Sales process engineering

Being able to make the most of new business opportunities, by making it straightforward and pain free for customers to do business with you, is critical to the success of any business. That's one of the reasons why having a tried and tested sales process in place is so important!

 

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Do you have a sales process in place?

It's commonplace for the major functions within a business, such as finance and human resources, to be built on some solid and proven processes, albeit, a response to regulatory and legislative demands. Yet, while 'selling' is certainly a major function in all businesses, it's surprising how few businesses have a standardised sales process in place.

The chances are you have something like a sales process in your business, but it's equally likely that this is not documented, managed nor trained in the way other key business processes are. As a result, you might not be making it straightforward and pain free for customers to do business with you and you might not be making the most of new business opportunities.

What is a sales process?

A successful sales process is a series of proven and documented steps (see example sales process above) that provides the most efficient and effective route for sales people to take to identify and engage with customers and to win new business. This process is commonly supported by a system (e.g. CRM), which enables the recording and reporting of activities (inputs) for each step, and the recording and reporting of the results (outputs) of this activity.

Why a sales process?

With the right sales process in place for your business, you can align all you do with the typical buying process a prospect or potential buyer follows to investigate and select solutions. This alignment, makes it easier for customers to identify that they have a need for your products and services, and it motivates them to buy. Furthermore, a proven sales process ensures your customers have the best possible buying experience - one which encourages them to buy again.

An effective sales process also provides you with invaluable sales information and sales management tools. It provides your business with a framework, against which you can measure both the sales performance of your sales people and the sales performance of your business as a whole. With standardised sales steps in place, you can measure the activity for each step (the inputs)  - effectively measuring the effort being expended. Furthmore, you can also measure the quality of this activity, by measuring the results (the outputs). For example, knowing how many initial sales meetings it takes for a sales person to make one new sale, would provide an insight into the quality of his or her initial sales meetings.

With the right sales process and CRM system in place and accurate recording and reporting by the team, you'll also be provided with a real-time view of your sales pipeline (future sales forecasted for a given timeframe).

How can PDT help?

Using our robust Performance Development Process, we'll find out what sales process (if any) your sales people are currently using, help you to be sure about the sales process you would like them to use and then help you design, develop and implement the sales process, sales management and supporting infrastructure that will bridge the gap.

 

What makes PDT's sales process engineering different?

At PDT, we recognise that implementing an effective sales process is not simply about identifying the key steps to making a sale, documenting them and then asking the sales team to follow these steps as part of their daily routine. Nor is sales process engineering about an "out-of-the box" CRM solution that does little to reflect the way you currently do business, although, this may form part of the solution.

It's important to gain commitment from the sales team to the journey and that's why they need to be engaged from the start of the engineering process and need to be given credit for their experience and the great things they already do. Also, the sales process will only be as effective as the communication, training, sales management, systems, performance measures and the recording and reporting that run alongside it. This is why we employ a simple, yet robust, Performance Development Process that looks at the whole system:

Performance Development Process

What do you stand to gain?

There are significant benefits for the sales team from a standardised and effective sales process:

  • Being more efficient and effective - the magic of routine is that it improves efficiency - imagine how effective the sales team will be once they are comfortable and confident with the sales process and have used it over and over again.
  • Developing stronger skills and making more sales - the saying "practice makes perfect" is absolutely relevant to selling - improving selling skills can have a profound effect on the sales performance of an individual and on the sales performance of the business as a whole
  • Always knowing what the next step should be - when presented with challenging sales opportunities, your sales team no longer have to reinvent the wheel to find a solution, or constantly turn to their manager for support -  the sales process provides the next step and a consistent route to success
  • Providing the best possible experience for customers - no matter who your customers deal with, you can rest assured that they will receive a professional service and will have a meaningful and productive buying experience - this can only add to greater job satisfaction for the sales team and greater customer retention
  • Meeting sales expectations - the introduction of a sales process, along with supporting sales training, will lead to improved sales performance across the sales team - as a minimum, a 20% improvement in sales performance can be expected.

There are significant benefits to the business:

  • Improved sales performance and performance management - with agreed standards for sales activity (inputs) and results (outputs) and a framework (the sales process) against which these can be measured by individuals and sales managers, the business can expect increased sales and, furthermore, sales people are more likely to take responsibility for their own sales performance
  • Standardised recording and reporting - recording sales data becomes clearer and more accurate with a sales process in place and reporting become more meaningful, providing a clear insight into the sales performance of the individual, the sales team and the business
  • More accurate sales forecasting - with more accurate sales recording and reporting comes a more reliable insight into the sales pipeline along with more reliable sales forecasting.
  • Identifying the development needs - individual sales people and their managers can identify where in the sales process the individual, team or business has particular strengths and areas for improvement - which means the training/development budget can be targeted at those things that will have the biggest impact on the performance of the business.

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