What is My Sales Process Anyway?

by | Jul 11, 2010

Identifying it so you’re ready for a web based CRM to help you manage it

Sales Process – Companies implementing web based CRM software normally have as one of their goals better management of their pipeline of current deals or opportunities and related needs for revenue forecasting. For web based CRM vendors, this where the promise of the technology and the cool things you saw in the demo start to diverge from reality.

This is due to the fact that most sellers of CRM solutions make setting up the CRM system appear very easy during demonstrations in an effort to win your business. The appearance they often create is that you simply have to logon, upload your contacts and then go take a look at your CRM dashboard and see your pipeline. This can only be true if you train your sales team to follow the pre-built, one size fits all steps or process in the CRM solution.

We all know that one size does not fit all. Your sales process is probably very different from your closest competitor. In the end, we know that you “can’t manage what you can’t measure”.

That’s why SalesNexus Web Based CRM was built to allow you to quickly and easily tailor it to your unique way of marketing and selling. In the first days of your subscription, we’ll be conducting what we call a “Success Planning Call” to understand your processes and help you get things set up and fit to your needs.

Often, we find that new SalesNexus customers don’t really have a clear understanding of the specific steps they follow to find and win new customers. Rather than say to our customers “here use ours”… which could potentially undermine your sales efforts, we try to help our customers identify their process clearly enough that they can begin to obtain meaningful analytics from their web based CRM software immediately.

It’s actually not that hard, if you know the questions to ask. The following is intended to prompt you to ask yourself these questions and identify the key metrics and steps that a web based CRM solution should track and measure for your business to identify bottle necks and opportunities.

Information you gather from the prospect

This is the stuff that tells you what actions you should be taking with each prospect. Information you garner from your prospect is the most objective. As often as possible, your actions should depend upon what you learn about a prospect.

For instance, if the person you’re talking with cannot tell you what the budget is for the project, then you may want to hold off on traveling to their location for a presentation.

What are the things you must know about a prospect in order to suggest the appropriate solution to them?

  • Quantity – How do you determine the size of the potential order?
  • What specific bits of information do you ask of the prospect – things like..
  • How many employees/users do you have?
  • How many facilities do you manage?
  • How many pieces do you buy/create/send each day/month/year?
  • Quality – How do you determine if the prospect needs/wants your premium products or your discount offering?
  • Current vendor? Current Budget? Stated Problem/Challenge?

Actions your team takes

You should be able to easily determine what you’ve done. To the extent that your team is good at qualifying opportunities and taking appropriate action at the right time, then these knowing what’s been done so far with a prospect or opportunity is a good gauge of how far you are from the close. Normally, the things you do need to be seen through the lens of what you know about the prospect.

Example: If you’ve met with the team, provided them a competitive analysis and determined that your solution is 10% under the prospect’s budget, you probably think you’re pretty close to a sale. However, if you still haven’t identified or spoken with the ultimate decision maker, you could be very wrong.

  • What are the steps your sales people typically follow from start to finish?
  • What do they do to find a lead?
  • How do they determine if the lead is a qualified prospect?
  • If qualified, what do they encourage the prospect to do?
  • What do they send to the prospect?
  • After that first step of engagement, what’s the next desired step taken by the prospect?
  • What actions are taken by the sales person to encourage that step?

For all subsequent steps taken by the prospect, answer the same questions – What does the prospect do specifically? What does the sales person do to encourage the prospect to do it?

Hopefully, you’ve got a list of “things” you need to know or track. It can be overwhelming to decide how to organize and prioritize all of this information in your web base CRM software. Don’t worry. Try to keep it simple at first. You can change and add to the metrics you’re tracking in your CRM solution later.

Not too much for a sales person to fill in and simple drop downs with the most common answers so that the rep can talk on the phone with one hand and click the answers into the fields with the other hand while logged onto your web based CRM software.

Take your list and prioritize it. Rank it by importance to closing the deal. Ask yourself, “Which of these things do we always end up knowing before we close a deal?” Those are the things you want to put front and center on the main screen of your web based CRM solution and key all your reporting and analytics off of.

Written by Craig Klein, President of SalesNexus.com. Read more by Craig Klein here.