5 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Sales Process

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Sales Management : 9 min read

5 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Sales Process

When was the last time you took a good hard look at your sales process?

Sure, you should be doing this regularly. But not everyone does—so we’re here to help you make sure your sales process is up to speed.

A well-managed sales process will turn as many of your leads as possible into customers, with clear steps on how to get there.

Having an effective sales process will result in:

  • More sales (and more money)
  • More accurate sales forecasting
  • Higher ROI on your marketing efforts

In fact, research has shown that companies with a well-defined sales process in place bring in 28% more revenue versus companies without one.

Your current sales process might look something like this:

  1. A prospect comes across your brand, gains interest in it, and starts looking around for information—perhaps by submitting a contact request.
  2. A salesperson gives the prospect a call or shoots them an email with more information about your product and offers to set up a demo so they can see how it works first-hand.
  3. The demo happens, followed by a sale proposal to the prospect.
  4. The prospect may or may not agree with the proposal; if not, follow-up takes place. If yes, it’s on to retention.

But it probably isn’t always this straightforward, right? Keep reading for five tips on how to better manage your sales process to maximize your success at each of its stages (and make sure it goes as smoothly as this list).

1. Know how your lead-gen channels are performing.

Do you know how your leads found you? Or how many leads are in each stage of your sales funnel at a time? How do they get from one stage to another?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to figure it out. This will help you determine where to focus your attention when managing your sales process.

Start by listing out the various sources that prospects might come from.

For example:

Use Google Analytics to figure out which source drives the most traffic to your website, and concentrate on optimizing that source first.

google analytics acquisitions tab
The Acquisition tab in your Google Analytics dashboard can show you where your website visitors are coming from.

For instance, maybe you find out that the majority of your leads are coming in from paid ads on LinkedIn. You might want to shift your ad spend dollars accordingly to allocate more money to LinkedIn since this has proven to be your best-performing channel.

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2. Have a strong lead nurture campaign.

Lead nurture campaigns are all about building relationships with your leads as well as your existing customers with the hopes of eventually closing new (or repeat) sales. An effective lead nurture campaign is focused on the needs of the buyer and provides content that’s valuable to them

Because not everyone has the same wants and needs, it’s good to segment your leads first, then present them with content that’s most relevant to them.

Lead segmentation can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Explicit segmentation: These leads have clearly stated who they are and what they’re looking for. For example, they contacted you directly, filled out a lead-capture form with their information, or they’ve purchased from you before so you know the types of products they’re after.

  2. Implied segmentation: These leads have dropped clues about who they are and what they’re looking for through their actions on your website. For example, maybe they spent extra time on a particular page on your website, they live in a region you service, and/or downloaded an ebook.

You can use this as a base to guide your nurture campaigns. For example, you can probably get away with sending more aggressive sales content to your explicit lead segment, such as:

  • An invitation to hop on a sales call
  • A free trial or demo offer
  • Case studies, testimonials, or success stories similar clients have had with your product or service

For your implied lead segment, however, you’ll want to be a little less forward so as not to come across as spammy. In this case, your nurture content might include the following:

  • An ebook that addresses a common pain point in the prospect’s industry
  • A link to an article covering recent industry news that the prospect might be interested in
  • Relevant videos or tutorials
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3. Manage your relationships with a CRM.

In the Relationship Era, it’s more crucial than ever that we’re building positive relationships with our customers (and potential customers) for long-term business success.

This means it’s also now more vital than ever to have a strong CRM in place (along with other tools in your tech stack) to not only maintain your relationships, but also grow them over time—hello, customer retention and repeat sales.

In a survey of over 1,000 business professionals, The State of Customer Management in the Relationship Era found that 50% of frontline staff use eight or more different tools including CRM, email and Google Drive to build successful customer relationships.

With the right CRM, you could:

  • Have customer insights readily accessible to all stakeholders
  • Make it easy for your Marketing team to quickly pull the required data to help shape their campaigns
  • Give Product teams the power to make the necessary improvements to the product or otherwise help provide the appropriate support
  • Promote both customer acquisition and retention

This makes the sales process a truly collaborative effort as a united team is working toward common objectives, with incremental business growth along the way.

