Sales Workflow: How to Optimize Your Sales Process For Maximum Profit
Companies can generate twice as many leads and revenue by optimising sales workflows. There are numerous ways one can create an efficient sales workflow process inside their company. Nowadays, in addition to the abundant information available to enhance one's sales, some tools can assist!
Achieve a successful sales process. In this article, we’ll be examining how an efficient sales workflow can be the difference in your marketing efforts.
What Is a Sales Workflow?
There are several sales workflows, including sales processes and funnels. The process most frequently refers to your sales team's repeatable steps to close a prospect. These steps constitute the sales pipeline, which provides a broad overview of potential upcoming sales and their chances of conversion.
This section will explore what happens at each stage of the sales workflow in more detail.
Sales Workflow Stages
Prospecting: The process of finding potential customers is called prospecting. You review their website, social media, and sales outputs to determine whether they're a good fit. You'll likely make phone calls to determine the key decision-maker and map out the organization.
Qualifying: A sales representative asks targeted questions during qualification to assess whether a prospect is a good fit. When you know a prospect isn't going to be a good fit for what you're selling, there's no point in going forward with a demo or proposal.
Needs assessment: In this stage, the rep tries to determine which products and services best fit the customer and how they can put them together.
Pitch or demo: This is where the sale is made. Reps get the opportunity to show prospects how their company can benefit them and why their product or service is superior to alternative solutions.
Proposal: A representative proposes a price for a specified product or service in the proposal stage.
Objection handling: Not every customer will agree right away. More likely, reps will have to deal with some objections and negotiate some points of the sales contract.
Closing: After overcoming all objections, we reached an agreement that benefits both parties. Both the prospect and the rep benefit from the deal closing.
Why Build a Sales Workflow?
By giving your reps a framework to follow, a structured sales process helps them consistently close deals. The sales workflow helps you determine:
Your sales funnel's lead count at each stage
Which stages are most likely to result in conversions
These metrics will provide insight into:
Each stage of the process and whether you met your targets
Stages that may need more attention
To be successful, your company needs a repeatable, scalable sales process.
As a lead moves through the sales workflow, they will pass through multiple stages.
Marketers should customize their marketing journeys based on their audience, industry, and products and services that their company offers. An improvement in one stage of your sales funnel can significantly impact the rest of the funnel.
Your Business's Sales Workflow: Steps to Follow
Your sales workflow should reflect what type of business you close and your ideal customer profile. As such, an interview with your sales team and a review of recently won deals are the best ways to get started.
Five-step workflows are universal and standard and should be fine-tuned according to your reps' experience to increase conversions.
Step 1: Conduct Prospect Research
Evaluate lead quality on sites like LinkedIn. You can use this to gauge the willingness of prospects to move forward. The seller can better understand the issues by understanding the prospect's pain points, main motivations, and company goals. As a result, they can offer a more customized experience. Deals that move forward this way are much more likely to succeed.
The salesperson should understand the buyer's business better than the buyer himself. Even though this step isn't direct, it shouldn't be overlooked. Sales reps need to know potential clients to build rapport with them. It will also save you a lot of headaches in the future if you establish an ideal fit now. The first step toward avoiding bad deals is knowing they are possible.
Step 2: Connect Via Sales Calls or Email
An effective way to contact a prospect is to make a cold call. You'll be able to connect with the buyer immediately this way. The alternative is to use social media, email, or even text messaging to communicate with potential customers when that's not possible.
This is the phase when you should document your first interactions with prospects.
Step 3: Qualify Your Potential Clients
During the qualification step, the salesperson will identify the prospect's pain points, challenges, and business goals. It might be helpful for the salesperson to ask questions like,
"Would you mind telling me more about what you do on a daily basis?"
"Would you mind telling me about the issues you struggle with and the solutions you are trying to find?"
"What is the reason this has become a priority?"
It is essential to include this part in your sales workflow. To determine if your prospect is qualified to move forward in the sales process, you should combine their goals and highlight your product's capabilities.
