One of the most critical and overlooked processes for business growth is the sales process. Every business needs to understand, document and implement a sales process in order to serve customers with excellence. In fact, a business without a marketing and sales process is doomed for failure. In this article, we discuss why a sales process is so important and how to implement one.
Why a Sales Process is Critical
What many people misunderstand is the purpose behind a sales process. It doesn’t just start at the first meeting and end when a contract is signed. It is a living, breathing process that should begin when interest is gained by an ideal customer and last throughout the lifecycle of serving that customer.
In some cases, it begins when someone visits your website online. What the ideal customer experiences is important and without understanding and creating the conditions for your ideal customer experience, you’re leaving it at risk which is never good for anyone but your competitors.
How to Implement a Sales Process
To properly implement a sales process, you must remember that the goal is to help facilitate the buying process for your ideal customer – not just get you a sale. The sales process is really nothing more than defining what you want your customer to experience throughout the process of considering your company, products and services.
One simple place to start is with call handling from prospective customers. Properly documenting and training how you and your team will handle each call is important. As much as many people do not like call scripts, developing one can be important so that everyone has a consistent way of communicating. One analogy we often use is what you hear every time you drive through a Chick-fil-A drive thru – “it’s my pleasure to serve you.”
For most businesses, there are face-to-face meetings involved with the qualification step of the sales process. Qualification is not just qualifying the potential customer, it is also qualifying you, your products and your services. For instance, if you are a custom home builder building homes of $1 million or greater, you may not be best for someone who wants to build a $1 million home since any addition will stretch the homebuyer beyond what they can justify. Therefore, you might be able to refer them to another home builder.
Start by documenting the typical steps of these meetings and add as much detail around what the customer is trying to accomplish in each along with how you and your team will help them accomplish it. Make sure you leave this open for adjustments and adding to it. Then schedule regular meetings (at least two hours per month) with your team to discuss these steps and how to improve them.
Between the initial contact and these meetings, it is important to properly communicate with Thank You cards, emails and other methods suitable for your customer. A Customer Relationship Management system known as a CRM may be need to help with this communication and the process in general. Some of these meetings could be proposal meetings, project kickoff meetings and project completion meetings. CRM systems help with facilitating communication and planning during these processes. In fact, a CRM structured properly can walk your team through the call handling and qualification stages of the process – see the below example.
Finally, some businesses provide a product or service and fail to communicate with the customer afterwards. It’s important to remember to continue to communicate after the initial sale for customer referrals and customer reviews along with additional business. Don’t stop right after the sale either… keep communicating. Quarterly emails can be helpful and a way to communicate other offerings.
The idea with the sales process is to consider it the entire experience of every customer who should choose you and documenting the desired ultimate customer experience. For help with your sales process, contact Social180 at 469-420-0180.