It doesn’t matter how talented your sales team is, or how hard you work. Without a roadmap for success, you’re making your life a lot harder than it needs to be.
A sales process is a set of repeatable steps that your sales team takes to convert a prospect into a customer. Having a standardized sales process adds structure and accountability to your sales activities, leading to a higher win rate and shorter sales cycles.
According to a study conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, B2B companies that defined a formal sales process experienced 18% more revenue growth compared to companies that didn’t.
But make no mistake: The benefits of having a sales process extend far beyond your company’s bottom line. Here are eight key advantages of building a standardized sales process for your B2B sales team.
Knowing what needs to be done at each stage of the sale gives sales reps a huge advantage over salespeople who wing it every time out. Without clearly defined steps and milestones that guide sellers from prospecting to presenting to offering the sale, even the most promising deals can slip away due to disorganization.
A standardized sales process makes training sales reps fast, simple, and nearly foolproof, by showing salespeople what they need to do in various sales situations. Even a rookie seller can quickly get up to speed and be successful once he or she learns the basic steps in an organization’s sales process. This also takes some of the training burden off of the sales manager. When the entire sales team is following the same roadmap, any member of the old guard can pass on their knowledge and guidance to new hires when they’re first getting started.
Successful sales teams continuously refine their sales processes based on measurable data and constant feedback. For example, understanding where most of your deals are getting stuck or slipping away can help you identify the root cause of those stalled deals and take steps to address the issue. Having a formalized sales process ensures that your team focuses its efforts on the activities that generate the most revenue. Without a process in place, deals are simply won or lost, and it’s hard to know which specific actions are working or failing.
A repeatable sales process gives sales teams much more consistency in winning deals. Having a more accurate sense of your win rate allows you to dependably forecast how many sales you’ll close from a given number of leads, and helps sales managers set realistic quotas.
With a well-honed sales process in place, your sales team will be more effective at filtering out low-potential leads and identifying prospects who are most likely to purchase your product and become longtime customers.
Generating higher-quality leads shortens your sales cycle, reduces the effort wasted on opportunities that are unlikely to close, and increases lifetime customer value by focusing your sales efforts on the best prospects.
If your sales team is speaking a language only they can understand, it can make collaboration between departments difficult. Using the common steps and language of a standardized sales process simplifies company communication, reduces inter-departmental confusion, and enables your customer service, account management, fulfillments, and marketing teams to offer the right assistance at the right time.
When a sales team has no structure, it’s hard to measure anything outside of wins and losses. A standardized sales process provides more data points to measure, allowing for sharper analysis of key metrics and sales targets.
In other words, formalized sales processes don’t just help managers understand the specific actions that their sales teams are taking, they reveal the impact of those actions as well.
When a sales rep rushes a prospect into a sales stage they’re not anticipating, it can create distrust, which can kill the sale and damage the relationship with the buyer. A standardized sales process ensures that sellers don’t advance the sale until the buyer is ready to move forward.
By tailoring the sales process to reflect how a company’s target customers move through the buying process, and making sure each step is designed to generate trust and offer value, sales teams can lay the foundation for a positive customer experience before the deal is even closed.
Now that you understand the advantages of a structured sales process, it’s time to start creating yours. Here are the key steps to follow.
Before you can create the best standard procedures for your sales process, you must take time to analyze your current one. This step is crucial. It helps you understand what you do that already works and which areas you can change to enhance your profits.
People — they’re the most important part of any business. Every part of your sales plan should be centered around appealing to those people you want to sell to more than anyone else.
Your ideal customer consists of as many target demographics as possible, from job title and income level to age and hobbies. From here, you can begin expanding on the demographics you’re appealing to and begin developing your target market.
To sell your products or services effectively, you have to make sure your advertising and marketing efforts are reaching the right audiences.
Gain a better understanding of who you’re selling to by looking at your best customers so far. Are they businesses, individuals, or a combination of both? Does your clientele skew male or female? How old are they? What are their hobbies? How do they use your tools in their lives?
If you can identify these trends in your existing consumers, you can learn what demographics react best to you and see how you can appeal to them more widely.
Once you know the audience you’re appealing to, you can create objectives that help you connect with your target market and improve your sales record. Common objectives brands establish in their sales plans include:
Whether you’re building your first pipeline from scratch or want to overhaul an existing process, these sales process templates will give you a great head start.
