The Collaborative Selling approach includes six major stages, subdivided into steps and activities.
No matter what Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System system you have, sophisticated systems like HubSpot or SalesForce, or if you're starting with sharing a Google Sheet with your sales team, how you identify and get interested individuals to engage in a sales transaction with your business eventually is a process that should be established and managed well.
While specifics for your business depend on the market you are in, B2B, e-commerce, etc., laying out a sales process, key deliverables, and accountabilities and mapping this into your CRM is a vital element of Sales Operations.
The following process is a helpful guideline in B2B environments with a complex solution being offered, e.g., in technology or service sales.
It is a collaborative selling approach to guide a sales team to interact with the customer team and consists of six key stages:
Stage 1: Validate Fit, Budget, and Urgency
Activities: Key information is gathered and interpreted on need, solution benefits, intent to solve and spend, the Buyer Network, and our competitive position for the opportunity. It allows us to make an initial Go/No Go decision, "we/they can and have an interest in doing this".
Deliverable: A Sales Accepted Opportunity with an initial understanding of the prospect’s need and intent to solve and spend.
Stage 2: Understand Business Need
Activities: Gathering information on the business and technical environment, past/current/future issues, solutions, and requirements. Develop an initial understanding of a solution's potential scope and fit for the presented business issues. Develop relationships with key stakeholders within the buyer network, e.g., seek to identify the decision-maker, user buyers, and influencers.
Deliverable: A qualified prospect and opportunity to whom we can offer a suitable solution in a financially acceptable framework.
Stage 3: Define Mutual Set of Expectations
Activities: The definition of a mutual set of expectations requires further exploring and qualifying the pursued opportunity in close contact with the Buyer Network. Goals, objectives, requirements, constraints, priorities, and a sense of urgency must be understood.
Deliverable: Mutual understanding of the prospect’s business issue and potential, high-level solution elements. A clear understanding of everything required to craft and review a first proposal outline with the identified decision-maker.
Stage 4: Finalize Solution
Activities: Finalizing the solution is crafting and obtaining acceptance of the chosen solution for the business issue of the prospect. Clear expectations relative to the close date and the delivery timing should be established.
Deliverable: An accepted proposal containing the specification (scope, functionality) and pricing
Stage 5: Finalize Transaction
Activities: Finalizing the transaction is the negotiating phase after the prospect has accepted the solution and proposal, and contract terms and conditions still need to be finalized.
Deliverable: A signed contract (Closed Won) is the kick-off for delivery and future extension and expansion opportunities.
Stage 6: Closed Won/Closed Lost
Activities: Complete deal review, capture why we won/lost, and document lessons learned.
Deliverable: A lost deal (Closed Lost) or signed contract (Closed Won) is the kick-off for delivery and future extension and expansion opportunities.
In your CRM, we are defining the following Sales Stages and Win Probabilities as part of our Sales Pipeline:
|Sales Stage||Win Probability|
|1||Validate Fit, Budget, and Urgency||10%|
|2||Understand Business Need||20%|
|3||Define Mutual Set of Expectations||40%|
While you want to adjust Win Probabilities based on the actual performance of your sales process, the above table might provide an initial baseline.
Deals are to be entered for each Sales Qualified Lead, i.e., an individual (associated with a company) who has indicated an interest in our solution.
This sales process allows us to closely monitor the success of our selling activities via the sales funnel. By tracking the evolution of opportunities over their lifetimes, we will be able to measure the effectiveness of our efforts in the various stages.
This funnel will enable us to recognize pressure points and take corrective action when required.
The Collaborative Selling sales process aims to generate a common mindset; it is not meant to be static and strictly dogmatic. The process is designed to be a generic model that is applicable in all types of situations.
If you have questions or need help with your sales process or CRM installation, contact your Aspiration Marketing account manager, connect with us through Hellobot (at the bottom right of this page) or our Contact Us forms.