Defining a Sales Process
In simple terms, a sales process is a systematic approach involving a series of steps that enables a sales force to close more deals, increase margins and make more sales through referrals.
The ‘series of steps’ are customer-centric and help the sales force of a company to retain customers and increase sales volume as well as revenues. The ‘series of steps’ are systematic; random acts produce uncertain results. In sales, random acts can be used occasionally, but a systematic and a well-defined best practices approach can assure predictable results.
The establishment and implementation of a sales process with definable steps in a company could result in:
- Predictable Outcomes – desired and predictable outcomes through a series of actions that could lead to more sales and higher margins.
- Repeatable Activities – activities that should be repeated to obtain the desired outcomes again and again by any salesperson within the organisation
- Tangible Results – the outcomes that can be measured and compared
- Relevancy for Others – A good sales process may be cloned to suit other organisations and they may emulate a successful sales-process model. A group of companies may apply a particularly productive sales process to all or some of its divisions.
Simply having a sales process in place doesn’t guarantee anything, just like merely buying and installing exercise equipment doesn’t lead to a chiseled body.
A desire to implement a systematic sales process could lead to more sales.
Normally a sales process involves the following key steps:
- Handling Objections
- Follow-up for repeat business – referrals
Characteristics of an Effective Sales Process
Any ordinary sales process may produce the desired results, but an effective sales process has elasticity to accommodate extraordinary situations.
- Is your company prepared to meet a sudden spike in demand for your products or services?
- Does your sales process have the elasticity to deal with fluctuations in customer buying trends? Is your customer database up-to-date? Does your sales process take in to account the buyers’ tastes and preferences?
- Effective sales processes stand the rigours of changing times and market conditions and produce the best possible results in most circumstances. An effective sales process produces sales results with unerring precision as a manufacturing unit produces finished products.
An effective sales process manufactures customers – It’s a ‘customer manufacturing system’.
- Just as a manufacturing unit uses raw materials, strategy, technology, and manpower to produce finished goods, a sales process can be viewed as an integrated method where manpower refers to the sales force, the product or service is the raw material, strategy refers to sales plans and methods, and technology refers to the latest communication and sales technologies.
A results-orientated sales process accomplishes the following tasks:
- Identifying and qualifying leads so as to take in to account only those prospects that truly have the potential to buy according to their importance to assign the right resources to each of them. Successful salespeople spend more time with their top revenue-producing accounts.
- Impress the customer with the uniqueness of the product/service and your company.
- Talk about the ‘needs’ of the customer and develop customised value propositions to solve their business issue.
- Convince the customer that your company is the one that can take care of the ‘need’ and no one can do it better than you.
- Assess the purchasing power of each potential customer.
- Larger percentage of profitable sales.
- Forge stronger bonds between the company and the customers through the sales staff.
- Exploring the possibility of up selling and repeat business. Ensure repeat business through adequate customer satisfaction and proper follow up. It costs five to eight times more to acquire a new customer than selling to an existing customer.
Here are 5 of my critical sales questions every ad sales rep should know and ask on every sales call.
1. If we could create the perfect ad for you, what would it look like and what is the outcome you expect from it?
2. How many times does a new customer need to see your advertising message before they make a decision to do business with you?
3. Which ad campaigns and/or types of ads have worked for you over the last 12 months to meet your goals? Why did the ads work? Which ads have not? Why did they not work?
4. Are there any new products or services you will debut in the next six months?
5. What are the three main goals you are trying to accomplish with your advertising? Be specific. How long have you been trying to reach these goals?
Want to learn the other five? Reach out to me and let’s chat for 30 minutes. I am here to help your sales team win.