Working with the logistics sales community worldwide, I’ve noticed that only a few have a well-defined sales process. Usually, sales are made without any clear plan, emphasizing luck and referrals. And Referrals are essential, of course, but we all know that if an organization wants to scale, more is needed. That’s why we usually see that most logistics organizations are working with long-term customers and growing at a small pace each year (5-15%), except for the pandemic years, but the honeymoon is over already.
For faster scaling, organizations need a sales process that fits their business model best and ensures that any level employee can start selling and reach conversion rates in the quickest time frame possible.
This article will share more information about what logistics organizations are losing not having one, and share we will also provide a roadmap for how to do this most efficiently.
Why creating a sales process Is the best investment a logistics business owner can make?
First, it’s essential to identify what organizations are losing by not having a sales process:
- Without a sales process, it’s hard for an organization to onboard new sales employees without extensive sales experience in a particular field. That’s why logistics business owners usually look for experienced employees with their books of business. And we all know that finding experienced sales managers is quite a mission. But, at the same time, organizations with a workable sales process can take less skilled employees and train them to sell their services. Moreover, organizations can use employees from developing countries to do some selling parts, like prospecting calls, qualifying, and setting up meetings.
- Logistics organizations can only identify parts needing improvement with a sales process. Without this data, organizations never know if sales employees are on the right track, and they never know at which part their team is lagging. Moreover, companies generally lose the ability to improve their sales process, which can sum up to longer sales cycles, stalling, and lost deals.
- Having no sales process sums up lower employee retention rates. It’s especially valid for companies that get sales employees without previous experience in logistics sales. In this case, employees start selling as they did in their last job, but as sales in each segment and product are different, they start underperforming and become frustrated. At this point, either employee goes to leadership for advice. If there is no sales process, leadership gives vague advice or directions to ask colleagues. Or in a worst-case scenario, leadership starts pushing the newcomer to perform but can’t provide guidelines. In both cases, the employee feels stressed, and the probability of being fired or leaving for another job increases. Those situations increase the employee churn rate, which is expensive.
- Lost ability to forecast and filter. Without a sales process, your organization will always have problems with forecasting; quota is such organizations are reached with pure luck, some months all good, some disaster. Moreover, your organization will lose the ability to filter out low-value leads or customers. It means that your sales can deal with b or c-level leads, staying away from A-level, which means lesser profits.
We could think of more things that go wrong without a sales process, but those are the main ones. Those issues sum up to lower revenues than a company could achieve, increased sales cycles, decreased employer detention, and other losses.
Roadmap of sales process creation
Before mowing into the bushes, it’s essential to underly define a sales process. A sales process is a set of repeatable steps that a salesperson takes to take a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale. Usually, the sales process consists of 6 steps: Prospecting, Approach, Meeting, Handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up. Some logistics services have more steps (for example, SaaS or warehouse solutions).
High-performing organizations must have this process mapped, written, and engraved into CRM for better execution. Moreover, having a written process for repeat sales and referrals is also necessary. By writing, we mean that each step needs to be documented; for example, at the prospecting stage, organizations must provide prospecting messages, ideal customer persona, value propositions, strong and weak sides, what results are good/average/bad, etc. In the handling objection phase, organizations must show an objection-dealing model for the most common ones; in the follow-up phase, a clear road map and time frame on how and when this needs to be there, etc. This needs to be done with each sales process step.
Nine steps for the creation of a sales process
Of course, each organization and situation is different, but for readers to better understand where to start, we will share some steps and short explanations.
1. Talk with your sales team. Interview your sales team to understand how sales are made today and what strategies and tactics they incorporate. Afterward, draw a sales process or process your organization uses today.
2. Step into your customer’s shoes. Find out your key customers’ persona and define their buying process; please note that there may be multiple buying processes. This will help align your sales process with your customer’s buying process.
3. Find out the cause of previously stalled deals. Talk with your team and better understand why previous deals delayed agreements and the root causes; this will be useful when you start to draw your sales process.
4. Eliminate waste. Define what helps to move from one process step to another faster and eliminate all steps from your sales process that aren’t necessary.
5. Create new processes. Now after proper analysis and waste elimination, your organization is ready to draw a new process and processes. Write each one in detail. You may notice that a completely different sales structure is needed or decide to get marketing for help at this step.
6. Put it on CRM. Progress tracking, mistake analysis, and personal liability are essential if your organization wants results. Otherwise, you will most likely get nowhere; therefore, putting your sales process into a CRM is one of the most critical tasks.
7. Train your team. Finally, when you have everything set up, you need to train your team on the new ways of selling your services.
8. Start tracking conversions and causes for lost stalled deals. Start tracking conversions when everything is set up, and you have enough new data. At this point, your organization could notice some things that could be fixed with the sales process. This is the best time to improve it.
9. Create a training plan. Analyzing where your employees have hard times will better allow your organization to prepare a sales training plan because then you can look for programs that best fit your pain points. This means every training dollar will be spent more wisely.
As you all can see, creating a sales process, it’s not rocket science, but it takes time and knowledge, of course.