A sales process is a set of practices salespeople follow to generate new prospects and convert them into paying customers. It moves potential leads through the sales funnel quickly and efficiently, reducing friction throughout the process and creating a positive customer experience.
A sales process can be refined and repeated until the trends change and require new strategies that will help you convert more customers effectively. However, managing the sales process can be a challenging aspect to master.
Managing sales involves learning and applying the newest sales tactics and helping your team work effectively and efficiently. However, it’s difficult enough under normal conditions, and to top all that, the rise of remote work has made the process more complicated.
This is why adopting new technologies in the field of sales has become an absolute necessity. These include customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales intelligence tools, automated dialers, such as those developed by companies like Auto Dialer, and many more.
If you need help managing your sales process, look no further. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know to manage your team’s sales process effectively and efficiently.
What Are The Tools To Manage Your Sales Process Effectively?
Before you dive deeper into the process, it’s important to learn and understand the tools that can help you and your team throughout the sales process, such as:
- CRM: A CRM tool is one of the most powerful sales tools today. It can help improve customer relationships, boost customer retention, monitor existing customers, and stay on top of your game. It also provides real-time updates and essential features that can optimize your sales process.
- Sales Intelligence: This refers to software solutions that can find, track, and understand data about prospects and existing customers, particularly their businesses. It also helps sales teams determine whom to call, what to talk about, and when to have that conversation.
- Sales Analytics: This refers to tools that allow sales teams to track, assess, and improve the performance of their sales strategies while predicting trends and finding relevant insights. It also provides sales managers with crucial information about the areas they’re best at as well as those that need improvements.
- Automated Dialer: An automated dialer is a software solution that simplifies the dialling process. It helps the sales team work efficiently, giving them more time to focus on providing a better customer experience. If you don’t have a business number yet, visit 1 800 Numbers for sale to start your operations.
- Customer Success: This tool helps you meet customer expectations by analyzing customer history and satisfaction levels. With this, you can create better customer profiles, push customers throughout the sales funnel, and forecast possible growth and obstacles.
Other tools that may help improve your sales process include sales acceleration, data connectors, document trackers, sales productivity, and sales enablement tools.
How To Manage The Sales Process Effectively?
Below is the step-by-step guide to help you manage your sales process effectively and maximize its potential.
- Build A Sales Team
Managing the sales process starts with the right team of passionate and driven salespeople. If your company doesn’t have one yet, this is the right time to build one.
So, what does a sales team look like? An effective sales team often includes the following key players:
- Account Executive: The key person responsible for establishing and maintaining customer relationships.
- Sales Representative: This person is responsible for selling and advertising products and services to potential customers.
- Sales Specialist: This person is in charge of formulating strategies in sales, customer development, customer retention, contract negotiation, and relationship building.
- Customer Success Representative: This person ensures customers get what they pay by meeting their expectations.
- Business Development Representative: This key player generates new opportunities for the company to make money.
- Sales Manager: This is the leader of the team. They oversee how the team collaborates and focus on improving its performance.
When looking for the right candidate, make sure to consider these characteristics: curious, motivated, passionate, empathic, listener, and patient. Once you’ve found the right candidates, give them a great onboarding process, so they don’t end up losing themselves while working.
- Set Targets
Sales targets are the number of sales or revenue the sales team has to reach within a specific period. For example, your sales team has to convert 200 prospects or generate 1000 new leads within one week.
However, make sure your sales targets are realistic. Otherwise, your team will be discouraged from doing better, thinking it seems impossible to achieve within an established period.
When setting sales targets, consider your past sales statistics. From there, you can establish targets higher than the previous months. For example, if your team can close 15 deals per month, set your sales target to 20 to have a bit of wiggle room.
- Establish Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you track your performance and determine whether you can reach your business goals. However, your KPIs should be relevant to your sales strategies and goals, as using the wrong ones can ruin your company’s reputation.
Here are the common KPIs most businesses use:
- Customer lifetime value
- Sales cycle length
- Pipeline value
- Conversion rates
- Number of leads generated
- Number of leads converted
- Sales per region
There are tons of KPIs out there aside from the seven mentioned above. But what’s important is to choose those that can help you track your progress toward your goals. Otherwise, they’re simply useless.
- Create A Sales Stack
A sales stack is a collection of tech tools that can help you and your team get the job done effectively and efficiently. This mostly includes all the tools discussed above, such as CRM, sales acceleration, sales intelligence, sales analytics, and customer success tools.
However, it’s important to use only the tools relevant to your company. Don’t waste your time and money purchasing solutions that can cause more harm than good to your sales operations.
Consider your team’s sales activities when choosing tools for your sales stack. For example, installing automated dialers and other similar solutions will be useless if your sales strategies aren’t focused on outbound call campaigns.
In other words, the right tools you need should be able to support your efforts throughout the sales process.
