Whether your company is business-to-business or business-to-customer, sales are likely the focus of your day-to-day operations. Every business owner knows that focusing on sales is important, but is your sales process defined for your team, or are you simply assuming they know what to do?
"A lot of sales processes are commonly based on the notion that "everybody knows" what a sale entails, without clearly defining a strategy," said Nikolaus Kimla, founder of CRM software company PipeLiner. "The result is a partial sales process that doesn't wholly back up sales or the company."
Taking the time to craft an in-depth definition is well worth the effort, and can give your company numerous advantages both internally and with your customers. Kimla named the following four reasons to define your company's sales process: [5 Ways to Be a Better Salesperson in 2014]
You can predict your revenue. If your sales process is repeatable, there must be an element of predictability at each stage. This predictability is invaluable, as it can help you improve your forecasting accuracy and even predict your revenue based on the number of solid leads you generate.
You can identify opportunities for improvement. Your sales process shouldn't be static. Instead, it should be a flexible system that's continuously being improved as a result of feedback and testing by your sales team. You can then tweak and amend the process.
You can integrate new staff quickly. Once your process is clearly defined, the task of bringing on new sales reps will be far easier. Forget an ad hoc, disorganized learning process; new team members will have a clearly defined system to get them up to speed quickly.
You have a process to manage and analyze. With a system in place, coupled with the expectation that everyone is following the same process, your sales process instantly becomes easier to measure and monitor. People can be given specific targets, and key metrics can be identified and analyzed.
Kimla advised companies to outline their basic sales process, and then clarify each step of that process with the help of their staff members. Once the steps are defined, institute some sort of analytics system and be open-minded about making changes based on your results. Most important, make sure that all individuals involved in the task are clear on the final process you choose.
"If everyone involved in the creation and utilization of a sales process doesn't fully understand and agree upon its definition, they are liable to run into all kinds of problems down the road," Kimla said.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.