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What is a Sales Process?

Authored by Sean Kooyman on February 20, 2015

This may seem like a silly question - everyone knows what a sales process is, right?

Here at TopOPPS, we are devoted to helping other companies define, follow, and evolve their Sales Processes. In doing so, we have learned quite a bit about what works and doesn't work in a Sales Process, and where the biggest holes tend to be.

Most people think of Sales Processes as a set of stages an opportunity must move through. Some take this a level further, and say there may be particular milestones within a stage that should be completed as well.

This is true - these components form the backbone of the Sales Process. TopOPPS pulls in your stages as they exist from Salesforce, and allows you to setup both global and stage milestones that impact the overall health % of an opportunity.

Here's the problem though - most people seem to think the definition of a Sales Process stops there. Does it really, though?

In today's world, a Sales VP has limited tools to get their team to play according to the strategy they have defined. This may mean data simply doesn't get input into the CRM, or certain members of your team are falling into the same traps against particular competitors over and over again, or even just having team members skipping steps you feel are important to push the deal in the right direction.

We have seen all sorts of different kinds of attempts to solve this problem.

Some frustrated Sales VPs implement custom validation rules in their CRM, that trigger a blaring warning to their team members when data is out of date or not following the rules. This is all well and good - but it ONLY triggers when a team member tries to update an opportunity. This both results in data that sits in a bad state for a long time, as well as a further discouragement of updating data in general ("I just wanted to update this one field, but my CRM is forcing me to update these other 10 things... forget it. I'll just deal with this later").

Another common pattern we've seen is Sales VPs who run a Salesforce report to make a list of all opportunities with non-compliant data (outdated or otherwise). This report is then sent out as an email to their team members, or brought up in the Monday morning sales meeting, with the request that they update this data. This is effective, but grossly inefficient. Both your and their time would be far more valuable going over strategy.

Finally we've seen playbook patterns being outright ignored, either from difficultly in accessing that data, or just a lack of awareness of the plays your competitors are making against you.

TopOPPS changes the game.

With our Alert system, you can codify all your experience, sales process requirements, and competitor knowledge into Alerts. These Alerts can be merely informative (if stuck in stage 3 on a high value deal against competitor x, recommend executive visit) or require the sales rep to fix the data (your next meeting date is in the past).

Alerts that require a fix are presented in a todo-list style to your team members, and rapidly allow them to "quick-fix" the specific fields in error, or do a quick check-in, or dig down into the opportunity for deeper analysis and changes.

Our learning algorithm also watches your historical patterns, and makes recommendations to you on informative alerts to create about things you may not have been aware of (such as particular industry trends, or competitor's plays).

In TopOPPS, your Sales Process is a combination of a backbone (stages / milestones) with an Alert system that blends together human intuition and experience, supported by insightful algorithms.

Simply put- your Sales Process isn't complete without us.

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