The lead management software will enable your sales team to make calls more efficiently and automatically record their conversations.
Step 4: Demonstrate Value to Prospects
Reps must formally demonstrate the product or service when they find a qualified opportunity. In order to properly present the product or service, the sales rep must collect data about the lead to tailor their presentation to address the main challenges they face.
Depending on your product or service, you may not need to take this step if they are easy to present and have obvious benefits. Generally, large deals have more complex needs, requirements, and questions. Thus, it is a crucial step in alleviating any remaining doubts the buyer may have about your solution.
Step 5: Closing the Deal
A deal's late-stage activities occur as it approaches its decision-making stage. Customer information can be easily entered, but lengthy negotiations may also be needed until all decision-makers are on the same page. All sales workflows must include this stage, regardless of how they close sales.
Often, sales reps earn commissions based on the negotiated price, so they are strongly motivated to negotiate a satisfactory contract with both parties. However, a customer's journey is not over once a transaction is completed. Customer success officers or account managers are usually assigned to the account to ensure the onboarding process goes smoothly for the new customer.
Improve Your Sales Process Workflow With These 10 Tips
After catching up, let's get to these insider tips. You don't have to tell anyone.
1. Change One Thing At A Time
When you discover some awesome new sales tips, it can be tempting to revamp your sales process completely. It is easy to overwhelm yourself, and soon you realize how difficult it is to:
Decide what process changes are needed
Make sure they are documented in some way
Make sure your team is aware of this
Implement the new process with your sales reps
Make sure your efforts are effective by analyzing them
Instead, make one change at a time to the process
You will handle this chunk of work more easily as a business owner or sales manager, and your sales team will have an easier time digesting it. Setting a schedule for sales process changes will help you stay on track.
2. Prioritize The Biggest Leaks First
The most significant gains will come from tackling the biggest problems first if you're only changing one thing at a time. Your sales results will probably increase 80% if you plug 20% of the holes in your sales process (which is not unimportant).
Understand what stage of your sales cycle is losing the most customers using your sales reporting and analytics. Analyze those lost deals to determine why they were lost. Your insights may provide valuable suggestions for improving your pitch or demo process, such as additional signs to look for during prospecting.
3. Fill Your Pipeline From the Top
Leads are a major challenge for sales reps today. Despite its paradoxical nature, prospecting is the most hated activity by salespeople. The salesperson complains that they have no leads but does not want to prospect for them. Teams do not keep a steady flow of new leads, which leads to this problem. The top of the pipeline does not remain full.
Here's how it works:
A lead is sent to your team.
They qualify and assess their needs as they move through the sales pipeline.
We close some, follow up with others, and move others (the ones we love the most) to the final stages of our sales process.
Things are now getting exciting, and we're using our energy and time to close those deals. We haven't spent any time finding new leads during this process.
Following the completion of all deals and the closing of many sales, the pipeline is now empty.
Afterwards, we'll repeat the prospecting process for another week or two.
It is extremely difficult for leaders to make investment decisions when this happens because it makes forecasting and revenue predictability nearly impossible.
To summarize, this is why you should keep your sales pipeline full at the top. We will explore a couple of ways to accomplish this in the next two tips.
4. Diversify Your Lead Sources
Getting new leads from multiple sources is the first step to keeping your pipeline full. You're likely to encounter the aforementioned issue if you're only focusing on outbound lead generation. Consider a bit of inbound marketing in addition to your lead generation efforts. Through inbound lead generation, you can continually replenish your pipeline of prospects with leads from:
Word of mouth
5. Differentiate Opening From Closing
In most cases, inside sales teams perform lead generation and prospecting by dividing the responsibilities. One team is responsible for prospecting, and the other team is responsible for presenting and closing. A typical team consists of three roles:
BDR (Business Development Rep) - conducts outbound prospecting
SDR (Sales Development Rep) - qualifies inbound leads
AE (Account Executive) - qualifies, demos, handles objections, and closes
Since you have an entire prospecting team, you don't have to worry about sales reps spending more time with active leads than prospecting for new ones.
