I recently read a blog from HubSpot’s Cambria Davies titled The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Sales Process. Near the end, she mentioned common mistakes and tips for success. One point in particular hit home, “don’t leave your sales process steps open to interpretation.” That must be why I was asked to document our sales process.
You probably just let out a loud “ugh” and I get it. I mean, who really enjoys having to write down step by step what they do on a daily basis? And while documenting a process doesn’t sound exciting, it’s necessary. If it’s not documented, essentially left open to interpretation, it can cause issues. Regardless of how big or small your company, everyone needs to be on the same page. No one wants to deal with confusion, miscommunication, or worse yet, lost prospects…aka lost revenue…because the sales team members all had a different way to qualify a lead.
Think about your new hires. They come into your company expecting to have an amount of time to learn the job through coaching. They’re introduced to everyone, they get assigned their desk, they are given a laptop. They read the company handbook, they sit in on meetings, and before you know it they’re on the phone with new prospects.
The sales process
Depending who you talk to there are 5 or 7 steps to the sales process. They vary from company to company and what works well for their company goals. Let’s use 5 for the sake of time…Connect, Discover, Qualify, Demonstrate, and Close. Pretty easy to understand the steps. And yes, they are important. But sometimes what we don’t see are all the little steps that lead up to those main steps.
How do you find your leads? How do your leads find you? Who gets notified of a lead? When should sales call/email the prospect? What information on the prospect should be entered in the CRM? Do you want them to document all details of the connection or just the overall results? What software do you use to research the company? Is there just one that is preferred? Do they even know which sales methodology your company uses? What type of customer are you looking for? Is the prospect your target audience?
Step 1: What are you doing currently?
Now think about your current team. What is their prospecting method? Do they all have the same approach to contacting a client? Are they researching the client’s needs in the same fashion? Are they all on the same page? Do they all have similar results? Or is someone performing better than others? These are all questions that can be eliminated if you have a process in place and documented.
I know how it is to not have a process documented. Think about it…you come in on Monday and your boss gives you a new project. You’re all about the work…you go about figuring out your goal, researching who needs to know what, how things need to happen to get the project completed. You know what you’ve got to do and you get it done. Great! But you never write the process down.
Then your boss comes to you two weeks later and says “Hey, remember that project I had you work on? It’s working out great and we want to share the process with these 3 people. Can you show them how to do it this afternoon?”
Step 2: document as you go
If I had documented my process when I created it, I wouldn’t be so stressed but now I have to document it and teach other people how to go through the process to complete the task.
That’s why it’s important to document your sales process now. You are growing. And a growing company means new sales team members. And new team members means they need to know how to do things in the sales department. And with documentation in place, there will be smooth onboarding later. Everyone will enjoy coming to work because they’ll know what they need to do and how to do it to get their job done.
With all the steps in place and documented, our team is so much better equipped and scalable. Not only are we all on the same page, but it’ll be easier to train new employees and make changes that may need to be made as things progress.
So if you haven’t already done so, be judicious and take the time to get your processes documented. Your team will thank you for it!