Standard Operating Procedure for Sales

By definition, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are documented steps that standardize any repetitive function in an organization. In line with this, SOP for sales department will include standardized procedures for routine sales function to ensure every employee related to sales performs activities in the same manner as stipulated by the sales SOP manual. By doing so, SOPs reduce and streamlines work, while eliminating unnecessary and time-consuming decision-making steps to complete the sales tasks thoroughly with advanced planning.

Now let’s turn our attention to processes that are part of sales department and understand the areas to be considered while developing sales SOP manuals:


Processes Associated with the Sales Cycle 

I. Customer Journey Mapping:

Customer Journey Mapping is all about creating a visual story about customers’ interaction with the brand. The practice puts the brand in the customer’s shoes to get their perspective. It establishes customer pain points and helps in remedying them. It begins with the mapping of all customer digital and physical touchpoints such as website, interactions with the sales team, social channels, marketplace, channel partners, franchises, etc.

Following this customer journeys’ are mapped out for each of these touchpoints. For example– a millennial is most likely to come across a brand on social media and learn about it through the mobile version of the site. And, most often likely to make a purchase on the mobile itself.

The customer experience at each touchpoint is also included in the customer journey map. This can include what action the customer can take and how a brand responds to it. An SOP for customer journey mapping will bring in the much-needed clarity to the entire selling process, reducing the degree of ambiguity.

II. Customer Experience Enhancement

Customer Experience Enhancement (CEE) is not restricted to the customer service only but encompasses the totality of experiences a customer encounters at all touchpoints during their interaction with the company as a “brand”. These are a set of experiences that builds the totality, wherein some parts tend to play more significant roles than others.

However, each part has the potential to negatively impact the quality of overall experience. By analysing each experience separately and understanding the strengths and weaknesses associated with each one, it is possible to have a standardized sales manual to give a seamless experience that will improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

III.  Sales Pipeline Management using CRM

The idea behind sales pipeline management is to depict how many deals sales reps are expected to close in a week, month or year. When the process is analysed, improvements can be brought about to move more prospects to the next stage of the selling process (sales funnel stages).

One of the biggest advantages of pipeline management is the direct impact it has on the revenue. The entire process of pipeline management can be streamlined and automated with the help of a standard CRM tool. Further, when standardized sales SOPs are brought about to the entire selling process, the chances of poor management of the sales pipeline can be reduced by a notable margin. Sales funnel templates will allow the business to manage the sales pipeline stages with effectiveness.

IV. Lead Nurturing

This refers to the process of building relationships with prospects throughout the stages of sales funnel. The idea is to retain prospects through engagement, information, value-based offerings and improved brand awareness. Lead nurturing is mainly conducted on prospects that have shown interest in the brand.

The success of lead nurturing campaign culminates when the customer eventually chooses to buy your brand products/ services. The entire process of lead nurturing can be formalized to produce a standard sales SOP manual that can serve as the template for all lead nurturing campaigns in an organization.

V. B2B Sales

B2B sales process tends to differ from selling directly to consumers because there are multiple stakeholders within the organization making the purchase decision. The simple reason for this is that the quantum of purchase generally tends to be on the higher side due to which the b2b sales process takes longer to actualize. A company pitching to make a B2B sales has to have all stakeholders on the same page for the sale to go through. This scenario tends to vary with industry.

An organization can be especially benefited by having standardized procedures in place for going about finding new clients. Once a set of established b2b sales procedures (process manuals) are in place, the amount of time spent on devising strategies for approaching a new client can be reduced and a mild tweaking in some cases will do the job.

VI. B2C Sales/ Retail Sales

This simply refers to the selling process to the end-user or customer also known as the retail selling process. Although it sounds straightforward retail sales involve prospecting to attract qualified leads to the brand. In Retail, the number of units purchased by a customer is lesser and the effort of the sales team is focused on selling a higher number of units to more customers to generate a healthy bottom line.

This makes the sales process steps to become more demanding in terms of the number of tactics employed in enticing potential customers. In such a scenario, a standardized retail sales SOP document can serve a company well in getting ahead with the sales process in quick time without devoting much time and effort in planning the entire sales exercise. Retail Sales SOPs will also take into consideration the steps in selling which would make the sales process more robust and comprehensive.

VII. Sales Team KRA’s & KPIs

Key Result Areas (KRA) are things critical to the sales department and the employee, it defines individual and overall performance. These are areas of outcome for which an employee or an individual department is accountable. Each employee and department is entrusted with certain KRAs on which they need to perform and produce results.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the other hand, is a metric utilized to measure the progress and achievement of a specific objective. It is a key metric for tracking progress towards achieving sales targets. For example, KPI for a business can be the percentage increase in profit. Overall, KRA is results driven by people and KPI is the quantifiable measure of the results affecting the organizations’ performance.

