How do you get started selling your products or services? What should you include in your sales process?
There are many ways to sell your products or services. Some companies prefer to focus on their marketing strategy, while others rely heavily on sales. Regardless of the approach you choose, having a well-defined sales process is essential.
A sales process helps you define who your target audience is, what they want, and how you can provide them with value. This way, you can better plan your marketing strategy and ensure that you’re reaching your goals.
What is a sales process?
A sales process is a set of steps that guides you through the entire sales cycle. It defines all the activities involved in making a sale from first contact until closing the deal.
Sales processes are generally divided into these stages because it allows you to manage each step separately. When you have a defined sales process, you know exactly where you need to be at any given time. You also know when to stop working on one part of the process and move onto another.
If you don’t have a sales process, then you might find yourself getting stuck in one phase of the sales process and not knowing what to do next.
How does it help me?
Having an effective sales process helps you stay focused throughout the sales funnel. By defining your sales process, you create a roadmap for your team so that everyone knows what actions need to be done at each point. You also make sure that no stone is left unturned. If something isn’t going according to plan, you know where to start looking for answers.
In addition, having a clear sales process will allow you to measure the performance of different parts of your sales funnel. For example, if you use a CRM system to track leads, you can see which parts of your sales process aren’t working as expected.
You can even look at the data to identify areas that need improvement. In other words, you can quickly spot opportunities to improve your sales strategy without wasting time and resources.
Why build a sales process?
Building a sales process is important because:
• It ensures that you’re delivering the best possible product or service to your customers.
• It makes you more efficient by allowing you to work smarter instead of harder.
• It gives you a framework for measuring the success of your sales efforts.
• It provides a consistent message for your team members.
• And lastly, it helps you learn about your customers and prospects so that you can develop new strategies to reach them.
So, why not start building your own sales process today?
7 Step Sales Process
Here are seven simple steps that you can follow to create a sales process.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before you begin creating your sales process, you need to decide whom you’ll be targeting. Who is your ideal customer? What are their needs, wants, and expectations?
Once you understand your target market, you can design your sales process accordingly.
2. Identify Your Goals
Next, think about what you want to achieve by using this sales process. Do you want to increase revenue? Or maybe you just want to get more people interested in buying your products. Whatever your goal is, write it down.
3. Identify The Product/Service That Makes Sense To Sell
Now that you know what you want to sell, it’s time to figure out whether your product or service meets the needs of your target audience.
For example, let’s say you sell software. Is there anything specific that your potential buyers would like to accomplish with your software? Would they benefit from being able to access company documents online? Or perhaps they could save money by automating certain tasks?
4. Determine Which Stage Of The Sales Cycle You Need To Focus On First
When you first launch your business, you may focus on selling directly to clients. However, over time, you’ll likely need to expand your marketing efforts. This means that you’ll need to shift gears and focus on attracting new leads through advertising, social media, etc.
5. Develop A Consistent Message
When you have a strong sales process, you can consistently communicate one single message to your team members. Think about how many times you’ve heard someone tell you “I don’t do Facebook ads! I only advertise via email!” While these messages might have been true for some businesses, they certainly weren’t true for others.
6. Map Out Each Part Of The Sales Funnel
After you have identified who you want to sell to, you should now map out each step of the sales funnel. This will help you determine where you need to invest your time and energy. For instance, if you plan to use an agency, you may choose to spend more time developing relationships with prospective clients before you ask them to pay you upfront.
7. Track All Of Your Activities
Finally, once you have mapped out the entire sales process, you should record all of your activities in a spreadsheet. This way, you can see which parts of the sales funnel work best for you. And you can also track everything that happens throughout the year.
How to Improve Your Sales Process
If you’re looking to improve your sales process, here are four ways to make sure that you’re doing things right:
Analyze your current sales process
Look at the steps that you currently take as part of your sales process. Are they working? If not, why aren’t they working? Make changes to your sales process based on your findings.
Outline the buyer’s journey for your target persona
Once you have identified your target customer, you should outline their entire journey. What does he or she need to do to become a paying client? Write this information down so you can stay consistent when communicating with your customers.
Define the prospect action that moves them to the next stage
Once you have outlined the buyer’s entire journey, you should define the exact actions that move prospects from one stage to another. Once you have defined these steps, you can then create a sales script that includes the key points that you need to hit during every call.
Define exit criteria for each step of the sales process
As part of your sales process, you should always be asking yourself whether or not your prospect is moving towards becoming a paying client. When you set up exit criteria, you ensure that you’re closing deals effectively. For example, maybe you decide that after three months of engagement, you won’t accept any further payments until your client has achieved a certain level of success.
