Sales will make or break your business
Outbound sales feed your team. Your cold-callers are foragers. Your senior sales staff are hunters.
They find the new clients and bring them back to the tribe of engineers and human resources staff who depend on them.
But we live in a more complex world than the hunter-gatherers of old, and with that comes the need for more complex processes.
The key to a successful sales process is understanding the overview.
There are lots of individual processes you can employ to improve different aspects of your sales and they need to fit together into a coherent sales narrative. Some call this narrative a sales funnel, and others a sales pipeline.
There’s heated debate about what these terms mean and where the differences lie. Pipeliner CRM are, understandably, very eager to differentiate between the two methodologies and actively promote their interpretation of the pipeline approach.
Building your funnel
The core take away from Pipeline’s approach is that the sales team should be pulling the stream of clients through the pipeline, rather than expecting gravity to drag them down the funnel. However, no single conception of a meta sales process can accurately summarize all sales activity, nor decide which approach is superior.
A sales process, from start to finish, should be centered around the needs of the business, the reality of the market, and the nature of the product.
Only you can decide the precise structure of your sales funnel or pipeline, and you’re free to call it what you wish.
What we at Process Street can do is provide you with a series of building blocks to solidly construct your meta-process from.
There are 9 checklists we’re going to present to you, and I’ll guide you through an example of how they can be used to construct a sales narrative.
9 sales process checklists
- Sales training process checklist
- Weekly sales prospecting checklist
- Cold calling checklist
- BANT sales qualification call process
- Sales presentation template
- Sales pitch planning checklist
- Closing the sale checklist
- Order processing checklist
- Monthly sales report
Defining your use case
Let’s do roleplay:
You’re an SME using outbound sales to drive your revenues. Your product is a SaaS platform which is aiming to derive the majority of its income from its enterprise package. You’re targeting a mixture of other SMEs and both large multinationals and government services. You believe in your product and you have a sales system set up for it.
Your pipeline is a classic outbound sales structure. You have a small team who prospect for leads and qualify them, then dedicated salespersons who attempt to make the big sale. You have a manager above who oversees the procedure and seeks to optimize it.
Are you with me?
Find and qualify
The pipeline starts with locating potential new clients. This process is called prospecting. Prospecting serves to scour the market to find a range of companies whose needs fall within the bracket of what your service provides. You probably have a series of predefined buyer personas – ones you have constructed over time based on market research and assessing your existing customers.
Weekly Sales Prospecting Checklist
Prospecting can be a time-consuming process and requires strong research skills. Our weekly sales prospecting checklist takes a prospector through a range of important steps geared to locating new clients. You can use existing social media networks like Twitter and Linkedin to find companies who post about topics related to your services.
You could also use aggregators like Reddit and other specialist forums to promote your services and see who bites. Beyond those, there are online marketplaces which specialise in certain services or products where you can list your services and search out those who need your service.
Our weekly process is targeted at maximizing your database of potential customers and then beginning a filtering system by categorizing those leads by cadence. You can take this process and adapt it to fit your business needs. As you run the process, you should always be looking at how it could be improved and seeking to make iterative changes to optimize your team’s approach.
Once you have your database of potential clients you will need to qualify them. Qualifying leads effectively results in the best clients being passed on to the sales team, meaning higher conversions and less time wasted.
We provide two steps to our qualification process. The first can be found in our classic cold-calling checklist which serves to create initial contact with the prospect. This call is for the benefit of the prospect – you want to show your value to them.
The cold call is a simple step which involves a quick pitch of your service and some follow-up questions to gauge their needs. There are many theories as to what makes an effective cold call, with Ken Sunheim positing that you only have 7 seconds from beginning the call to losing the customer. In these 7 seconds you need to present your value and ask an incisive question.
The goal of this cold call is to generate interest in the client and gain the correct contact details and consent for a further call. This follow-up call is documented in our detailed BANT sales qualification call process – which is the actual process we use internally at Process Street to assess new clients.
BANT Sales Qualification Call
This call is now for your benefit. You have a potentially interested client, but now you need to understand what they require and how you can service them. This is the investigative call. Put on your deerstalker, because it’s time to go Sherlock.
You can adapt this process to fit your business needs, however, the key bits of information you want to bring up in the call are their needs, information about their company and who can make key decisions, their timeframe, and the budget they have available for this product.
The value of a client outlining their specific needs in their own words is pretty obvious. Not only does it help you sell to them, but it acts as a process of ongoing market research.
The information gleaned on this call will enable you to make the best assessment of the client’s suitability. Once you’ve had the call, you can pass the client and all their information on to your sales team to drive it home.
Watch the video below to see how we use our BANT sales qualification call with Close.io:
Make the sale
It’s now time for the sales team to do their magic.
The first step is to sell your product to the client. Seems obvious, no? It’s vital you’re able to convey clearly the benefits of your product and tailor your pitch to the needs of the clients.
For this stage, we’ve constructed two process checklists which help guide your team through the exposition of your value. They’re both centred around giving a sales presentation – one for writing it and one for delivering.
Sales Presentation Template
The sales presentation template gives clear guidance for putting together a strong presentation, ensuring you’re presenting professionally. This process will keep your team prepared and aware of the nature of the audience plus what your product or service can offer to them.
Sales Pitch Planning Checklist
To follow on from that, the Process Street sales pitch planning checklist will coach your sales rep through the pitching process. Following this series of simple steps allows for your rep to safeguard against any mistakes or technical problems, while focusing them on to the needs of the audience and the task at hand.
So far, this pipeline process has found a field of prospects, funneled them through a qualification process, into a sales presentation, and has taken them to the point of closing.
And this is where the science becomes an art.
Closing The Sale
To close deals consistently, sales gurus like Zig Ziglar recommend using psychology to understand where in the purchasing journey the client is. His CHEF Method follows the body language of the client to help you assess the likelihood of closing a sale. From a client touching their cheek to their pupils dilating, judging the final steps of a sale can require intricacy and deft persuasion.
Our closing the sale checklist runs through a series of closing techniques, old and new, to help your deal come through. Moreover, it runs through the administrative details of a sale to provide clarity for the buyer and the seller and helps you be certain all contracting and legal issues have been resolved.
Order Processing Checklist
If you weren’t the SaaS company we described in our use case, which we’ve tailored this narrative for, and you instead sold material products you could try our order processing checklist. This checklist has similar administrative elements to the closing the sale but adds in the delivery and warehouse management aspects.
Both of these checklists, the closing the sale and the order processing finish on the same note: customer success. The last step of a sales process, according to Kristie Sein from Salesforce, should always be a continued relationship with the client to ensure their satisfaction and secure their business again in future.
Assess and optimize
To help you manage your sales funnel properly, we’ve also created a further two checklists you can employ.
Monthly Sales Report
The first is our monthly sales report process which allows you to review your processes and their success. This continued review is designed to provide you with the data to iterate and optimize your sales funnel, maximizing both your revenue and your client satisfaction.
Sales Training Process
The final checklist is for you to use when you start to take advantage of your soaring sales. As the revenue pours in, you’ll have the opportunity for expansion. This means adding to your sales team and increasing your success. Our sales training process checklist enables you to onboard and train new staff to work within your processes and provide you with the opportunity of improving your processes as they work through them and reveal any lack of clarity.
This leaves you with a series of processes from the beginning of the sales funnel to the end, with others assisting in the constant strive toward improvement.
Working with a clear set of sales processes will keep your team on track and selling more.
Have you got any other processes you would add into the funnel? If so, tell us in the comments and we’ll work with you to build them together!
A lot of useful thoughts! Thank you for the tips!