The set of repeatable steps that the sales team of an organization performs can be called Sales Process. The sales process of a company addresses the ‘how’ and ‘when’ questions with regards to sales. An ideal and effective sales process has clearly defined, repeatable steps that are adopted by the majority of the sales workforce in the organization. Further, a sales process is only effective when it is periodically reviewed and improved as per the market conditions. Companies to lead and rise above in the market, also design a Sales Strategy.
CRM: Leveraging technology to increase sales and reach operational efficiency has been the general norm in business these days. CRM or Customer Relationship Management is an approach by the company to manage its interaction with current and potential customers. The best CRM software is a category of software covering a broad set of applications that help business manage many of its business processes such as customer support, customer data, marketing, and contracts efficiently. CRM has the ability to track the sales process.
Sales Pipeline: The sales process has different stages that the customer may pass through while making a purchase. The very common sales process steps are listed and defined below:
Prospecting: At this stage, company has just enough information to know that there is a potential sale where the company’s product might suit the customer’s requirement.
Opportunity: This is the stage where a meeting may happen between sales rep and the potential customer.
Investigation: This stage is where the company has a better understanding of customer requirement as there was already an interaction between the potential customer and the company.
Presentation: With all the required information related to the deal, a proposal has been submitted to the potential customer. This is where the idea is presented.
Closure: This is a deal or no deal stage. The deal can be won by the company or its competitors.
Deal Stages in CRM:
CRM in the organization keeps track of the various stages of the customer’s journey in the sales pipeline. In other words, with the help of CRM, the sales team in an organization can locate the exact change at which the deal with the customer is at any given point of time and take necessary action to speed up the process to close the deal.
Depending on the Sales CRM that an organization uses, some or all of the below deal stages could be part of the application.
Prospecting: This is similar to the prospecting stage that we have discussed above. At this stage, it is possible that a qualified person from the company has reached out to the lead and established contact with him.
Meeting scheduled: Sales rep has reached out to the lead and scheduled a formal appointment. Lead has agreed to meet with the sales rep at this stage.
Requirements Analysis: During the conversation with the lead, sales rep does a needs analysis and determines whether the product meets the client’s requirement.
Determine buy or no buy qualification: Based on the needs analysis done in the above stage, a lead is determined if he is a ‘qualified to buy’ or not. Also, another meeting could be scheduled to present a targeted sales pitch based on the outcome of this stage.
Formal presentation: A more formal presentation that is tailored considering the customers’ needs will be presented by the sales rep during this meeting.
Buy or no buy decision: This is the key phase where the lead will become a client of the company or a client of the competitor. If the client gives a verbal or electronic go ahead then the next stage will see a contract exchange.
Contract exchange: Contract is prepared by the company with terms and conditions and budget and then sent to customer to close the deal.
Deal – Won – Closure: The deal is won and closed. The lead converts to client for the company.
However, a company with a successful sales strategy will not consider a deal lost as a closure deal. The company might investigate the reasons behind losing the deal as there could be multiple reasons such as product not meeting requirement or deal lost to competitor etc. Based on these reasons, company might make changes to the product or their approach of marketing the product to mark the deal as ‘deal-won-closure’ when they have the opportunity the next time.
Success of a company is greatly dependent on how closely their internal sales process is aligned with the various deal stages in CRM Tool to better track and manage the leads and convert them to sales.
| About the Guest Author: