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.
1. A clear path for sales reps to follow.
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.
2. Faster onboarding of new staff.
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.
3. The ability to constantly improve sales methods.
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.
4. Predictability of sales and revenue.
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.
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5. More qualified leads, increased lifetime value.
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.
6. Improved communication between company teams.
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.
7. Greater insight into sales team performance
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.
8. A better overall customer experience.
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.