Becoming a sales professional is a long and effort-consuming path that contains lots of obstacles. However, the better you understand the sales process and how to structure it correctly, the sooner you will achieve the goal you are aiming at.
There is no one-for-all structure to point out, yet if you grasp its importance, you will work hard to establish the option that suits your goals and works for the sales team best. The place to start is to dive into the depths of the sales process.
Case in point: In search of the solution to lift our own sales, we at Belkins came up with a sales enablement service. Upon fine-tuning it, we've managed to get 15% deal closing rate and $5M in new revenue. So, today we'll share insights from our own experience of building up an effective sales process.
Simple and effective ways to enhance the sales process
Once you decide to step in the sales, you need to understand things like sales lead generation and sales process in detail. While the former is a little easier to grasp, the latter only seems simple. It is not a mere process of selling, as some may assume. Instead, it is a complete template that defines the best and fastest routes of achieving pre-set goals. Aside from that, the notion includes the performance of the sales teams involved and each individual separately. The whole process consists of steps or cycles that sales professionals repeat to transform sales leads into potential customers and bring profit into the play. Every sales cycle may include a list of pre-defined steps that make the marketing routine even more fruitful.
How important is creating a sales process?
At times, inexperienced sales reps may assume that their talent is enough to build up the revenue and attract a business lead one after another. While some chaotic approaches turn out to be successful, the road to success is twice as long and effort-involving compared to what it would be with structured selling processes.
According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that have implemented a structured sales routine into their marketing process were able to generate 18% more profit than the ones that refused to go through the cycle. The main reason why many companies improve their revenue after they create a sales process is due to the fact that each salesperson knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it properly.
Not only do sales reps improve their operation, but also sales management gets better. With the help of a well-defined sales process, a skilled manager can determine why the operation is stalling and facilitate it.
8 steps of selling to improve sales process
While you wonder about improving your sales process, you need to realize that it may not happen overnight. The fact is, the sales cycle stages include eight steps. They are the following:
- Objection Handling
Preparation – a successful sales process template starts with product observation. First, you need to view the services you offer the way the potential leads may see them. Then, try to feel the pain points so that you know how to improve them to get ahead of the competition.
Prospecting – an effective sales process meaning that you need to create a perfect image of your potential customers. The better you understand what they look like and what they need, the easier it will be to locate and approach them.
Research – despite the product or service you offer, you need to be aware of the competitors. Once you research the field and know who can present the same, you can work on improving the offer so that it becomes the best.
Approach – selling processes would be almost non-existent if salespeople didn’t approach their potential customers. However, while some leads can be approached through social media, others prefer email or calls that represent your offers. Along with the ways to reach out to clients, you need to help your team understand what makes them tick so that the product or service you sell triggers the interest.
Presentation – the sales cycle is utterly unanimous. Thus, every previous step interacts with the following. When you know your product and the customer, you need to present the offer so that it is the most beneficial in the industry. You need to help the client understand which problems the product can help to solve and why exactly it is better than that of the competitors.
Objection handling – most sales professionals know how challenging it may be to close the deal at times. It takes knowledge and courage to navigate through countless objections and pushbacks to win over the lead. If your team is unable to deal with the objections effectively, the chances of completing the sales cycle are slim.
Closing – the pre-final of sales stages is closing one. While it’s safe to assume that it’s the part when all the decisions are made, a sales rep gets the signatures and closes the deal. However, at times, the closing turns out to be unsuccessful. So, there’s one more step that the sales cycle includes.
Follow-up – an effective sales process does not end with a sealed deal. The paying clients can bring in more revenue into the play through repetitive engagement along with potential referrals. Thus, nurturing those is one of the essential sales steps, too. Besides, if the deal turns out unsuccessful, you can always turn back to the user and repeat the sales cycle until it is beneficial.
The best practice of sales process optimization
When you know how to create a sales process, you may falsely assume that there are no alterations to brood upon. However, at times, some parts of the sales process may become ineffective.
According to recent research, some steps in the sales process can be automized, thus – optimized. The better you understand the sales cycle that runs in your company, the easier it will be to point out the areas that can be automated. Once you are set on which sales process steps can be improved, you can start enhancing them one step in the sales at a time and observe the changes they bring along.
Potential stages of the sales cycle that may require enhancement would be the following:
- Email outreach
- Data entry
- Proposal creation/sending
- Research of qualified leads
The effective sales process may vary from company to company, but with the right means at hand, it takes little time and effort for the sales management to spot the weak links and optimize the sales cycle.
The sales process map
The best sales process example is the visual one. Thus, many sales professionals refer to a sales process map strategy. It takes little time to draw a presentable map and improve the sales statistics.
- Create a new spreadsheet.
- Add the sales stages and client interaction in the first column. You can use lead generation and lead qualification as few starting points.
- Dedicate the second column to the metrics you have at hand. For instance:
- Transaction number
- Sales stage duration
- Conversion rate and so on
- Enlist all the selling activities implemented into every step.
- Continue evolving until the map is complete.
Sales process audit
Sales processes are just as versatile as the sales cycle stages. The assumption only means that most decision-makers audit their activities once in a while. The approach ensures that you come up with fresh ideas and ways to test them by analyzing the metrics. At the same time, the changes in statistics are monitored to spot any changes.
Pre-setting sales cycle stages
No matter how flawless and profitable the sales process has been so far, time may come that it seems not to generate as much revenue as it’s used to. This only means that you need to inspect all the stages and tweak some of them just a little. You don’t need to make major changes - a few minor ones are usually enough.
No one could state that the sales process is a simple task to carry out effectively. The path to success may be a little longer than you might have initially expected. However, with the right strategy in mind and effective instruments at hand, you can work miracles and get to the top of the sales chain in a blink of an eye. Knowledge is power!