People often choose to work in sales because they think it will give them more freedom and less structure.
They’re not wrong.
Working in sales does give you a certain degree of independence, but that independence does not negate the need for a formal sales process.
In fact, a formal sales process is what will make your team more effective, improve performance, and even help you close sales quicker.
It’s common to think of a sales process as a script your team must follow or an exact way of doing things. It’s not.
A sales process is simply a set of repeatable steps that a sales person takes to move a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale.
Think of it as a roadmap for taking a potential customer on the journey from realizing they have a need for a product to making the actual purchase from you.
Typically, a sales process consists of the following: preparation/research, prospecting, initial approach, discovery/questioning, presentation, handling objections, follow-up and closing.
Most sales executives and their teams are aware that they go through these steps, but not many of them decide to outline and standardize the process, leaving it all up to individual sales reps to decide what steps to take and when. In addition, we find that many salespeople often take shortcuts in an attempt to speed up the process which is usually a strategic error.
As long as salespeople keep closing sales, how they do it is their own business, right? Wrong.
Let the numbers do the talking:
Yet, according to my partner organization, Objective Management Group, a whopping 68% of all salespeople do not follow a sales process at all! Do yours?
Something needs to change.
A formal, defined sales process can help you do the right things right and know for sure what works and what doesn’t.
Your sales team can:
As a sales manager, following a standardized sales process allows you to concentrate on the things that matter most: coaching each rep up to a higher level of performance, tracking qualified deals through the pipeline process, attending joint sales calls, as well as making more accurate sales forecasts and smoothing out the onboarding process.
Here are the four best practices for sales process implementation:
Ultimately, a formal sales process is what will increase your team’s performance and help you realize more revenue. You must define your sales process, commit to good pipeline management, and enable your managers to carry it out. Only then can you expect to hit your forecasts, hit your quotas, and see your sales reps succeed beyond what you thought possible.
When you’re ready to formalize your sales process, we’re here to help.
Sales management expert Duane Cashin has lead award-winning sales organizations and trained sales teams for companies of all sizes. He’s earned membership in Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, successfully built and sold his own multi-million-dollar business, and enjoys sharing his passion for sales.