6 Sales Process Best Practices to Drive Team-Wide Adoption
Despite the importance of sales, many companies fail to develop and implement a consistent, thoughtful and measurable sales process.
Instead, they might set a financial goal and rely on their organization’s sales professionals to figure the rest out, leaving much to chance and giving themselves little ability and measure the success of their efforts.
Or… Your team does have a sales process in place… But, chances are, it’s either not being followed, not providing the results you anticipated, or not able to be measured so you can optimize the bottlenecks.
Research shows that you have go to “all the way” with adopting a process to get the results. Having a loosely-followed process is almost equivalent to having no process at all. This paired with not having the right roles, goals, and tools creates a costly gap in sales process development, adoption, and optimization.
And it doesn’t have to be this way.
Rather than relying on chance and the personal expertise of sales personnel alone, businesses can and should develop sales processes that are easily repeatable, scalable, and ripe with good data.
Beyond just having an awesome sales process, you need to optimize the time you spend managing the sales process. If you’re constantly asking sales reps if they have what they need and how you can help, you’re wasting precious time. Instead, optimize the collection of qualitative and quantitative feedback from the team so you can spend this time strategically, not tactically.
That way, your sales teams have a better chance at positive outcomes, and at guiding customers from early acquisition to closure.
There’s a ton of advice on how to build your sales process out there. And while you can use downloadable sales process templates or flowcharts, every sales process is going to be different.
But the design of your sales process isn’t the most important thing…
Research shows that you have go to “all the way” with adopting a process to get the results. Having a loosely-followed process is almost equivalent to having no process at all, according to research.
That’s why I want to focus on the best practices of building a sales process that your team will actually adopt instead of focusing on the intricacies of designing your sales process. I am happy to chat about that 1:1 though — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore.
Alright, let’s get to it.
Best Practices in Building Your Sales Process
In designing and executing a scalable and repeatable sales process, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind.
1. Ask Your Sales Team for Feedback on The Current Sales Process
While you may be in charge of making decisions about what the sales process will be, ultimately it is your sales team that is responsible for its daily execution. These people know a great deal about your product, your customers, and, ideally, what they as sales professionals need in order to succeed in their roles.
To that end, it’s a good idea to consult with them about what might work for them and what probably won’t as they guide your customers through the sales funnel. The most effective sales processes I’ve personally seen were built in direct collaboration between sales leadership and the sales team. Don’t just build and ask for feedback — build it with your team.
They’ll feel like owners of the process and you’ll get that initial buy-in that is so, so crucial.
Asking for this input is doubly beneficial. Not only does it help you to zero-in on building strategies and tactics that are already working, asking your team also demonstrates a commitment to collaborating that will—ideally—ensure that the adoption of a new sales process goes smoothly and is accepted by your team with enthusiasm.
2. Design Your Sales Process Around What’s (Repeatedly) Worked in the Past
What are all the sales and marketing campaigns your team has conducted?
Ask your reps again — chances are they’re doing a lot of stuff you have very little insight into if you don’t simply ask.
As you gather this data, look for trends of what has worked across reps.
Did a certain ebook introduce great leads into the funnel? Did a certain nurture campaign perform consistently? Is social selling driving a positive ROI for you?
Then, start asking yourself a different set of questions.
What are the things you need to learn from your customers and provide them with as they go through their journey with your sales team? What parts of the process are, essentially, bloatware that just complicate matters?
These two groups of questions are important questions to ask yourself as you design your sales process. You’ll want to set realistic, reasonable expectations that are going to move you toward your organization’s desired goals while cutting out cumbersome elements that don’t serve you as well as you might hope.
Think carefully about all of this as you build your sales process, tailoring it specifically for your team, your product, your customer and your goals rather than running with whatever conventional sales plan seems best. That way, you can get the most value out of your process without bogging yourself, your team or your customers down with material or tactics that aren’t relevant to them.
