Your customers are unique and the products you offer are special. However, just like your customer relationships and the quality of your product, sales processes are the basis of each of your successful sale. Well structured sales processes make sales more predictable and more successful day by day.
There are many reasons for this, and we would like to point out these as the most important:
- better control over potential buyers – the chance to miss a sales opportunity is considerably smaller,
- the sales manager gets a good insight into the sales team’s activities,
- management can monitor results more systematically and plan sales better,
- faster and more efficient introduction of new sellers into business – which is especially important if you work in an industry with high employee turnover,
- it’s easier to create long-term relationships with clients – every client will be pleased if you know exactly what your colleagues have talked to them about in the past,
- And finally, perhaps the most important thing – if you systematically follow the sales process, you will gain knowledge on when clients give up on buying your product, which is a treasure-trove of useful information. Most clients give up after the product presentation? Work with your employees on the quality of the presentation. Most clients give up after they were sent an offer? Think about whether your salespeople explained the value of your product to your client…
If we know how much standardized and structured sales processes can help us improve our business, why are we often met with such resistance when trying to enforce them? The reasons we hear are many – the product or service sold are not typical, the clients are always different and require a personalized approach and the like. But what is important to highlight is the fact that sales processes always exist, the only important thing is whether you’re aware of them or not. The first and most important step is to become aware of that fact. This is not as difficult of a task as it may seem – it is enough to look closely at the work of your sales department, and the patterns that appear in it will very likely become apparent on their own.
As a rule, sales processes can be divided into simple and complex ones, with their phases depending on the company’s specific needs. Simple sales processes usually relate to the so-called transactional sales, or to the sale of products or services that, after initial contact, usually require only for an offer to be sent. Complex processes relate to so-called project sales, ie. longer-lasting and somewhat more complicated projects and generally contain several steps / phases..
THIS IS WHAT SYSTEMATIZED PROCESSES CAN LOOK LIKE IN PRACTICE
AN EXAMPLE OF A SIMPLE SALES PROCESS
AN EXAMPLE OF A COMPLEX SALES PROCESS
HOW TO SYSTEMATIZE SALES PROCESSES SUCCESSFULLY?
Set clear goals and control mechanisms.
It is crucial to answer the question of what the sales department wants to get from systematization of the process? Most often, they want better supervision of open activities and sales opportunities, closed sales and sometimes even more important, sales they’ve lost, as well as the loss causes. When setting clear goals and defining the stages that each of your sales processes need to have, it is extremely important to define quality control mechanisms to successfully track sales results. In the end, you can improve only what you measure!
Technology needs to be supportive of your goals.
The foundation of everything are your knowledge and experience, but it is extremely important that the technology you use is not a burden but a quality support to your business processes. Sellers need to focus on sales, and they can be helped by a well-established sales management and customer relationship management system (CRM). Such solutions enable a quality implementation and tracking of sales, without any excessive steps that further burden your sales team.
Teamwork is indispensable.
The sales manager is most often responsible for defining the sales process, but sales are a team sport. Don’t be afraid to include seasoned salespeople in defining the sales processes – no one knows more about what customers react well to than people “in the field” do. Additionally, this way you will turn them from passive system users to active participants. But the story doesn’t end here. Ask your clients what kind of experience they had with you. The result will be a better understanding of their needs, wishes and preferences, which will ultimately help you create more effective sales processes.
DEFINING SALES PROCESSES IS NOT A CUL-DE-SAC, BUT A CROSSROADS
Systematization of sales processes is not a one-time activity. Sales processes require constant analysis and improvement, by measuring the efficiency of each stage – both at the team level and at the level of each salesperson. But that’s the beauty. When we have defined goals, when we know what and how we measure, then we are able to improve sales, and then the results will definitely follow.