After you’ve evaluated where you stand currently, developing your sales process becomes much more manageable. When you create a consistent process that anyone in your company can follow, you increase your chances of maintaining excellent customer relationships and reaching your desired outcomes. Here are the steps to get you started.
Before you can sell to anyone, you have to let them know you exist. Lead generation is the process of introducing people to your services and encouraging them to invest — or at least continue to learn more about your offerings.
Common lead generation strategies include email marketing, social media advertising, referrals, and content marketing. Start with these tips:
With a good lead generation strategy, you’ll bring in new leads constantly. But most of them either won’t convert or won’t develop a lasting relationship with your brand. To determine which leads will help your business the most, you must develop a qualification process.
A qualification process helps you sort your leads. Using the information they provide or what you can learn from their profile, you can discover information like their budget and interest level. Knowing this helps you see where your efforts will be best spent, as you can focus your marketing on the leads most likely to convert and become loyal customers.
Once your leads are ready to convert, they’ll work their way through your sales pipeline. Your sales pipeline details the steps your clients will take before making their purchase, like discovery, presentation, and negotiation.
Building out a roadmap to your sales pipeline means you can create a streamlined process for every client to go through and assign team members to various parts. This allows them to become experts in their area so that they can be ready for any questions your leads may raise.
In our fast-paced world, people have hundreds of things on their minds at any given time, and if your brand isn’t right in front of them, chances are, they aren’t thinking about you.
A consistent follow-up system lets you continue to connect with your leads and encourage them to interact with your offerings. This also lets you build a deeper relationship with them by letting them know they’re on your mind and you want to see them succeed through using your products or services. You can make these connections manually or use an automated customer relationship management (CRM) system like Nutshell.
So, your lead is ready to make a move and close your sale. This means getting your paperwork in order, negotiating any unclear terms, and securing a payment method. This crucial moment is when your lead becomes a paying customer, so smoothing out the process with educated team members and automatic processing allows you to ease your sale over the finish line every time.
Making a purchase is not the end of the road. If you want your customers to return, offer them the best post-sale support available.
First, thank them for choosing you as their supplier and express your commitment to helping them however possible. Then, be ready to answer questions and troubleshoot as they learn to use your services, offer resources to aid them, and be ready to do anything you can to guarantee their satisfaction.
Finally, it’s time to put your plans into action and implement your sales process. This is where the real work begins. As you roll out your roadmap, you’ll see where your plans are actualized and where they fall short. From here, your team’s job becomes learning, observing, and adjusting as necessary.
These are some of the most helpful measures you can take to ensure success in your plans.
Even if you’ve created the world’s best sales procedures, they won’t work without the impact of a dedicated, well-trained sales team. This will likely involve creating a physical roadmap or even a digital program that shows your people the plan and how they can implement it in their routines.
Take the time to guide your team through the process step by step, answering their questions and taking their suggestions to heart. When you make the upfront investment to educate them, you can spend less time later fixing discrepancies and settling disputes as they use and better understand the process.
There are many platforms out there that can make your sales process run smoother than ever. Many of them have automation features that allow you and your clients to schedule appointments, negotiate contracts, and much more automatically.
Explore platforms like Nutshell and see how we can take some of the work off your hands, allowing you to divide your time and focus on what matters.
How will you know when all your hard work starts paying off? Tracking your data, traffic, and other areas of performance is the best way to measure how well your efforts are paying off.
This is another area where automated technology software can change the game. Much of the available software has data collection capabilities to monitor your metrics and provide you with real-time access any time you need it.
Before you implement your sales process, every detail of your plan is an estimate. However well-researched it may be, you can’t know how your ideas will play out with your audience until you see them in action. And when you do, there will naturally be places where things don’t go as planned.
As you fine-tune your plan, it’s vital that you stay flexible with your ideas and allow them to change as your data suggests. Even a few small adjustments can make a significant impact on your sales plan’s reception, and continuous adjustments will ensure your plan stays fresh and in tune with current trends.
Now that you know why you need a standardized sales process and how to create one, you need a tool to help you manage it. The best way to manage your sales process is with a powerful, user-friendly CRM like Nutshell.
With Nutshell, you build, manage, and monitor your sales process in one collaborative platform. With world-class sales automation, pipeline management, lead attribution, and more, you’ll have everything you need to take your sales performance to the next level.
Learn more about Nutshell by starting a free 14-day trial today.
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