How to streamline the sales process

Smarketing 3 min read

For select enterprise deals, the sales process may require months of due diligence, lead nurturing, lengthy email threads, conference calls, and careful negotiations before a contract is finally signed. While there are a number of things that are outside of your control, such as when key decision makers are available to chat, you may still save effort and time throughout critical parts of the sales process.

Here are three things you can do immediately that will allow you to keep leads engaged and warm while shaving days or weeks off of your average pitch-to-close time.

Build smart contract templates

In Jeff Ernst’s ebook “The New Rules of Sales Enablement,” he states two alarming stats.

  • “Salespeople spend 30 hours a month searching for and creating their own selling materials”

  • “90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales”

To be more effective at their jobs, salespeople will need to regularly use smart sales collateral to convert prospects into customers.

While the final deliverable may vary by project, the fundamentals of what you offer to clients facing a certain problem are most likely consistent with each business proposal. Therefore, for each type of solution you sell, salespeople ought to prepare a contract template, which includes all of the important elements companies will want to see before deciding to retain you and your team.

You should never have to reinvent the wheel again. The right proposal template will let you plug in client-specific information and output a fully polished proposal that you could send off to prospects within minutes of ending a sales call. With this level of accuracy and speed, you may even convince the most hesitant buyers to become paying clients well before they can change their mind.

Go paperless

In the digital age, there is simply no excuse for allowing communication or correspondence to go cold for a few days as snail mail travels between offices. During that time, competitors can swoop in, sales prospects can lose interest or your mail may disappear. While these are all small risks, you can still avoid them with minimal effort.

Using foolproof electronic delivery, signature and payment methods, you can ensure recipients get the materials they need to make informed purchasing decisions and can send their response in a secure and timely manner.

Salespeople who actively avoid delays caused by having clients mail, print, sign, fax, or scan documents win deals faster when they trim those unnecessary steps. Often, clients are more responsive when “filling out the paperwork” is as easy as clicking the signature box within a PDF and signing it with their finger or mousepad.

Enable internal information sharing

The more colleagues collaborate, the better they become at their jobs.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi and Greg Lindsay revealed findings for a study they conducted “with about 50 executives at a pharmaceuticals company who were responsible for nearly $1 billion in annual sales.” A surprising result was “data collected over some weeks showed that when a salesperson increased interactions with coworkers on other teams by 10%, his or her sales also grew by 10%.” As communication flowed, empathy, mutual understanding and productivity skyrocketed.

While the study focused on creating more collaborative workspaces, companies can also foster more productive work environments by making data and information accessible and open for all employees. Salespeople can apply this sort of thinking to streamline the sales process by keeping colleagues apprised about how far a certain deal has gone and if there are any deliverables those co-workers may need to share to help finalize and secure the engagement.

Sales does not have to be an overly complicated process. In fact, consultancy Bain & Company suggests that complexity kills sales models. To succeed at selling, your team should use customizable sales materials delivered in a digital format to close deals quickly. Companies that encourage communication and knowledge transfer between departments and functions create a more efficient and productive sales force too.

How do you manage a seamless and smooth sales operation?

Danny Wong

Danny Wong

Danny Wong is an entrepreneur, marketer, and writer. He is the Co-founder of Blank Label and does marketing at Grapevine. Read more of his clips here at danny.contently.com.

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