9 MIN READ

How a Well-Defined Sales Process Helps Your Business: 7 Awesome Benefits

Written by Joseph Dutson

Published on December 8, 2020


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Creating an effective sales playbook takes time, energy, and money. It is an investment. But a well-defined sales process is necessary. It can help your business in many ways.

Here are some of the excellent benefits of having a formal sales process.

1. It Can Provide Higher Quality Leads Right From the Start

Prospecting is the first stage of every sales process. And it is the foundation upon which the process is built. If your foundation is lacking, then the entire sales cycle will be ineffective. Your business will suffer the consequences.

Did you know that 67% of lost sales happen because sales representatives do not adequately qualify potential customers before taking them through the full sales process? And yet, prospecting is the first stage of the sales process. As a result of this carelessness, poorly managed leads and lost productivity will cost businesses at least $1 trillion every year.

If your business had a well-defined sales process, the number of lost deals would go down. Your salespeople would know what an ideal buyer looks like right from the start. This would give your company the chance to generate more sales.

2. It Makes It Easier To Train New Sales Staff

Most people don’t start out wanting to sell products and or services as a career. In reality, only 39% of salespeople intended to go into sales. The rest just stumbled upon the job as a career.

For many people who work in sales, learning is a continuous process. It is one they desperately need since they weren’t prepared for it at all. That is where a defined sales process comes in.

A well-defined sales process will layout the simple steps that one must follow to sell a product or service. It will include guidelines on what should be done at each stage of the sales cycle, depending on customer behavior. 

Such a framework will make it much easier to onboard new sales representatives when joining your sales team. It helps ensure you don’t lose as much money as you would have due to lost productivity arising from the salesperson's ignorance of the right procedures to follow.

3. It Enhances Organization within Your Sales Department

Whose job is it to do ABCD? These are questions that you need to ask when managing your sales team. A disorganized sales department will be full of confusion and highly unproductive.

Research shows that 42% of salespeople do not have enough information before making a call. Whose work is it to provide this information? And why is it not being provided?

To sell effectively, companies must have a sales department with seamless integration of all its tasks. There should be clear communication. People should know what is expected of them at each stage of the selling process. Every job must have its owner, which means all sales representatives must be accountable for their actions.

What a sales process does is to clear the confusion and keep the lines of communication open. It lays out what each stage of the selling process looks like. It is how people can identify they have moved on to the next cycle, what tasks are required to complete each stage, etc. 

Following the process enables everyone within your sales department to be assigned relevant tasks and to know when to handover those tasks when they have been completed. A sales process ensures there is a transparent chain of accountability throughout the sales cycle all the time. All these things allow every sales team member to stay on course with their eyes focused on the ultimate goal of selling as much as possible.

4. It Improves Efficiency and Productivity

Just knowing what they are doing makes salespeople much better than their competition. Unfortunately, 80% of salespeople that customers interact with come across as incompetent. As a result, they are inefficient and not as productive as they should be.

When sales representatives have no idea of what they are doing, there are several mistakes they could make:

  • They could pursue the wrong leads, thus lowering the chances of making a sale for everyone.
  • They could repeat the same steps that another sales team member did in the previous stage, thus wasting time.
  • They could contact prospects while unarmed with the right information, thus making a wrong impression on them.
  • They could continue to use ineffective actions that have never worked.
  • They could impatiently try to move the prospect to the next stage of the buying process when the latter is not ready to do so.
  • They could create more work for other people, thus keeping their fellow salespeople from concentrating on selling as they struggle to get other tasks done first.

While some of the incompetency sales representatives display is intrinsic, most of it can be rectified. About 81% of companies believe that salespeople’s productivity would improve with the right competency training, skills, or process. 

Efficiency within the sales department is about eliminating redundancy and improving workflow. It’s also about avoiding what doesn’t work. It involves arming everyone with enough skills and information to get things done quickly and effectively. 

Having a well-defined sales process is one of the best ways to enhance efficiency. Such a playbook will help your sales reps be more competent because no one is left to their own devices. They will know what to do using the resources available to them. They will also learn how to do their tasks and when to do what needs to be done. 

A formal sales process also helps teams create automated workflows. Repetitive tasks can be automated to reduce the workload for every sales team member. Selling will be much easier for everyone since they will all know what their roles are and concentrate on sales activities that matter. Your department’s productivity levels will increase significantly.

5. It Enables Sales Reps Know When To Follow-Up

In an ideal world, prospects would buy products and services shortly after the sales rep contacted them. That’s not how the real world works. 

Most customers are not willing to part with their hard-earned money that quickly. Here are some sales follow-up statistics to ponder on:

It’s quite clear that follow-up is an essential step in the selling process. That is why a well-defined sales process has a stage for handling objections and another for follow-up. These stages will enable you to know how to handle complaints from the prospect. 

Remember to bear in mind that the average period between lead and close is 102 days. Knowing when to push your prospect into taking a progressive step into the next stage of the buying process will tremendously help your bottom line. The formal sales process will help remind sales representatives to schedule multiple follow-ups until you can close a deal.

6. It Helps To Improve Customer Experience

Effective sales processes are designed based on the customer acquisition process. The process is also meant to be improved upon, based on the salespeople’s feedback and customer behavior. Your need for a sale is not as critical.

If there are obstacles on the way that are throttling the customer buying process, a well-defined sales process will pinpoint the issue. 

For example, the lack of content from you could be the reason why customers are not buying. About 90% of B2B buyers consider online content as having a moderate to a significant effect on whether they buy a product or service. Yet 65% of sales representatives can’t find the right content to send to their prospects! 

While you may not think that this content is relevant, your prospects do because it helps them decide what to do. It educates them on their options and whether your products are right for their needs. So, by including the desired content at each stage of the sales process, you are, in reality, improving customer experience.

Your sales process enables you to know what kind of content to provide for each type of content and how to use the information within the content to help sell your products.

It’s worth noting that 23.1% of sales are generated from customer referrals. Your sales process will help you remember to follow up with customers. Then you can ask for referrals and boost your sales and revenues.

7. It helps improve the accuracy of sales forecasts.

Did you know that access to data will help salespeople shorten their sales cycle by 8% to 14%? That means your sales team can sell faster if they have enough objective insight into what they are doing.

If every member of the sales team is doing things haphazardly, then data collection becomes difficult. Getting insight into individual and group performance may be impossible. You will not determine where the problem is, what you are doing wrong, what kind of progress you are making, etc.

The formal sales process helps in increasing the data points you have to measure. It does this by creating well-defined stages with set milestones that are easy to measure.

You will be able to score leads based on quality, determine your salespeople’s frequency of contact, and how much time is spent on selling. You can also learn how many follow-ups your sales reps have done, the conversion rates, how many deals your team is closing, who are closing more deals, how many decision-makers there are, etc.

As a result, you will be able to forecast your sales and revenues more accurately. That ensures your salespeople are in a better position to meet their sales quotas.

 

All the significant benefits of having a sales process are meant to improve your sales department’s overall performance. 

Companies with a well-defined sales process have an 18% difference in revenue growth than companies that don’t have one. Additionally, research shows that companies with a structured sales process are more likely to be high-performing than those who don’t.

You should therefore ensure that you have a well-defined and documented sales process. It is the best way to improve your organization’s sales performance.

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Originally published Dec 8, 2020 1:00:00 PM, updated Dec 8, 2020