If you put the phrase “sales process” into the source of all wisdom which is Google, you will get a whole load of smartly titled materials pop up. Anything from the 7 steps of the sales process explained, 5 crucial sales process step to a bunch of serious looking diagrams. When you look it up on Wikipedia it throws this smart sounding sentence at you: “A sales process is an approach to selling a product or service. The sales process has been approached from the point of view of an engineering discipline”.
Whilst I do not doubt that reading many of these articles, examples, case studies and e-books will help improve your sales revenue I doubt that you have the time or inclination to do so. After all sales just happen don’t they? It’s all about common sense, a good product, sound reputation and a bit of luck, isn’t it?
I agree that many of the above elements are important to make sales happen (not so sure about the luck bit though). However, having a sales process can really help make sure that you keep repeating all these good strategies that help you win business and take out elements that have not worked in the past. In fact here is a whole list of things for which it can be useful:
- It can help you train new team members faster
- Measuring results become a lot easier
- Productivity can be improved by cutting out unnecessary fluff
- Additional touches can be added to improve conversion rate
- It can really improve your customer retention
So the reason you should bother with a sales process is that it takes away the trial and error element of sales and helps you systemise all that in your experience has brought in sales in the past to make sure they happen more often.
Even more important is the potential to improve your customer retention. As most customers leave due to indifference, not ensuring that you demonstrate the value you offer leaves them to decide on price alone. Couple this with the fact that up selling is much easier than selling to a new prospect and you can see how important it is to have an after sale plan.
To get your sales process up and running consider the following:
- Write down all steps you take between first engaging with a prospect to making a sale and ongoing communication with your clients
- Emphasise the actions you take and consider writing scripts, list of actions and written communications which can be repeated
- Write it with another, new member of your team point of view in mind
- Get someone else to read through and comment on how easy it is to follow
So, to summarise, developing as sales process for your business is well worth the effort as it will definitely make a difference to your conversion and retention rates. Follow my suggested steps to help you make a start and develop it further based on your unique process. Most importantly, make sure you and your team follow the process once designed consistently to see the benefit.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for your business in terms of sales process?