Why Your Business Needs a Refined Sales Process
BY: LUCINDA WATROUS ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
Today’s businesses are facing tougher competition, while also dealing with a demanding, yet sophisticated audience. To gain and keep the attention of their customers, they must be willing to develop and implement a more formalized sales process.
You may be thinking - “We already have a sales process!” But do you really? What are you currently doing? Is it a collection of activities? Or is it an integrated process with measurable points throughout that add value?
We know the basic sales process is all the same: Contact the lead > Follow up > Attempt to make the sale > Close the deal.
To be effective, your sales process must:
●Clearly define the hierarchy of your activities.
●Clearly define the information flow between all elements in the system
●Establish milestones along the way to help the team monitor progress through the process
●Allow the process to be managed with tools.
This ensures all the steps you need to acquire and retain customers are outlined for your sales team to follow. Each step should feature predictable and measurable outcomes.
Refining Your Sales Process
Thinking about those four basic steps - what does the specific process look like for you? How do you go about finding the leads to contact? How do you contact them? How long to do you wait between initial contact and follow up? Providing detailed specifics about how your company does it is essential for proper implementation.
Make it Predictable, Scalable, and Repeatable
With a detailed guide in place, your sales process will become easy to predict, scale, and repeat. There will be no guesswork, and you will save yourself the uncertainty that’s often associated with sales. Your sales team won’t have to fly by the seat of their pants, or move into unknown territory.
Once you nail it down, you’ll be able to predict how well the company will do, scale the process up or down according to the market and other needs, and repeat as needed to achieve all your sales goals.
Make it Easy for New Sales Team Members to Pick Up
When you hire additional sales staff, your sales process will make it easy for them to pick up and start closing deals. The right sales process will help your team:
●Reduce the time it takes to find and qualify leads
●Find more opportunities to sell to your current customers, creating more repeat business
●Consistently deliver unique value to separate yourself from the competition
●Improve revenue earning potential assessments for all customers in your sales pipeline
●Build stronger and better relationships with customers.
●Create and implement a follow-up process after the sale to help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Including customer relationship management (CRM) software in your sales process workflow will keep your sales team up to date with any of the happenings with any customer at a glance. Plus, they’ll be able to enter new leads no matter where they are.
Measure Your Results
Once you’ve refined your sales process, you should be able to define and measure the results of each sales activity. These results will allow you to forecast future revenue and calculate the time investment required for each step.
As your business grows and evolves, you should expect to come back to your sales process again and again. What works now may not work next quarter or next year, depending on what happens within the business. For continuous success, your sales process cannot be a “set and forget” task. You’ll need to test and update often, as there’s no one-size-fits all sales process.
Image via Shutterstock