- Choose The Right Model
Managing the sales process can be tedious, especially if you don’t have a model to follow. Here are the three models you can use to manage and streamline your sales operations.
- Island Model: This model has little structure. It leaves salespeople mostly on their own but with a handful of information and basic tools to get their job done. This promotes competition than collaboration within the team.
- Assembly Line Model: This model builds a team of representatives with different specialties. For example, one may focus on prospecting, while others may focus on lead generation. However, it causes more silos, slowing down the sales process.
- Pod Model: This model is similar to the assembly line model but is more customer-centric. It’s ideal for businesses and organizations with lengthy sales cycles, especially those with sales teams following an account-based marketing strategy.
When choosing a model, observe how your sales team operates. Do they prefer doing things alone? Do they have different specializations? Or do they prefer collaboration and teamwork?
- Establish The Stages Of Your Sales Pipeline
What is a sales pipeline? It’s a tool used to understand the prospect’s progress in the sales journey. It visually represents the prospect’s journey through different stages until the client becomes a paying customer. These stages include prospecting, visiting, contacting, qualifying, and winning.
Every business has a unique way of selling products and services, and its pipeline should be able to reflect that. However, there might be some similarities to other organizations, especially when it comes to the crucial stages in the sales process.
For example, whatever products or services you offer, you’ll need to establish a system that will identify, qualify, and engage potential customers. Also, you need to formulate tactics that can nurture your leads and eventually close the deal.
Here are the four common stages of a sales pipeline:
- Lead prospecting
- Lead qualifying
- Deal closing
When establishing a sales pipeline, make sure to define every stage or phase as clearly as possible. If one process bleeds, the sales pipeline will lose its ability to perform well as a powerful solution for managing the sales process.
- Make Sure The Sales Pipeline Is Aligned With Sales Activities
Sales activities are the elements you can control in the sales process. These are what most sales representatives do every day to ensure deals will keep moving forward. Some examples of sales activities include:
- Prospecting: Identifying prospects or potential customers.
- Contacting: Interacting with sales prospects to make them your leads.
- Follow-Up: Communicating with prospects to move them toward the sales process.
- Proposal: Presenting products and services to clients as well as delivering sales quotes.
Once you’ve identified all the sales activities to use, it’s time to create a playbook for each of them. Playbooks provide expectations when performing these activities and recommendations to improve them.
For example, how many follow-up calls do you need to make in order to convert a customer or close a deal? Or how many outbound calls does it take to generate potential customers?
- Forecast Sales Performance
Forecasting estimates future sales based on the previous data you gathered. It also refers to predicting what the sales department can achieve in a particular timeframe—weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and annually.
Sales forecasting helps sales managers to anticipate the number of sales and revenue they can bring into the company and identify possible problems ahead of time. This way, they can develop a contingency plan to prevent any damage in the sales funnel.
For example, if your sales team is currently 30% below their targets compared to last month, you may do some research to find out what happened and plan the necessary actions to take.
Here are some possible reasons to consider:
- More aggressive competition, such as competitive discounts and exclusive deals.
- Your compensation plan isn’t working enough and doesn’t motivate your sales team to perform better.
- Your sales team isn’t as effective when delivering content to potential and existing customers.
Addressing these problems should be your top priority. Only then will you be able to save your company from being eaten alive by your competitors and prevent more losses in the process. This is why forecasting is important; it’ll help prevent and address potential issues before they become something your company can’t handle.
- Keep Track Of Your Activity Metrics
Activity metrics tell what your sales team does every day. These include:
- Number of proposals and demos presented
- Number of interactions in social media and other online platforms
- Number of conversations with potential customers
- Number of calls performed
- Number of leads generated
- Number of emails delivered
However, activity metrics are misused most of the time. Therefore, it’s important to define what these metrics are and how to take advantage of them to get the results you’re looking for.
Although sales managers have no power to control the implementation and execution of sales activities, they can check individual performance and outcomes. From there, they can use the insights provided to create plans for areas needed to be improved.
- Review Pipeline Metrics
Your sales pipeline metrics can help you identify all the strengths and weaknesses in different stages of your sales funnel. Keeping track of these key metrics will give you insights into your team’s performance. These include:
- Win rate
- Conversion rate
- Number of open opportunities
- Number of closed opportunities
Each of these metrics will help you make changes and optimize your sales strategies for better and result-driven outcomes.
- Improve Your Team’s Skills
Sales trends and customer preferences quickly change from time to time. Therefore, it’s important to keep your sales team updated on the new technologies and techniques that could help bring more sales and revenue into the company.
You may conduct training programs, such as webinars and seminars, to improve your sales team’s skills and address the lapses they often encounter throughout the process. Training programs should focus on building existing knowledge and sharpening critical skills, such as presenting and prospecting.
Managing the sales process can be difficult, especially for a growing company. But there are many steps that may help you do the task effectively for better sales outcomes. Follow the steps above to optimize your sales process and make your sales team highly efficient.