Jay Khiroya discusses how to design and roll out the ideal sales process from the moment your sales team reach out to a lead to completing and signing a deal.
Step 1: Talk to the sales team
Before you design your sales process, start by asking the sales team what they currently do to turn leads into customers, and what tasks and activities are executed along the journey. Ensure you go through each step and task, asking what their thinking is behind each action they are taking. It’s imperative you do this with at least a few members (if you have that team size). Even with an embedded sales process, you will find each rep carries out different tasks and activities to achieve certain milestones.
Start to map out all the steps and activities taken, and the milestones they achieve. Group them together, and you will start to slowly see your sales path.
Step 2: Scalability
Sales processes should be built and improved upon on a basis that becomes a natural way of thinking. This is key to building a successful, efficient and productive sales process.
Ensure your sales stages are clearly defined and make sense (and can be taught extremely quickly) to anybody new that walks into your organisation. Designing a sales process is about growth, scale and making your sales team efficient as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Think of the key business functions
When I roll out a sales process, I don’t just think about the sales area and function. I think of the entire sales process, which may (depending on your type of business) involve Enrichment, Marketing, Onboarding, Customer Success and Account Management teams. All of these functions play an integral part and so always keep these in mind, otherwise you may well end up creating disjointed processes that will impact all key functions.
Step 4: Plan, Do, Check, Act
When rolling out new processes, I always go back to my learnings of the Kaizen Philosophy and Method: PDCA
Plan – If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure. What are you looking to do and achieve? Involve team members otherwise what you’re trying to roll out will fail, no matter how good it is.
Do – Run an experiment. Play through all the possible scenarios. I like drawing this out on a board and having a few people in the room that think differently to challenge and add areas I may have missed out. It’s not always going to be 100% correct the first-time round, and if you think it is, then I’m sure you will find an area to improve or adjust (even ever so slightly) 1, 2, 3 or 6 months later!
Check – Always test and check the results of what you have designed, implemented or improved.
Act – Refine any area possible based on feedback and analysis. It doesn’t have to be immediate – act at different times.
Step 5: Getting buy-in for a successful roll out
No matter how amazing the process, it will always fail if you don’t have the buy-in from those that will be executing it on a daily basis. Always analyse the impact the rollout will have, and to whom. The only way this will be successful is getting the buy-in and highlighting the key improvements this will bring to the team, function and organisation – in the short and long term.
Standardise your work, and by that I mean document. These documents should be a living document capturing and outlining the current best practices for the process. Keeping the Kaizen method in mind, you should always be aiming to find improvements for these processes!
Read about the 5 classic mistakes to avoid when rolling out a new platform or process for more on this.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t be afraid to have more than one sales process embedded in your organisation.
- Do create more than one sales path if necessary. If you have different customer types and deal sizes, you may well find the tasks, activities and milestones are different.
- Don’t assume a sales process in one organisation will work in another. Keep an open mind and create what you feel would be the best structure for the organisation.
- Do always think about the customers you sell to. If you’re selling to large clients, there may well be a few additional sales processes and steps you need to incorporate. Part of your sales processes and stages should be created with your customers’ decision making and buying cycle in mind. If you don’t know them yet, make assumptions, test and then improve or adapt.
- Do consider (which means definitely implement!) an Enter and Exit criteria for each sales stage. Why an Enter? To test your exit criteria. It should all flow, and if there is a ‘grey’ area then one of them isn’t clear enough. If you have the luxury to do so, create validation and workflow rules into your CRM based on your Enter and Exit criteria i.e. if ‘3’ areas are missing in Salesforce, the opportunity cannot be moved to the next stage.
- Do create sales stages and processes that you can measure!
Once you design and roll-out a sales process, don’t assume it’s the final article. This is just the beginning…
Read our interview with Jay for more of his sales tips.