In this article:
- Why do I need a sales process?
- A sales process “done well”
- If you do have a sales process, is it set up for success?
Why do I need a sales process?
Simply put, a sales process (a *good* sales process) increases the velocity of deals flowing from “prospect” and “potential lead” through to “pitch” and “close”. Moreover, a sales process that Sales Leaders can properly monitor will ultimately result in more deals closing! So, if you are asking, “Is implementing a good sales process in my organization worth the effort?”, the answer is: Absolutely.
Know that once you’ve ironed out the best sales process for your team, your rep’s activities and results can be measured, tracked, and put to work. Know too, that having Leading Indicators of Sales Performance baked into your process will bring sales performance issues to the surface and ensure an objective and results-oriented focus to your sales coaching discussions. You can flag this month’s problems while there’s time to change course, rather than waiting for them to become last month’s poor results.
“If you have a defined process and you’re using the right software to run it, it makes sales training infinitely more efficient and consistent which, in turn, means sales reps can qualify and close more deals, more quickly,” explains Mike Curliss, VP Sales at Maximizer. “From there, you will also have the opportunity to increase revenue from your base, because the right sales process will also include your renewal efforts.”
A sales process “done well”
The thoughtful deployment of a good sales process not only assures it is universally understood and adopted by your sales team, but also provides visibility regarding your customer’s experience as they move through your sales cycle. The endgame for your sales reps is, of course, to sell. And sell more. And do so more quickly.
While sales processes can be tailored to any industry, product type, or customer profile, they typically include the following structured series of activities:
- Prospect Stage: Sales rep or company identifies potential customers and enters the unqualified leads that are generated from marketing and promotional activities designed to generate awareness and interest.
- Qualifying Stage: Sales rep evaluates a potential customer's needs and interests to determine (“qualify”) if they are a good fit for the offering, based on specific, non-negotiable criteria. This is the first go-no-go decision in most sales processes – to pursue the lead or stop/suspend the process due to lack of fit (i.e., being “unqualified”).
- Pitch/Present: Sales rep connects directly with the now-qualified prospect to present the product’s features, benefits, and value proposition.
- Handling objections & follow-up: Salesperson addresses any questions, concerns or objections the potential customer may have.
- Closing: Once all matters have been addressed and the potential customer seems ready to decide, the salesperson asks for the sale and finalizes the transaction.
- Follow-up: After the sale is complete, salesperson follows up with the customer to ensure satisfaction, address any support issues, and lay the foundation for a long-term relationship.
In addition to clearly naming the stages of the sales process, it is a best practice to assign a statistical probability of close for each stage, which then helps Sales Leaders both standardize and automate a weighted sales forecast with greater certainty.
For those companies in the life-time customer game, renewals are a must as part of the overall sales process. Many products and services provide a natural and lucrative recurring revenue stream – without the expense of constantly repeating the full sales cycle. Renewals are often managed by different people than those involved in the original sale, but with a thoughtful end-to-end process the renewals team will have a complete and invaluable picture of a customer’s journey through the sales process, including in the post-sales period.
If you have a sales process – is it set up to succeed?
If you have a sales process now, that’s great – you are a step ahead of an infinite number of organizations that do not! But for the process to actually succeed, both good implementation and willing adoption are crucial. If your sales process lives in spreadsheets or on sticky notes, or is imprisoned in a “jumbo CRM” platform that your team will just never use, it’s time to adopt a platform that is purpose-built for sales processes and the Sales Leaders that rely on them.
With a growing need for an easy-to-use, sales-focused CRM that users can get excited about, it’s no surprise that Maximizer’s flagship product – the Sales Leader Edition– is gaining so much momentum. Its popularity is due in large part to Maximizer’s decades of experience configuring its highly flexible software to integrate a customer’s existing sales process. With Maximizer, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or change what isn’t broken. What you do get is an easy-to-use tool for your reps, coupled with powerful management insight into their performance, increasing the velocity of deals flowing through your process, and better results with each passing quarter.
“When you combine your sales process with a CRM it becomes so much more than just the data” adds Curliss. “You now have a fully transparent and centralized sales engine that drives results because everyone can see what is being done, and what is not – as well as what’s working and what is not.”
Developing and using a sales process may require a time and effort, but when your process is incorporated into Maximizer Sales Leader Edition, the results will speak for themselves.
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