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Why You Need A Sales Process

A group of five young salespeople disscussing

Imagine your entire sales team is doing all of the best and most useful things to close business. Even better, you can validate that they are. If they get off track, you can spot where and why right away to be able to coach them. Your new hires are able to get up to speed quickly and know how your company sells. Does that sound too good to be true? It doesn't have to be. Here is how a documented sales process can aid you.

What is a Sales Process?

A sales process is a predetermined sequence of stages and tollgates taken to turn a qualified lead into a customer. It encompasses every stage of the customer's sales journey, from initial contact to the closed deal and everything in between.

A Documented Sales Process Increases Sales

One of the best ways to ensure your team is aligned and doing the right things is to document your sales process. Most sales organizations have a sales process, but it's not always documented.

The best sales processes help the customer make the necessary decisions and align with their buying process. Even better, they are documented, so the team knows exactly what to do and when. Additionally, having a documented sales process means it is then ready for new hires to learn and practice right away.

According to Process.st, "50% of high-performing sales organizations have sales processes that are ’closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated’ compared to just 28% from under-performing organizations." Having your sales process closely watched and documented will ultimately lead you to better alignment, higher morale, and increased sales.

What Do You Need to Document Your Sales Process?

A successful sales team relies on clear documentation to ensure deal success. Some of the essential elements of the sales process document include:

Understanding Your Buyer's Journey

By understanding your customer and their thought process, you'll be better equipped to build a relationship with them. According to SiriusDecisions, acquired by Forrester, "70% of the buyer's journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales."

Look at your customer's company. What has changed with them? What has changed within their industry as a whole? How about with their customers?

Dig into their decision-making process, who their key stakeholders are, and what their roles are. Who can say no? It's vital to know who on their end can say no to you or who will stall your process.

Look at their information gathering. What information are they consuming before they come to you? What and how are you giving them the information they need so they will want to talk to you?

According to FocusVision, "The average B2B buyer's journey involves consumption of 13 pieces of content." This content may include videos, blog posts, white papers, customer testimonials, software reviews, and even analyst reports.

Help Your Buyer’s Make Decisions

Not too long ago, customers relied on salespeople to guide them through the B2B buying process. But as new technology became available, there was a shift in the way customers were making decisions.

Ask yourself how your sales process aligns with their buying process. How can you walk them back in the process to uncover what they really need? One of the ways to do this is through solution selling.

Solution selling is when a salesperson or sales team uses a sales process that is problem-led rather than product or service-led. It helps to uncover what is truly important to them and what they need. Get at the emotional side of decisions – people make emotional decisions and back it up with data.

You'll want to have good qualifying criteria so you don't waste your time on the wrong customers. If you aren't a good fit, how can you provide a resource that could help them?

Then at the end of each stage, you need to set tollgates. If you get them to say yes throughout the sales process, the likelihood of a "final yes" is almost guaranteed.

Involve Your Sales Team

Involve your team in the process. According to Gallup, engaged employees are "those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace."

Learn what they are doing today. Mine the pockets of excellence and what is working to leverage across the organization. Then create a sales process that empowers them to do what they do best.

You'll also want to identify when they should bring in internal partners so they can get the support they need. Who are the experts in your company that should be a part of your sales process? Your salespeople won’t have all the information your subject matter experts do, and your close rate may benefit from bringing them in earlier in the process.

Ensure accountability with hand-offs. How will your team know that their customer is in good hands and being taken care of so they can focus on getting new business vs. hand-holding the rest of the sales process?

In the End

Every organization has its own way of selling that is most effective to close business. Do you know what yours is? Could you describe it beyond the high-level stages in your CRM? Has your entire team adopted it? And can you spot coaching opportunities to help your team move deals through the funnel? If not, you will benefit from creating and documenting a sales process.

Pivotal Advisors has helped hundreds of sales organizations create, document, roll out and most importantly, adopt the sales process. Contact us to learn more about taking that first step toward closing more deals and getting your team up to speed more quickly.

About Elizabeth Gese

Elizabeth is Principal, VP Business Operations at Pivotal Advisors. She has over 18 years of leadership experience in sales, marketing, and procurement. Through many fluctuating changes in the market, Elizabeth kept her teams focused, positive, and united during these disruptive transitions, all the while continuing to deliver reliable results. If you want to find out more about Elizabeth check out her profile here.
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