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Sales Process: An effective way to close deals quicker

Published on April 1, 2021
Venkat Sridhar
Content Writer, GetRafiki.ai

Imagine you are traveling through an unknown country. You neither know the roads nor the language to read the signposts. In all probability, you will not make it to your destination on time.

Now if we give you a map with the route to your final destination, it will make things a lot simpler, right?

A sales process is just like this map. It tells your sales reps exactly what to do at every stage of a sales cycle. Gone are the days when sales was all about asking ‘How can I help you?’ with a templated smile. Your sales team has to do a lot more than that in today’s customer-centric world. To help them, you need a well-oiled sales process 

In this post, we are going to understand the A to Z of the sales process including the different sales process steps. But before that let’s start with the most obvious question  - 

What is a Sales Process?

Here is the definition of a sales process - 

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“It is a set of repeatable steps that your sales team follow while navigating your customers through the sales funnel.”

It is a tried and tested mechanism that acts as a guidebook for your sales reps. It ensures that everyone is doing the same activities to obtain the desired results and no one deviates from the intended path.

Why do you need a Sales Process?

There are multiple benefits to having a well-defined sales process. Here are they - 

  • A better understanding of your prospects to help determine whether they will nurture into a customer. This ensures that your SDRs do not waste time on unproductive leads.
  • You will be able to track the performances of your SDRs. This will not only help you to utilize the right talent at the right stage of the sales cycle but also helps you to understand who needs help.
  • You can move the prospects seamlessly through the sales funnel as a sales process helps you to identify, understand and mitigate bottlenecks.
  • You can easily onboard new SDRs since you know your targets and also which stage of the cycle needs more manpower.

7 Steps in a Sales Process

Step 1: Prospecting

Every sales process starts with the hunt for new prospects. Before you start the search, create an Ideal Customer Profile that will help you identify the right target segments and narrow down the search process. Check your company’s past sales data and find out which type of buyers bought and why did they do so. Post defining the ICP, your SDRs can leverage their existing network to identify leads.

Step 2: Connecting

Now that you have identified your ideal customers, it is time to reach out to them. A cold email or a phone call is the best way to sow the seeds of a new relationship with a prospect. But before that research about the company and the contact person to help build a good rapport right away. In short, the mantra is to make a good first impression but not at the cost of being irrelevant.

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Step 3: Qualifying

The next step is to qualify the prospects by asking relevant questions. Your SDRs should ask about the customer’s needs, pain points, budget, and how they will benefit from your product. The answers to these questions will determine whether they are your ideal customer. The three most popular frameworks that can help you qualify leads are - 

  • BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timescale)
  • CHAMP (CHallenges, Authority, Money, Priority)
  • MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion)

Step 4: Demonstration

If you are an SDR, this is the stage to show your communication skills. Once the leads are qualified, your sales rep will schedule a demo with the prospect. In this call, he/she will explain the product features relevant to the prospect’s pain points and how they can overcome them using their product. It is critical to building an excellent rapport with the prospect at this stage. The three keywords to remember during this stage are -

  • Research 
  • Plan
  • Practice 

Research your prospect, plan your demo, and practice it multiple times before you go for your actual demo. The more you personalize the demo, the more you will find it rewarding. Remember - no one wants a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Step 5: Objection Handling

Objections are an unavoidable part of any sales process. When your leads understand more about your product through the demo or by using the trial version of the product, they will have one or the other objections related to security, pricing, privacy, etc. It is your sales rep’s responsibility to tackle these objections and convince the leads to go ahead with the purchase. Getting objections is a good thing; It shows that the prospects are interested in your product.

Step 6: Closing the deal

You are almost at the end of the journey, but also at the most crucial stage. This is the stage where you actually ask the prospects whether they are willing to make the purchase. All your hard work in researching and convincing prospects will bear fruit during this stage. If they are convinced, then get ready for some price negotiations. Once all set, it will be time for signing the contracts and implementing the solution.

Step 7: Follow Up

Contrary to popular beliefs, a sales rep’s responsibility doesn’t end with closing the sale. You have to nurture the new customer by supporting them after the sale, answer any last-minute questions. Most importantly, follow up with them after a month or two to see whether they are satisfied with the product. Stay in touch and look for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell more products.

