August 21, 2020

Three Critical Sales Optimization Ideas to Manage Your Sales Process

By Artsiom Karatkevich, SalesForce Consultant, ScienceSoft

Whether you’re using a feature-rich CRM like Salesforce, or any of its alternatives that are more modest in terms of functionality and price, it’s not enough to drive bigger sales. To sell more, you need to start with a winning sales optimization process. Below are three must-have points on the sales optimization list.

1. Sales process design
A sales process that lacks standards and clear milestones for reaching goals at each stage can cause sales reps problems with reaching sales quota – and make it impossible for sales managers to efficiently track and manage deals’ progress.

To better structure a sales process – and make it fully transparent – sales managers should do two things:

  1. Review the sales stages (how many there are and what happens at each sales stage)
  2. Define the entrance and exit criteria with which a sales rep should comply to pass to the next stage in the sales process

For instance, the entrance criteria for the “proposal” stage can include preparing a list of a customer’s requirements as well as a solution (products or services) offered by the company. The exit criteria for the stage may be the creation of at least two proposals for the customer and their approval by a sales manager or a VP of sales.

How to do it with CRM: As soon as the design of the “live” sales process is completed, the changes must be reflected in CRM to align both processes. For that, configure a sales path by enabling the needed stages – introducing entrance and exit criteria for each stage in CRM. It’s also possible to support sales reps’ efforts with stage-specific guidance (sales tips, links to helpful resources, and more).

2. Sales process automation
If, every day, sales reps have to manually update all the customer data, create quotes, and perform other CRM-related tasks, they’ll have much less time to work with prospects and actually sell. Thus, supporting sales reps’ productivity by automating their routine tasks is an inherent step on the way to higher sales – helping increase deal closure by 30 percent.

How to do it with CRM: One of the ways to unburden sales reps from a part of their non-selling tasks with CRM is to automate email notifications – and create and update records and follow-up tasks. Modern CRMs’ relevant functionality lets you do this by setting up workflows triggered when time- or action-based criteria are met. For instance, when an opportunity is closed as won, a draft contract can automatically be created and a follow-up task can be assigned to the opportunity owner (a sales rep). It’s also possible to speed up quote generation by modifying your CRM’s server-side logic of the price calculation process. This will help sales reps more easily generate quotes with automatically calculated prices and discounts.

3. Sales KPIs tracking
Inefficient tracking of sales KPIs can manifest itself in two different situations: 1) tracking badly chosen KPIs leads to wrong interpretation of results, and 2) tracking too many KPIs leads only to confusion. Both situations affect the efficiency of the sales process since improperly tracking sales results makes it impossible to plan further sales activities. Therefore, sales managers must define the essential KPIs (from 10 to 20) that show whether current sales activities and processes help achieve the company’s sales goals.

How to do it with CRM: As soon as the main sales metrics are defined, instantly make them available to sales managers by using your CRM. Build custom reports and dashboards so the CRM fully reflects the state of the sales. And create custom sales reports and dashboards for further sales activities planning.

Still, to create quality sales reports, availability isn’t enough. To improve the sales process, reports should be made accurate and up to date – either by manual efforts or workflow automation. To ensure the accuracy of sales data in CRM reports, it’s possible to impose regular CRM field updates on sales reps and enable automated field updates, where necessary. Otherwise, you’ll end up with custom reports that are clear and comprehensive, but are outdated and useless for decision making.

Now it’s your move
Although more can be done to optimize the sales process, taking these three steps will get you on your way to resolving the most frequent sales process issues – and begin to make your sales process more efficient.

Artsiom Karatkevich is a Salesforce consultant at ScienceSoft. He has successfully applied his Salesforce consulting skills to a number of ScienceSoft’s Salesforce projects. You can find more information here: https://www.scnsoft.com/experts/artsiom-karatkevich.