“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.” – Charles DeLint. So, it is with the process of selling. Every step taken in the sales process is leading us to the ultimate destination of putting a product or service in the hands of a delighted customer. How then, do we replicate the route to gain productivity and competence? That’s where we realize the value of the benefits of the standardized sales process.
All sales managers wrestle with building scalable sales processes that can consistently result in repeat business. The battle is often that salespeople don’t like to follow imposed routines. Creative sellers thrive on freedom and less structure. They see themselves as fast on their feet and flexible in order to meet the unpredictable nature of their buyers. They desire independence that often contradicts a structure of imposed guidelines. If asked, they would be unlikely to embrace the benefits of the standardized sales process.
A standardized sales process is more than a routine of "if, then" scenarios that are designed to result in revenue. The standardized process provides a language and a roadmap that allows sellers and their managers to communicate about the customer journey. When the journey stalls, or the prospect’s objections threaten a different direction, a standardized sales process is imperative in identifying strategies to adjust course.
The Benefits of a Standardized Sales Process
The sales process is defined as a set of repeatable steps that a salesperson follows to guide a prospect from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale. Typically, there are 5 to 7 steps revolving in a cycle that results in the prospect becoming a repeat customer and delivering referrals.
- Handling objections
According to the Objective Management Group, 68% of all salespeople do not follow a sales process. Meanwhile, another study shows that 70% of companies that do follow a structured sales process are categorized as high performers. Studies by TAS Group found that companies that implement a sales process outperform companies that do not.
Three Key Parameters
Revenue, performance and forecasting accuracy are three key sales parameters that show the benefits of the standardized sales process. These components provide the basis for a healthy business to move forward. When aligned, your company can strategize with confidence and achieve solid financial footing.
Prospecting, qualifying leads and following up are the most challenging tasks for salespeople. Early-stage leads introduced through a structured discovery process can quickly be qualified or tossed. Follow up through a CRM can track communication and identify breakdowns. An effective sales process designed with the customer in mind will ensure better customer relationships. The benefits of the standardized sales process are revealed in the customers’ perceived value of your company, enhanced trust in your team and, in the long term, will create a stronger bond with the customer.
Think of a structured sales process as a living, breathing, organism. You must nurture it as a work in progress. Encourage and consider input from all stakeholders and your process will thrive. As a manager, you'll realize the benefits of the standardized sales process when you have better planning, prioritizing, and forecasting. The process improves time management, increases customer retention and enhances workload disbursement.