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Sales Process: Real-World Examples
Blog / Sales Management / May 29, 2013 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 13545 

Sales Process: Real-World Examples

Real world Examples of Effective Sales Process Implementation

Numerous forward-thinking companies have discovered the vital necessity of having and using a sales process.

That is: isolating, understanding and establishing as policy the precise steps of a sale, from prospect to close. Without it, sales reps may be skipping vital steps and missing sales and management has no way to forecast. Using it, the entire company operates as a team and enables smooth and scalable expansion.

How does a sales process—also known as pipeline management—affect a company’s overall sales?

A 2012 study by CSO Insights found that companies with workable sales processes had higher numbers of reps making quotas, higher percentages of company target attainments, reached a higher percentage of forecasted sales, and had lower sales turnover. The study also found that companies with a higher degree of established sales processes had more meaningful relationships with their clients and had a far better chance of becoming trusted partners as opposed to simply suppliers:

#1: Real World Example – B2B Software Company

One extremely successful B2B software company, who nearly doubled sales every year for its first three years of operation and then had substantial increases for many years thereafter, established precise pipeline management near the beginning. The steps were:

  • Lead obtained
  • Contact and location of key decision maker at the company
  • Obtaining agreement of decision maker on trying a demo of the product
  • Trial period, during which rep is in regular contact with prospect, offering free tech support as needed and continuing to find and stress importance of product to prospect’s company
  • Closing of sale with key decision maker
  • Selling tech support contract as part of close
  • Following purchase through approval process at company
  • Purchase approved, booking of sale
  • Collection
  • Following up and making sure product is working well with client
  • Obtaining of success story which can be used to interest others in the same industry/type of site
  • Further prospecting for other sites/systems at same company that should be using product
  • Prospecting for other companies that the company knows should be using product

Note that this pipeline is self-sustaining; in addition to leads obtained from other sources (promotional campaigns, ads, trade shows) plentiful leads come right from within the sales process itself.

#2: Real World Example – B2C Software Company

Another software company, which customizes systems for its clients, operates with this sustainable sales pipeline:

  • Initial contact during which interest is obtained and requirements for potential system are acquired
  • Design stage, at which potential client system is designed per obtained specifications
  • Proposal to client
  • Proof to client that solution meets their needs, and all key decision makers are convinced
  • Close

#3: Real World Example – Real Estate the Short Sale

In a completely different industry, one real estate company wisely established a sales pipeline for short sales, which were prolific during the economic downturn and needed to be rapidly executed:

  • Beginning stage, during which the lenders were contacted and house was officially put up for sale.
  • Submission stage, in which the contract was obtained and complete short sale package was submitted to lenders (package elements were listed out to be followed during this stage)
  • Review stage, during which file was checked for completeness, house was appraised and other actions taken.
  • Approval stage during which loan is approved and a letter generated to listing agent. If approval doesn’t occur, either a counter-offer is made or file is closed.
  • Close, at which financing is complete, title is obtained and other elements are finalized.

In each of these cases, it is readily observable how a established pipeline management puts everyone on the same page. Decision points are built into the process, taking time, possible confusion and errors out of the sales cycle, and sales can occur much more rapidly and efficiently.

As a final note, a flexible CRM Software that allows company to utilize their own unique sales process or processes is vital to the isolating and utilization of sales pipeline management.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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