Small Business Sales Process: How to Get Started

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small business sales process

Having an organized sales process is key to building a sustainable small business. A sales process is an organized system to create an offer that persuades others to pay you in exchange for your product or service. In order to meet your monthly sales goals It’s best to develop an integrated sales process. That is a system that brings in sales based on repeatable actions that predicts conversions for each step in the process. It’s measurable and predictable.

Here is how to develop an integrated sales process:

Develop a Sales Strategy

A sales strategy is best laid out in a sales plan. It is your roadmap for generating leads and closing sales. It should include revenue goals such as how much money you plan to generate on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis. It should explain exactly where your leads are going to come from. It also defines the sale messages you will share with target customers. Don’t struggle to build the plan include team members, especially your salespeople.

Build the Pipeline

You must always be working on generating leads, and sometimes those leads are existing customers. You need to have a process for building a sales pipeline and tracking customer contacts. Set sales goals for a given week, month, or quarter. As you understand your sales cycle, you may need to nurture a relationship six to 12 months until a new budget cycle creates an opportunity or an existing vendor makes a mistake. We call these trigger events.

Track Your Sales Leads

Your sales plan can be tracked in a spreadsheet or CRM system, such as Insightly. The key is to monitor your lead conversion ratios against your revenue goals. If you create a data-driven sales culture, you will be able to add additional salespeople with ease. It’s important to understand how many leads must you generate to meet your monthly sales goals.

Automate the Sales Process

There are several software tools, such as, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft that make automating the sales process easy. Track ongoing sales activities and lead traffic channels–referrals, networking, upselling, cross-selling, direct mail, paid search, organic search, social media, exhibitions, PR, and response to website promotions. You should track open rates, and test sales messages with your target customers. If you use automation to create a predictable sales process, you can guarantee sales will grow.

Sell, Sell, Sell

In order to make a sale, you must ask for the business. You must make an offer to a customer willing to buy to make a sale. You must build offers into your sales process. Cross-selling is the art of getting existing customers to spend a little more money with you. Amazon is one the best I’ve seen at this. They always let you know what customers like you also purchased. And it doesn’t take a whole lot to upsell. It could be something as simple as a “Buy one, get a second item half-off” deal.

Thank Customers

No one owes you business. Be sure to thank your customers for their business. Showing gratitude with a personal call or note of thanks can go a log way. Over deliver if you can. Surprise a customer with an early delivery of their products. If you build a relationship and constantly add value to the relationship you will have customer for life.

Building an integrated sales process is the best thing you can do to generate and watch your revenue grow.

Gears Photo via Shutterstock


Melinda Emerson Melinda Emerson, known to many as "SmallBizLady," is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Coach and Social Media Strategist who hosts #Smallbizchat for emerging entrepreneurs on Twitter. She is also the author of, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.

5 Reactions
  1. A brief comment on tracking sales leads; make sure you’re tagging the original source when the lead is created in your spreadsheet or CRM. This is especially important for businesses with long lead times. Once tagged you’ll be able to look at a closed deal and know what channel & campaign (perhaps even keyword if you do it right) was responsible for the original lead.

  2. I think that the sales process need not be organized right off the bat. It takes some time for it to be established into a solid process. It also differs based on the nature of your business.

  3. The thanking part is equally important as the selling part. That’s because that is where loyal customers are born.

  4. What stood out to me was automation. You really have to look at this part if you want to use your time for other tasks.

  5. I believe these are all great points. I would also add that surveys, if done properly, can be a very powerful tool as well. Asking your customers what they like, do not like, and want in the future can help you fine tune your strategy.