Running a sales pitch within seconds of introducing yourself rarely has a positive outcome. Whether you're the one selling something or the recipient of one, closing a deal usually falls through when no connection has been established.

There's a good reason that sales funnels exist and that several sales funnel builders are popping out like mushrooms. This is because a funnel takes a potential client through a journey that guarantees a sale.

At the first point of contact, a potential client doesn’t know a thing about you. If they don’t know you, they won’t trust you with their business.

This is why there should be an effective sales process in place, which is primarily all about building relationships. It is gaining trust as a salesperson and building interest in your product, whether you’re selling directly to consumers or dealing with B2B sales.

Step-by-Step Guide on How To Prepare Your Sales Process For 2021

1.  Consult Your Sales Team

Your sales process has a significant impact on how your sales team works. Thus, it’s only common sense that you develop a new plan that meets their expectations and needs.

With that said, your first step to preparing your sales process for the new year to come is to spend time talking with your sales representatives.

Ask for their opinion on the current sales process. What parts are effective? What areas do they think need improvement?

You also need to ask for specific ideas, feedback, and innovative concepts. The more you talk to them, the better you can understand their individual sales style. This can help you prepare a sales process that can make them a more effective salesperson.

The more input they provide, the more likely you can create a sales process that caters to their expectations and needs.

2.   Pinpoint Weaknesses in the Current Sales Process

While your sales team can provide you with a general idea of how effective your current sales process is, you should also identify specific weak points in the process you create to become an effective sales manager.

How?

First, you need to map out the current sales process that your team currently follows. This should be already documented in your CRM. In case you don’t have one, you can jot down each step a sales representative takes in order to convert a lead into a customer.

Make sure to include specific details with every step, including the amount of time that passes between each process. Then, compare the process to the last few closed sales of your team.

Is this really the method they followed? Are there any steps that are out of place or missing?

Once you get a clear picture of the steps that your representatives take in order to generate leads and close a deal, you can look for weaknesses where the potential customers might be falling out of the process.

Some of the most common ones include:

Not Tracking KPIs

Applying analytics and metrics to a process that’s based on relationships and trust like sales can be difficult. However, if you exclude KPIs from your sales process, you’ll find it difficult to pinpoint strong points or problems in the process.

No Money-Talks

Talking about money is necessary for the sale process. If you don’t have a point that discusses the budget in your process or waiting until they are ready to deal before asking what they can afford, then you’re only wasting their time and yours.

A Sales Process Misaligned with the Company’s Objectives

You need to connect your sales process to what the company is trying to achieve as a whole. You need to focus the process in order to close sales of a specific service or product or to a specific group of people to provide your representatives with a common sales goal to work with.

3.   Re-Evaluate Customer Personas

After identifying internal issues, the next step is to look at the external issues that reduce the efficiency of your sales process.

By now, your sales funnel should be full of individuals who match your ideal customer or share most of the same characteristics and qualities.

If clients are not lining up, then there may be an issue between who you really want to connect with and who your sales process is actually connecting with. Such a situation can be a headache for your sales team.

To solve this issue, you need to re-evaluate your customer personas.

The thing is customer personas change over time. The people you are selling to now will mature. This means that their needs and problems can change. In addition, new competitors are always entering the market which can change the way your leads and prospects buy.

If your customer personas aren’t updated to reflect such changes, then your whole process can easily become useless. It will also have a less-targeted impact on the content you put out, which will affect your efforts to make money blogging.

It’s important that the information you offer still answers your customers’ questions. Are representatives still connecting your services or products to your customers’ goals? Can they still touch the pain points or motivations of your customers?

4.   Develop The Sales Process From The Buyer’s POV

It’s easy to create a sales process with your sales team’s POV. But it’s also ineffective. Why? Well, your sales team is not the star of the show—your customers are. Thus, you need to focus more on your customers, how you can solve their problems, and not on closing a sale.

Here’s an example:

Let’s just say you want to try email marketing for prospecting. You don’t just spook them with an email newsletter signup form, popping on your website, and wait with fingers crossed that they respond to you.

You need to understand how they research their problems. If they turn to social media, then be there to answer their questions. Do so even if the questions are not directed to you per se.

5.   Modernize Your Tools

Outdated apps or tools that do not meet your sales team’s needs can slow them down. And in this era filled with every smart technology, including AI, you can think of, you can find innovative sales management tools that can enhance the effectiveness of the sales process.

The most common ones are:

CRM

Short for Customer Relationship Management, CRM streamlines your sales process for your sales team by strong information and data about leads and prospects, managing, and optimizing workflow.

Reporting/Analytics

Analytics and reporting tools can help you measure KPIs and gives you a better view of how close you are to reaching objectives and goals. Not only that, but these tools should also provide updated insights on the efficiency of your sales process, allowing you to make changes and adjustments in real-time.

Automation

With the right automation tools, you can reduce the amount of time your sales team spends on data entry, communication, lead scoring, and more. Automations for things such as pulling data or email campaigns can help your sales team make the most of their hours and stay productive. For example, you can use Salesforce to manage contracts and minimize or eliminate legal problems, and to cut down the time and effort spent on closing deals. Gatekeeper is also a great alternative if you're looking for a contract management tool.

Scheduling

Make sure that you have all your meetings scheduled and thoroughly planned. With tools like Harmonizely, you can easily keep this on track.

PDF tracking

You may also think about testing out some solutions for document tracking. HelpRange can support PDF tracking, PDF analytics and even generating extra sales leads via PDFs.

Final Thoughts

An effective sales process now may lose its touch tomorrow. To prevent this from happening, you need to make consistent updates and changes in developing your sales process.

Don’t get caught up in developing the perfect sales process and never be afraid to try something new or start from scratch. You never know what changes can bring improvement to your process.