Services
TAYA

They Ask, You Answer Mastery

A coaching & training program that drives unmatched sales & marketing results.

Sales

Sales Performance Mastery

Improve the competencies and close rates of your sales organization.

Web design

Website Mastery

Web design, development & training for your team.

HubSpot

HubSpot Mastery

Everything you need to get the most from HubSpot.

AI Mastery

AI Enablement Mastery

Unlock the power of AI in all aspects of your revenue operations.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session
Learning Center
Learning Center

Learning Center

Free resources to help you improve the way you market, sell and grow your business.

[NEW] The Endless Customers Podcast is now available everywhere. Learn how to earn trust & win more customers in the age of AI. Listen Now Listen Now

Free Assessment: How does your sales & marketing measure up?

Close

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
John Becker

By John Becker

May 28, 2023

Topics:

Inbound Sales Sales Process
Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly newsletter.

Get the most relevant, actionable digital sales and marketing insights you need to make smarter decisions faster... all in under five minutes.

Thanks, stay tuned for our upcoming edition.
Inbound Sales  |   Sales Process

How To Improve Your Sales Process

John Becker

By John Becker

May 28, 2023

How To Improve Your Sales Process

If you know your sales process needs work — but you aren’t sure exactly what work needs to be done — you’re not alone.

Most of the business leaders and sales managers we work with want to improve their sales process, but they aren’t sure if that means making a few tweaks or initiating a complete overhaul. 

They come to us with the same core challenges: boosting their close rate, speeding up their sales process, and preventing a bottleneck of deals getting stuck in various stages.

If you’re tired of attempting to smooth out your sales process by trial and error, this one's for you. Here at IMPACT, we’ve helped hundreds of B2B and B2C companies eliminate wasteful guesswork and improve their sales processes.

In this article, we’re going to explain:

  • How to improve your sales process.
  • What assignment selling is, how it works, and how it optimizes your sales process.

With these tips, your team will be able to shorten their sales cycle and be far more efficient in helping grow your business’s bottom line.

Improve your sales process in 7 steps

A sales process requires constant tinkering and tweaking to get it right. If your sales process isn't working like it should, follow these steps to improve it.

1. Make sure the stages of your sales process are well defined

The first thing your team should do is map out what happens during a typical sales journey, from acquiring a lead to closing the sale.

For most companies, this looks like a flow chart of touch points, which will be unique to your business, as every company’s sales process is different.

Spend time analyzing your process and your buyers' needs. You’ll start to see a few natural stages emerge. Common stages include:

  • Connect
  • Explore
  • Present solution
  • Agreement
  • Close

Yours may have other variations too. For example, you may have a goal-setting and planning call between the time you explore your opportunity and present your solution.

deal-stages

Get familiar with what happens at each stage. Think of the questions the buyer asks. Be clear about what makes someone ready to move from one stage to the next.

You should refrain from thinking of each stage as a distinct call or meeting. Yes, a five-stage sales process will often have five meetings, but there are times when it could have three or four or six or seven instead. 

Remember that at each stage, some prospects will get weeded out — either because your team disqualifies them or because they opt out. 

The point is to be clear about what needs to be true for a deal to move forward. 

2. ...and base those stages around your buyer's needs

As you're doing this, also lay out the decisions customers need to make to buy from you.

It always amazes us how many companies build their sales process without really thinking about what their buyers need.

Let's say you sell billing software targeted to medical offices.

What do your customers need to decide in order to buy from you?

Well, first they need to decide that the way they've done things in the past (either a different software or by hand) is holding them back and they need a change.

decision-points

If they haven't made that decision, they're not ready to move on to the next stage of your sales process. They're not ready to choose a pricing tier before they decide that they're buying the software.

3. Use a CRM to track your sales pipeline

You need to get your sales team to use a customer relationship management tool (or CRM) to track their sales process and to enter data.

Proper CRM adoption is critical for:

  • Sales efficiency
  • Team alignment
  • Tracking customer data
  • Making smart decisions

Yet, many sales pros are resistant to using them, and it can be difficult to get them on board.

CRM-for-sales

After training hundreds of clients on how to get their sales reps using the HubSpot CRM, we’ve come up with a few tips for getting buy-in:

  1. Explain the why. Your sales team will want to know what’s in it for them. Tell them a CRM can help them streamline communication and land more sales. It can also automate their day-to-day tasks, such as making and recording sales calls and follow-up emails — saving them a ton of time.
  2. Organize a learning workshop. This helps your team learn not only how to use the technology, but also how other sales reps like them are doing, which can be a motivating factor. It’s also a great opportunity for your team to ask any questions they have that might be getting in the way.
  3. Get your team’s commitment. Have them agree to use the technology, and teach them one element of the functionality at a time so it’s not too overwhelming all at once.
  4. Hold them accountable. Set the precedent that if the action wasn’t recorded in your CRM — and accurately — it never happened.

Overall, emphasize how important the CRM is to the team's success. Without this data, it’s impossible to know what to improve and how to improve your sales process moving forward.

4. Create tools, playbooks, and checklists for each step 

At each step you’ve mapped out in your prospects’ buyer journey, there should be pieces of content or tools created by your marketing team designed to help educate the buyer at that stage.

As a few examples, these could be something like:

  • Blog articles that explain key features of what you sell
  • Videos that explain your pricing structure
  • Buyer's guides that detail your services
  • Configuration tools that let the buyer customize certain options
  • Case studies that tell the stories of successful clients in the past

Sales reps should have a library of this content to use with prospects.

sales-content-library

Knowing this, rather than waiting for the prospect to say, "but I just don't understand how this certain feature works," they can anticipate a question or concern and share content preemptively. 

