When I took over my first sales team, we had a good sales motion, but the process needed fine-tuning.
In today's issue, I'm going to teach you how to build a foundational sales process.
A tightly defined sales process makes sure that everyone is on the same page. Deals only progress to the next stage when specific criteria are met. This is the key to data integrity and gets you the information needed to coach and forecast.
In many startups, people loosely create the sales stages without documentation. The reps then choose what deal goes where based on gut feeling. This is a nightmare for getting accurate data.
When you build a tight sales process, you'll get:
Here's how to do it:
When sales stage definitions aren't clear, the reps will develop their own definitions. As a result, they will put the prospect in the stage that best fits their opinion. This inconsistency leads to poor measurement on the back end.
Two things you want to answer for every stage:
This makes sure nothing is left to interpretation. Further down the line, we'll add the specific criteria that need to happen within the stage.
For the preparation section, we want to be prescriptive. It's essential for new reps that are starting out. This will tell them exactly what needs to be done before the call.
Let's use a discovery call, for example. The prescription will look as follows:
This will serve as a checklist that the rep will complete before every Discovery Call. Create the preparation checklist for each stage in the sales process.
A sales methodology gets everyone to speak a common language and a method to qualify a prospect. A couple of sales methodologies are:
Research each, and pick the one that works best for you. They are all fairly similar, so it's more important that you have one than which one you pick.
In the sales process, list the qualification criteria needed at each stage. Let's use Winning by Design's SPICED, for example. If Situation and Pain are listed, we do not move to the next stage until that criteria is documented in the CRM.
The exit criteria are your protection against bad data. It must be completed before the deal can progress to the next stage. Let's go back to the discovery call example. Here are the exit criteria using the SPICED methodology:
Make sure everything on the list is absolutely critical to moving to the next step. If it's a nice to have, and not a need to have, drop it.
With tight stage definitions and exit criteria, you can trust the data when calculating the following:
This will greatly enhance your ability to coach and forecast.
Your sales process is complete! The last step is setting up automation to track the lifecycle stage. You never want this to be a manual process. A manual process is always subject to human error. Examples of lifecycle stages to track:
Pick the sales stage that corresponds with the lifecycle stage. For example, when a deal moves into the Discovery Call stage, we will automatically change the lifecycle stage from MQL to SQL. This makes forecasting much easier.
By using this simple sales process, you'll keep everyone on the same page, trust your data, and accurately forecast. You'll also significantly improve the sales reps' production by pinpointing where they need coaching the most. Take the template and customize it for your business!