Many entrepreneurs don’t have a strong sales background and the current endeavor is often times their initial venture into a sales environment.
I highly recommend that startup organizations develop a structured sales process as early as possible. Building out this defined methodology has a number of benefits:
- Consistency – Each person in the organization follows the same approach.
- Deal Strategy – Reviewing why you won or lost opportunities is critical. With a process in place you can dissect what happened and why.
- Limited Resources – Make the process as effective as possible and spend the majority of your time on moving qualified opportunities forward.
- Training/On-boarding – If it’s documented, you can coach to it. It’ll speed up the ramp time and improve effectiveness early on.
The sales process doesn’t need to be extremely complex – It just needs to followed and communicated well.
Here is the sales process we follow at Hireology:
Stage 1 – Lead Generation and Demo Scheduling
Stage 2 – Discovery
Stage 3 – Demo/Present
Stage 4 – Negotiation and Follow-Up
Stage 5 – Close and Implementation
Stage 6 – Strengthen and Grow Relationship
I include the following sections/information in each phase:
- Stage Best Practices
- Stage Pitfalls
- Critical Tasks and Activities to Complete
- Expected Outcome or Goal of the Stage
Here are some best practices to follow when building out a sales process for your startup:
- Limit the process to no more than 6 stages
- Clearly define each stage and who in the organization owns each stage
- Review and analyze the process after you close or lose an opportunity
- Don’t hesitate to make enhancements as you go – this isn’t a one shot deal
- Communicate it to everyone that touches the sales organization
- Make it fun/light – It’s super cheesy but we call our sales process the “treasure map” – if our team follows this process it will lead them to the commissionable treasure!
I learned everything I know on sales process from the folks at Impact Performance Group – check em out here
Also, Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures wrote a great series of posts on why your startup needs a sales methodology – first post is here