A correctly defined sales process reflects the specific nature of the sales department’s operations, supports salespeople in their daily work, and helps them make business decisions. How to arrange the sales process so that it can bring the desired effect?
How to create a sales process?
Below there is an example of an uncomplicated process, which we applied at one of the companies operating on the B2B market, and which we use as the default process when implementing CRMs at our customers’.
1. Data collection:
- identify the decision makers,
- complete the contact details of these persons.
- determine a legitimate reason for contact,
- establish contact.
3. Identification of needs:
- meet the decision maker,
- determine the requirements,
- determine the criteria for evaluation of the offer,
- establish the budget.
- send the offer,
- present and discuss the offer,
- determine the terms and conditions of cooperation,
- sign the contract.
5. After-sales activities:
- propose a complementary product,
- ask for references,
- carry out an evaluation survey.
Of course, every company operates a bit differently, so it is good to at least ‘get inspired’ by the above ready-made process and then create your own.
The principles that should be followed when creating your own sales process:
1. Determine how your customer buys.
Write down all the actions that the customer has to take to buy your product. Not sure how they do it? Talk to your current customers! Determine how they found you, who they compared you with, and what in their case lead to the purchasing decision.
2. Involve the best salespeople.
Draw knowledge from the most effective people. Create a book of good sales practices at the company.
3. Write down a step-by-step description of how customers are gained.
Determine the moment when the salesperson contacts the customer for the first time. How does he/she gain their trust? How does he/she get to know their needs? What happens after an offer is sent?
4. Separate and group the activities into stages.
Not all the actions you write down will be needed in the sales process. Leave only those that are actually repeatable in the process and have a real impact on winning the contract. Next, divide them into several stages, which will allow you to quickly find out what stage of the purchasing process the customer is at.
5. Allocate weights to the activities.
Determine which activities are the most important. For example, personal presentation of the offer to the customer is likely to have a greater impact on sales than sending them an e-mail with a summary of the meeting;
6. Compare the purchase process with the sales process.
Make sure that your sales activities match the way in which the customer makes decisions;
7. Select the right activities at each stage.
Make sure that the tools you use are consistent with both processes (purchase and sales). Sometimes you may need to divide a process among between different people. For instance, the telesales or marketing departments can carry out the initial assessment of a potential customer and then pass the customer to a salesperson;
8. Select the tools.
Check whether your CRM supports a flexible sales process (e.g. Livespace) and how it cooperates with tools that support the process at its different stages. Marketing automation tools (e.g. SALESmanago, Marketo) will help to prepare the potential customer for making the purchasing decision even before the salesperson contacts them or educates them during the sales process. In turn, Internet monitoring tools (e.g. Brand24, SentiOne) will allow you to get involved in conversations about the problem that your brand solves, and to identify potential customers. It is also worth using applications that speed up the writing of repetitive emails (e.g. ToutApp, Atext/PhraseExpress), optimize phone sessions (e.g. InsideSales, Velocify), and help reach new customers (e.g. Growbots, ZoomInfo).
9. Determine the scope of competences for marketing and sales.
Establish the requirements of the sales department and the possibilities of the marketing department. It is usually cheaper to educate a potential customer using marketing activities, and to develop and close sales thanks to salespeople.
10. Select a person responsible for analyzing the process and taking care of data quality.
Even the best process is not worth much if people do not implement it. Common practice is to make remuneration dependent on the amount of data collected in CRM. If a sale has not been recorded or properly described, it is not considered for the calculation of remuneration. It may seem brutal, but it is effective.
In fact, sales are not linear and there are often unforeseen situations. For example, according to the process, you should have met a customer, but it turned out to be impossible because they had gone away on vacation. You had to send an offer without a prior meeting because of the non-extendible deadline for submitting it. This is why it is important that the tool your company uses should allow to reflect the actual work of the salesperson and not force him/her to follow a specific sequence of activities.