Measure your sales process results
It’s important to measure your sales process because it helps you identify what works and what doesn’t. You should look at the metrics that you collect (i.e., the number of calls, emails, etc.) and analyze them. Based on your analysis, you can then adjust your sales process accordingly.
You can also measure your results by looking at the three levels of sales success. Knowing which level of success you are at will help you determine what you need to fine tune for your team and prospects when it comes to your sales process.
Level 1: Humming
In this first level, you’re just getting started. You haven’t yet made a sale but you’ve been able to get some leads. In order to reach Level 2, you must close those leads into sales.
Level 2: Experimenting
This is where you start experimenting with different types of content and messaging. You might even try testing different offers and pricing structures.
Level 3: Thrashing
At this point, you’re making lots of progress. You’re closing more deals than ever before and you’re starting to generate revenue. However, you still have room to grow.
Now that you know how to improve your sales process and what you need to do to make it happen, go ahead and put your plan in place. Don’t forget about the importance of measuring your results so that you can tweak your strategy accordingly.
How to Create a Sales Process
Are you ready to start creating a sales process? Here are five things you need to consider when developing your own sales process.
Define Your Target Customer Persona
When you begin developing your sales process, you want to start off right. So, before you can move forward, you need to figure out who you’re targeting. Who exactly are you trying to sell to? Think about your ideal customer. Then, think about how they behave online. Do they use social media? Are they active buyers? What industry are they involved in? By answering all of these questions, you’ll be able to better understand your target audience.
Outline the Buyer’s Journey
Once you’ve identified your target customer persona, you need to outline their buying cycle. This means that you need to define everything that happens between when someone decides to buy something and when they actually become a paying customer. It’s essential that you take the time to create an effective buyer’s journey. If you don’t, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.
Identify the Different Stages of the Sales Cycle
Once you’ve created your buyer’s journey, you need to break down each stage into its own section. Each stage represents a specific action that needs to happen during your sales process. For example, if you’re selling software, you may want to include the following stages:
Measure Your Results
It’s critical that you track your performance throughout your entire sales process. This way, you can see whether or not certain changes resulted in positive outcomes. For instance, did increasing your lead generation efforts result in improved conversion rates? Did increasing your email follow-ups increase the amount of people who opened your emails? Did lowering your prices result in higher sales? All of these factors will help you determine which parts of your sales process were successful.
Make Changes as Needed
It’s important to constantly evaluate your sales process. After all, no two businesses are alike. So, you should always be open to making adjustments based on new information. As you continue to learn more about your customers, their preferences, and the industry at large, you’ll find yourself continually tweaking your sales process.
Sales Process Flowchart
If you’d like to see a sample sales process flowchart, check it out below. The chart is broken down into four sections: awareness, interest, decision, and action. You’ll notice that there are several different steps within each section. These steps represent various actions that need to occur during your sales process. In addition, you’ll also notice that some of the steps overlap. For example, once you have generated leads, you need to nurture them until they convert.
How to Write A Winning Product Description
Your product description plays a huge role in determining whether or not potential customers decide to purchase your products. Unfortunately, many companies neglect this vital part of their marketing strategy. They fail to write compelling descriptions because they simply aren’t aware of what works best. However, by taking the time to research different types of product descriptions, you can ensure that your product descriptions are highly persuasive.
Use Visual Content
Visual content is one of the most powerful forms of persuasion. According to HubSpot, visual content increases website traffic by 200%. That’s why you should make sure to incorporate images into your product descriptions. Images appeal to our senses (i.e., sight) much more than written text does. And, since we tend to spend less time reading text than looking at pictures, you’ll typically get more clicks from image-based links.
When writing your product descriptions, try including keywords related to your products. If you sell shoes, for example, you might use words such as “shoes” or “footwear.” By using relevant keywords, you’ll boost your chances of getting high search engine rankings.
When describing your products, don’t just focus on the facts. Instead, add emotion to your descriptions so that readers feel like they know exactly how your products will benefit them.
Use Active Voice
Active voice is when you start sentences with the word “I” instead of “you.” For example, if you want to describe your product, you could say something like, “This product is great because…” rather than “You shouldn’t buy this product unless…”
Sales Process vs. Sales Methodology
Knowing the difference between a sales process and a sales methodology is important. A sales process and sales methodology aren’t really related at all.
A sales process is a concrete series of steps your sales team follows to sell a new customer.
