Setting up a sales process is really simple – in theory! In practice the design of the sales process, and the steps crucial for success, differs greatly depending on sales logic. Are you talking about a traditional sales process or a complex one?
ProSales’ research points to five different success factors when building the sales process.
use an explicit process for managing customers and sales
Disregarding which sales logic you are in it is important to have a clear and explicit sales process, and that all sales people know and practice this process. It is also important that the sales process is aligned with customers’ purchasing behaviour, i.e. you might need different sales processes for different sales logics.
A sales process roughly consists of two parts: lead management and opportunity management. The first is increasingly important due to new customer behaviour and can be supported by new tools such as ”content marketing”, ”marketing automation”, ”social selling” and ”pipeline marketing”.
The second part concerns how to approach the leads qualified by marketing, which we refer to as opportunity management.
In addition, we need account management in complex sales models, since each customer account is critical. There is much more potential in developing and growing each individual customer account, which therefore requires individual planning.
let sales management decide which customers to approach
Can your sales people decide themselves which customers to approach? A system and rules for pre-qualification is one of the most important success factors disregarding sales logic. Based on an active marketing function and leads scoring models you can increase your hit rates and sales efficiency a lot.
use an explicit method for customer dialogue and meetings
There are plenty of suppliers of sales methodologies. Common denominators in all sales methods is for example how to conduct a need analysis, and how to create a clear value proposition with customer benefits. However – the key is not the choiche of method, but in the implementation of a common approach for all sales people. This creates common ground and language for how to conduct customer meetings and dialogues effectively.
map and manage stakeholders systematically
Complex deals has a lot of decision makers involved. One part of successful account management is mapping the power distribution at the customer, and understanding your position as a supplier.
actively discuss which business dialogues that should be terminated
Complex sales processes utilize a lot of resources and demand prioritization of resources. Lack of management, and fear of making tough decisions, may spread your resources too thinly over too many opportunities. This leads to lower hit rates and efficiency in the long run. In successful companies active decisions are made by sales management on which opportunities to pursue and which to terminate.