The Sales Process Steps

Learn why a solid sales process is crucial to successful selling

Updated on July 21, 2020

What Is a Sales Process?

A sales process is a set of steps that a salesperson follows to turn a new lead into a customer.

In sales circles, many believe that some sales reps just “have it” and others don’t. But the data suggests otherwise. A formal sales process is proven to increase sales and help with managing sales overall.

Sales processes need to be created around the buyer’s purchasing journey and be measurable, logical, repeatable, and most importantly, effective.

Despite the data that shows the effectiveness of formal sales processes, Objective Management Group found that 92 percent of the companies they assess have “ineffective, incomplete, non-existent sales processes, or sales processes that their people don’t follow.”

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Benefits of a Sales Process

Sales reps (and even sales managers) tend to think that if quotas are being hit, it doesn’t matter how the sales are happening, but this thinking presents problems for both salespeople and customers.

Without a consistent sales process, it’s nearly impossible to identify what moves sales along and what holds buyers back. Similarly, sales reps have a hard time taking the right course of action with each buyer because they don’t understand which stage that buyer is in. Having a clearly-defined sales process ensures that sales reps know when to follow up, how to qualify leads and that customers have a streamlined experience.

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Examples of Sales Processes

As we said before, sales processes are as varied as the businesses that use them. Here are a few common sales processes employed in businesses.

The typical sales process looks something like this:

  1. 1. Prepare
  2. 2. Prospect
  3. 3. Rapport Building/Discovery
  4. 4. Present
  5. 5. Handle Objections
  6. 6. Close
  7. 7. Follow-up

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5 Step Sales Process

The 5 step sales process is:

  1. 1. Initial Contact & Rapport Building
  2. 2. Discover client needs
  3. 3. Offer a Solution
  4. 4. Handle Objections & Close the Sale
  5. 5. Follow Up

MEDDIC Sales Process

MEDDIC was developed by Richard Dunkel and Jack Napoli of Parametric Technology Company. They grew company revenue to $300 million per year in the 90s using MEDDIC.

The MEDDIC Academy website defines MEDDIC as,

  1. 1. “Metrics: Quantification of the potential gain and ultimately the economic benefit
  2. 2. Economic Buyer: Interaction with the person who has decision control on the funds for the PO
  3. 3. Decision Process: Process defined by the company to reach the purchase decision
  4. 4. Decision Criteria: Criteria used by the company to make the purchase decision and choose among options
  5. 5. Identify Pain: Actual pains at the company which would require your product/service to be relieved
  6. 6. Champion: Powerful & influential persons at the company, who are favorable to your solution”

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What Is the Most Important Part of the Sales Process?

The most important part of the sales process is the discovery step (step 3 in many sales processes). If you don’t know where your buyer is in their journey, how can you confidently tailor your approach?

Discovery is where the salesperson uncovers customer needs and problems. It is the opportunity in the sales process where a salesperson identifies what problem their offering solves, and qualifies the customer. A few questions the discovery phase should answer include:

  1. 1. Can they afford your project?
  2. 2. Do they have the authority to make the final decision?
  3. 3. Is the timing right right now?

This step alone increases sales because it reveals if a prospect is your customer or not. If they are, they are ready to continue moving through the sales process. But if not, the salesperson can confidently move on to other prospects without wasting time.

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