The Key to Designing a Successful Sales Process

The Key to Designing a Successful Sales Process

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) by Jason Jordon and Robert Kelly, companies with a formal and well-defined sales process grow revenue 18% faster than companies that do not. Another HBR article found that 50% of high-performing sales organizations admit to having “closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated” sales processes.

Yet, a study by the Objective Management Group, found that 68% of salespeople followed no process at all. According to an informal poll my company recently conducted, 39% of B2B companies reported not having a formal sales process. 

Given the documented benefits of having a formal sales process, why doesn’t every company have one? I can think of only two reasons. First is the absence of a digital platform to allow sales management to deploy, measure, monitor, and execute their ideal sales process across a geographically dispersed enterprise sales team. Second is the lack of a solid and widely accepted framework for creating successful sales processes. 

Advanced Sales AI has developed a Salesforce-native application called SalesPath+ that creates a digital platform for deploying, measuring, and continuously improving sales processes across a geographically dispersed sales team. However, software is only as effective as the sales processes created by the customer. Since every company is unique, each must craft the sales processes that will be effective for their specific business. 

Here are some thoughts to consider when creating an effective sales process:

What is a sales process?

A sales process is a well-defined sales strategy to close a particular type of sale. A sales strategy or process is a step-by-step plan that includes several stages and specific tasks associated with each stage.

The time element

In selling, timing is essential. The sales team is required to not only close the sale but to close the sale within the necessary period. Therefore, all sales processes must consider time. When is the close date? How long will a complete sales process take? What is the duration of each stage? It is impossible to accurately forecast and commit if we do not have a planned duration for each stage in a sales process. Without considering time, the forecasted close date is nothing more than hope.

Modern Sales Execution software should measure every sales opportunity in real-time.

There is more than one type of sale. 

There are at least four types of sales: new account, expansion or upgrade, upsell or cross-sell, and renewal. Each sale type has unique characteristics, including stages, tasks, and time elements. To complicate matters, each sale type can be further refined by adding the dimensions of geography, vertical market, and product. For example, the selling process for closing a new account, product type A in the banking vertical, may be different in London than in New York.

A best practice is to have a well-defined sales process for at least the four major types of sales: 

  • New logo
  • Expansion
  • Upsell
  • Renewal

Continuously measure and optimize your sales processes

No sales process survives first contact with the customer. Sales management must continually optimize its sales processes by using data. No matter what you initially believe is an effective sales process, recognize that it can be improved. Revenue operations must regularly measure and compare the highest-performing sales processes against your planned sales processes. 

If you optimize your sales process based on win rates over time, your sales process will contain the optimal combination of stages, tasks, sequence, and duration for winning sales. 

Sales Process vs. Qualification Process

A sales process is not a qualification process. The sales process is the plan to win the sale. A sales process is the series of stages and tasks a seller uses to win the sale.

A qualification process examines the relative strength of a company to win the sale. It scores the fit of a selling company’s strengths and offerings against the customer’s buying criteria and organization.

A qualification process like MEDDIC (MEDDIC is an acronym for Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, and Champion) helps calculate the odds a seller can win the sale, guiding your sales strategy. The sales process is the series of actions needed to execute, increase our MEDDIC score, and our odds of winning the deal.

The highest performing sales organization will implement a Qualification Process and a Sales Process.

SalesPath+ has the capability to implement an unlimited number of real-time sales processes and an unlimited number of qualification methodologies. 

To see how SalesPath+ would help you execute sales, contact for a demo and opportunity to qualify for a limited time, no cost, no obligation, test drive of SalesPath+ within your Salesforce environment.


Kevin O’Keefe, CEO,