In this article, we’ll cover five steps to developing an effective sales process that will put you ahead of the game and ready to improve further.
Developing and codifying an effective sales process for yourself opens many doors for a sales person, and despite popular perception it doesn’t close any. Putting down a process doesn’t mean giving up on your creativity, your ability to make snap decisions on the fly, your potential for improvisation. Rather, it mean establishing a baseline you can compare yourself to always, a steady system you can rely on when you’re lose, a way to make those metrics your analytics programs spit out into something you can apply practically. In this article, we’ll cover five steps to developing an effective sales process that will put you ahead of the game and ready to improve further.
A good starting point for your sales process is whatever you think your sales process should look like. Write down a rough idea of what you think your most effective sales process looks like. It won’t be accurate, it will be missing quite a few details and probably have a few unnecessary steps. Make sure it’s starting early and ending late–begin with lead generation and end with follow up contact. You want to track the entirety of the sales cycle, not just first contact to sale.
Start keeping track of what steps you take when you’re moving through the sales process. If you’re not already tracking yourself with metrics software, now is the time to start. Hard data will only become more important as you refine your sales process, and eventually it will become your primary source for refining an increasingly effective sales process. Be aware of what steps you take that move you closer to a sale and which serve no discernable purpose at all–the former belong in your process, the latter do not until data says otherwise.
If you don’t already think in terms of building relationships instead of in terms of making sales, now is the time to change viewpoints. Your process should always be about strengthening your bond with the customer; that’s why it continues past the point of sale, as you want to continue that relationship. Satisfied customers become repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth advertising. Unsatisfied customers, those you create when you aim for an effective sales process focused on getting the sale instead of building the relationship, become returned products and negative word-of-mouth.
Always question your actions and your process. Why do you sell better to this demographic, why do you sell better with this medium, which of your favorite anecdotes doesn’t really impact sales one way or another? Sometimes you’ll realize you’re wasting time with certain actions, or that you have a weakness that could be easily shored up. Just remember to keep asking those questions and never let your effective sales process stagnate into something useless.
This is the last item on the list, and it’s one that never ends. As long as you’re selling, you want to be refining, aiming for an ever more effective sales process. You do that with hard data and constant experimentation. With the right tools, it will quickly become clear when a certain line of conversation doesn’t help you close sales that you’re better off with this anecdote vs. that one with certain demographics that you can push for sales earlier without losing customer satisfaction in the long term. An effective sales process is a living, breathing thing. Refine, refine, refine, or you won’t have effective sales process, you’ll have the zombie of one. A truly effective sales process is one that never gets stale, never traps you when flexibility or improvisation would serve you better.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.