How to Create a Sales Process?
Processes are used in business activities to organize and simplify tasks. They make your employees more effective and provide them with a blueprint for the allotted tasks. So does the sales process – Companies that have a well-defined sales process are 33% more likely to be high performers and close more deals than those that don’t have one.
Building a sales process that will accommodate different types of clients is difficult; you need to be flexible and allow the reps to modify it according to their leads. But the foundation structure is what makes the difference, and here is the way to go about it.
What is a Sales Process?
A sales process is a series of steps that a sales team takes in order to guide their leads through the journey of being an early phase engager to a consumer. For every prospect found, sales reps follow a similar pattern of steps to establish a credible and trustworthy relationship. It is like a map towards persuading the prospect to buy from them, after making sure that the product solves their problem.
A well-crafted sales process is extremely imperative to a successful sales team as it gives them a framework to follow and boost their chances at constantly closing favorable deals.
Sales Process vs. Sales Methodology
Often used interchangeably, sales processes and sales methodology are misunderstood as synonymous with each other. They both have something to do with how sales are followed but are different by definition. Here’s how!
|SALES PROCESS||SALES METHODOLOGY|
A sales process is a series of actions that are to be repeated by your sales team every time they have a new lead.
A sales methodology, on the other hand, is the idea or the skeleton, depending on which the sales process is created.
It is a funnel-shaped diagram, where you move prospects from the top to the bottom while eliminating unqualified leads.
|It is an abstract shape, where you pick up ideas and amalgamate them to form the sales funnel.|
The process is the collection of the exact steps you take for converting a consumer.
The methodology, whereas, is the philosophy that influences the company to build a sales process on its values.
A step-by-step guide to creating a Sales Process
Step 1: Begin with Prospecting
Prospecting is the process where sales reps look for new, fresh leads who are looking for products similar to the organization’s offerings. Often credited as the toughest and least desirable part of a rep’s job by more than 40% of salespeople, sourcing prospects takes a lot of effort and time. A large amount of research is done before shortlisting a company as a lead.
With B2B communities becoming more and more active digitally, prospects can be found on networking sites like LinkedIn and Quora and from business events and conferences.
A good number of leads can also be sourced from the marketing team, where you can also determine prospects who are actively engaging with your content. Referral programs also work wonders in finding prospective buyers.
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Step 2: Initiate Contact with leads
The second step of the process is to reach out to the leads you have gathered to collect information about their company. 82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them. Qualifying leads is the way of determining whether or not the lead is a good choice to work with and is likely to move forward in the buyer’s journey.
In this phase, the rep asks typical questions – over what is called a ‘connect’ call – like ‘What problem are you trying to solve’, ‘Take us through your day’, ‘How does it affect your business’ etc. to learn about their position and qualify them as a suitable prospect.
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Step 3: Research. Research. Research.
Yes, it is as similar to your college research paper as you think. Dig very deep into your client’s profile; learn about their business and company. The focal point of this step is to understand the prospect’s challenges and identify ways in which your product can solve them.
Different reps use different ways to understand their client. Some might prefer to speak with key people in various departments to get a comprehensive view of the issue, while some put third parties in the loop to gain a wider perspective.
When a rep is armed with adequate research, they are able to tailor the approach for the particular client, giving them personalized service. 77% of B2B sales and marketing professionals believed that personalization builds better customer relationships; this is exactly why research is the key to successful sales.
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Step 4: Present an irresistible deal
Presentation comes at a much later time into the sales process. It is exclusive to prospects who are more serious because you don’t want your team to spend resources on ones that won’t convert.
Personalization of the presentation to suit individual prospect’s needs requires time, hence the earlier steps of qualifying the lead hold a lot of value.
The demonstration is also a test of creativity for your team. It is your space to experiment and do whatever will help present a deal your prospect will not be able to refuse. Bring in people who can talk about the technical aspects of the service, use different tools to put before them the highlights of the product; in short, make it as persuasive as possible without being pushy.
Step 5: Be prepared to handle objections
Nothing comes easy; you have to find your way through it. The same goes for your deals. After the presentation, your clients are bound to have questions and objections. If they don’t, it means you have not addressed their problem in as much detail as they would have liked to.
Hence, your team must be prepared to face all these objections and use them to learn more about the prospect. It is best to run through probable objections relating to all the aspects of the proposal during the research phase itself, so they are not caught off guard during the objection phase.
RELATED POST: How to Handle Sales Objections and Win A Deal?
Step 6: Close the deal (and party! 😉)
Closing essentially means to ensure the purchase by the prospect and converting them into a consumer. However, it can also include any kind of activity that happens in the last stage of the buyer’s cycle when they are proceeding towards the purchase. It can be a negotiation meeting, the delivery of a quote or proposal, etc.
Closing deals is not exactly an easy task, but it’s definitely worth the effort. However, always remember a good deal benefits both parties and the rep receives a commission depending on the price at which the deal was done. It definitely calls for some celebration after all the effort you have put it… so pop a bottle of champagne and take a day off!
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Step 7: Don’t stop… keep adding value to your customers
Now that you have closed the deal, made the sale – you must be thinking: It’s all done and dusted. So, here’s a reality check – No, it’s NOT!
You are responsible for the product you have sold, and hence it is in your job to ensure your client’s contract is smoothly transferred to the after-sales service department.
As a sales rep, you have to keep in constant touch with your old consumers as well, because well, they are your referrals. Don’t hesitate to ask for referrals; 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of salespeople ask for them.
If they had a good experience, it is a golden opportunity for you to capitalize on it and further promote your product. Keep reinforcing value to consumers to retain them, and find opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.
A well-mapped sales process is very crucial to your reps as it helps them stay consistent and close more deals efficiently. They will be able to provide the leads with excellent customer service and add value to your brand image.
The above-mentioned 7-step sales process is widely used by businesses. Consider this as a draft to help create your own process, depending on your product offerings, industry, and consumer behavior. If created well, this map will not just boost your conversions, but also help you build lasting relationships with your clients.
However, if you still feel lost and don’t know where to start, don’t shy away from contacting expert B2B sales and marketing consulting firms. They not only have years of experience but also have trained personnel to help craft a conversion-driven sales process.
Do you also want to create a full-proof sales Process? Contact us today and we will handcraft it for you!