Sales methodology is the framework behind your sales processes, practices and tactics. It’s not really a set of steps; it’s more of an attitude.
Here’s a diagram showing how this works:
Think of your sales processes as the high-level roadmap of the steps your team needs to take, while your sales methodologies are the different ways your sales team can approach the sales processes.
As a sales methodology sets the foundation for your team when approaching your sales process. You may want to consider incorporating one, as they are yet another way to streamline the customer’s buyer journey and help ensure that your customers receive professional, impactful, helpful interactions from your sales team.
Here are five popular methods for selling products.
1. Challenger Sales Methodology
According to Challenger, this methodology focuses on helping small businesses compete against larger competitors. The main goal of this methodology is to create a competitive advantage through innovation.
2. Solution Selling
Solution Selling is based on the idea that every business has problems that need solving. This methodology emphasizes the importance of listening carefully to understand the problem being faced by the prospect. Then, the salesperson provides solutions to those problems.
3. The Sandler Selling System
Sandler describes this methodology as “a simple system that helps salespeople build strong relationships with prospects and close deals faster.” This methodology encourages sales professionals to have open and honest conversations with their prospects. They also encourage salespeople to be proactive in their efforts to earn trust and respect.
4. Consultative Selling
The consultative selling methodology aims to provide sales professionals with the tools needed to make the best possible decisions about which offers to accept and which ones to decline. With this methodology, sales professionals must listen carefully to understand what their clients are looking for. And then, they must offer insights into their own products, services and capabilities to position themselves as experts who can solve their client’s problems.
5. Inbound Selling
Inbound Selling is based on the concept of creating a relationship with potential buyers before attempting to sell them anything. Inbound Selling is focused on providing value first, so that prospective buyers feel comfortable asking questions and learning more about your company.
Common Sales Process Mistakes
Before we get started, let me share some common mistakes I see sales people making all the time. These mistakes aren’t unique to any particular type of sales person or industry. But they do tend to show up over and over again. So if you’re struggling to find out where to start, these mistakes might help.
1. Not having a clearly defined sales process.
There’s no denying the fact that sales processes are important. Without a clear process, your sales team will struggle to deliver consistent results.
2. Failing to train your sales team properly.
If you don’t teach your sales team how to perform their job correctly, it won’t matter how great your product is.
3. Using an outdated sales process.
While there’s nothing wrong with updating your sales process, sometimes it makes sense to take a step back and look at what works well today.
4. Trying to implement too many changes at once.
It’s tempting to try and change everything at once. But unless you’ve got a good reason to do so, resist the urge. Start with one thing at a time.
5. Forgetting Your Sales Process Will Always be a Work in Progress
Don’t expect perfection from your sales process. It’ll always be a work in progress. You’ll never get it right 100% of the time.
6. Not Aligning Your Sales Plays with Your Sales Process
Your sales plays should support your sales process. If you’re not sure how to align your sales plays with your sales process, here are a few ideas:
– Start with the end result you want to achieve. What does success look like?
– Identify the steps required to reach that goal.
– Decide on the most appropriate way to communicate with each stage of the buyer’s journey.
7. Focusing Too Much On The Product Instead Of The Customer
You need to focus on both the customer and the product. When you only think about the product, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with the customer and gain trust.
8. Leaving Marketing Out of the Loop
Marketing activities such as content creation, social media posts, email marketing campaigns etc. play a crucial role in building brand awareness and driving leads through to close deals.
9. Failing To Provide Clear Instructions For Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey
When dealing with complex buying processes, it’s essential to give instructions for every single step of the buyer’s journey so that your sales team know exactly what to do next.
10. Using An Unclear Sales Process That Doesn’t Fit With Your Business Goals
A lot of companies use sales processes which are designed to fit into a traditional selling model. However, this doesn’t mean that they have a strong foundation. They may create a very rigid structure which doesn’t allow them to adapt quickly enough to changing market conditions.
11. Centering the Process on Closing Deals
Sales are all about relationships. And when you make closing deals the center point of your sales process, you’re going to miss out on valuable opportunities to build those relationships.
12. Forgetting to Measure KPIs
Measuring KPIs allows you to see if your efforts are working or not. This helps you identify areas where improvements can be made.
As I said earlier, sales processes aren’t perfect. There will always be room for improvement. As long as you keep learning, improving and adapting, you’ll eventually hit upon something that works really well for you.
That being said, I hope these 12 mistakes helped you improve your sales process. If there’s anything we missed off the list, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Let us know what other mistakes you’ve seen salespeople making. We’d love to hear from you!