Steps in Sales Process – Top 3 Tips
Steps in Sales Process
Steps in a Sales Process are a great way to explain and demonstrate the various stages required in your company Sales Process. Whilst steps in sales process can vary dependent on your sales model, they do need to mirror what is recorded in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. More complex Sales Processes can include Branding, Awareness, Channel Partners, or additional stages of your Sales Process, such as Pre-sales, Solution Forming, Resources or Presentation. The most important thing however is to have a Sales Process in place, and that your sales team not only understands, but have the necessary skills, to take customers on the journey required, in the different stages of the Sales Process.
The right Steps in Sales Process gives sales people a “best practice” road map which they can follow and helps them identify where they are in the sales cycle. It will also add predictability to sales conversions, allowing management to plan better and should also be a logical process for the customer to follow. The steps in sales process must be a journey your customers are happy to follow, and failure to do this, will only serve to lower conversion rates, as they drop out along the journey. Your Steps in Sales Process should clearly identify where the responsibilities for Marketing stop and Sales start. Sales & Marketing need to work together, in order for any business to be successful, however without clear parameters and an allocation of responsibilities, only discord and under performance will follow.
1) Your Steps in Sales Process should help you identify the value of Opportunities in your pipeline. In the simplest of terms if your Sales Plan has budgeted for you to close $100k of business in the next three months, and you only have $100k of Opportunities in your Sales Pipeline, then unless you close every single opportunity, we can tell in advance that you will struggle to meet your Sales Target. This allows us to take corrective action before it is too late. For companies with long sales cycles this is an absolute must, as waiting to the end of the sales cycle to measure results, is too late – the horse has bolted and there may well be little you can do to rescue the situation.
2) Your Steps in Sales Process will allow you to work out some basic, yet key metrics for the business. In the simplest of examples (as below), if we know the average Lead Conversion Ratio – the number of leads required to generate one Opportunity and then the Opportunity Conversion ratios – we can then look for ways to drive efficiencies in the system and optimize performance. In absence of any hard data any attempt to improve the Sales Process would be little more than guess work.
Total Number of new leads – 20
Of those 20 only 15 became marketing qualified leads – 15
Of those 15 only 10 had live opportunities – 10
Of those live 10 opportunities 5 were qualified sales opportunities – 5
Of those 5 we closed 3 orders – 3
3) Identify ways to automate and systemize your Sales Process to drive efficiencies in your business. Spot areas for improvement within the sales pipeline that you can take action on, to improve conversion ratios from one stage of the sales pipeline to the next. Better still, look for ways to completely eliminate certain stages in the sales cycle to make it easier and faster for your customers to buy. Whilst, as previously discussed, the most important thing is to have a Sales Process, the one thing that can damage the process, is simply having inappropriate stages, that do not fit your Business or Sales Teams existing way of working. If you do not have any existing Steps in Sales Process, take time out and run a whiteboard session with your sales team to get buy in, on the correct stages.
Steps in Sales Process in summary, are an absolute must for any business from a management information point of view and an invaluable tool for Sales Managers to help manage any sales team. Be aware however, some sales people will view a Sales Process and CRM negatively and push back on using the system. If they have genuine concerns over the stages you have employed, then it would be wise to revisit this. There will unfortunately always be sales people who would not like any sales process and simply prefer to “wing it” than follow any system. This is not acceptable in any professional sales organization and needs corrective action.
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