Skip to content
  • Sarah Frazier

How to ignite sales growth with an effective selling process

Your selling process will make or break how fast your company grows. Of course, sales process design is simple in concept but not easy to execute. While your go-to-market sales process will vary by your stage of organizational maturity and the market you’re going after, all successful sales organizations require a sales playbook to grow and scale.

Your selling process will make or break how fast your company grows. Of course, sales process design is simple in concept but not easy to execute. While your go-to-market sales process will vary by your stage of organizational maturity and the market you’re going after, all successful sales organizations require a sales playbook to grow and scale.

Listen in to this on-demand webinar in which John Grispon, Revenue Architect at Winning by Design, teaches how to develop an appropriate sales framework:

Developing your selling process

Not every go-to-market model needs the exact same selling process, but the commonality in successful organizations is that they all have measurements built into their sales frameworks. Or “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” as Peter Drucker would say.

If your team is continually going rogue or each doing their own thing, you’ll never truly know what’s working nor will you have a consistent buyer experience. Instead, if you want to effectively measure your sales framework, you must be methodical in your approach. 

A methodical selling process includes:

  • Documenting consistent guidelines for your sellers, so they know how to progress through deals
  • Performing activities according to your process, you can easily measure them
  • Understanding what’s working and what needs adjusting

John also shared the 3 steps of sales process design:

  • Step1: determine which sale process is best suited for your organization. You may create it from scratch or refer to other businesses in your same industry for ideas. 
  • Step 2: map out stages of your sales playbook, in detail.
  • Step 3: define the stages. 

Defining the stages of your selling process

According to Lucidchart, 40% of sales teams don’t have a sales playbook or strategy. By defining your selling process, you’re 33% more likely to close sales at a higher rate. Using a seven-stage sales process is fairly common and a good place to start.

7 stage selling process

Within each stage of your sales framework, it’s important to identify very specific criteria. What is the goal? What actions are included in this stage? And finally, what is the desired outcome that must be completed before a lead advances to the next stage? 

We provide this sample sales process for ideas:

Stage 0: Handoff 

  • Goal: secure a meeting with a prospect who fits your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and has a pain your product or service can solve
  • Actions to take in this stage:
    • Prepare SDR handoff
    • Customer research
    • Prepare situational and pain questions
    • Determine if this is a viable lead
  • Exit criteria: A meeting is scheduled for discovery

Stage 1: Diagnose / Qualify

  • Goal: Diagnose the customer’s pain, urgency, and determine if you can help them
  • Actions:
    • Research the situation
    • Identify relevant use-cases
    • Have a discovery call with the prospect (Need discovery call question ideas? Download our free checklist now)
    • Establish impact
  • Exit criteria: Schedule a custom demo with decision-makers

Stage 2: Prescribe / Analyze

  • Goal: Navigate the prospect’s organization and continue to educate your prospect
  • Actions:
    • Identify the decision-makers or buying group and the evaluation process
    • Educate on the product value per the buyer’s top pain points
    • Provide ballpark pricing
  • Exit criteria: Schedule a custom demo with decision-makers

Stage 3: Assist 

  • Goal: Assist the prospect through the decision process
  • Actions:
    • Identify the decision criteria and impact of each
    • Determine decision process: hierarchical vs. consensus
    • Map out the next steps
  • Exit criteria: Customer is ready for a proposal

Stage 4: Propose / Recommend

  • Goal: Create a custom proposal outlining your offer and the impact of your solution. (What should your proposal include and how can you make it memorable? Access our free Proposal Look Book now.)
  • Actions:
    • Send proposal
    • Schedule a proposal review call
    • Involve executives and customer success
    • Listen for opportunities to upsell the buyer
  • Exit criteria: Proposal review meeting with the buyer is scheduled

Stage 5: Negotiate

  • Goal: Resolve buyer questions and concerns; handle objections.
  • Tips:
  • Exit criteria: Buyer commits

Stage 6: Commit

  • Goal: Transition the buyer to onboarding and customer success teams
  • Actions:
    • Follow-up with the buyer to ensure a smooth transition
    • Listen for opportunities to upsell additional services
    • Ask for customer referrals
  • Exit criteria: Buyer is a happy customer

By defining specific objectives for each selling stage, you’ll enable your sellers to better guide prospects through the purchasing journey, plus have metrics to measure rep performance and team effectiveness.

Common questions about sales process design

It’s not uncommon for start-ups to have no defined sales processes and for founders to “wing it” in the launch phase. But founders beware— you’ll have difficulty growing your organization with a haphazard approach to sales. Frequently asked questions about sales process design:

When should you create your first sales process and how can you set your company up for sales success? 

Ideally, Winning by Design advises developing a formal sales framework after your first 10 deals. Of course, sales process design should never be a “set it and forget it” project— you should continue to evaluate your sales framework as you grow— after 20 deals, 30 deals, etc. As you close more sales, identify trends in your customer base and compare actual customer profiles to your target customer profile. If there is a discrepancy between the two, it’s an indicator your selling process needs further adjustments.

Who should create your sales process? 

In the early stages of your organization, likely the founder will create your selling process, perhaps coordinating with your first salesperson. As you grow, the sales leader or revenue operations (RevOps) team will take over, driving the creation or enhancement of your sales process design.  While it might be tempting to ask your sellers to chip in, be wary of asking them to create the process. While you want to hold your reps accountable for executing the process, don’t expect them to build the process from scratch— after all, they were hired to sell. However, do listen to your team on what’s working and what’s not, then make adjustments. 

Sales is the most important component of an organization, right?

Yes— and no. Customer success post-sale is just as important as the initial sale itself, if not more so. In SaaS sales, 80-95% of customer lifetime value (CLV) revenues come after the initial sale. As such, don’t overlook the importance of stage 6 in your sales process and the roles your customer support and engineering teams play in retaining revenue and your company’s overall success.

Selling process success

Ultimately, your goal is to review key actions of each phase of your sales process design and ensure they provide real value to your buyer. Remember, buyers seek to solve a problem or accomplish a specific objective. Your selling process should help your sales team guide prospects through their purchasing journey, and help buyers obtain the information they need to feel confident in their decision.

Start winning with Qwilr today

Start a free trial or get a personalized product demo from the Qwilr sales team.