Winning business is difficult. Your competition is fierce. Your prospective customers have expectations of your company, salespeople, products and services.
Your customers are staffed with well-informed professional buyers and multiple decision makers who challenge the most skilled and talented salespeople.
Your customers demand value and want a great buying experience. They want proof the post-sale experience will live up to your promises.
You want to make it easy and desirable for your customer to do business with you.
These are FIVE KEY questions to ask for a successful sales process.
1. Why do we I need a sales process?
If you want to build a community of ecstatic customers and achieve your revenue goals with a method you can duplicate, your salespeople need a sales process.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
Buyers have a process. Buyers have purchasing methods and strategies. Your sales people have to navigate a matrix of organizational structure, financial requirements, compliance issues and more. Without a sales process, your salespeople are unprepared.
Having a sales process provides navigation through your customers’ buying process and organizational chart. Your sales process magnifies your salespeople’s skills and talent by making them more efficient and effective. Consistently winning good business is the outcome of a well-designed and executed sales process.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Create an impeccable customer experience
- Learn your buyer’s patterns for predicting behavior and improving your process
- More accurate sales forecasting
- Prevent sales from stalling and dying on the vine
- Better qualifying and evaluating of your opportunities
- More productive and efficient salespeople
- Identify which salespeople need coaching
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
- Identify which leads are producing the best results
2. What is a Sales Process?
Process by definition is “a series of actions or operations conducing to an end.” Your sales process is the series of sales activities, strategies and objectives to achieve your desired end – won sales.
“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” -Dwight Eisenhower
The sales process is not a “step-by-step closed loop system.” Buying is organic and no two sales are alike. Flexibility that gives your reps maneuverability is critical. Do not carve your sales process in stone. Your sales process should be adaptive to the constantly changing business environment.
3. How do I create a sales process?
Your sales process should facilitate your customer’s buying process. “Know thy customer” is the key to developing a successful process. Become a student of your customer.
- Who buys our products and services?
- What markets and industries are they in?
- Where do we find them?
- Who are the decision makers: middle managers, senior executives, the C-Suite, etc.?
- How long does the decision-making process take?
- Why would our customers buy from us?
- Who are my competitors and what are their selling methods?
Building a sales process from scratch requires some guesswork, so don’t be unnerved. Having someone on your team with experience selling your products and services to your market adds valuable insights.
4. What are the components of my sales process?
All sales have common denominators.
Your sales process includes:
- How and when to engage your customers
- The stages of the sales cycle:
- Researching your customer, prospecting, first meeting, discovery process, value creation, follow-up, qualifying, identifying decision makers and stakeholders, creating a unique presentation, proposals, negotiations and closing
- Goals, objectives and strategies for each stage and the entire sales process
- Tactics and activities
- Milestones that identify where you are in the cycle
- Evaluation of each opportunity at every stage
- Timeline estimating when a sale will close
5. How do I measure the results of my sales process?
You want to improve your sales results. You want to understand what works and what does not. This requires metrics. CRM or Sales Force Automation provides you with tools for tracking your results. Patterns will emerge to help you target areas that need refinement, improvement and change.
The components listed in question number 4 are potential Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Tracking successful sales in your systems creates your benchmark with which you measure your other sales.
Summary: With a good sales process and the right tools, you can build and maintain a better sales team equipped to take on your competition and better serve your customers. The Bottom line: A Good Sales Process = Better Sales Results