After all, everyone has the same target audience: the customer.

It only makes sense that everyone would have access to the same information.

This will inevitably translate into a better customer experience as your CRM would show all interactions the customer has ever had with the business—not just those immediately with the sales team.

Which means no matter who the customer speaks with next time, the experience will be seamless.

Now that's relationship-building.

For example, here's how you'd manage leads in Copper.

4. Automate the manual and repetitive stuff.

If you’re using spreadsheets to organize your workflow, you’ll want to hear this.

And if you’re still using physical sheets of paper… we can’t even look at you right now. (But you’ll want to hear this too.)

There’s a better way, and it’s called automation software. It will not only make your life way easier, it’ll also save time, reduce the amount of errors that are caused by doing things manually, and make your sales process workflows much easier to keep track of.

Your emails, meeting scheduling, and sales reporting are all examples of tasks you can automate to make managing your sales process less time-consuming:

Email:

Email software such as Constant Contact can be set up to automatically send emails to your prospects when they complete certain actions on your website. This is a great way to set up nurture campaigns.

To use email automation, you’ll first need your leads’ email addresses. You can get this by putting a lead-capture form on your website that offers valuable content like a free ebook or whitepaper in exchange for a web visitor’s email address.

Then, depending on which stage of your sales funnel the lead is in, your email automation software can be programmed to send them an appropriate (and perfectly timed) email in response to different triggers.

For example, your automated email strategy might look something like this:

example of an automated email strategy

Meeting scheduling:

If you're using Copper, you already have access to its built-in meeting scheduler. This feature lets you set your availability in Copper which will automatically sync with your Google Calendar. You can then share your Google Calendar with someone to pick a meeting time that works for them, where they'll be able to select a time within this availability. (Learn more about Copper's meeting scheduler).

If not, there are also multiple Google extensions you can add to your browser that will help streamline the way you schedule meetings—many of them are free.

Assistant.to is one example that lets you schedule your calls and meetings from right within your Gmail inbox. Here are a few things it can do:

  • All you have to do is send your calendar with your available time slots; your recipient will then select which slot works for them and the meeting will automatically be booked—no back-and-forth required
  • Remembers your most frequent meeting locations and availability
  • Automatically detects the time zones of both you and your recipient
  • Will send both you and your recipient a notification when something needs to be rescheduled
  • Meetings can be sent to anyone—even if they don’t have an Assistant.to account themselves
  • Recipients will only be able to select time slots you’re available, so there’s no risk of double-booking or having to cancel due to scheduling conflicts
assistant.io dashboard

Sales reporting:

A huge advantage of using CRM over spreadsheets is the automated reporting.

For example, Copper has a “Sales” dashboard that shows you exactly how your team and individual sales reps are doing in a specified period of time in terms of conversion and win rates.

Being able to see the health of your sales pipeline at a glance like this means you can spend more time making improvements to your sales process (with actual data) and less time generating manual reports.

An example of a sales pipeline

5. Record why you won or lost each sales opportunity.

Sometimes sales go through, which is great. But oftentimes they don’t… and you don’t always know why.

In sales, not knowing is never a good thing.

So how do you figure it out? By labeling your opportunities as “won” or “lost” once you’ve finished working them—along with a reason why in your CRM.

custom fields in copper crm
Copper’s CRM allows you to create custom fields to personalize the way you manage your sales process.

By dedicating a field in your CRM to this and filling it out regularly, you’ll easily be able to pull reports where you analyze the findings from this field and discuss them with the rest of the team.

In other words, your whole team will know exactly why your sales closed or fell through.

This will help all of you better understand what your customers are looking for so you can improve your sales process as you go.

Go forth and sell better than ever.

To recap, five areas in which you can optimize the way you manage your sales process are:

  • Knowing how you’re currently doing and where your leads are coming from
  • Nurturing your leads by segmenting them and giving them valuable content
  • Constantly working to build positive relationships with both potential and existing customers
  • Automating manual and repetitive tasks
  • Using your wins and losses as a reference to monitor, measure, and improve your sales process

Start using the tips we covered here to today to step up the way you manage your sales process!