The firm establishment of a sales process, closely reflecting specific real-world sales actions that move sales from prospect to close, is vital to a company’s smooth operation and expansion. But not only is such establishment needed for salespeople and sales managers—it is also quite important for other individuals and departments outside of immediate pipeline management.
5 Tips How to Improve Your Sales Process from the Outside
#1: Executive Level
An executive or senior executive viewpoint of company revenue of necessity encompasses far more than only sales. It must include R&D, product development, marketing, public relations, customer service and other key areas. A well-established sales process, however—along with a CRM sales tool that easily and accurately reflects each stage of the pipeline—will yield views for an executive that will allow key decision-making for each of these areas.
For example, a fine-tuned sales process and CRM will allow analysis of lost sales and failed closes. There is much an executive can learn from such analyses, outside of the sales operation itself. For example, is the company’s product or service completely relevant in today’s market? Is pricing a consistent issue? Are opportunities being lost for new products or services that could be developed? Is marketing making promises that the product or service cannot meet? Is delivery occurring in a timely manner? Is support adequate, and are customers happy with it?
At the same time, a similar analysis (and a far happier one) can be conducted which will answer these questions for sales that have been closed, highlighting the reasons sales continue to occur≈. This allows successful actions to be strengthened across the enterprise, and even others developed.
A marketing executive analyzing the specific stages of a sales pipeline can isolate ways in which marketing can be even more effective. For example, each stage can be examined from the standpoint of types of collateral that would be useful for that stage. Specific and relevant messaging for each stage can be evolved that speeds up the sales cycle.
Such collateral could be as simple as an email gently reminding a prospect to perform that product evaluation, to a list of extra features the prospect may not be aware of, or even a discount offered for placing an order before a certain date.
Another angle is to meet with salespeople (something they will be highly appreciate of) and get their input on each stage of the sales process, and what marketing could do to assist them at various phases.
#3: R & D and Product Development
During and after the sales process—and especially during any product evaluation—sales reps are constantly getting input about a company’s product or service. Shared through an intelligent CRM tool in various stages of pipeline management, this data can be invaluable to R & D and product development.
Tabulated, such information can answer such questions as: What new features do we need to develop and incorporate? What bugs exist in the current product that we need to rapidly address? What new products could we develop that would sell well?
Financial analysis is one of the fundamentals of business operation. The importance of analysis accuracy cannot be overstated: boards of directors, partners and investors count on such analyses to make crucial decisions affecting the company’s future. A critical component is, of course, sales forecasts.
A well-developed and stated sales pipeline—with stages that actually occur and make a difference to the overall sales cycle—greatly assists financial officers in making sales forecasts. How many potential sales are in the pipeline? At the rate they are coming in and closing, how is our year shaping up? What products or product lines are selling the best, and should be strengthened to boost our chances of a more profitable future?
#5: Across the Enterprise
It can clearly be seen that the better and more realistically established the sales process, the more of a positive impact it has on the company. With each of these key areas (and others as needed) obtaining information from each stage of the sales process, the entire company can operate as a smooth-running team.