Companies today are facing increasingly difficult challenges, stiffer competition and more demanding customer needs in a way unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. As such, investing in, implementing, and relying on a solid sales process can be the difference between leading the market or watching your competitors pass you by. Let’s walk through the importance of sales process, define its relevance to both the vendor and customer, and outline many of the steps involved thus ensuring mutual success.

In this series of four short posts, I’ll look to highlight the phases of a good sales process and discuss what we do at Artemis. I’ll touch on: the sales process defined, discovery, presentation, and the final phase – selection, negotiation, and closing. If you want to learn more, I’d love to hear from you: bmauro@artemisag.com.

Part 1: Sales Process Defined

Across every sales organization, sales teams are tasked with representing their products, services, and or solutions in a way that expands their customer base and increases revenue. The floor level goal is to become or remain profitable while fulfilling a need throughout their target market.

What makes a good sales process? Is it a friendly rep that everyone wants to be around? Perhaps just hard work and long hours on the phone or in meetings? Everyone knows that person who throws the best networking events (AKA parties), could that be the ticket to success? The truth is, much of the aforementioned is subjective and represents more of the perceived view of sales rather than the actual methodical process.

Sure, people engage with people they like and avoid the ones they don’t. Also, you’ll never catch a fish if you don’t cast a line so those who put in the time and effort required to be successful can, at times, work their way to success, however, it doesn’t matter how hard you work if you do everything wrong, especially if you harm your customer in the process.

This brings us back to the original question: if traits and work ethics aren’t sales process, what is and why does it matter?

Sales process, in a nutshell, is a specific formula or recipe, sales professionals should engage in, to ensure a higher rate of success for themselves, and more importantly, a successful outcome for their customers. If you have ever bought in to a product or “solution” only to realize after the fact you’ve be oversold and under-delivered, you have seen the unfortunate consequence of bad sales process or the absence of one.

For starters, there should be one goal when a sales representative engages with a potential customer. Solve their challenges and bring them value. Hard stop. If a sales rep cares more about the “deal” or “winning” and less about the customer, it is a recipe for failure. This is evident when you are engaged with someone who just seems like they are trying too hard. The key things to look for are how they answer your questions or if they even give you a chance to ask questions. Does it look like they are rushing through certain portions of their presentation and really… like REALLY focusing on other areas? Do they spend an inordinate amount of time (or any time for that matter) just bashing their competition? What does that do for you? How does that solve YOUR problem?

If we are trying to solve a challenge, how do we do that? How do we even know if a challenge exists or what it is? Our next post will focus on the foundation of a solid sales process – the discovery.