In your career, you will likely have to restructure a sales process.
It’s not always a bad thing. Companies grow, products pivot and industries change.
But laying out the sales strategy for your entire team is a big task. We’re here to help. Check out these steps to restructure your sales process using the fundamentals of activity-based selling: the idea that sales is a cascading set of activities that lead to a defined outcome.
How To Restructure Your Sales Process
1. Examine Your Buyer’s Journey
Study the process your prospects go through to become customers. How do leads first come into contact with your company? For inside sales teams, the initial touch point is likely an email or phone call from a sales development rep (SDR). That call is the first step of your buyer’s journey.
The next step is for your prospect to have a conversation with that SDR. Then, they accept a discovery meeting with an account executive. After a discovery meeting, they’ll evaluate the ROI of your offering. Next, they’ll receive and negotiate over a proposal. Finally, they make the purchase and become your customer.
Here’s what the steps outlined in our example look like:
- Receives Call/Email
- Has Conversation
- Attends Discovery Meeting
- Evaluates ROI
- Receives Proposal
Do the same exercise to determine the stages in your buyer’s journey. Then review with a small portion of your sales reps and managers. Collect feedback to generate buy-in for this new sales process.
2. Define Key Seller Activities
Determine the key selling activities that move prospects from one stage of your buyer’s journey to the next. Look at each stage from the sales team’s perspective.
Here’s how the selling activities for our example would look:
|Call Lead||Prospect Receives Call|
|Ask for Conversation||Prospect Has Conversation|
|Schedule Discovery Meeting||Prospect Attends Discovery Meeting|
|Have ROI Discussion||Prospect Evaluates ROI|
|Send Proposal||Prospect Receives Proposal|
|Close Deal||Prospect Makes Purchase|
Think about it this way: What does it take for the first step of the buyer’s journey (receive a call) to occur? An SDR has to pick up the phone and call that prospect. That’s your first key selling activity. Do this with every step of the process.
Review these sales activities with a few more sales reps and managers to ensure alignment. This is your new sales process.
3. Break Down Your Sales Process into Metrics
Turn those sales activities into key performance indicators (KPIs): metrics that show how you are pacing toward a defined result.
Take a look at the KPIs for our sales activities from above:
|Sales Activity||Sales KPI|
|Ask for Conversation||Conversations|
|Schedule Discovery Meeting||Discovery Meetings|
|Have ROI Discussion||ROI Discussions|
|Send Proposal||Proposals Sent|
|Close Deal||Deals Closed|
Sales KPIs are a mix of two different types of measurements:
- Leading Indicators: KPIs that are controllable right now. If changed, they can affect future results.
- Lagging Indicators: KPIs that report on what happened in the past. These cannot be changed.
Look at your key selling activities and convert each one into a leading or lagging KPI. For a little inspiration, check out the Sales KPI Report.
4. Align Your Sales Organization Around Metrics
Share the KPIs with the entire sales organization. Present salespeople and managers with personalized scorecards of their assigned metrics.
A good formula for assigning KPIs is to have 3 leading indicators (activities) and 1 lagging indicator (results). Too many metrics creates a lack of focus.
For our example, the sales activities are split between two teams. KPIs for SDRs include 3 leading indicators from our sales activities and one lagging indicator: sales accepted opportunities. The lagging indicator measures the number of leads from the SDR that have been accepted by an account executive.
Sales Development Reps
- Calls / Emails
- Discovery Meetings Scheduled
- Sales Accepted Opportunities
Account executive KPIs also include three leading indicators and one lagging indicator: deals closed.
- Discovery Meetings Held
- ROI Discussions
- Proposals Sent
- Deals Closed
After you’ve assigned metrics to your individual sales reps, display them publicly. Talk about your metrics often. Review them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to assess pacing to goal. Inspire team collaboration with accessible stack rankings, and use contests to rally your team around a metric when it falls behind. Have managers run consistent coaching sessions with sales reps using the metric data as their guide.
Following through is key. Use these steps to not only establish a metrics-driven sales process, but have your team live and breathe it.