According to HubSpot, a sales process is defined as “a step-by-step plan that details how salespeople convert leads into customers. It explains each action reps should take, and in what order.”
A sales process is a framework, a pathway, and a non-emotional guide that sets a sales professional up for success, assuming they follow the steps in place. In the world of outbound B2B sales, the traditional steps in a sales process are as follows:
Mining lists of leads
Engaging with those leads to qualify them
Inviting those leads to a demo or sales discussion
Closing the deal
Onboarding the new client
Manage the client throughout their life cycle
Sales Departments experience incredibly high employee turnover rates. Pre-pandemic, B2B companies’ turnover rates on their sales teams averaged 35%. A report published by the Bridge Group shows that the average tenure of a sales professional is 1.5 years. Think about that. Every 1-3 years your sales team will completely turnover.
There are many uncontrollable, and controllable, factors that lead to a high turnover rate amongst B2B sales teams. Uncontrollable factors include recruiting great talent, the ability to pay higher-than-average compensation rates, and market/industry selling conditions. One very controllable factor, however, is building successful and repeatable steps in the sales process for your company.
By making these steps in the sales process a priority and taking the necessary time to build these processes, it will set your company up for success in reducing sales team turnover. High turnover is a death sentence to a high-performing sales team.
A small company, or a startup company, may have one sales professional–the selling-CEO. Early on you are clawing and scraping to find those first deals for your company. However, by documenting every success, failure, new client, or lost client, those experiences build the valuable framework of a selling process.
When I mentor startup CEO’s, the lack of documentation of early-stage sales successes and failures is the most common missed opportunity to get better. Eventually, and hopefully, that CEO will no longer be the point person for new sales opportunities (NOTE: A CEO will always sell the vision and mission of the company).
As a company’s sales team grows, having documented (and tested) sales processes in place allow each wave of new selling-focused employees to ramp faster. The faster they ramp, the faster they start producing. And most importantly, the more likely they are to stick around for a while because they are having success in your organization.