Building a Sales Process

by Michelle Nessman | January 06, 2017 | Sales Process

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Building a sales process can be a challenge.  Getting sales reps to adopt your newly designed sales process can be even tougher.  Gaining buy in begins with a sales process that sales reps know will help them achieve a higher volume of sales or shorten the amount of time it takes to secure a sale. 

Where to begin?

Building a sales process begins with having a clear understanding of what the buyer's journey looks like.  By understanding the buyer's journey, you can identify milestones in the buyer's journey that are related to marketing activities and milestones related to sales activities. 

The first step to building a sales process is to create a sales process map.  A sales process map is a visual representation of the buyer's journey and marketing and sales milestones.  Once the milestones are identified, the stages of the sales process and the steps to each stage in the sales process can be built into the sales process map. 

The most common sales activities include prospecting, connecting, researching, presenting, and closing. 

  • Prospecting may involve identifying new companies to target or researching your existing data base.  When building sales process related to prospecting, your sales process should include a sequence of steps for attempting to make initial contact, including voicemail and email strategies.  Let me be perfectly clear, cold calling doesn't work.  So your team will need relevant content and conversation starters that prompt curiousity and start intelligent conversations.  Set up may involve email templates and incorporation of your sales process steps within your CRM.  Educational content may be able to be repurposed from your content marketing program, but may also need to be created as you identify the common questions asked in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey and how those questions can lead you to start a conversation with a new prospect.  In identifying a prospecting strategy for cold or old data base contacts, supporting marketing automation workflows may need to be incorporated, as well as a lead scoring mechanism that triggers these workflows.  Again, identification of voicemail and email templates that incorporate educational content are key. 
  • In the second stage of the sales process, connecting, your sales tools may include a tool with discovery questions that help you identify the goals, motivations and concerns of your prospective buyer.  It may include determining what qualification criteria must be met to advance the prospect to the presentation stage. 
  • In the third stage of the sales process, follow up, another sequence of actions are determined.  Taking into consideration the average length of sale, the buyer's journey should determine what type of content and relevant messaging should support the sales process.  Email templates can be used to create meaningful, and engaging email communications with prospects, with an emphasis on conitnuing to support their journey and educating them on their options and how to make the best decision for them. 
  • The presentation stage requires a process that is customer-centric.  Ensuring your potential customer feels like you fully understand their goals should come before discussion on potential solutions and how your business can help.  A presentation template and training tools are often created for this stage of the sales process to ensure that sales reps don't jump to "here's what I can do for you".
  • The closing part of the sales process generates tools that may include delivering a proposal.  It outlines the typical sequence of events that occur such as moving from the presentation to scheduling a day to review the proposal to scheduling a day to answer any lingering questions about the proposal to gaining a committment to buy.  The closing part of the sales process may also include relevant content that addresses common objections, barriers or concerns buyers typically face at this part of the buyer's journey. 

Once your sales process map is created and you have identified the tools you will need to create to support the sales process, you begin creating the tools.  Once the tools are created, a training program that supports your sales process is created.  Lastly, identification of the metrics you will measure are clearly defined so that once your sales process is implemented you can measure its success and make necessary adjustments. 

Tips for Success

Building a sales process can be a little bit overwhelming to begin with.  Here are three tips for success:

  1. Your customer is constantly evolving.  Having a truly customer-centric sales process means measuring and adjusting as necessary.  Your sales process map and and sales process will always be a work in progress. 
  2. Don't leave your sales process open to interpretation- be sure that you are specific enough to define the concrete actions prospects take that reflect they are moving from one stage of the process to the next. 
  3. Involve and include sales reps while building the sales process.  They are the sales eyes and ears for your organization and this will also improve adoption.