In the small village of Bellevue there was a modest Salesman, filled with hopes and dreams of one day fulfilling his full potential and becoming a hero to the Silicon Valley. Here is where we start our journey. From a single lead that is nurtured and cared for, to beautiful green bouquets of closed-won opportunities. 

Within Sales, there is a flow that is universally used as the standard process when using a CRM system. You generate leads, cultivate, nurture, and move throughout the process on its eventual way to closing out the sale. The major steps along the way are: 

Creating the lead 
The importance of research
Converting the Lead
Working the opportunity
Closing the sale

Each of these steps are typically defined as stages in a CRM. In each stage there will be an associated set of tasks and workflows that provides the sales person guidance through the sales process. As you go through the CRM, please note that in order to progress successfully through each stage you should finish the critical tasks and workflows as they pertain to each stage.   

Creating the Lead

Leads are generally received by way of: 

Marketing Campaigns
Website forms
Sales Calls/Emails
Helpdesk Requests

Each lead is equally important as these can lead to potential dollars to the company. When a lead is received, you will need to input the information that was gathered by one of the above means. Once established as a lead, a set of workflows will run to remind the sales person of tasks needed to get to the next stage.

The Importance of Research

The additional information is very important in this step as it leads to getting to know your client on a much more intimate level. Checking the company/client out on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) will give you an overall look into that company/client’s why. 

Converting the Lead

Converting leads does a few things, 1.) it shows you and your manager the progress you’ve made moving a warm lead to a hot opportunity, 2.) provides metrics as to how well campaigns, website forms, or any piece of lead generating materials are doing, 3.) and lastly, it puts forth a whole new set of workflows and tasks to take you further through the sales process. 

Working the Opportunity

Calls to the client are important throughout the stages, but is most important in this stage. Generally, there is a rule of thumb that I follow, each lead needs to have at least two calls. A call in the beginning (to introduce yourself, learn about who they are, and identify their needs) and one at the tail end to close the sale and thank them for their business. 

In between the open and the close, most will follow up through email, text, additional calls, or through social media. What’s important is that you stay in touch, stay in front of the opportunity by any means. 

While working the opportunity you will have certain resources available to you to help move towards a close: 

Technical or Engineering calls (typically with an Engineer of some sort)
Demos (always live, using software like GoToMeeting, Hangouts, or software de jour)
Marketing materials (PDFs, Videos, PowerPoint Presentations)

Closing the Sale

The last part, and the best part, is to close the sale. There is nothing like the rush of adrenaline that you experience when you close out a month strong. The only way to do that is to stay within the process and to work the process, so that you can sit back and reap the rewards of a successful month.