Talk about building Sales Processes, and almost any sales person, regardless of their level in the organisation will be ready to run for the hills. Why, though? It’s because many sales people don’t know what a Sales Process is supposed to do. As a result, they don’t know how to develop them, and certainly don’t see any value in them. Not to mention the fact that when done properly, it’s a lot of work! But as discussed in previous articles, the Sales Processes are critical to the overall success of the sales function of any business, and when done correctly will deliver your Sales Strategy and exceed targets!
So, where do you begin building your Sales Process? With your clients, of course! The most effective and accurate method is to build your Sales Process around your clients’ Purchasing Process. That means, to start off, you need to thoroughly map out everything that happens from your clients’ point of view when they purchase a product or solution. You already have that knowledge in your organisation, you just need to find a way to tap into it.
Define The Purchasing Process:
To do this, you need to get into the minds of your buyers to understand when the Purchasing Process begins, what the end point is, and all the steps and role players needed to get from one end to the other. This may be different for each of the products your company offers:
- Identify starting point: This is usually when someone realises they need something to solve a problem. Here we need to understand what the problem is, and who identified the problem.
- Identify end point: At what point is the Purchasing Process complete? For example, is it when they have purchased a solution once off, or is it when an ongoing maintenance contract is secured?
- Define each of the above steps:
- Identify role players (titles, levels in the business)
- Define the role they play in the purchasing process
- Define what it is that each of the role players require to give the purchase their “stamp of approval”, and move to the next phase of the Purchasing Cycle
- Define the activities required to move the Purchase Process to the next stage
- Define acceptable time-frames for the purchase to move through the Purchasing Process; this needs to be per purchasing stage
- Identify potential “external factors” that may impact the purchase decision
- Map out this Purchasing Process
- Document the Purchasing Process for each of the company’s products accordingly
- Refer to below table for an example:
Align Your Sales Process To The Purchasing Process:
To maximise your sales efficiencies, you need to align your Sales Process directly to the Purchase Process, per product or service your company offers.
Then you need to start aligning the sales activities with the role player activities. To illustrate this, let’s refer to Stage 2 of the example Purchase Process outlined above (high level example, only):
- Identify client facing (external) activities required by sales person to streamline the prospect’s required activities
- Map the activities required by the prospect to the sales person’s activities. The activities require careful thought, to anticipate the prospect’s requirements
- Identify employee (internal) activities required to get the requirements to the prospect as quickly as possible
- This needs to be mapped for all stages of the Purchasing Cycle
- Arrange the sales activities into stages, which will now become your sales stages, from lead through to closed won
- Agree time frames for opportunities to move from one stage to the next. This will be based on the agreed optimal Purchasing Cycle time frames
The End Result:
At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that this is a lot of work. But when you follow this methodology, what results can you expect? The most important factor here is that you are positioning yourself closer to the purchaser by understanding their processes. By doing this you are anticipating your prospects needs and providing them with relevant information as and when they need it. This has some of the following incredible effects:
- Reducing Sales Cycles: Because you know what to expect from your purchasers (and when), you can move them through the Sales Cycle quicker
- Positioning yourself as the expert in your industry: When you sell this way, it creates a very strong sense of belief for your prospects in your company’s services or solutions, because you’ve clearly done this several times before
- Building trust quickly: With a solid Sales Process, you become the purchaser’s guide through the Purchasing Process, helping them to process all the information they have access to. This builds trust.
- Winning more opportunities: If your Sales Process is moulded on the Purchasing Process, you leave very little to chance when working on opportunities, increasing probability of winning
Using modern Sales Processes is the way sales functions of the digital and information era need to be selling, and hopefully this article goes some way to help you build your winning sales process!
Hi, I’m Martin, founder of Rapid Sales Growth. Did you find this post useful? Would you like to discuss challenges facing your business when it comes to sales, and explore innovative techniques to over come them? Or would you just like to hear more hints and tips? Whatever you need, reach out to me at any time for an obligation free chat. My number is +27 10 005 5321, and my email is Martin@RapidSalesGrowth.com. Or simply fill out the form below and I’ll get in touch with you. Chat soon, Martin.