’s essential to be aware of the common errors that sales reps make and steer clear of them.
Sales process doesn’t always work with the same approach. Every prospect is different; hence their requirements will also differ. Therefore, a sales process that worked on one prospect might not work on the other.
To ensure that you don’t fall back on the sales process, you need to document every sales process that you created. Different approaches may lead to different results, and you can work on the ones that drives best results. Every experiment needs to be documented so you can learn from it and prepare better sales processes.
It’s highly crucial to define every step in your sales process. In marketing you can’t just wing it! Hence, determine a set of stages that your prospect will go through to ensure a streamlined process.
Such actions and triggers at every step will help you determine where you’re lacking efforts and which stage needs more effort.
Focusing on the end-goal is essential, but one must not neglect the process that takes place before reaching the goal. Micro-goals are highly essential in tracking the performance and boosting the confidence of your team members.
Set micro, achievable goals that your salespeople can focus on while working with prospects, and achieving such micro-goals can also help in achieving faster results and increasing the productivity.
Following one sales methodology might get you desired results, however, studying different sales methodologies and implementing different approaches from each one of them might get you a better sales process.
So, don’t hesitate in experimenting with sales methodology; change it up based on your prospects’ preferences as they tend to change over time.
Following a structured corporate sales process can make a big difference to your business revenue; provided you do it right! Create a sales process that’s highly effective.
All the sales process steps are crucial; so, ensure you give every step equal importance. Take control over your sales process and manage it efficiently to expand your profit margins. You can leverage the benefits of a smart CRM tool to manage your sales process effectively.
Salesmate is one such intelligent small business CRM that can help you in streamlining your sales process for achieving your sales targets. This advanced CRM is used by sales teams of various sizes.
With this high-end sales tool, you can create multiple sales pipelines for managing your sales process steps efficiently. You can add, edit and rename your sales deals. Using Salesmate CRM you can easily keep track of the buyers’ journey.
Salesmate CRM allows you to set a rotting period and win probability for taking timely actions. Use this smart tool for creating insightful reports and measure your sales performance.
You can try this smart CRM for free and see how it works for your organization. If you have questions regarding various other features this smart sales tool has to offer, then do get in touch with us. We will be really happy to assist you.