9 Steps to Structure Your Sales Process

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Where do I begin to expand my sales team? How do I get the best sales practices are multiplied within the team? How do I know where to invest to improve the performance of my sales team? How do I train new salespeople?

The answer to all the above questions can not be given without a basic premise: the existence of structured sales processes and documented. The sales process defines, step by step, all the stages through which one must pass from Lead as it is delivered by marketing to become a client.

The structuring of the sales process can completely change the way your salespeople they see the market and customers. The time to think the way they do their activities and even the exchange of knowledge resulting from the sales process structuring exercise already brings huge gains.

Next we will see the nine steps to follow to set a zero in the sales process.

1 – Where are you today?

If your company is getting in the market, do not try to structure a sales process before actually trying to sell. You have to know your business and the different situations that your company will find before trying to put something on paper. As a manager, officer or director of a team, it is essential to personally perform some sales to get a better understanding of the work of their vendors in front of the operation.

If your company already sells or sold a product and service, by definition it already has a process in use for more informal and not documented to be. The knowledge, documentation and standardization of the existing sales process is where it all begins. Do not reinvent the wheel before you understand what your company already has in use.

2 – Choose a segment / persona

Companies with different products and services (or personas ) may have different sales processes. For each one will be necessary to establish a specific process.

Do not try to embrace the world and start with a segment or specific product. Preferably choose the sales process less complex. The structuring it will bring valuable knowledge to replicate in others.

3 – Purchase process, not selling

The sales process should actually be called buying process, as it must be based entirely on how the customer buys and not how your company sells. Customer focus starts here.

An example: Every proposal has to go through a legal department of the customer? Be sure to put this step in your “validation by the legal” process. Although the seller in this case does not have much influence as he has to be aware that all contracts will have a review. Your product is technically complex and the customer does not buy without a visit from an engineer for on-site evaluation? Add this step to your process.

If you are starting out and do not know how things go in this segment for which you are drawing your shopping process, ask the buyer how the acquisition process. If you do not feel comfortable being completely straight, ask questions such as “can you explain how the decision process if we move forward in the negotiation”, “as happened to purchase when you bought products similar to ours?”. So you can draw more accurately your sales process.

4 – Engage vendors in creating the sales process

The worst way to implement a sales process is to lock himself in a room alone and leave a week later with a stack of flowcharts, playing in the lap of their vendors and say, “Now just implement.”

To ensure the team’s commitment to the implementation of any new process, the team should be involved from the beginning. Let her out and your sales process will become a pile of documents for show.

5 – And then?

In line with the previous step, gather your vendors and ask them to describe in detail what happens to a Lead “laborious” since he arrives in sales. Here we call the Lead “laborious” one who goes through all the steps before you buy. There will always be exceptions, but your sales process should cover 90% of the situations faced by their vendors in their daily lives. The other 10% should be treated as exceptions.

The meeting begins like this: “You receive a marketing Lead to your CRM, and then?”. At this very first sentence you will realize that differences appear and it should be so. See it as an opportunity to discover best practices. Do not advance to the next point before having an agreement by the members of which way should be done step under discussion. At times, when consensus proves difficult, the moderator (usually the sales manager) must make a decision according to what he believes is best for the company. Record everything on a blackboard or flip chart for all to see.

6 – Document Text

As sellers are describing all the steps that must play since receiving a marketing Lead to close a sale, document in a frame. Vale strengthen: Always keep in mind the buyer ‘s journey and not activities of the seller. “A trip” for example does not provide enough information to understand what must be discovered on this visit. For every action, look to have clear the desirable results of this action, such as: “Do visit to find out what the client’s needs, budget and how the decision process.”

In this step, the secret is not detail too much nor be too shallow. The great point is a description that allows a new seller, with little guidance, can understand how a sale is made in your company to study the steps detailed here.

In many cases it helps to make a flowchart, for easier viewing. If you have someone in the company with familiarity with flowcharts, ask to translate the text in this format. This helps a lot in understanding and visualization.

7 – Group

Now try to bring together all this information into groups that make sense to your business. No less than 3, no more than 7 groups.

The idea is to have sales of steps organized into segments that make sense for your business. For more complex sales, it is likely to be required more groups. For less complex sales, fewer groups. How to choose the groups? Imagine that each group (or step) the Lead increases your chances of closing the deal. This division, which basically define your sales funnel will help you identify the value of its pipeline. A pipeline with deals in more advanced stages have greater value than a pipeline full of deals in the early stages.

Another question that can help you understand the need or not to create a new stage is: A Lead can withdraw from the purchase at this stage? If the answer is no, it is not worth creating new stage. This will help you better understand your conversion rates.

The groups are clearer in the topic below:

8 – Set clear triggers pass between each step of the sales process

With defined steps, it is important that the criteria to pass from one stage to another are unique within the team. Everyone should have the same understanding of how a sale is made and when to move a prospect from one stage to another.

When we talk about business passing from one stage to another, and sales funnel management, it is difficult to do without a CRM. If you do not use a CRM to manage your sales, consider starting immediately. There are currently online software very simple to use, low cost and without the need for customization and implementation.


9 – Implement and Optimize

Before implementing the process throughout the sales team, choose a seller (preferably one that is well organized) and ask him to hold at least one sale from start to finish following the documented process, and write down all the points that were not clear or do not work as documented. This first round will have many interesting insights.

With feedback in hand, change the process and gather your sales team for a brainstorming session. As in the beginning, it is important that all buy the idea, otherwise your sales process will be a lot of useless paper. Introduce the process the way it was designed, noting that was created by the sales team, explain the large groups (funnel steps), and especially the triggers pass between steps. Following, with a sales case prepared in advance, ask your vendors gather in groups and make a sale simulation exercise (role play), where some sellers will the role of the seller and the buyer other. During this exercise will all have several insights. End the meeting with a discussion where all commit to the result. The result should be documented and available to all.

The optimization of the sales process is an ongoing effort. From time to time your team will feel the need to review the model implemented. Do not hesitate to do it and be sure never to engage people.

With structured and running process, you will gain in efficiency and also transparency, identifying more precisely the potential for improvement. In addition, the training of new salespeople will be much simpler. Start now and every effort of implementation will be rewarded!