Building an Effective Sales Process
The current environment offers a great opportunity for you review the effectiveness of your sales process. The needs of customers and clients has potentially changed and our ability to effectively satisfy those needs through our current sales processes may need to be reviewed and updated. First, let’s provide some clarification. Because the sales process is often times confused with sales methodology it’s important that we distinguish between the two.

Sales Process defines the steps a salesperson utilizes to convert leads into customers. These process steps are fundamental and seldom have significant change. On the other hand, Sales Methodology is the approach you use in each step of the Sales Process.  This is where you’ll find the opportunity to increase the effectiveness of the sales process.

While you may find these steps defined in a variety of ways, the sales process generally includes 7 steps. Below you’ll find a description of each step with some suggestions on how to evaluate it or improve it in the current environment. These 7 steps include:

  1. Investigation – Among other things, this includes a deep understanding of your market, competitors, ideal client definition, how your product and/or service satisfies their needs, and the customer buying and decision making process.


  • Evaluate the competition. Is a competitor providing something new or different that’s challenging your ability to close a sale? Or, are they missing something obvious that you can provide the customer for a competitive advantage? Look for ways to differentiate to expand sales opportunities.
  • Talk with your customers. I know it seems obvious but ask them to describe their current needs and challenges. Look for new ways to provide solutions.
  • Leverage the knowledge and experience of the sales team. Each salesperson is interacting with prospects and customers. Tap into their knowledge about the customer needs and experience.


  1. Prospecting – This is a matter of defining and connecting with the specific prospects that fit your ideal customer profile.


  • Re-assess you Ideal Customer Profile. Has it changed? If so, how? And what do you need to do to address this new opportunity.


  1. Needs Identification – This part of the process is about discovering what the customer needs and how selling them your product or service can satisfy that need.


  • Create Customized Solutions. At this stage listen intently to what the customer is saying in regard to their challenges and needs. They may require a different approach, product, or service. Identify that and customize the right solution for their business. This type of special attention gains tremendous loyalty for future sales.


  1. Sales Presentation – The sales presentation articulates the value proposition to the prospect in a way that leads them to understand how your product or service is of value to them and worth purchasing.


  • Provide Alternative Presentation Methods. In the current environment, in person presentations may not be the best avenue for your prospects. Find ways to leverage technology through online meetings, videos, and well designed presentation content that allows for the appropriate interaction between the prospect and the salesperson.


  1. Managing Objections – At this point the salesperson responds to any objections the prospect may have and builds a comfort level with the prospect that this purchase is the right decision.


  • Knock down the hurdles. Managing objections will always be a component of the sales process. Doing it well is all about putting yourself in the customers shoes and finding ways that provide them comfort in the willingness to say “yes”. Listen for understanding, and if possible, apply the customized solution approach.


  1. Closing – Once Objections have been satisfactorily addressed, it’s time to close the deal. This includes the typical aspects of developing a proposal, obtaining signatures, and/or a financial commitment.


  • Leverage Digital. In an environment where in person meetings are limited leverage digital technology for providing closing agreements, obtaining signatures, and accepting payments. The easier you can make this process the more likely the prospect will stay engaged and complete the sale.


  1. Relationship Management – Once the sale is closed it’s important that the company nurture their customers in a way that quickly addresses any customer concerns, requests feedback, offers additional services, seeks repeat business, or obtains referrals to other potential customers.


  • Utilize a quality CRM system and leverage technology. Follow up is key and technology can be your virtual assistant keeping you engaged with existing customers. Surveys, reminders, special offers, follow up meetings can all be accomplished through automated scheduling and delivery, but don’t forget the phone call or personal visit. The personal touch is the most critical, but technology can sure help manage the process.


As you evaluate your sales process make sure that it incorporates the following characteristics for maximum effectiveness. Any sales process should be:

  • Customer Focused
  • Well Defined
  • Repeatable
  • Predictable
  • Goal Driven
  • Measurable & Reportable, and
  • Flexible

As you go through this review and evaluation, update your sales process for effectiveness in this new environment. Memorialize the process for your sales staff, identifying the steps, action items, and expected results for each step. As always, monitor the process, listen for wins and challenges, and course correct, as necessary. Don’t just assume that the first version is the best version. Use a continuous improvement approach.

Join my Navigational Roundtable to see how other business owners are addressing their sales process. And, to learn more or request a free Strategic Business Assessment contact with me at For more key tips on business success check out my other blogs at and connect with me on Linked In.

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