Sales As a Core Business Process

IMG_2523When it comes to organically growing a company, you can’t beat the value of a strong sales process. Strong sales isn’t just important for your bottom line, it’s also a powerful indicator of traction, which is absolutely vital for attracting investors.

The big question for many entrepreneurs is “Where do I start?” It’s one thing to know that sales is important, and to know that you need to build a strong sales process, but another thing entirely to know the steps for building one.

Let’s start by demystifying the sales process. I’ve often referred to sales as a “core business process,” which is less than a business buzzword than it probably sounds like. It simply means that an effective sales process can be broken down into a standardized series of actions, activities or tasks. When these processes are completed properly, they produce a desired outcome.

Here’s an example of a “process” in another context: Taking a shower is a coordinated, standardized series of actions and tasks. When completed properly, it produces the desired outcome of getting clean. Sales is no different.

There are three main categories of processes in business: production, support, and sales. Production includes processes like manufacturing, research and development, quality control and distribution. Along the same lines, support includes ideas like finance, technical support, management, procurement and HR.

Even though sales is on par with the other two categories in terms of importance, it’s too often an afterthought for many startups. Which is puzzling, because it’s usually the biggest component in the growth of a business. Why is this?

One reason is that sales seems easy to non-salespeople. It seems like sales is all about schmoozing and persuasion. To put it another way, sales seems like it’s more art than science. There is some truth to this, and there’s no denying that personality and confidence can have a huge impact on sales performance.

To be effective, however, sales still needs to be organized as a process. Having a charming salesperson will never be as effective as having a strong sales process. An investor isn’t interested in how charming your sales staff is. They want to know you can accurately predict and consistently achieve your sales performance. . A business with a 5-year profit projection based on historical sales performance will also be more attractive to an investor than a business that is making an informed guess.

The more effective your sales processes, the more valuable and profitable your business will be in the long run.