3. Create a Sales Process Implementation Campaign
The best-laid plans can’t amount to much if they aren’t executed. That goes for your sales processes, too.
Once you’ve designed your sales process and are ready to implement it, it’s important that you secure buy-in from the people that have to execute it.
Working with your team to develop your sales process makes the implementation and adoption phase a whole lot smoother. If you didn’t build your sales process with your team, go back to step one!
Reinforcing the sales process early and integrating it throughout your team’s existing technology, habits, and schedules is crucial to long-term success. Post adoption, you need to have an ongoing system for tracking your team’s usage of the sales process.
Sales leaders should develop a reasonable “lead-up” campaign that educates their team on the sales process, helping them to understand the importance of complying with it and its purpose.
Some sales process implementation campaign ideas include:
- Planning a team-wide meeting to go over the new process
- Using tools to make the sales process easily accessible
- Creating interactive content around the sales process
- Quizzing team members on the sales process
- Asking for feedback after implementation
4. Use Tools to Increase Adoption of the Sales Process
A variety of tools exist to help ensure that sales processes are properly adopted and followed.
Everyone knows the OG Salesforce — the tool that revolutionized sales forever and introduced the world to SaaS.
Today, there are now thousands of sales tools with all sorts of covering categories like “field sales software”, “sales acceleration software”, and even “e-signature software”, as seen on G2Crowd.
Every tool has a unique purpose, but all are intended to enable a smarter sales process by helping sales teams perform different parts more efficiently.
RocketVisor, focuses on making the entire sales process more efficient by providing users with sales triggers to remind them of what actions they need to take throughout the customer journey, training reinforcement, pre-call preparation and a variety of other tools to help sales professionals do their best and follow an established sales process.
Sales tools are an investment in both time and money, so it is important that company leadership is thoughtful about what is most important to sales at their organizations and how they can garner the best returns. The industry is waking up to the fact that it’s no longer good enough just to publish a binder with the sales process and give it lip service. Teams are waking up and realizing that sales process leads to results, and they need to make it easier for the team to follow to actually get the results.
Tools can make sure that it is widely adopted across teams with less work and more accuracy.
5. Follow Up Post-Implementation Personally and Analyze Results
After your sales process has been designed and implemented, it’s important to keep track of how its performing and the impact it is having on your team.
Leaders should follow up with their sales teams on a regular basis to gather learnings about how the new sales process is going. Are sales improving? What are customer satisfaction levels like? Do employees feel that the new tools at their disposal are making the sales process easier and the outcomes better?
Regular follow-up is critical for a variety of reasons. What may work one day might not work forever—and it’s important to keep abreast of any early warnings that your company’s sales process is deteriorating in any way.
If your sales process is not being adopted, either the tools make it hard to be adopted or the process asks the reps to do things they don’t see value in.
Identify which side is the problem and either that step doesn’t add value and should be removed, or the reps aren’t clear on the value of the step and should be shown why it’s a critical step in the sales process.
Either way, having steps in the process that aren’t being followed is bad for business.
6. Don’t Micromanage The Sales Process
While you certainly want to build a sales process that is performance-driven, thoughtful, replicable and able to work at scale, what you don’t want to do is alienate your team or bog them down with so many steps, check-ins or other distractions that they don’t have the opportunity to do what matters most: closing deals.
While it may be tempting to lean in a little too hard to your precious, new sales process, it’s important that you build a system that is well-adopted and reinforced, but grounded in trust. Let your employees do what they do best, and try not to get in their way except when truly necessary. If an employee goes rogue from the sales process but is excelling, ask them why they chose to do things differently and how they can help the whole team succeed.
Keep These Sales Process Best Practices in Mind
Implementing a new sales process takes a great deal of work, and it isn’t always easy. These factors can add up to a fairly meaningful challenge—but if you follow these sales process best practices as laid out, you’re certain to improve the likelihood of your success in the short and long term.