Each of these two crucial sales indices at times gets vaguely defined by an organization to make the situation uncertain for both the employee and sales department. Through the incorporation of a standardized SOP document, the scope of KRA and KPI becomes clear to all stakeholders.

VIII.  Sales Team Training

The process of effective selling is a lot dependent on the degree of sales training a team receives during the initial phase as a new employee. The sales training can cover a gamut of options including on-boarding, developing skills and setting up the criteria to adapt and become agile to the prevailing market conditions.

This process becomes easier when the value proposition is well-defined, the sales process steps are communicated with clarity and measures are in place to increase the close ratio. All this must be part of the sales training curriculum. Having said that, in many companies sales manual are not created with foresight and at times is put together in haste not entirely serving the purpose.

Such a situation can be completely done away with if companies standardize the training material and program. Such a structured learning system shall bring in much-needed depth and clarity to the training program and it will organically translate to positive growth in sales and enhance overall customer service.

IX. Customer Grievances Related to Sales

The most viable way to retain a customer is by addressing their concerns and remaining sensitive to their problems. A company can improve its reputation and authority – if it listens to customer complaints; genuinely addresses concerns and offers solutions. By addressing customer complaints, companies can improve their internal processes and provide better customer experience.

While on paper it may look simplistic, implementing it effectively does involve a fair amount of anticipation and foresight. The process can be made easier, if the company formalizes the entire process through SOPs, and incorporates every new ‘customer event’ as part of an ongoing mechanism to improve customer experience.

By devising SOPs, it becomes easier for customer service agents to redress complaints due to the diligent approach of the company to include every ‘new’ customer complaint as part of their database along with the possible solutions. In the long-run, a system integrated SOPs will become the essential ‘backbone’ driving the entire customer service process.

X. Sales Forecasting through Strategic Planning

Sales forecasting majorly refers to predicting the quantum of sales within a defined time frame. Sales forecasting involves strategic planning for developing long-range objectives and goals.

Sales forecasting process involves an element of prediction, there can be a lot of guesswork and ambiguity when devising the fine details. This can be done away with, by putting a standardized methodology in place that would make the whole process less ambiguous with an increased level of accuracy.

This would require SOPs to be put in place that spells out a step-by-step approach for sales forecasting.

XI. Sales Process Automation

This primarily refers to streamlining the sales process steps by automating tedious, and time-consuming tasks. Sales manual allow team to focus less on repetitive administrative tasks and focus entirely and remain committed to selling. However, one of the impediments of automation is standardization. Unless the sales process steps are documented and standardized, it is a difficult proposition to automate the sales process.

This would require a company to look at the sales process in its entirety and create SOP documents for sales process. This activity will allow the company to identify tasks that can be automated.

XII. Online Sales Campaign Planning & Sales Management

When it comes to online campaigns there are a variety of options at the disposal of a brand. Making the right choice with platforms and online strategies can make or break an online campaign. This increased amount of choices available with the brand makes it difficult for them to cut through the clutter and make an impact with the audience. Also, increased competition among companies in the digital space can also be one of the factors that constraints the building of a distinct brand image.

An easy way of doing it would involve partnering with a consulting agency like BPX, and formalizing the steps in going about executing an online digital campaign. A consultancy can provide the requisite clarity on the available options and will standardize the entire digital campaign process. The emphasis here would be on the creation of a ‘live’ checklist document that can adapt and incorporate changes according to the ever-changing nature of the digital medium. An SOP document will provide enough knowledge, understanding and a road map to the company on how to plan and implement an online campaign.

Why Business Process Xperts (BPX) to develop Sales SOPs?

BPX as a process consulting company comes equipped with all the necessary expertise and knowledge to formulate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for any industry. Until now, with our out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving acumen, we have been able to formulate SOPs for different industries. This includes banks, financial institutions, government, engineering and automobile enterprises. We have found incredible success in planning, conceptualizing and implementing SOP for Sales department for various industries and across various business models i.e. B2B, B2C, etc.

BPX as a consultancy is equipped at providing expertise and knowledge on sales management process, sales planning process, pre-sales process flow, sales pipeline planning, strategic sales planning, sales process management system, retail selling process, lead management process, sales planning and operations and more. We can also provide businesses with materials such as sales manuals and associated services like managing the sales pipeline through SOPs.

We come with in-house experts who are academically trained in understanding the sales processes across industries to develop associated SOPs that are practical and implementable. We place definite emphasis on developing system integrated SOPs that are both accessible and relevant for stakeholders within the sales team. We come with close to a decade of experience in developing Standard Operating Procedure for Sales and marketing department and in the course of time we have helped our clients to streamline and enhance the sales process to produce tangible results.