A successful sales process is a small business’s best friend. It keeps things humming. People move from interest to customer on a regular basis. Your team knows where to spend their time. It’s a beautiful thing.
When it works.
Sadly, there are many small businesses out there dealing with a broken sales process. Maybe yours is one of them. Here’s how to fix it.
Fine Tune Your Sales Process for Movement
Sales processes break down because they get clogged up. You may have too many leads in your first step, or your third step, and instead of sorting through all the possibilities, sales reps work with what’s top of mind or, these days, top of email in-box.
When your sales pipeline gets cluttered up, sometimes it’s just easier to throw it away.
But what if it never got cluttered up?
The secret to successful sales is to have a process that efficiently moves people from one step of the sale to the next.
How to Keep Sales Moving
There are a few things you can do to make sure a person is moving from one stage to the next.
- Always plan a next step. Whether the person is in your first step or your last, you need to know what you are going to do next. Say you have a new lead and you need to qualify them. Maybe you do this with an email. Send that email, then give yourself a task to check back in with the person in a day or two. Without that task, the person may just get lost in the shuffle if they never respond to your email.
- Be honest. Sometimes a person isn’t going to buy. Don’t leave them in your sales process. Get them out to make way for someone who is more likely to buy. You can keep them on your newsletter list and tag them for future follow up in your CRM, but be quick to remove them from your more formal sales pipeline.
- Have a system. Your sales process should be a system, not just a general idea. Your reps need a way to note where each person is in the sales process, what has already been done, and what should be done next. You could use software, such as our own Batchbook Deals, or you can have your own method (sticky notes on a giant whiteboard, anyone?). But know this, if you can’t tell where a person is currently in the sales process, you can’t get them moving along to the next step.
Stop the Overload
One final thought. Not every person you meet is a new lead. And even if they are a lead, not every lead should be dumped into your sales funnel. Do a bit of qualifying before you start trying to move a person into your sales process. This will help you to not overload the system and break it before it even has a chance to work.
By having fewer and more qualified people in your sales process, you will help your reps be more successful. They’ll know that every person needs action and has a legitimate chance of becoming a happy customer. And they’ll also know they can remove people from the process that don’t look like they are ready to become your customer.
Make movement a priority in your sales process. Have a next step for every single person who is actively on their way to becoming a customer. And have a system to help your sales reps stay on top of it all.
If you’d like more advice about sales, check out our guide to Doing Sales Right.