What’s your sales process? If you didn’t automatically think of a specific set of steps you take in order to land every sale, you probably have a sales methodology instead. What’s the difference? HubSpot’s Cambria Davies says that methodology is the approach you take to the steps in a sales process. This often takes the forms of teaching the prospect or focusing on digging up pain points. The process is the backbone of sales that never changes. Jason Jordan, writing for HubSpot, says that there are actually a handful of types of sales processes.
The Sales Process for Two Situations
Let’s start with one of the most important tool at a sales rep’s disposal: the phone. Jordan says that the sales process of calls includes three stages:
- Planning: When you’re planning a sales call, you need to ask yourself a few things. First, what’s your objective? For example, you could be trying to set up a meeting with a new prospect. Next, what questions do you need to ask the prospect to achieve your objective? Think about goals, needs and pain points. And last but not least, do you expect to encounter objections? Think back on previous sales calls with similar prospects. What objections did they throw your way? Plan responses to any objection you can think of.
- Execution: Take the planning you have done and put it into action. Jordan warns against trying to keep the conversation going exactly as intended in your head. Remember, you may be the expert, but your prospect isn’t. Let them lead the conversation so that they can get all of their doubts aired and questions answered.
- Debriefing: This is the post-call part of the sales process where you review what happened during the call, successful or otherwise. Talking through it with your manager or a coworker can be helpful as well, since they can provide insights you may not have considered and that can help you during future sales calls.
An important sales process you need to have mapped out is how you qualify your leads. If you just call anyone you find on LinkedIn in the general industry you target, your pitch to strike ratio will be horrendous. A lead qualifying sales process will save you time. Additionally, Jordan points out that, “By having a specific set of criteria reps should look for when qualifying leads, along with a consistent set of questions they can ask in initial sales calls, reps will be more prepared walking into their initial conversations with prospects, and can feel more confident when pursuing the right leads for their offer.” Your steps for qualifying leads should include these three criteria:
- Your ideal customer profile: Hopefully you’ve established this for your products or services. Compare your prospect to this profile and see how well they match up. If the prospect only has one or two similarities, it may be best to continue searching for a new lead.
- Who is the decision-maker?: It takes considerably more time to land a sale if you’re not talking with the decision maker right off the bat. Do your research to find out who you should be talking to in the target company. If you’re still unsure when you make your first outreach attempt, don’t be afraid to ask your contact a question along the lines of, “And who else will be included in this process?”
- Budget: If your prospect’s company doesn’t have a revenue stream that could possibly incorporate your product or service into its budget, it’s best to move along.