Have you recently acquired Salesforce.com and are looking for Salesforce Training? Ask yourself this critical question – does your sales organization have a sales process? You know, a series of standardized steps for closing business. Your sales process may follow a commercial sales methodology, like Strategic Selling® by Miller Heiman, SPIN® Selling by Huthwaite, maybe Solution Selling® by Sales Performance International or Commercial Teaching by the Corporate Executive Board®. You might have a modified or customized version, or a blend of any one of these. Sales process is a collection of best practices that have been standardized and made applicable to the large majority if not all of your deals. Any Salesforce Training program worth its weight will include time spent mapping out, or a determination of your organization’s sales process.
The Sales Process
Typically, the sales process outlines all the steps in the sales cycle, which roughly translate to the following:
- Introduction – Initial contact
- Assessment – Does suspect fit basic criteria
- Discovery – Identify suspects needs and qualify prospect
- Demo – Show benefits of how you meet needs
- Proposal – Deliver the costs and gain commitment
- Negotiation – Determine final price points
- Closing – Sign and collect contracts
- Post-sales follow up – Curtail buyer’s remorse
Most good Salesforce Training programs will, at some point, entail the development and instruction of sales process.
Sales Cycles Without CRM
You may not use every step or may have some extras, or you may have different names for these steps. Basically, without CRM, the sales cycle goes something like this:
- You meet with the prospect to determine their needs. You make notes on a notepad, and add them to a prospect folder. With every call, every meeting, you add more notes. You file the folder in some sort of prospect filing system – maybe a file box, maybe a pile on your desk, maybe your trunk.
- You sales manager calls and wants to know how many deals you’re going to bring in this month. You eyeball the pile and guess.
- You call the prospect to set an appointment to demo your product. Again, you take notes and add them to the file. Or maybe you make notes but forget to put them in the folder.
- If you remember, you send the client an email, or call them the day before to remind them about the appointment. You may remind yourself to do this by setting up an alarm in Outlook.
- The client loves the product! You meet to present the proposal, and get commitment. Luckily, you have printed off the contract in advance and carried it with you. You get the signature right away, or you make a return visit to collect the paperwork.
- You drop off the paper work in the office, or have it couriered, and hope that it’s processed before month end. You know if you made the deadline by your commission report… by calling your contract group repeatedly – and they love being contacted at month end (joke!).
If your Salesforce Training program starts without addressing any of these issues first, then its not ready to roll out to your team.
Introduce Sales Process in Your Salesforce Training Plan
Now let’s get to the CRM system part. CRM systems, like Salesforce.com are tools that you use to automate some of the tasks you do during the sales process. Think of it like this, for writers – paper and a pen are tools. They still need to think of the story and write it down, the paper an pen simply help to record their thoughts.
Here’s the thing. If you don’t have a defined sales process and you have a CRM system, well my friend, you’re in a world of hurt. You’ve got contacts, and notes, and opportunities, but no way to organize activities around how you’re supposed to use them. These are tools. Without a process, systematic knowledge of how to sell, they’re not much use. By the way, a big component of any of our Salesforce Training plans includes a significant amount of time to develop and refine your sales process.
The Sales Process With CRM
Now let’s marry the two together – sales process and salesforce.com. Now we’ve got a winning team, and we are in great shape to roll out Salesforce Training. Here’s how it works.
- You’re going to visit an account – when you log an “Intro Visit” note in the system, the status of the Prospect Account automatically changes to “assessment”.
- The client fits the basic criteria, so you open an Opportunity for this Account. You call the client to set an appointment to show your products, and log the appointment in your SalesForce.com calendar. This activity automatically updates the Opportunity status to “Demo”.
- The system automatically sends an email to the prospect confirming the appointment and a reminder email one day before the appointment.
- Your boss checks how much business you’re bringing in by running a report by opportunity status. He may call to confirm, but the call is shorter since he has all that info available at his fingertips.
- The appointment goes great! You email a contract to the client. They sign it and send it back via fax. The fax automatically uploads the contract in Salesforce and attaches it to the Opportunity and Account. The fax triggers an automatic update to the opportunity status to “Closed-Won”.
- Your contract group processes the contract and approves the paperwork, triggers a “thank you for your business” email to the client. You get a Salesforce.com notification that the deal is accepted. You call the client to add a personal thanks. You generate your own report to check against the commission report to make sure you’re paid for all your Closed-Won deals.
Salesforce.com makes it easier to get a top performance out of your sales process. The right tools make a big difference. You can even customize your process to match a specific commercial selling process. Fill in Blue Sheets for each Opportunity. Access your Call Plan before each call. You can customize Saleforce.com to specific methodologies without apps, but here are some that make customization a bit easier.
*Note: Corporate Executive Board did not have an app at the time of this article.
SalesForce Training is North America’s premier salesforce training company, focusing on Salesforce.com training, support, and implementation, as well as soft skills training in all areas of tactical selling, strategic selling, territory management and coaching skills for sales managers.