5 Reasons You Don’t Need a Sales Process Jonathan Herrick Small business owners often think that having a well-developed sales process is something left to bigger, more sophisticated businesses. Often times owners are not only the head of marketing but also the lead (and possibly only) sales rep. And almost all small business owners, at one point or another, sold their products or services on their own. But far too many small businesses are haphazard about how they do their selling, and that includes the nuts and bolts: making the phone calls, sending emails, following up, and searching for leads. Research has shown that automating and optimizing business processes—like sales—leads to greater growth and productivity. However, many small business owners don’t feel it’s a necessity. So does an upgrade to your sales process make sense for your business? It depends. Before you dive in, here are 5 reasons you might not want to put a sales process in place. You have no intention of scaling. If you are happy just being the size you are and don’t want to grow, whether that’s revenue, employees, office space… then you’ll be just fine without a sales process. If you want to scale growth and remain vital and relevant, you’ll need to hire new people, train them and grow your customer base. Without a sales process that is well-defined, clearly communicated to your employees and that creates consistency–both in the sales process and the entire customer experience–it’s very difficult to scale. You’re left just winging it, putting out fires and following up on leads inconsistently (or when you have down time). That’s not a strategy for growth. You don’t want measurable results or predictable outcomes. We’re a data-driven economy now and without results that you can quantify and learn from, you’re not going to be able to operate as efficiently—or intelligently—as you could armed with information. With an automated sales process in place you have a way of documenting buyer behavior, for instance, or discovering the triggers that lead to specific outcomes like conversions or requests for more information. When you have a consistent process in place that works, it reinforces your brand and your customer experience. And it winds up a very positive data-feedback loop. You get measurable results for things like sales rep performance, selling activities, specific campaigns, the cost of acquiring customers and so on. This information is then used to refine and optimize the sales process. You don’t want greater staff productivity. If you are content with the revenue your business is bringing in then it may not make sense to upgrade your sales process. However if you looking to get more from your sales staff then a refined sales process could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Automating your sales process so that it’s consistent and repeatable increases productivity by eliminating manual, non-revenue producing tasks. It also improves efficiency by reducing the amount of time you or your sales reps spend on finding and closing deals. For example, at Hatchbuck, when our sales team walks in each morning, they simply login to their CRM to see their hottest opportunities and most important tasks for the day. With a solid step by step sales process in place, each member of the Hatchbuck sales team is more productive-spending less time cold calling and more time speaking to warm leads. You don’t want a competitive advantage. If you are in business then chances are you have competitors. In order to say ahead of the game you need to find ways to leverage a competitive advantage. The reality is within your industry there are companies—big and small—using sales process automation. That means they all use a step-by-step process for nurturing leads and converting prospects into customers. If your competition in the industry has an automated process for sales, that gives them an edge over companies that don’t. An efficient sales and marketing process can also increase lead response times and ensure your business stays out in front of the competition as buyers make purchasing decisions. You don’t care about your sales pipeline. A sales pipeline helps companies estimate future sales by knowing clearly which deals are in the process of closing or likely to close, and when. Unless your business is one where people walk in and buy on the spot, it’s rare for a prospect to find your business, check out your product or service and buy, all in one fell swoop. It generally takes several interactions with a prospect before you can make a sale, and the sales pipeline is a key to that. The process is what takes leads through that pipeline (and hopefully they come the other end as a customer.) A standardized sales process helps to bolster your pipeline; your pipeline helps you visualize and optimize your sales process. An automated sales process also lets you train and coach your salespeople so they can be successful, it shortens the sales cycle and allows you to create more accurate sales forecasts. And all of that, in turn, will help you build your business. Of course if you don’t want to build your business, you definitely don’t need a sales process.