Why is a structured sales process so important?

by James Barton / August 25, 2020

For many of us, training on sales process and methodology when we start a new position is standard practice. However, once we’ve completed this training, we’re suddenly expected to operate within its structure.

The reality, however, is often very different. We get our first opportunity and, full of optimism, we try to apply the process or methodology. One problem – out of nowhere the sales process doesn’t match up to the way the customer wants to buy.

This is the critical mistake; we are building our sales process based on our internal needs and not starting with the customer’s buying process.


So, how do you build an effective sales process?

This misalignment is what prevents sales processes being effective and, according to CSO Insights’ 2019 Sales Enablement Report, is one of the top 3 reasons why sales team don’t perform.

  1. Start with the buyer’s cycle: As I alluded to earlier, this is the critical first step and something every sales organisation needs to understand. If we do not understand our buyer’s buying cycle, we are always going to be misaligned.

    A good example of this is how buyers are changing their behaviours to be far more educated and aware of the products on offer before they even engage. With this knowledge, we ensure that we don’t over- and/or undersell. By starting with the buyer’s cycle, we can maintain alignment throughout the rest of the sales process, and ensure we are there to support their next best actions.

  2. Integrate and define value-added actions per stage in the buying cycle: Our job is to add value to the customer and manage their experience from inception. Therefore, it is crucial that we ensure we provide something of value at every stage of the cycle. This could be as simple as an industry insight or blog, or providing trials and demos solidifying the value of our relationship. 

    Of course, the value should be commensurate with the sales stage as we want to add incremental value as the opportunity progresses. Take some time to think about this, particularly as we are selling more digitally than ever… some of our previous toolkits (e.g. face-to-face workshops) may need to change.

  3. Define exit criteria for each stage: This is my personal favourite as it brings order to sales chaos. Here, you are defining what does or doesn’t need to be true for you to move the opportunity from one stage to another. Normally, this is done by gut-feel and is the cause of much contention.


We spend a lot of time building these sales processes

Knowing the precise criteria to move from stage to stage is incredibly helpful both for the salesperson and the sales managers, ensuring clarity on qualification.

At Mentor Group, we spend a lot of time building these sales processes for clients. We call this our Sales Productivity Blueprint. You can think of it as the sales operating system and it always starts with the buyer.

Our 3D creation process ensures that you get a blueprint that is fit for the customer and the sellers to drive exceptional performance. As a next-generation revenue operations approach, it works by integrating strategic planning, marketing, sales and customer service to allow you to create the conditions for true revenue optimisation.

We are passionate about creating sales excellence across a sales organisation, so if you are interested in how we help you build your sales blueprint, please get in touch.

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.