In Part One of The Complete Guide To Building A Sales Process, we outlined the sales process and looked at the steps involved. In Part Two, now that you’re aware of the sales process and have picked out what steps you will be using, we’re going to show you how to come up with a coherent structure.
Sales Process Formats
There are different sales process formats you can use for inspiration, and to figure out what works best in your work environment.
- Sales process map
An easy way to organize and visualize your sales process is arranging all the steps you will be taking into vertical columns. When you’re designing a sales process map, the top of each column is labeled with a stage, with the individual steps taken in that stage listed below it. These steps are the activities that your sales team will carry out and complete. A sales process map can also include arrows linking the different columns, to represent the buyer’s journey.
- Sales process checklist
A checklist for your sales process is in chronological order from top to bottom. Underneath each state, you would list the steps you’re taking. Whenever you complete a step in any given stage, you would check it off the checklist. This way you know exactly where you are in the sales process, and what you need to do next. This is an extremely simple format best suited for sales processes that don’t have a lot of moving parts.
- Sales process flowchart
When you have a more complicated sales process, with a lot of steps, a map or checklist might be too simple of a solution. Complex sales processes need to be managed with a more robust format. This is where you can use the flowchart method, as it allows for different paths to branch off of the original sales steps. For e.g., each customer decision could lead to a different path, or what will your reps do if a lead doesn’t advance beyond a certain step? Do you abandon the lead, or find a way to reconnect with it? With a sales process flowchart, you can add “Plan B” steps that can eliminate the dead ends that arise in a more straightforward sales process.
- Buyer-aligned sales process
Each sale is, ultimately, an alignment of the seller’s and buyer’s interests. Sales reps have to consider what the buyer needs at every step along the way, and good way to do this is incorporating the buyer’s journey into the sales process. Once you’ve decided on the steps in your process, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What are the key commitments and decisions your buyer will have to make in this journey? When both sides of your buyer aligned sales process closely mirror each other, be assured you’re on the right track.
A question to consider, is whether your sales process should be dependent on your industry? The short answer is yes. Your sales process should always focus on the customers, and anyone in business knows that customer vary across industries. While all sales processes contain similar steps, or building blocks, they may be in a completely different order. Or key activities could be performed differently. Or you might add a unique stage, that is relevant only to your industry. A good example of this is adding a compliance stage for the financial industry, which is not relevant in many others. Furthermore, the industry you’re in plays a big part in how your leads are sourced. Some industries are able to receive thousands of online leads through their website, while others have a handful of key leads they meet at conferences on an annual basis. The same approach will not work for different industries.
In conclusion, while building out a sales process may appear daunting, it’s really just a matter of putting the steps you intend to take, down on paper. This guide should provide you with all the tools necessary to get started, and build your own, successful sales process.