How To Create A Sales Process (7 Steps)
Sales is something that almost all of us understand. By definition, it is an exchange or transaction between two or more parties. But what sales process steps should be followed to close more and more deals?
Regardless of what industry or type of business they are in or the type of product or service they sell, salespeople always use different sales approaches to close a deal, though, on a more basic level, they need to follow certain sales process steps to successfully convert leads.
So, what exactly is the sales process? Also, in order to attain maximum results, what steps need to be included in your business’ sales process?
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Sales process defined
The sales process lays out the steps a salesperson needs to take to convert a lead into a customer. For salespeople, it acts as a roadmap to ensure that they achieve their expected performance.
Sales process steps typically include research, prospecting, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing, and follow-up.
Why is it important to define your sales process steps?
According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR), businesses that have a standardized sales process experience up to a 28% increase in revenue. Another study by HBR revealed that 48% of under-performing companies’ inefficient performance was largely due to the lack of a formalized sales process.
As you can see, having a clearly defined sales process makes a huge difference. In the same way that it is difficult to find your way across unfamiliar streets without a Google map, failing to define your sales process steps can harm your business’ progress.
What are the best sales process steps?
The sales process steps may vary depending on the industry you are in, the type of products or services you offer, or even your personal selling style. There are many factors that define what is right for you.
Businesses commonly follow 5-7 steps, and the order of these steps may vary slightly.
The 8 Steps of a Sales Process
As a first step, you’ll need to immerse yourself in research. Before getting on a call, sending someone a message, or posting anything, you should know what you’re selling, why you’re selling, to whom you’re selling, and who your competitors are.
Unfortunately, many salespeople either ignore this step entirely or implement it haphazardly. It is important to understand that research lays the foundation of the entire sales process and taking it lightly could result in missed opportunities.
Once you have determined who your target audience is and are well prepared with all the necessary information, you begin reaching out to the leads available to you.
Prospecting is crucial because it is at this stage that you determine whether or not a lead qualifies as a prospect. If this is not done right, you will end up spending a massive amount of your time and resources on a lead that was never fit for your offering.
Also read: How Prospecting can help you in increasing your sales (Best Practices)
At this stage of the sales process, you decide how to get your prospects’ attention and on which channels to communicate with them.
First of all, it is important to pay attention to everything your prospects have to say. Posing the rights questions, listening to them attentively, taking notes, following up regularly, etc. are essential at this stage.
The ultimate objective of your “approach” at this stage should not be to sell but to understand. Without knowing your prospects’ pain points, the conversation will not be beneficial to either of you.
Once you have listened well and have understood your prospect’s pain points, you start connecting the dots. That is, you begin proposing solutions.
If there is a particular problem that a feature of your product or service solves, highlight it. Make relevant connections when talking about the benefits you offer. But remember, even though you are talking about your business offerings, don’t forget to make it about them.
The ability to handle objections is one of the crucial sales techniques that every salesperson should have. The prospect may raise objections on the price you quote, the time approached them, or they may have some concerns regarding the stated features. Yet, by responding to you or asking you questions, you can be sure they have listened to you.
Your ability to overcome objections depends on your knowledge of your offering, your competitor, and the current market. So, know everything well.
Sales process steps culminate at the closing stage. This is when you send out a formal quotation or a proposal.
Much of the negotiations will happen at this stage, and then a deal will be concluded, or things could be put on hold until a later date or stand canceled altogether.
Rejections are a part of the sales process, but rejection is different from rejection at an earlier stage. If you have come this far with a prospect, make sure you keep in touch with them or ask for referrals.
The sales process doesn’t end at a closing of a deal. As important as it is to acquire a new customer, it is equally important to retain the existing ones. For that, you will have to keep following up with them.
Follow-up is not done only when you want to convert a potential customer, the existing ones need great attention, too. If they are ignored for new ones, will they continue to stay? Absolutely not.
Consumer behavior has changed greatly over the years. Sales teams can no longer rely on a traditional sales process to convert more leads.
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to restructure their sales process by making it more customer-centric, using the right sales approaches, strategies, and the right tools if they wish to attain their desired targets.
The seven steps mentioned above should definitely make a part of your sales process. It is crucial for you to follow definite steps so that you don’t go off track. Also, streamlining your sales process is extremely critical. By using the right sales management tool you can significantly enhance your sales process.
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