What is sales templating? It is the technique by which you document the steps of the ideal sale. Sales templating allows you to capture the best practices and nuances of each of your salespeople to create a model sales process that all of them can follow. In addition to making your job as manager easier, sales templating will improve the performance of your sales force. By creating an overt, step-wise sales template or process, you give the salesperson the means to maintain control of the sales situation. Sales templating is a technique that can help you develop a consistent sales process regardless of the background of your individual salespeople.
Your entire sales force should participate in developing your department’s sales template. This involvement is vital if individual salespeople are to commit to using the template in their work. It also gives them a fuller understanding of the best way to sell your company’s products or service to their typical clients.
The first step is to identify a typical sale of your product. Pick a sale that is common to most, if not all, of your salespeople.
Next, ask each of your salespeople to analyze the process they follow in making the typical sale, step by step. Be aware that they may find this exercise difficult at first. They may be able to give you a big picture view of what they do, but only rarely can they give you an ordered, detailed account of what they do. You will also find that, even among the salespeople trained by your company, each person follows a slightly different process because of differences in personality and style.
When you have reviewed all the processes, identify the steps that make up the typical sale. For example:
Step 1: Analyze the marketplace and choose a target company.
Step 2: Research the target company.
Step 3: Set a meaningful appointment and identify your objectives for that appointment.
Step 4: Make the initial call.
Step 5: Write the proposal.
Step 6: Make the presentation.
With an outline in hand, fill in the details of each step with activities. This is where you and your salespeople need to evaluate all the material before you identify the "best practices." Don’t overlook details that seem too small to be important or ought to be "second nature." All too often, it is the little details that can make or break a sale, and what is second nature to one person can be a revelation to another. Documentation of each step should also include guidelines that your salespeople can use to determine whether they have completed the step. For example:
What questions have to be asked and answered? What qualifications does the prospect have to meet? What approvals are needed?
Now, you have a sales template—a model or map that your salespeople can follow for each and every sale they undertake. Keep in mind that the template is not carved in stone, in the sense that it may change as your product or marketplace changes. Also, it may need to be adjusted for those atypical cases that come along. But as a general rule, the basic outline and most of its details should work for everyone.
- Jody Williamson
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