What Is A Sales Process? (With Steps And Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A sales process is a series of steps that an organisation takes to increase its conversion rate and boost sales. Also referred to as a sales funnel, this process maximises a sales team's lead generation efforts and increases an organisation's revenue. Learning about this consumer-centric sales funnel can help you understand how an organisation may establish a robust marketing strategy with a focus on building customer relationships and lowering the costs associated with customer acquisitions. In this article, we define a sales process, outline the steps to build one and explore its many benefits.

What Is A Sales Process?

A sales process or a sales cycle is a multi-step solution that an organisation implements to manage its sales and marketing efforts better. These steps focus on leading consumers to take actions, like making a purchase, along with retaining those consumers to further enhance the sales and revenue of an organisation. Each organisation may have a distinct sales cycle, depending on the goods or services it offers and its intended audience. It is a dynamic process, given factors like constantly changing industry trends or customer requirements. Below are some of its common stages:

  • Research: A sales team makes efforts to examine and know more about a product or service, market and target audience.

  • Prospect: A sales team identifies potential customers by focusing on those who match the description of a product's target audience.

  • Presentation: A sales team contacts prospective customers to give them product presentations and help them to understand how a product may benefit them.

  • Persuasion: A sales team resolves consumer queries through different communication channels and convinces them to make a purchase.

  • Finalising: A sales team completes or closes a purchase deal with customers and customers receive their products or services.

Related: What Is The Difference Between Sales And Marketing?

Benefits Of A Sales Process

Below are some reasons why an effective sales cycle may benefit an organisation:

  • Monitor: A sales cycle helps a sales team to monitor each step involved in a prospective sale where this evaluation ends only after the customer has purchased the product or service. This allows the team to take corrective actions or make improvements wherever necessary.

  • Conversion: A selling process allows a sales team to remain focused on converting leads into successful sales. The team prioritises qualified leads and convinces potential customers to make a purchasing decision.

  • Comprehension: A selling process requires a sales team to conduct in-depth market research, along with developing a comprehension of a brand's product or service. The benefit of this is that the team may fully understand the brand's target audience, resulting in more sales and increased revenue.

  • Prediction: A sales cycle helps a sales team to forecast the number of deals that it may be able to close during a given period. A sales forecast may also allow a company to prepare for the stages that come after sales, like the supply chain.

  • Customer service: A well-grounded sales cycle helps a sales team to eliminate sales funnel oversights and increase customer satisfaction. This involves taking customer feedback, implementing their suggestions, analysing their service requirements and understanding their purchasing patterns.

  • Customer relationships: Successfully closing deals may lead to long-term relationships with customers, which also creates the opportunity for high-value sales at later stages. A structured sales cycle considers the long-term prospects of sales pitches and prepares the team for it accordingly.

Related: How To Improve Your Sales Skills: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Build A Sales Process

Here are some important steps that a sales team may follow when building an effective sales cycle:

1. Conduct research

The first step is to research the target market, customers and products or services of the company. When conducting market research, a sales team may evaluate how an audience reacts to the brand's product or service. With customer research, the team focuses on understanding customers' requirements. When a sales team gains in-depth knowledge of a product or service, they are better able to realise its unique selling proposition (USP). This helps the team to share with customers why they may choose a product or service over the ones that competitors are offering.

2. Find leads

The next step is identifying new leads or sales prospects, which may define the success of a sales plan. When a sales team determines sales prospects effectively, a brand is better able to convert leads into revenue. This step involves understanding a brand's present customer base and creating buyer personas based on their profiles. With this, a sales team realises the buying motivation of customers. The team may use these insights to prepare sales pitches for leads and address their common concerns.

3. Contact leads

In the next step, the sales team establishes contact with their leads and explains to them why a specific product or a service may prove to be beneficial for them. This involves making prospects feel comfortable and engaging with them emotionally, helping them to develop a fondness for a brand's product or service. A sales representative may utilise different channels to connect with a lead, like making cold calls, sending emails or leveraging social media platforms. With these conversations, a brand may also better understand a customer's product-related issues and address them accordingly.

Related: How To Increase Sales Volume (With Tips And Steps)

4. Prepare sales pitches

The purpose of this step is to use the research data and prepare customised and targeted sales pitches that address customers' requirements. An efficient sales pitch may often focus on helping prospects to clearly understand how a specific product or a service may solve their problems. Humour and empathy equip sales representatives with the ability to impressively answer the queries of prospects. Storytelling is another great tool that allows a sales team to help prospects visualise the offering. Sales representatives may end this stage with a call-to-action (CTA) message, persuading prospects to make a purchase.

5. Address hesitation

Even after preparing an appealing sales pitch, prospects may feel hesitant to make a purchase. With this step, a sales team may be better able to eliminate that reluctance. This involves identifying the doubts of prospects and giving them information that may remove this hesitation. The team may ensure that it establishes a connection with prospects and talks about the solutions instead of features. Sales representatives may also prepare a list of common issues and questions so that they can resolve them quickly and convincingly.

6. Close the deal and nurture relationships

Once a sales team has made the final negotiations and addressed all the concerns, it may start working on closing the deal. This involves asking customers for their time to discuss the final quote once again and signing a contract. Once this is done, the team closes the deal and the customer meets post-sales service teams and account managers who focus on strengthening customer relationships. Although nurturing relationships may not involve sales representatives actively communicating with customers, they may contact customers routinely for feedback or for other add-on services.

Related: What Is Inside Sales (Including Advantages And Disadvantages)

Tips To Improve A Selling Process

Here are some tips that may help a brand to develop an efficient selling process:

  • Regularly check the efficacy of a selling process using metrics, such as conversion rates, sales forecasts and targets achieved.

  • Collaborate with other members of the team, industry experts and the best sales representatives to identify and implement best practices that deliver profitable results.

  • Monitor the sales cycle and the performance of sales representatives to determine areas of improvement or gaps and address them quickly.

  • Communicate with sales team members to understand if they are experiencing challenges at any stage in the sales cycle and find out ways to resolve them.

  • Deploy business intelligence and analytics tools that may help a sales team to better understand customer profiles, market trends, customer requirements and sales patterns.

  • Monitor the work of competitors and analyse their products and sales pitches to understand the factors that are helping them to perform better in the market.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples And Tips)

Responsibilities Of A Sales Representative

From working in liaison with product development teams to monitoring sales, here are some important responsibilities of a sales representative that may help a selling process to be effective:

Working with the product development team or seniors

Sales representatives may collaborate with a product development team or their seniors to enhance their product knowledge. These members possess intricate details about different products or services of a brand. A senior in a sales team may also offer their knowledge and expertise, which may help a sales representative to identify other unique features of a product.

Completing sales

The focus of this responsibility is to align a brand's product or service with the expectations of prospects, along with building cordial and strong customer relationships. Before making a purchase, customers may have varied questions regarding the product or service. A sales representative may often resolve these queries personally to offer excellent customer service and facilitate the completion of sales.

Related: The Role Of A Sales Executive: Responsibilities And Skills

Monitoring sales and reporting to the manager

An organisation may have various internal key performance indicators (KPIs) for sales representatives, which they are required to achieve. This involves representatives monitoring sales and reporting them to their managers. These reports also help the representatives to assess sales figures and revenue, which may allow them to identify what sales techniques are working the best.

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