Does your company need a formal sales process? Regardless of the age or size of your business, a sales process can have a positive impact on the sustainability of your business. In fact, companies that had a defined sales process were found to have 18% greater revenue growth than those that didn’t. That’s a significant difference!
A sales process is a series of repeatable steps, divided into well-defined stages, which your sales reps complete to convert potential customers from initial interest to paying customers. It serves as a guide to keep your sales team members on track so they never miss a step and close more business.
There are many benefits of implementing a sales process. Here are 5 reasons why a sales process is important to your business.
1 - Improved efficiency
When it comes to selling it’s important to establish a routine. This ensures your team works efficiently. A sales process provides your sales staff with clearly defined steps to follow. When they know what needs to be done at each stage of the sale, your sales team has a huge advantage over others who are left to their own devices. Without milestones along the way to guide them from prospecting to closing and follow-up, reps can easily get off track. This could even cause deals with the greatest chances of closing to slip away.
Having a process in place helps to build sales rep confidence too, since they always know what comes next and are able to prepare accordingly. This means that they can keep advancing each deal through the process without unnecessary hesitation or delays. Plus this allows them to focus on the prospect and what’s being said during each interaction without the distraction of trying to figure out what to do next.
Not only are your reps more efficient when using a sales process, the onboarding of new sales team members becomes shorter as well. A standard set of steps and stages means that even inexperienced sellers can get up to speed and be successful in a shorter timeframe. That’s good for the bottom line because new reps start generating revenue sooner than they would without a clearly defined process in place.
An added bonus is that faster onboarding takes some pressure off your sales manager, freeing them up to focus on their other responsibilities. Plus, when all reps are following the same roadmap, experienced team members can help new reps learn the ropes until they know the process inside and out.
2 - Organization
A well-defined sales process also helps your organization by clearly designating the roles of each department as it relates to sales. It spells out what each department is responsible for along the way. And it creates structure as well as a shared language relating to the different stages and steps. This facilitate clear communication between departments and prevents misunderstanding or miscommunications.
3 - Increased revenue & forecasting accuracy
As mentioned above, it’s been found that a well-defined sales process results in increased revenue. With faster onboarding, new reps become productive more quickly by contributing to your bottom line instead of being a drain. The repetitive nature of a process also results in your sales staff becoming more effective at filtering out leads that have less potential. This allows them to focus their efforts on those most likely to result in a sale and accelerates the sales process. This, of course, means more sustainable growth for your company – and isn’t that the goal?
Speaking of revenue, accurately forecasting sales bookings is another positive benefit of having a sales process in place. Sales teams who have a clear roadmap win deals more consistently and gain a better sense of their win rates. This results in more accurate forecasts. Reliable sales forecasts facilitate confidently making the necessary adjustments to operations each month while taking the guesswork out of planning for the future.
4 - Accountability management
Sales management, like all management, involves ensuring that all employees are performing their designated job requirements as they should. A sales process helps facilitate this level of accountability for your sales staff by clearly stating what should happen, and when, along the way. If there are certain departments responsible for specific processes at different steps, it makes it easy to determine where issues are arising and correct them.
Accountability also applies to things like entering data in a CRM or other tracking system. When there is a defined process it becomes obvious when information is partially or completely missing. Plus, routines make it more likely that these sorts of omissions will happen seldom, if ever.
When you have a sales process in place, it makes it easier to determine which metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. Reporting then becomes more meaningful. They’re no longer just about how many wins or losses there were during a given timeframe. This treasure trove of data allows you to drill down into the details for recognition, to determine what’s working, identify weaknesses in your process or on your team and more.
5 - Continuous improvement
Through repetition, people tend to become better at processes. When your team executes the same selling steps for each lead, they gain valuable experience and build proficiency. They also start to gain a sense of their strengths and weakness so they recognize where they need improvement. Plus, a well-defined process facilitates the coaching of reps to continuously improve their performance.
Undefined processes make it difficult to determine bottlenecks or issues as they occur. When consistency is used, it becomes easy to identify trends that reveal areas that need to be improved or adjusted. This is also true when it comes to updating your sales process as market conditions and buyer behaviours change.
Not only does the sales process simplify individual performance and process improvement, it also makes it easier to plan ongoing sales training and development. Without the structure of a defined sales process, it’s difficult to measure anything more than wins and losses. Standardization facilitates the measurement of more data points, providing deeper insights relating to key metrics and sales targets while clarifying where additional skills development is needed.
As you can see, it’s important to implement a sales process for your business. Here we’ve discussed five of the benefits, but I can assure you that there are many more! So, is it time for you to start using a sales process at your organization?