Further Reading: How would you manage a sales pipeline

Best practices to follow in a Sales Process

Here are some essential hacks that can help you extract 100% of your sales process - 

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  • Keep your sales rep involved while you are defining the sales process. Never forget that the entire sales process revolves around your sales reps. It is designed for their use and it is only logical to take their opinions while designing it.
  • Define a ‘qualifying criteria’ for every stage in the sales process. For example, a customer signing the contract is a qualifying criterion for the closing stage of the sales process.
  • Track all the key metrics across the sales process to know how your sales reps are adapting to the process. It also enables you to find out whether any changes are needed in the process. 
  • Continuously optimize the sales process based on the feedback you receive from the sales reps. Conduct a monthly one-on-one feedback session with every sales rep. Ask them what they liked and what they disliked in the sales process. This will help the sales process to continuously evolve.

Here are some key mistakes to avoid while setting up a sales process - 

Mistakes to avoid while setting up sales process
Further Reading: Top 10 words to avoid in sales meetings

How to automate different sales process steps?

Most sales process steps are manual repetitive work, irrespective of how big or small the account is. Thankfully, each stage in a sales process can be automated, saving precious time for your sales reps. Here are the different tasks that can be automated in a sales process - 

Automate Lead scoring and prioritization - A lead scoring system can automatically assign points to a prospect based on their different actions. For example, when they respond to a sales email, they will receive higher points as to when they just open the email. The sales reps can easily prioritize the ones with the highest points. 

Automate Lead assignment - In any organization, there are high chances that one salesperson will be handling multiple clients while another salesperson will be handling none. By automating the lead assignment process, you can ensure a perfect balance of the leads-SDR ratio. 

Automate sales email, scheduling of calls, and meetings -  Through automation, you can easily set up initial outreaches and response emails. You can even set specific actions such as when the cadence should end. Similarly, there are hundreds of tools that help automate the entire demonstration process. Such tools can automatically schedule meetings based on the availability of both parties and even send reminders before the meeting starts.

Automate performance tracking - Tracking the performance of your sales team can be difficult. Instead, if you could automate the entire performance tracking process, it will not only make the tracking easier but will also reduce any discrepancies in the stats.

How do you know if the sales process is working?

How does Sales Process Work?

Like any other process, you can check if the sales process is working by measuring a few key numbers. Here’s our pick of the best metrics that you should measure to find out how different stages of the sales process are doing - 

  1. Conversion rate from prospect to opportunity - Number of people who showed interest in your product divided by the number of people you reached out to. 

Measuring this helps you identify how good your prospecting and connecting stages were. 

  1. Conversion rate from opportunity to customer - Number of people who purchased your product divided by the number of people who showed an interest in your product. 

Measuring this helps you identify how good your qualifying, demonstration, and objection handling stages were.

  1. Average sale value per customer - Total value of sales (including upsell and cross-sell) divided by the total number of customers. 

Measuring this helps you identify how good your SDRs are in closing the deal and in following up to get upsell and cross-sell orders. 

  1. Average time spent selling - The average number of days (and hours) taken by every sales rep in converting a prospect to a purchasing customer. 

Measuring this helps you identify the SDRs who are finding it challenging to adopt the sales process. 

Tools used in different sales process steps

Tools have a significant role to play in managing different sales process steps. Ideally, they will fall under one of these three buckets - 

1) Prospecting and Lead Management Tools  - These include the tools that your sales reps can use to identify promising leads, qualify them, and push them into the right hands to convert them into a customer. Without these tools, your sales reps will be shooting arrows in the dark. Here are the most promising prospecting, qualifying, and lead management tools -

2) Sales Analytics Tools - Data is useless if you can’t analyze and create actions out of it. These tools help you to visualize data and help you make key decisions at different stages of the sales process.

Some of the popular sales analytics tools are - Tableau and Xant.ai

3) Process and Automation Tools - These tools help you reduce friction, improve processes, speed up common tasks, and reduce human errors. They help your team get more done from lesser efforts. In short, these tools help build great efficiencies in every stage of the sales process. 

Drop us an email to get a Rafiki vs Gong comparison list.

Where Rafiki fits in the sales process?

Rafiki is a conversation and revenue intelligence platform that leverages state-of-the-art AI to offer customer, opportunity and organization intelligence. Some of the best names on the planet trust Rafiki to build their champion sales team and win deals consistently. While offering almost all the features of an enterprise solution such as Gong, Rafiki does it at less than one-third the price of Gong and thereby is the best in value product across the whole industry. To know more about how Rafiki can help your business scale up and build a foolproof sales process, contact us now.

⋙ Checkout how Rafiki helps SDR's to convert more leads

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