What is a sales process?
A sales process is a sequence of phases that must be completed in order to generate a sale. It begins with the initial contact (prospecting) and ends with the closing of the sale and its subsequent follow-up.
Science applied to a sale
A company that wants to have predictable and consistent results cannot just rely on talent, inspiration and good luck. In the 21st century, there are tools to try and control the results with similar methods to those used in experimental science: evidence, measurement, correction.
On the one hand, within the sales process, the idea is, on the one hand, to automate what works by repeatedly doing it in order to keep getting good results. On the other, correct what isn’t giving results by adding changes and monitoring indicators until satisfactory levels are reached. When a process is repeated all over again by a sales representative, the execution improves every time and is even internalised.
The POS manager does not have to improvise in the face of objections nor look for answers to clients’ most common questions on their own. Here you can read on how to achieve the perfect point-of-sale visit. In fact, the only way to achieve the scalability of sales teams’ results is to implement a simple but structured process that can be followed by everyone and improves performance.
Designing an effective sales funnel
A sales funnel or pipeline is the result of shaping the sales process into an effective management evaluation and training tool for sales representatives.
The shape of a funnel gives us the idea of progressive filtration from a larger to a smaller number of contact persons as the funnel progresses. On the other hand, those contact persons who are progressing through the funnel are getting to know us better each time, we have a better relationship with them and it is more likely they will buy from us.
That is, it’s about bringing the largest number of possible potential customers to the entrance of the funnel, who did not know us at first, and making them move forward step by step until they become satisfied returning customers who would recommend us without hesitation.
The phases of a sales funnel could be:
- Search for opportunities.
- Grading of prospects.
- Detection of needs.
- Suggestion of solutions.
5 reasons why you must have a sales process
Companies that have a well-defined sales process sell more
A study presented in the Harvard Business Review shows some telling results:
- Companies that have a well-defined sales process experience an 18% income increase compared to those that don’t.
- Companies who dedicate just 3 hours a month to reviewing their sales process earn 11% more compared to those that don’t.
- Companies that can master at least three phases of the sales process earn 28% more.
- 61% of chief executives admit that their sales team leaders don’t receive enough training on sales processes.
- 44% of chief executives are aware that their company doesn’t efficiently manage their sales process.
Managing the sales funnel better
Dividing the process into phases allows better monitoring of sales opportunities as they go through the funnel: do we achieve sufficient opportunities during research? Do they show interest in our products, but we almost never manage to arrange visits? Are we drawing a blank during negotiation?
Offer the client value at each phase of the process
The key is to align the phases of the sales process with the phases of the merchant’s buying process. This way, every time the client has a need or problem, we can intervene to sort it out. For example, a point of sale with which we have had contact and visited without success, suddenly finds that one of their suppliers is repeatedly making mistakes with the orders, is increasing prices or is making unreasonable demands regarding the display area.
This client knows our company, our products and they have met our sales representative several times. We are not a stranger to them. We have created a relationship where we have achieved a certain commitment on their part (devoting time to speak with us on the phone and meet with our representative). Therefore, this could be our opportunity to intervene, offering a solution to their problem.
Provide guidelines with specific steps that helps to train the sales team
The POS manager has a proven and well-defined process that will allow them to get good results. There isn’t any subjectivity. They don’t have to improvise. They don’t have to discover for themselves what does or doesn’t work on their own at the expense of endless trial and error.
In the same way, they can identify the specific phase the client is in and what the actions are that need to be carried out to get them to the next one: initial contact, arranging an appointment, presenting the quote, setting up a second appointment, making an order, etc.
Lastly, the company can detect specific training needs and use them, for example, should a sales representative come to a halt at one of the phases: they aren’t getting any prospects, they are setting up very few visits, they are receiving very few orders, etc.
Make sales results more predictable and scalable
The implementation of a process adds predictability. That is, when certain actions are always carried out in a similar way by all members of the team, there’s nothing left to chance. To scale these predictable results, one only has to increase the activities carried out.
For example, let’s suppose that out of every 100 calls, we manage to arrange 20 visits. Out of every 20 visits, we achieve 5 orders. Out of every 5 clients who make their first order, 3 come back to us.
If we double our activities, we will double the results. Going back to the previous example, if we make 200 calls, we will arrange 40 visits, we will achieve 10 orders and 6 returning clients.