There are numerous tried-and-true sales techniques that help businesses increase sales, but not everyone uses a sales process in order to improve their chances at a sale. Business 2 Community found that a process that helps your prospects understand how your product or service can help solve their problem will help them make a decision to purchase.
But what do you do if you have never used a sales process in the past? We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to build your sales process from scratch in order to help you reach this goal.
Sales Process Definition
First, let’s look at what a sales process is, in general. There are many variations that different industries and organizations will have with their particular sales processes, but there is a basic formula to start with when building one from scratch.
It’s important to realize that a sales process is really meant to be a structured approach to sales in order to increase conversions. The structured approach includes a set of repetitive steps for sales representatives to follow in order to turn leads into customers. The basic steps include:
- Prospecting for qualified leads.
- Presentation of your sales pitch.
- Closing the sale.
- Following up with your customers.
With these simple steps in mind, it’s time to build a sales process that works for you and your organization’s unique needs. Personalizing the sales process is going to be one of the most important parts of building your process from scratch.
The Importance of a Sales Process
Before going into the steps to create your own process, it’s imperative to understand the importance of the sales process so you know what effort and information you’ll want to put into it.
First of all, a sales process can give your sales team a specific formula to follow with each and every sale, increasing their chances of staying on track and converting the lead. Following a specific formula can also help your sales representatives show their progress with each lead, providing valuable insight throughout the process.
A pre-defined sales process will also help you train all of your sales staff more easily and create a faster onboarding process for new employees. With a specific set of steps to learn, your new sales employees can get started with selling much quicker and easier.
A prescribed sales process will also increase the customer lifetime value (CLV) and decrease the customer acquisition cost (CAC), making your sales performance metrics much more pleasing to management and highlights your sales performance overall.
A well-thought-out and followed sales process will also ultimately lead to a better customer experience as your prospects will get only the information they need when they need it, whether they know it or not.
How to Develop a Sales Process from Scratch
Whether you are a start-up or just haven’t gotten around to establishing a sales process yet, this list will help you develop a robust and effective sales process from scratch.
1. Initial and ongoing prospecting
There are two parts to this step. First, you’ll need to do some initial prospecting. Call around and find out what your target audience really needs. Find out what challenges they are experiencing. Determine what pain points you can help solve with your product or service.
The second part of this step is determining how you will do your prospecting, which should be at the beginning of your sales process. Determine your strategies for finding leads, whether it be making cold calls, attending events, responding to requests for proposals, etc. This can vary by industry and customer base.
2. Implement tools
There are many tools that can help you with your sales process. You’ll want to determine which tools to implement before creating your process so you know what resources you will have available to you. For instance, if you are doing email marketing, you’ll want to consider software to help you create visually pleasing emails with high open rates.
You’ll also want to consider what software you will want to use to create presentation materials for a visual representation of your sales pitch. Along with that, tools such as video calling or screen sharing will also be helpful.
Most importantly, you’ll want to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage your sales process and house all of your information on your prospects and customers. Ideally, your sales staff and management will have access to the tool at all times to add and access the information on-the-go.
3. Reach-out and qualification criteria
In order to create your sales process, you’ll need to determine what qualifies someone to be a prospect and worth reaching out to. You’ll also want to come up with a system for scoring your leads so you know who to target first and how.
4. Determine your conversion funnel
Determine the journey your prospects will take in order to become customers. Next, determine how many prospects you need to get into the funnel in order to reach the conversion rate you desire.
A typical conversion funnel might start with an advertisement that gets your prospect’s attention, making them aware of your product. Next, they click on the ad, showing that they are interested. Then they may go to the features page, meaning they have a desire for your product. Purchasing the product is finally where your prospect takes action, becoming a customer.
However, there is a good reason why they call it a funnel. You need to put a lot into the top of the funnel and only a little bit comes out the bottom. Filling up that funnel with as many prospects as possible is going to increase your chances of conversion.
Next, you’ll want to do your research. Determine who it is that you should be filling your conversion funnel with by determining what it is that they need. Fine-tune the pain points you discovered early on and see where your product can solve them in a way that the competition cannot, with anything from a superior product to a cost-effective solution.
Your research can also include walking through your current sales cycle so you can see what has worked in the past. You may want to even consider looking at it backward, starting from the post-sale follow-up to prospecting so you can reverse engineer it into a process.
6. Presentation strategy
An important step in creating a sales process is coming up with a strategy for presenting your sales pitch. This can be everything from developing an elevator speech to creating actual presentations and working on your team’s negotiation skills.
Presenting your product as a solution for your prospects may also be in the form of responding to a request for proposal (RFP) or creating marketing communications materials that are customized for your prospect’s particular needs.
7. Sales goals
Another step in building your sales process should be to determine your sales goals. One of your main goals, for instance, may be to grow your revenue by a specific percentage over the previous year. Once you determine what that goal is and ensure that it is attainable, figure out what the objectives are that will get you there.
This is where you may refine the numbers of prospects you want to reach or decide if you need to put more time or money into optimizing your sales team. Whatever you decide, make sure you do so before setting up your sales process.
8. Onboarding strategy
Part of your sales process may include onboarding. If that’s the case, deciding on an effective strategy for onboarding your new customers is going to be key for your sales now and in the future. With a little extra emphasis put into your onboarding, your customer satisfaction rates are bound to increase. With higher customer satisfaction rates, you will increase the likelihood of selling to your existing customers or getting them to refer others to your products or services. According to smallbizgenius, most businesses get most of their sales from repeat customers. Plus, according to the same organization, retaining existing customers is considerably less expensive than acquiring new ones.
9. Follow up strategy
Finally, your sales process will also most likely include some sort of follow up with your new customers. As such, you’ll want to determine a strategy for how and when to contact them to find out if they have any more questions or issues.
Of course, even more important for your sales, is to follow up to give them information about upgrades or other products that may interest them based on their previous purchase.
Your New Sales Process
With all of this research and strategy accomplished upfront, you’re now ready to build your brand new sales process! Depending on what you came up with in the nine steps above, your process will be somewhat unique, but it may look something like this:
Prospecting -> Needs Assessment -> Presentation of Solution -> Closing the Sale -> Onboarding -> Follow Up -> Repeat <-
However, it is also important to know that the sales process should be dynamic. As your organization grows and your customers’ needs change, you’ll need to re-evaluate your process and make changes often.
Building your sales process from scratch is not a huge undertaking. Moving through the steps here will get you there in no time.
One of the most effective means to document, access, and share your sales process is to use a powerful CRM tool. Agile CRM will help you with all aspects of creating and managing your sales process, plus, you will be able to automate much of your process and the marketing of your products or services as well. And, since it is cloud-based, it can be accessed by everyone in your organization, no matter where they are located.
Finding the right sales process and the right tools for your business’s unique needs is possible. With a little research and a good product, your sales are sure to take off in 2020 and beyond.