Sales process is a term used to describe the steps required to win a sale. Many businesses talk freely about sales process without actually having a clearly defined process that can be measured.

In this article I will help you get your head around what sales process really means and why it is so important.

If I was to ask you how to make a perfect cup of tea you might start giving me a list of steps to be done. The order in which I do them may be important too. For example, it will probably be important to boil the water before putting the tea bag into the water!

At a superficial level a sales process is a list of steps that need to be completed to win a sale. Its a bit like a ‘To Do’ list. For example, a typical consultative sales process will include steps like:
1. Generate Interest
2. Confirm Interest
3. Discover problem and motivation.
4. Propose solution
5. Negotiate sale
6. Conclude the sale

Each stage of the sales process will have a number of activities that are normally required. Some will be essential and some may be conditional on circumstances. For example, at the negotiate sale stage it may involve discussions about pricing or timing but sometimes it may not. Each business should continually refine the activities at each stage.

The important thing about the sales process is that each sale goes through each stage of the process, even if it is done quite quickly. A common mistake is for a sales person to propose a solution before discovering the problem and motivation.

Having a common sales process provides the basis for a common language and sales approach in a sales team and makes the management of sales performance so much easier.

Tracking where an opportunity is in the sales process helps a sales person to know what to do next. Reviewing the performance of each task is how to improve sales results. A small improvement in key tasks can make a significant difference to the final sale.

Tracking the volume of opportunities and where they are within the sales process really helps to make future sales more predictable.