Do you follow the steps of the sales process or just look at the end results?
Today, with a more complex sales scenario, monitoring financial goals and indicators is not enough.
To understand how to sell more and better, you need to know what stages your team goes through — from lead capture to post-sales.
Main steps of the sales process
The sales process brings together all the steps your team needs to turn prospects into customers, from capturing leads to closing the deal.
Each company has its peculiarities in sales, but we can list some essential stages.
Check and compare with your reality.
Prospecting involves all the pre-sales work, which begins with capturing and generating leads.
From the moment a consumer provides his/her personal data to the company — voluntarily or in exchange for some content or advantage — he ceases to be an unknown contact and becomes a lead (potential customer).
Thus, the job of prospectors is to conduct surveys and create lists of potential leads according to the company’s target audience.
Some sources of leads are customer referrals, social media and website visitors.
In the connection stage, the first contact with the lead is made, starting the relationship with a potential customer.
Generally, the person responsible for this initial approach is the SDR (Sales Development Representative).
The professional gets in touch by email or phone to get to know the lead better, but has not yet taken any sales initiative.
Once the connection has been made, the next step is to qualify the lead, that is, check if the potential customer’s needs are compatible with the company’s offer.
This is one of the decisive stages of consultative selling, in which the SDR or pre-seller identifies and prepares the most promising leads, discovering their pain, desires and demands.
From this stage onwards, only the contacts that have reached the maturity point to close the deal will be transmitted to the sellers.
4. Negotiation and closing the deal
With the leads properly qualified and transformed into business opportunities, the pre-sales transmit these contacts to sellers specialized in negotiation and closing (also called Closers).
From there, the professionals’ mission is to demonstrate the value of the product or service, present the differences in relation to the competition and overcome the client’s objections.
All to take you to the final purchase decision, which marks the official transfer of the lead to the customer and increases revenue in finance.
After purchasing or signing the contract, the customer usually goes through onboarding: a process in which the company guides the consumer to make the best possible use of the product or service and make the most of it.
Depending on the structure of your company, this phase can be carried out by the salesperson or an after-sales team.
It can also be more intense support or just a few contacts to ensure customer adaptation, according to the complexity of the acquired solution.
Finally, the last phase of the sales process, which basically consists of maintaining contact with the customer to ensure their loyalty.
This work can be carried out by the after-sales, customer relationship or specific area of customer success, for example.
The important thing is to maintain a close and lasting relationship, sending offers to generate new opportunities and monitoring each customer’s experience.
How to Implement the Sales Process Steps
To implement the steps of the sales process, you will have to make a complete diagnosis of your commercial and plan each movement.
Check out the basic step by step to get the structuring right.
1. Assess your current sales process
The first step is to understand how your current sales process works, based on the following key points:
- What is the average length of the sales cycle and each step?
- What were the main points of contact in recent processes?
- What are the main objections faced?
- How many emails, phone calls, and demos does it take to close a sale?
- How many leads are passed and how many actually become customers?
By tracking each step of the process, you will have a broader view and all the material you need to structure your commercial.
2. Map your buyer persona’s buying journey
The next step is to map your buyer persona’s buying journey— semi-fictional character that represents your ideal buyer—to understand the customer’s point of view.
Generally, the journey has four main steps:
- learning and discovery
- problem recognition
- Solution consideration
- Buying decision.
By discovering the path that your customer is taking, you will be able to better structure the sales process.
3. Build your sales pipeline
Now you can build your own sales pipeline, or sales funnel: a map that visually represents all the steps in the sales process and directs salespeople’s actions.
So, you should create a diagram or use software representing each step and defining tasks for your team so that everyone can follow the workflow.
For example, you can split your pipeline into the six steps we saw above and define actions:
- Prospecting: creating the list of leads from marketing and sales
- Connection: send the first contact by email or phone
- Qualification: identify pains and needs with a script of questions.
And so on, as per the demands of your audience.
4. Measure your results
Structuring your sales pipeline is just the starting point, as you’ll have to closely monitor the results and measure every step of the sales process.
Over time, you’ll identify process bottlenecks and understand which steps need more attention, creating metrics to monitor progress.
Technology in the sales process
Can you imagine controlling all the stages of the sales process only on the basis of spreadsheets?
The chances of getting lost in the middle of the data are great, unless you invest in technologies to make the job easier.
Fortunately, there is already specific software for managing the sales funnel that automates tasks, integrates metrics and puts you in control of the process.
This is the case of Agendor, CRM, which offers a broad view of your sales process, from prospecting to closing, with several customization options in a 100% online platform.
To take care of the other side of the process, there are solutions like Contac Azul, which allow you to control sales from budgeting to inventory management — with everything you need to take care of your finances.
Together, these two cloud solutions can revolutionize your business, creating a single dashboard for real-time management.
Once you’ve created your sales process steps, remember to implement tools that live up to your goals — that not only organize but also streamline the process.