A sales process is a series of steps and actions you take to progress a prospect into a sale.
These steps usually go from initial contact through to the sale itself but can (should!) go beyond.
You may have seen them on your CRM
Changing a ‘Lead’ to an ‘Account’ for example means you’ve progressed that person or company from just a name to a ‘qualified’ contact – you know the decision-maker and they are able (though possibly not yet willing..) to buy.
How can a sales process help grow sales?
The main advantage is that you will have a set of actions to take that are most likely to get the sale. Not enough steps and you’ve lost the lead. Planning what those steps are and monitoring what works best allows you to adjust your approach at each stage.
Having a clear process also helps when onboarding new staff, and also means that if everyone is following the same road then performance can be measured in the same way.
It can also help with forecasting. Knowing how many actions you need to take, over what amount of time, and the likelihood of conversion means you can keeps tabs on your pipeline.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Knowing what you need to achieve in order to hit target increases productivity.
What are the steps?
You can adjust them but generally speaking, the stages are
- Sales pitch/demo
- Objection handling
- Follow up
A good, and useful, sales process gets more specific though.
For example – the qualifying stage may involve a chat with them about what they’d like to buy, budgets, needs etc. Whatever you need to find out if they’re a suitable prospect. This helps you give them good service and saves time (eg if they don’t have the budget for your service you can move along).
The Assessment stage is consultative- finding out their needs and pain points to see if they tally up with how you can help.
The sales pitch/demo stage is just what it says- after finding out their needs you match them with your offering. How will you do this? What will it look like? Is it clear?
Once that is correct you give the proposal – the specifics of what you can offer and costs.
You’ll find more objections here (though not only here!), which you identify, overcome and repeat that for each.
Negotiation time – on price, specifics, delivery etc
Close/win – let’s hope it’s a close if you’ve been good st the previous steps! Which closing technique will you use? How will you confirm it? Who else is involved? But it doesn’t end here..
Follow up – whether closed or won you need to put steps in place to follow up
Yes, it does. Some of these steps could be all in one interaction. Others may take several interactions and a lot of time. You may dial someone 5 times before you get through. Then you might email after your chat and follow up by email twice. You might meet them too. And you might mail them something and interact with them on social media. It takes between 8 and 12 touchpoints to convert a lead to a sale so if you’re letting it drop off the radar after two attempts you’re leaking potential revenue.
That’s a bit fluffy…
Yes. Padding these steps out to include what exactly you’re going to do, when, in what way..are the golden nuggets.
For example, how long do you leave it between proposing and following-up to find the objections or negotiate?
How many follow-ups is enough? How far apart? By phone, email, social media, meetings or other means? The more specific you can get – the more benefits. Not just in conversion rates but in time-saving (using templates, automation, or even a diary).
How do I start?
Start from where you are. Look at what happens now. What are your salesfolk doing? How do they progress a prospect to a sale? What are they saying at each stage? How often? Through which media?
Map this out.
Look at it from the buyers perspective.
Once it’s done…
Regularly fine-tune it.
You’ll notice patterns. You may see that you lose most leads at a particular point – that’s then where you focus. Maybe you adjust your messaging, pitching or materials. Maybe you add a visit or Skype.
And you may find one person closes earlier than others. Look at what they do and say, how and when, then add it in so everyone can try.
Refine it regularly.
If this sounds too time-consuming, firstly I’d recommend you just get started mapping out what you’re currently doing as a minimum and you’ll notice improvement opportunities.
Secondly, consider this – finding new leads and clients takes more effort and expense than nurturing those you already have. So it’s worth spending some time here.
If you’d like No Fluff to guide you through your own particular sales process map just get in touch, with a few hour’s training we can show you how. Book a chat www.nofluff.as.me or email us firstname.lastname@example.org