So, where are we with this deal?
As sales team leader for decades, I’ve cringed every one of the countless times I’ve had to ask this question. And judging by the looks I’ve received, those being asked weren’t too thrilled either.
That’s one reason I’m a very verbal champion of managing the sales process through an automated platform like a CRM. It allows a real-time, unbiased 360° view into all of your company’s sales opportunities, activities, and goals, which means you can quickly identify and respond to areas that need improvement. Here are a few key areas where I find focus and visibility to be imperative:
Qualify Your Leads
The sales process starts with leads, so let’s begin there. Not every prospect will turn into a customer. Do they have the budget? Do they have decision-making authority? Are they ready to buy or just window-shopping? You could damage your profitability by trying too hard or too long, so define a qualification process with consistent parameters.
eBook - Sales Process Best Practices Download the Guide
Sales Process Best PracticesDownload the Guide
Maintain Pipeline Momentum and Flow
Your sales pipeline should have five major stages: prospecting, qualification, proposal, decision and repeat business. Managing that pipeline is essential to being in control of your sales success.
Creating sales funnel reports with a CRM provides a way to follow opportunities as they move along the line. What seems to propel, slow, or stop a sale? Maybe your qualification process is ineffective, clogging up the funnel. Or your proposals are too vague, halting decision-making. Knowing where blockages exist will help you make sound decisions about when to nurture or let go of a prospect and how processes may need to be altered.
Measure Stages of the Sales Cycle
Measure results in stages so you know what’s working (or not) and when. You should continually strive to shorten the sales cycle, close deals faster, increase profitability, and move opportunities along more quickly.
Stay on Top of the Team
An automated platform gives sales managers the ability to see what reps are working on and where they might be letting things slide. While that might sound a little one-sided, sales reps benefit from a system that makes lead assignment clear and reveals the need for additional support and training before it’s too late.
As beneficial as a CRM tool is to the sales process, it’s of limited value if the data isn’t put to good use. Act on what you learn. Hold regular huddles to review key information.
Forecast based on the trends being reported.
Understanding and implementing best practices for managing your sales process will build a lasting foundation for success. And that’s a big deal.