A good sales process can help you to win your opportunities—and faster, too. But a good sales process has three different sets of stakeholders. If it is designed and executed well, it will serve all three of these stakeholder groups.
Your Dream Client’s Stakeholders
Your dream client contacts are stakeholders in your sales process. They have needs as they go through their buying process, and if you get your sales process correct, it will serve those needs.
Your sales process will serve their buying process. It will address their needs, regardless of whether you find them without dissatisfaction, with some recognition of their needs, when they are evaluating their options, or when they are trying to resolve their concerns and mitigate risk. Your sales process must create value at every stage of your prospective client’s buying process.
Your sales process also has to serve your dream client’s needs as your future client. It needs to help build consensus and develop the relationships that will allow you to execute and manage change.
You, Your Deal, and Your Quota
It’s sometimes difficult for salespeople to believe—or remember—that their sales process is really designed in part to serve them. You also have a stake in following your sales process.
Your process should be a reverse engineering of all of the activities you must take, as well as the commitments you must gain, as you move forward from target to close. Your sales process codifies your best practices, and it helps to stack the deck in your favor. It helps you to win before there is ever a contest.
Your process helps you to win your dream client opportunity, and it helps you make your number. You are another primary stakeholder in the process. It can define the way you sell.
Your Sales Organization
While it’s difficult for salespeople to believe that their clients are stakeholders in their process, and while they don’t often think of themselves as a beneficiary of a good process, they have no trouble understanding the process serves their sales organization.
And your sales organization does need to be served by your sales process.
You sales management team needs the ability to forecast future sales. They need to provide reliable information to management so that other decisions may be made. The process provides the forecast with integrity.
The sales process also serves other processes and systems. Documentation is needed, including credit-worthiness, service agreements and expectations, and legal documents. The sales process addresses the collection of information that serves your company’s other processes and systems.
It’s often overlooked, but a good sales process can help produce the information, the documentation, and the relationships that allow for a good handoff. Getting your internal professional service firm engaged in the sales process can help you to win your opportunity—and to execute once you have.
Who is your sales process designed to serve?
What needs do your buyers have as they move through their buying process and how can your sales process serve those needs?
How does your sales process help you to win opportunities and to build a competitive advantage through your sales actions?
How does your sales process serve your organization?
When you don’t follow your sales process, what do you put at risk for these stakeholders?