What are the different stages of an effective business process? How do you implement it in your company? In this article, we provide an overview of some best practices for implementing an effective sales process in your organization.
What is a business process? Definition.
the business process refers to all activities that take place between the moment a business opportunity is identified and the moment it is sold. This process is generally broken down into several stages: prospecting, outreach, relationship development, negotiation, closing the sale, and building loyalty.
From one company to another, the number of steps in a sales process will not be the same, but its role will remain the same: that ofprovide a structured overview of the steps the sales team must take to close a sale.
What are the different stages of an effective business process?
As already mentioned, although the purpose of a commercial process is always the same, each company must adapt it to its product typology and its goals.
However, for a business process to be effective certain essential steps are essential, here they are:
- lead generation;
- lead scoring and opportunity categorization;
- Initial contact via email and/or telephone;
- The identification of the needs of his prospect;
- The proposal of a commercial offer;
- trade negotiations;
- The completion of the sale and the conclusion of the contract;
- customer loyalty.
How do you set up an effective sales process? 6 steps.
In order for a sales process to be effective and truly optimize the conversion rate of your sales reps, some best practices are recommended.
Here is a selection of 6 tips applicable to any type of business and in any field of activity:
- Define a consistent number of stages in your sales pipeline;
- Define its commercial process with its commercial teams;
- Define ranking rules for business opportunities;
- Create call scripts and shared email templates;
- Set up KPIs and track them over time;
- Periodically review the business process to further develop it;
1- Define a consistent number of steps in your sales process:
A business processso that it is effective and correctly monitored by the sales teams, must have a consistent number of steps.
If the process has too few steps, there is a risk that sales reps will try to close a sale too quickly. By applying too much pressure too quickly to a prospect who isn’t hot enough yet, you run the risk of worsening the conversion rate.
Otherwise, too many process steps risk unnecessarily complicating the sales process in the eyes of your sales teams. In the latter case, sellers can quickly feel overwhelmed by all the steps that need to be taken before a sale can be made, thereby losing opportunities that remain blocked at various stages.
Therefore, it is crucial to define a consistent number of steps in your process. The right number of steps will often be the number of steps considered essential by the majority of sellers.
2- Define the sales process with your sales representatives:
A business process is a real guideline for sales teams. To make sure the sellers follow the different steps is the ideal help build and let it evolve with them over time.
If you haven’t set up a sales process yet, talking to top sales team members about the different steps they typically take before closing a sale will help you define and optimize key steps. It’s also important to get information about the time spent on each phase and the average time spent on each phase before the prospect moves on to the next.
If you already have a business process and want to review it to improve it, discussing the issues with sales reps is a great place to start to identify opportunities for improvement. In direct contact with your prospects, the sales representatives can also send you recurring objections that, in certain cases, can help you to develop your commercial offer to facilitate one of the phases of the sales process (e.g. free trial as part of a SaaS, the minimum commitment period of a contract shorten, offer a freemium offer, etc.).
3- Define rules for business opportunity classification:
In a sales process, the lead scoring step or business opportunity classification is an important step.
In order for the business opportunity classification to be useful, efficient and well followed by the sales teams, this is the case essential to define categorization rules.
For example, if you use a tool to manage your sales process, you can define upstream a limited number of labels that your sales reps can use to classify their opportunities (by origin, budget, type of business, or even by product or service if several are offered) .
It is recommended not to create too many categories and tags, which could reduce the effectiveness of the categorization. So focusing on a few labels that categorize leads based on really important information is often the best approach.
4- Create cold call scripts and shared email templates
The cold calling and cold emailing steps are both strategic to the success of a sales process, but are also often time-consuming and dreaded.
To improve the productivity of your sales teams and ensure the message stays consistent from one sales rep to another, Defining cold call scripts and cold email templates is highly recommended to optimize the performance of your business processes.
If you use a tool like noCRM, you can use it to define common email templates. Call scripts can also be provided so sales reps have a framework to follow. In the case of noCRM, the call scripts added to the platform can integrate:
- A list of mandatory questions to ask during the call;
- A checkbox and note system to track exchanges with the prospect;
- Responses to recurring objections;
Although cold email templates and call scripts are an interesting aid for sales teams, the latter must always take care to personalize their exchanges as much as possible and integrate these elements into their conversations as naturally as possible in order not to reduce the overall quality of the prospect to affect / trade exchange.
5- Set up and follow KPIs:
Defining KPIs related to the sales process allows sellers to independently monitor their performance beyond the sales made.
For the management, these KPIs are also useful to monitor the overall performance of employees and provide incentives that are not limited to the sales generated.
Among the useful KPIs that can be monitored, we can be interested in, for example:
- Number of new leads generated / month;
- Number of cold calls made per month;
- number of cold emails sent per month;
- Average response rate after cold emails;
- Average lead-to-customer conversion rate.
6- Regularly review the business process to develop it further:
If a business process can be perfectly customized at the time of its implementation, The latter must be regularly adapted to developments in the company : Development of offers, sales teams, services offered, etc.
It is therefore advisable to schedule a periodic audit of your sales process so that it is relevant and consistent, regardless of internal developments.
This article was written as part of a sponsored partnership with noCRM.io, a commercial prospecting software made in France