If this is something they usually hear in the explore phase, they can share content ahead of time to get this question taken care of:

"Hi James,

I know you're likely to have questions about each feature, so I'm sending along our buyer's guide, which covers each one in depth, as well as how different features influence the final price."

The better your library of content, the more efficient your sales process can become. Better educated prospects are more likely to buy and less likely to drag their feet through the sales process.

5. Incorporate content into your sales process through 'assignment selling'

Most sales reps say they answer the same questions over and over again, in meeting after meeting. In any given sales conversation, a buyer is going to ask some general questions that could apply to any buyer, and some specific questions that focus on that buyer's unique needs.

Assignment selling helps solve for this. 

Assignment selling is the process of "assigning" content ahead of a sales meeting to answer a buyer's general questions. This way, you can spend more of the sales meeting focused on the questions that are specific to that buyer. In turn, you shorten the sales cycle and help zero in on the right potential buyers earlier on.

The truth is, great content holds immense power when it comes to moving the sales needle. It saves your sales reps a ton of time and leads our prospects down the sales funnel.

But as you can guess, this takes some practice. 

For a specific and detailed course on how to set up this process, check out Marcus Sheridan’s Assignment Selling: How to Master the Art of Using Content in the Sales Process.

6. Analyze the success of your sales process

A sales process is never "finished." Your process will likely need to be adjusted as you grow and learn more about your potential customers. 

A couple ways to do this include:

  • Track the conversation rate of each stage to see which steps convert well and which don’t. For those that don’t, brainstorm ways to improve it.
  • Monitor call recordings so your team can learn from different interactions with prospects.
  • As a sales leader, go through your own sales process to see what your prospects experience. 

Each of these will help you identify where there is room for improvement. Sometimes it’s as simple as using a different approach in a certain meeting or adjusting your message in a way that resonates better.

7. Train your sales team 

Once your process is set up and running, and you’re consistently tweaking it for even better results, don’t forget the importance of keeping your sales team trained and up to speed on how to implement it.

  • Have your team listen to each other’s sales video and phone calls
  • Find new areas of your CRM they can master
  • Teach them when to use which pieces of content in specific circumstances
  • Role-play common objections so they're more comfortable handling them from prospects

When your sales process is well thought out and your team is attuned to your buyers' needs, selling will be smoother than it's ever been. 

great-sales-content

In fact, you'll find that it is the process and the sales materials that are doing the heaviest lifting. 

Your sales improvement blueprint

A good sales process is built around the needs of your buyer. Your sales reps will serve as educators and guides who help your prospects make a purchase decision. 

In order for this to be the case, sales reps need help. 

They need materials from the marketing team.

They need training to be product experts and adept communicators.

And they need a sales process that leaves nothing to chance. 

To get to the point where your sales process is a well-oiled machine, you need to deeply analyze, then restructure your current sales process so it works for every sales scenario.

Your company lives and dies by its ability to sell, which makes an effective sales process vital to your success. 

If you’d like to learn more, you can take our free course Fundamentals of Highly Effective Sales Communication.

If you need more guidance, we offer customized sales training to help you improve the metrics that help you scale your business faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.

Related Articles

4 Smart Ways to Fix Your Sales Presentations

January 25, 2024
Becca Manganello Becca Manganello

What is 'Assignment Selling'? Using Content to Close Deals Faster

January 3, 2024
Anj Bourgeois Anj Bourgeois

5 Real-Life Sales Scenarios Where You Need Assignment Selling (w/ Templates)

January 1, 2024
Tom DiScipio Tom DiScipio

The 7 Most Common Sales Problems — And How To Solve Them

December 20, 2023
John Becker John Becker

The Best Sales Enablement Tools for Your Team in 2024

November 16, 2023
John Becker John Becker

Sales vs Marketing in 2024: What’s The Difference?

October 8, 2023
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

4 Common Assignment Selling Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

August 14, 2023
Tom DiScipio Tom DiScipio

A Sales Presentation Is Not What Your Buyers Want

July 26, 2023
Chris Duprey Chris Duprey

HubSpot CRM Review — Pros and Cons

July 24, 2023
John Becker John Becker

Your Buyers Want to Control the Sales Process; Here’s How to Let Them

July 12, 2023
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

The Best Sales Training Programs Check These 4 Boxes

June 8, 2023
John Becker John Becker

My Best Sales Reps Haven’t Hit Their Quotas All Year: What Do I Do?

June 7, 2023
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

How to Run a Revenue Team Meeting (+ Example Agendas)

June 5, 2023
Chris Marr Chris Marr

How To Improve Your Sales Process

May 28, 2023
John Becker John Becker

How To Create a Sales Process That Closes More Deals

April 3, 2023
John Becker John Becker

5 Ways to Get Your Sales Team Excited About Creating Content

March 23, 2023
John Becker John Becker

The Lazy Sales Technique Your Buyers Hate? Scoping Disguised as Discovery

February 8, 2023
Chris Duprey Chris Duprey

4 Tried-and-True Tips for Using Video in Sales Prospecting

January 19, 2023
John Becker John Becker

4 Videos That Will Streamline Your Sales Process — And Don’t Require a Videographer

January 18, 2023
Zach Basner Zach Basner

Here's Why You Keep Getting Garbage Inbound Marketing Leads

December 19, 2022
Jessica Palmeri Jessica Palmeri

How Does They Ask, You Answer Benefit Sales?

December 7, 2022
John Becker John Becker

What Is a Revenue Team?

December 5, 2022
John Becker John Becker

24 Essential Questions for Understanding Your Ideal Customer (+ Infographic)

December 1, 2022
Dia Vavruska Dia Vavruska

What Is a Buyer Persona (And Do You Really Need One)?

November 21, 2022
Chris Marr Chris Marr

How to Make Role-plays Actually Valuable for Your Sales Team

November 10, 2022
John Becker John Becker