Set-Up-Ultimate-Sales

How To Set Up The Ultimate Sales Process For Your Business

Ever tried running a marathon without training for it? Trying to close a prospect without a thorough sales process is no different – it can lead to a painful experience for both your team and your customers.

If your business is looking to increase sales figures with a robust process that constantly brings in more prospects and customers, then this article will help you achieve that and more!

What Is A Sales Process?

A sales process is the order of steps that your sales team uses to move prospects from the first interaction to a sale. Here’s a detailed sales process with six major steps:

1. Prospecting: This is where your team brainstorms together to profile customers. A healthy sales process introduces highly qualified prospects to your business, with minimum drop-out. This is possible if you profile customers who actually need your product because you’re solving their pain points.

2. Qualification: Here, the goal is to ensure that your leads are qualified for your product. Making contact with your prospects and finding out their interest levels (this can be done on a scale of 1-5) in your product is a great way to find out how qualified they are.

3. Product Evaluation: At this point, you’ll communicate the key benefits of your offer that appeals the most to your prospect. Use proof of concept, demos, presentations and even free samples to sweeten the deal and add to your advantage!

4. Negotiation: Tackling objections on pricing and other factors is your focus here. Remember, if your customer is asking questions or negotiating with your sales staff, it shows that they’re interested. Handle it well and you’re likely to lead towards a successful close.

5. Making The Sale: Here’s where you close on a mutually-agreed and beneficial deal. If the prospect has emotional and logical ‘buy-in’ then your chances are high – remember to reiterate key benefits and logical reasons why they need your product.

6. Nurturing: The importance of nurturing past clients is often underlooked. Not only does nurturing decrease churn rates (the rate at which customers unsubscribe to services) but it is also a great way to get referrals. According to The Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention by 5% could boost profitability by 25-90%1 – so make this a focus!

Best Practices in Sales Process Creation

Your sales process could pick a cue from the following standpoints:

  • Observe your Current Sales Methods – Observe the current working style of your sales reps to know what’s working for them. Look up details from their past successful sales as well as that of your competitors’. This gives you insight into how successful sales are done in your domain, and how you can repeat the success.
  • Look at the Process from the Buyer’s Perspective – A key focus of your sales process is to give buyers what they need – which means that thinking from their point of view is extremely important. According to Google, nearly half of today’s buyers are millennials 2. This makes it incredibly important to analyze the pain points and expectations of millenials and serve them accordingly.
“How You Sell Matters. What Your Process Is Matters. But, How Your Customers Feel When They Engage With You Matters More”
  • Dropout Mitigation at Each Step – Identify all possible ‘holes’ in each step of your sales process where your prospect could drop out of your sales process. Seal these ‘holes’ with strategies that help them return to your business and usher them towards a successful sale.
  • Find Out Critical Dealmaking Factors – Find key elements that help your customer transit from one step to the next. Do they need permission from someone else? Is there an unmet need that you have not articulated to them yet? Identify them, and use these dealmaking factors to guide prospects towards the sale. 
  • Make it Replicable – Your sales process must be fluid yet easily done by both senior and junior salespeople alike. Create a list of crystal clear to-do’s and not-to-do’s that help your team achieve greater sales numbers.
  • Set Relevant Sales Goals – Tie your sales process with your specific sales goals for the period. The next 3 months could be focused on acquiring more prospects, while the following quarter could be focused on customer retention and referrals instead – depending on what your business needs most. 

How Do You Measure The Success of A Sales Process?

It is important to understand that sales processes are ever-evolving. Over time, your sales team will find ways that improve efficiency and help move more prospects through your sales process (which will help you increase your closing rates). 

Throughout your sales process, you should keep an eye on key metrics. These metrics will help you to measure the successes and failures of your sales process and point out steps where you can improve on. They also help you identify what’s going right for you. 

Some important metrics to consider to gauge process success include:

  • Time taken by each prospect to move from one step in the process to the next. (If a large number of your prospects are lagging at a certain step, you may need to fix this part of your sales process.)
  • Discover steps in your sales process that accounts for the highest dropouts. (This indicates specific points that prospects tend to lose interest in your offering. To fix this, do things differently to help prospects move towards the sale, like giving more advice rather than selling, or provide samples that make prospects more comfortable with you.)
  • Focus on customers that ‘churn’. (Look the number of customers who have stopped using your product. Find out what turned them away and work to rectify these factors. After all, retaining a customer to buy from you again is a lot easier than converting a new one!)
  • Find steps in your sales process which account for the highest conversion rate. (That indicates what you are doing right, and it should be clearly stated in your sales processes for your team to rinse and repeat!)

Common Mistakes While Creating A Sales Process

Often times, it’s not what we do, but what we shouldn’t do. Make sure your sales process steers clear of these common shortfalls that may creep up along the way:

  • Creating A Sales Process That’s Too Rigid – Remember, just like all business processes, your sales process too is ever-evolving. Allow it to adjust to the changing nature of the market and adapt accordingly.
  • Ignoring The Element Of Personalisation – Each individual of your team brings in their own set of skills. The individual style of each member of your team can give you a diversity in different strengths3.  Allow your sales team to experiment.
  • Not Creating A Sales Process That Matches Your Offer – You’d want your sales process to contain steps that complement your offer, not work against it. Whether it’s the language, the visuals or your presentation, all of it needs to complement the theme of your offering so that it suits your ideal prospect.
  • Creating A Sales Process That Doesn’t Keep The Customer In Mind – Your process must complement the nuances of customer behavior. Ensure that any technical specifications (ie. product features, ingredient list and supporting research) and clarification that your buyer might need is always at an arm’s reach. Customer-based research tells us that half of the prospects4 like to see product demos in the first meeting – so make sure that you’re able to provide to customers what they need!

Conclusion

There you go! If you can build a sales process with the steps mentioned above, while keeping your customer at the center of it all, you’re well on your way to increasing your sales with a robust and clear process that your team can follow.

Even though sales trends may evolve, every business still needs a clearly defined process and sales training to help them achieve greater sales figures. If you’re wondering how that’s done, head to  “5 Steps to Train Your Sales Team in 5 Days” and discover even more sales strategies that can give you the edge that your business needs.

Lastly, reiterate to your team that your entire sales efforts should be focused first and foremost on your customers. Look at conversions not as goals, but as the successful outcome of your sales process. 

As Jill Konrath (legendary sales trainer and author) said,

“Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalise the sale.”

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