Leads and prospects make their way to your business’ doorstep in all sorts of different ways. But once they get there, what happens?
Your sales and consultation process is the process by which you guide a person through their consideration for whether or not to become a paying customer for your product or service. The best companies take a consultative approach to their sales process.
It all starts with the entry-point: It many cases that’s a “request consultation” form that a new lead fills out on your website. Sometimes it’s a signup form for a new trial of your software, or perhaps it is an information request like a contact form or a phone call.
Your goal in making your sales process smarter, more predictable, and more scalable is this:
Funnel all of those inquiries and inbound interest toward a single point of entry, then methodically educate and nurture those prospects through every stage of your sales process.
In this Sales Consultation Process Guide, you’ll find:
- Access to our sales consultation process template kit for ProcessKit
- The key steps in sales and consultation process
- The people who will be involved in your sales workflows (regardless of whether you’ve hired sales people or not)
- How to custom tailor your sales process to fit the unique paths that people take when deciding whether to buy your product or service
- Next steps to actually implementing a sales process that can move the needle for your business
Let’s dive in!
Get your sales and consultation process template kit
Our sales and consultation process template kit for ProcessKit includes our tried-and-true step-by-step checklist, plus our pre-configured custom project type for tracking sales leads through your funnel, and a set of custom fields to use when saving all the details on the deals running through your pipeline.
Haven’t sign up for ProcessKit yet? That’s OK. You can begin a free trial today and put this process into action as your first line of business.
Key stages in your sales process
The way prospects convert into customers follows a different style and system from one business to the next. That’s why this guide exists—to point your way to your own version of a sales process that works for your company.
That being said, you’ll want to focus on a few key stages. Each has it’s own goals to move a prospect to the next stage, and requires careful work on your process to get right consistently (and being consistent and predictable is what it’s all about, right?).
Beginning your sales process
Your prospect enters your sales funnel through some kind of entry-point. For most B2B service-based businesses, as well as many product businesses, we recommend some kind of a consultation request form.
This is the form that a person fills out when they want to move from doing their own research into the next step: Talking to someone about becoming a customer.
This form should gather key information like name, email and contact info. It should also gather some key info about their business, like their company website, what they do, and what their current need(s) are.
Using the info that is gathered in this early stage, the rest of the steps in your sales process can take form.
Nurturing and educating a sales lead
The middle-stage of your sales process is where the “consultation” part comes into play. This often begins with a consultation call or meeting (some companies call this a “sales demo”). But it continuous through follow-up and further educational touch-points as the prospect gets closer to making their buying decision.
This is where two things need to be happening simultaneously:
- Your prospect is receiving regularly spaced follow-ups and touch points from you.
- You’re tracking progress on where this prospect is at in your sales process and how that factors into the bigger picture.
From the prospect’s view, they should be hearing from you at just the right time, multiple times, as they go through their own personal journey toward making their buying decision. It begins with that consultation call or demo (or in cases a live chat conversation), but continuous through email follow ups and perhaps social media touch points.
This stage may involve preparing and delivering a proposal to the prospect. You’ll want this to be detailed (and ideally, template-ized) in your sales process workflow.
Internally, you’ll need to be tracking progress on how each sales prospect is doing in your pipeline.
For one thing, this is to help keep you sane! Otherwise you’ll be left with sticky notes all over the place and missed follow-up opportunities galore.
But more importantly, tracking progress helps you identify where the bottlenecks are and a clear sense of which parts of your sales process need optimizing or improvement. It also allows you to look at your sales pipeline from a birds-eye-view to see how things are going this month compared to last month, etc.
Whichever system you use to manage your sales pipeline should support those objectives. ProcessKit has automatic follow up reminders, email templates, and custom fields built-in to help with this. But it also has a robust Zapier integration so that it can sync up with any CRM software you might be using.
Closing the sale: The final stage in your sales process
How fast or slow a person takes to make their buying decision can vary, but you’ll want to make sure that you’re personally asking for the sale at every touch point. Give them a clear call-to-action to get started, but also provide an opportunity to ask questions or pose objections (those can be just as valuable!).
Once they do make that purchase or sign on the dotted line, this should immediately kick off your new customer onboarding process. Good news: We have a guide a template kit for that too :)
Hire sales people? Run sales yourself? Who else is involved in the process?
In the early days, the founder (you?) will like handle all parts of the sales process. But that can change quickly as your company grows. You’ll want to hire sales people and specialists to manage each part of the sales process.
These roles might include:
- A prospector who is in charge of generating leads, qualifying them, and setting appointments for sales consultations.
- The sales person, or sales consultant. This person speaks to the prospect in person, over a call, and over email and serves as the primary point of contact throughout the process.
- A sales assistant. Someone to help do some of the legwork like running background research, making sure the CRM is kept up-to-date and so on.
When you’re still a small shop it’s advisable that you or your teammates wear many of these same hats. But as your sales and operation ramp up, putting specialists into each part of your sales process really helps dial in performance.
How to optimize your sales process for _your_ unique needs
How your business sells your product or service likely varies from how the next business handles their sales.
With that in mind, you’ll want to analyze a few key questions as you work on your sales process. Here are some to think through:
How much educations do your prospects require? Do they come to you with a pretty well-defined understanding of the problem/solution, or do they need to be educated and convinced? This can impact how much you focus on information-providing vs decision-making consultation.
How many different stakeholders are involved? Will you need to consult with multiple people at the prospect’s company before you reach the final decision maker? Or can a prospect make their buying decision on the spot?
How long can you afford to spend on acquiring a new customer? Or put another way, how many hours of work will result in the customer acquisition actually being unprofitable? If it gets to this point, you’ll want to look to automate or streamline parts of your sales process.
Next steps to implement your sales and consultation process
Ready to up your sales game and implement a smarter process for converting more leads to customers?
Start by using our tried-and-true sales and consultation process template kit for ProcessKit. This free kit for ProcessKit users has all of the components to run and implement your sales process:
- Our step-by-step process template (fully editable, ready to tweak on or use as-is)
- Dynamic date rules built into every step
- A custom project type to be used to track deals in your sales pipeline
- A set of custom fields to make your sales process even more tailored to how your business works.
Haven’t started using ProcessKit? Don’t worry, you can open your free trial and get your processes up and running today (starting with your sales and consultation process!).