A coach once told me a story about an ill man who could not walk more than a few meters. This man loved to spend the afternoons in the family garden. His favourite spot was just a few meters away but he would always run out of breath before reaching his destination. One day, he asked the family to place chairs in the garden every few meters, just enough to stop and rest and get to the next chair, until he would finally reach his favourite spot in the garden. Would he have been able to achieve his goal had he not done this? Of course not! Did his condition stop him from achieving his objective? You guessed, it, it didn’t! This man understood the importance of breaking a big journey into more manageable steps to be able to successfully reach his objectives, unfortunately, not all salespeople do that and some, are not even aware of the problem.
The “sales cycle” is very similar to this man’s situation, it also is a journey that we and our customers embark on and it’s (almost) impossible to get to our destination in one go, we must break that journey down into more manageable “stages” if we are to succeed.
Most sales processes out there follow this structure:
- Answer concerns
- Close win/lost
This is pretty much standard but, what about the customer? How do they like to buy? What “stages” do they need to go through? What “steps” do we normally take in each one of those stages to sell? Which of those steps are actually useful and which ones are a waste of time? How do you track if salespeople have taken the necessary steps? How can you ensure that your salespeople know what needs to be done and how successful salespeople complete such steps? Hopefully, you can see where I’m coming from.
A well-designed sales process should allow the replication of best practices, introduce a shared sales language, discipline and minimize risks for both buyer and seller. It’s a powerful concept. But, where to begin? Here are five initial steps you could take:
- Define your ideal customer profile
- Identify which prospects to pursue (and which not to)
- Capture knowledge and best practices from your team
- Outline qualifying criteria, milestones and steps that build value
- Sequence steps and milestones to ensure pipeline momentum
In conclusion, if not all companies are the same, why should we all have the same sales process? A good sales processes should be tailored to your company and more importantly, how your customers like to buy.
It can be a difficult task to put this into practice unless you have the right tools, luckily, you do:
- Membrain provides a smart excellent tool to help us complete the five steps above, plug in your information and get some inspiration from this tool
- Once you have a draft, you can always contact us to learn how you can quickly put your sales process into practice to increase win rates and deal sizes.
Get started now, see what works and adapt the process accordingly, you probably won’t get it right the first time but, imagine the impact that this could have when you do.
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