As I was reading Elay Cohen’s book, “SalesHood”, I came across the recurring idea of a sales process and how these practices improve culture for a business. I wondered how the practical knowledge in the book applied to real life demands when guiding the rhythm of a company.
When I first joined SalesHood, I was quickly introduced to our own sales process playbook that I read about in the book. As a young startup, it’s great to see formality around our sales stages, sales process training, and a customized sales automation system. We want to share how we, as SalesHood, think about our sales playbook and how we execute as a team.
Sales Stages, Criteria, and Deal Questions
Stage 1: Qualification
We focus on solving problems for companies. We do discovery in the qualification stage to uncover impact, compelling events, and projects that are top of mind for champions and economic buyers.
Stage 2: Discovery
We’re curious about the financial impact of solving problems and ROI. We’re curious about the decision-making process, evaluation criteria, budget, and technology.
Stage 3: Trial/POC (Proof of Concept)
We look for real-life use cases that prove value fast. We tailor presentations, demonstrations go-live-plans, and business cases to tie back to business metrics.
Stage 4: Mutual Go-Live Plan
This stage is all about validation and alignment. Beyond finalizing a contract, we need to be aligned with the broader organizational influencers and decision makers before a go-live plan has been executed.
Stage 5: Negotiation
We focus on co-creating mutual success plans with champions and validated economic buyers. This ensures that we’re closing win-win deals and avoids them going sideways. We have a clear “give and get” negotiation strategy during the procurement process that’s beyond signing a purchase order.
As I made my way through the training, I realized that a customized sales process improves our judgment when sales teams submit forecasts. As those reports are automated, everyone is brought together around a common set of actions that lead to the desired outcome: more sales.
For instance, I was shown an opportunity page example where all the question and fields are built-in. SalesHood embeds deal questions from our sales process into these fields to manage forecast and predictability; it’s selling through curiosity. When we’ve identified and assessed the customer’s pain points, our decision-making process become stronger given this evaluation criteria.
The video highlighted how the whole sales process was put into action through a sales system so teams can ramp faster and align quicker. Many of the deal questions from the sales process come to life in fields and reports, which are used everyday to run the business.
Sales Process Training
Having the sales process customized through automation is how we effectively scale training. From the opening video on my own learning path, the importance of winning as a team and having a set of aligned sales values were clearly emphasized. These values are the foundation of our sales process and how it’s mapped to the business and training strategy. Conducively, I was presented with seven best practices:
- Keep accounts, contacts and opportunities up to date.
- Use Chatter to share updates and request deal support.
- Always start with Discovery. Complete the “Problems, impacts, ideals, and benefits” section before doing a demo and starting a trial.
- Connect the dots early and often. Use our strong network to qualify and accelerate action.
- We prove value and understand decision making process and evaluation criteria before sending order forms. It’s OK to discuss standard pricing.
- Always have a documented set of next steps leading up to a mutual go-live plan.
- Never bash the competition. Always focus on our strengths.
The sales process training video closes with a challenge to share other best practices that aren’t included on this list.
We continue to crowdsource winning plays and sales tools that bring our sales process to life. Having a set of proven sales best practices is the important lever that drives consistency, best practice sharing, and forecast accuracy.