SDRs/BDRs would generally qualify leads to some point before handing them to an AE. From there, the AE would complete a needs assessment and move forward in the sales process.
6. Adapt Your Process to Customer Needs
A two-day sales course cannot teach you how to arrange your sales process based on how your customers move through the sales funnel. You've got to start somewhere, and there's probably overlap, but the point is this: Listen to your prospects' feedback. You should also ask for feedback.
You might be adding unnecessary friction if, for example, you make them jump through too many hoops before discussing pricing. Use feedback like this to improve your sales workflow.
7. Don't Be Afraid to Make a Change
Ultimately, do what works best for your team. Be open to advice, but don't limit yourself to it. Don't hesitate to try a better way if you feel there is one. Possibly you will be able to combine qualification and needs assessment into one process for your customers.
8. A/B Test Risky Process Changes
Why not try an A/B test if you are thinking about making a change to your process that is a little risky? Let half of your team continue doing things the way they are now while the other half tries a new way. After a month or two, you will be able to get some decent analytics on the situation.
You could implement it for the entire team if it worked. Don't worry if it didn't. The team only lost half the ground it could have, and the other half can return to normal now.
9. Increase Sales By Leveraging Automation
Would you like your reps to have 30% more time each month to sell? Automate your sales process as much as possible.
A salesperson can automate up to 30% of their daily activities, which will result in a huge increase in productivity.
Here are just a few examples:
Follow up emails
New activity creation
Call transcription and note-taking
SMS drip campaigns
With your sales CRM, you not only give your reps more time to sell but also join the 61% of companies that exceed revenue targets every year.
10. Embrace the Fact That the Sales Process Never Ends
When designing sales processes, many salespeople and sales leaders think they can implement them once they've already designed them. That is not the case.
The sales process will always evolve and change due to the changing demands of your customers, technology advancements, and revisions of your products and services. To identify ongoing opportunities for improvement, you should use your sales reporting data outside of those external circumstances. In this way, sales are never truly completed.
Introducing Sales Workflow Software: Benefits
You'll need a sales software platform to help you manage the whole sales process after you've developed your first iteration of the sales process. The reasons are as follows:
1. Delivering a Consistent Customer Experience. With templated and automated communications, you ensure that everyone who deals with your team receives the same level of service - the service you designed.
2. Prospect Communication is Improved. It allows sales reps to adhere to a set of sales cadences determined by the sales manager, which helps improve customer communication.
3. Management Time is Reduced. In organizations with more than 11 salespeople, 91% use sales software to benefit their leads. To ensure a large sales team is deeply engaged in the sales process, managing and coaching individual reps is necessary. This work is already automated by sales workflow software, which can save you time.
4. A Reduction in Sales Rep Mistakes. Once tens or hundreds of sales reps are given access to a database, it quickly becomes confusing. When you automate workflow, you eliminate the possibility of human error by eliminating the human element.
5. Stronger Insights Into Sales Process Efficacy and Rep Performance. Your sales team can manage all of their sales activity using your sales software. In addition to seeing sales velocity, conversion rates, won/lost ratios, and conversion rates at each stage, you will also have a clear picture of the sales process. Further, you will also be able to identify coaching opportunities for individual reps.
6. A Single Point of Truth. As a final benefit, implementing a workflow software platform ensures that all your data is centrally stored, from contact information to communication records.
Success in Sales Depends on Managing Your Workflow
Small teams with few prospects can use text documents or spreadsheets to manage sales. However, larger teams should invest in flexible sales pipeline management software to focus more on selling instead of admin tasks.
CEO-ME's CRM-based sales management tool allows salespeople to get organized and close deals more quickly. More than half of our customers switched from an existing CRM tool because of our simple yet powerful approach. The other half didn't even know CEO-ME existed until they tried it for free!