“To train or not to train?” Business leaders of all stripes ask this perennial question. Many companies spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising to pull in leads, yet fail to invest a dime on the employees who can turn inquiries into sales. Training these employees on sales processes offers striking advantages across the sales experience.
Your sales process creates a clear, well-planned pathway for your salespeople to follow and ultimately offers more control over the process. It’s an excellent opportunity for improvement and comes with plenty of benefits for your sales team, like structure and speed. Developing your sales process requires some careful planning and analysis of your relationships with your customers. Let’s take a closer look at what a strong sales strategy can do for your business and how you can improve it.
Why Is a Good Sales Process Essential?
A sales call can cost hundreds of dollars, so the more you can do to ensure conversion, the better. We like to think of it like baking a cake — if you make too many tweaks, you might still get something edible, but not as good as the carefully planned and tested original recipe.
A defined sales process has various benefits for your entire sales approach.
- Structure: While creativity is valuable, a sales organization provides a dependable outline for salespeople to follow. It ensures they’re hitting all the right topics and representing the company appropriately while still offering wiggle room when necessary.
- Faster, easier training: Outlined sales processes streamline the onboarding experience for trainees. It means they can perform better right off the bat and start earning sales.
- Data-driven changes: Once you have a definedsales process, you can alter the outline as needed to meet new goals or react to weak spots in your sales strategy. The sales process also allows you to implement specific strategies to meet your goals.
- Improved customer experiences: When sales representatives can control the process and discuss the topics they need to with each client, they can create a better customer experience each time. Carefully evaluate interactions based on your company’s goals and each customer’s stage in the sales funnel. With 91% of B2B brands prioritizing customer experience, it’s a distinct point of competitiveness for many companies.
- Better-performing sales teams: Boost your sales team’s capabilities by providing them with the best tools for the job.
What Are Characteristics of a Successful Sales Process?
A structured sales process covers many aspects, from the research conducted before sales reps even pick up the phone to the follow-up procedure they’ll implement after the sale.
A well-defined sales process should have the following characteristics.
- Research: Understanding your customers’ position and needs is essential to developing a successful sales process. You’ll need to analyze your prospects and your competitors to find out what they’re looking for and what they’re offering. Try to identify your customers’ pain points, their buyer personas and what stage of the sales process they’re in.
- Customer-focused processes: Your sales process should always consider the customer’s position first. With the internet and our connected modern world, customers are more informed than ever. They have virtually limitless options, and putting their needs first can make all the difference in positioning your company as the ideal solution.
- Targeting: Finding the customers who are likely to turn into buyers requires careful targeting. Look for clients already stored in your CRM — those who have interacted with you on social media or at industry events. Depending on your product, this stage may be more crucial than others. For many products, the resources that go into a sales call can be significant, so identifying the right people to call — and when to call them — can be an essential part of making sales as efficient as possible.
- Training: Training your salespeople is critical. A sales process simplifies this considerably, but comprehensive product knowledge is still essential, along with effective sales practices. Sales reps should know what makes a compelling sales pitch and how to connect the customer’s needs with what the product has to offer. They also need to learn to push past a customer’s rejections without being overly aggressive. Training is an effective and measurable investment you can make in your sales process.
- Clear goals: Keeping your goals in sight with quantifiable objectives will help you develop a more effective sales process and measure your progress toward these goals. It’s also easier to understand the value in your sales process, as you’ll see your growth numerically and understand how that translates to profits.
- Closing and follow-up procedures: Once a salesperson makes a deal, outline succinct next steps for closing the sale, such as sending a quote and receiving approval. By streamlining this process and implementing a follow-up process, you can ensure it’s enjoyable for clients and keeps them coming back for repeat orders or other products and services. Reducing customer churn and bringing them back can translate to significant financial gains. A 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by 25 to 95%!
Other components you’ll want to work into the process include asking for referrals, managing new leads, conducting sales interviews and quantifying your product benefits in dollars.
How Your Sales Process Can Create More Revenue
With all of the technologies afforded to modern-day companies, a defined sales process leverages these capabilities to create a powerful template for sales interactions. It also accounts for your customers’ increased capabilities to research your product, your competitors and their needs. Overall, most consumers are highly informed, with the help of tools like in-depth product reviews and social media coverage.
Your sales process accounts for this knowledge and works it into every interaction. Remember, each sales call has the potential to become a long-term customer, adding their customer lifetime value to your bottom line over the years. That means your sales calls could be highly lucrative — possibly into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on your product! Any way you increase the likelihood of a call becoming a sale can mean significant boosts to your profits, and sales processes are a great way to do so.
With the help of a need-based sales process, your representatives can combine their product knowledge with customer-centric sales practices to encompass your clientele’s needs and make more conversions. You can also use it to save time on training and help representatives maximize each sale through upsells and additional products.
Use a CRM to Improve Your Sales Process!
One essential component of avoiding an inefficient sales process is using the wealth of customer data you have at your disposal. A comprehensive customer relationship management system can keep all this information at your fingertips. Simple Sales CRM makes customer data accessible and empowers your business to improve the sales process and close more deals.
Simple Sales CRM offers various features — like dashboards, opportunities and lead tracking, customer contact data and much more — to help you learn more about your customers and improve the sales process. Check out our product tour to learn about everything Simple Sales CRM has to offer, or reach out to start your free trial and see it for yourself!