Welcome to "The Pipeline" — a new weekly column from HubSpot, featuring actionable advice and insight from real sales leaders.
Sales is a technical practice supplemented by finesse and creativity — so while you generally abide by a specific and repeatable sales process, there's still some room to find ways to make how you execute that process more streamlined and effective.
Simplifying your sales process is a matter of applying tricks, clever hacks, and unconventional approaches that make your sales efforts smoother and more straightforward. Most seasoned sales professionals have at least a few of those kinds of moves in their repertoire — so we asked some sales leaders for their insight on the subject.
Here's what they came up with.
How to Simplify Your Sales Process
1. Hone in on three or four high-priority items you can address.
Leia Dudek, Orbit's Head of Sales and Customer Success, stressed the importance of narrowing things down when simplifying your sales process. She said:
"I've always had this thought of keeping it simple around the 'why' behind why someone might buy — meaning, you may be able to uncover 45 things you can help a prospective client with, but you shouldn't overwhelm them.
Instead, identify three or four high-priority items you can address and use to close the deal. Once you identify those items, repeat that process. Ask for confirmation that these are the areas they want help with and even have the prospect rank them. If you do your job right, you just ask the questions and they give you the answers to the test."
2. Rank your prospects' pain points and demo around the most pressing ones.
Lyndon Burke, Account Executive at HiBob, gave a similar tip — advising salespeople to employ a ranking system for their prospects' issues. He said:
"My sales process usually gets overcomplicated after discovery when I move into demoing the solution and addressing objections. One of the biggest causes of this trend is being caught trying to tailor a solution to all of a prospect's pain points and challenges. That leads to more objections and additional required steps coming up that I didn't uncover as we continue the sales process
One tactic I use to simplify the sales process is ranking their pain points or challenges and understanding those that are most important to them — typically just one or two — and focusing the demo around those points. This reduces the likelihood of introducing additional variables into the process."
3. Use the "Iceberg Chart".
HubSpot's Director of Revenue Strategy, Mintis Hankerson, advises that salespeople pull a page from the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) playbook. She said:
"One way I have simplified the sales process for reps is by thinking of the process of selling in more human terms. I built what I refer to as my 'iceberg chart' — based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
It compares selling to our emotions and behaviors, allowing us to understand why we act the way we do and how we sell. What's 'under the surface' of our behavior is also 'under the surface' for why customers buy HubSpot."
Here's what that chart looks like:
4. Follow Dan Tyre's five-step sales process simplifying sequence.
Former HubSpot Sales Director Dan Tyre offered a five-step process he uses to simplify his sales process. Here's a look at how it plays out:
"I have five key points I check off when I try to simplify my sales process:
1. Use a scheduling link.
If you are still scheduling your meetings via email, stop now! You can get a free HubSpot scheduling widget that puts your schedule in the hands of your prospect.
It lets them schedule the time and the time zone, so they are more likely to attend. Also, they can see a picture of you. Additionally, it automatically converts to their time zone, and they can schedule however long a meeting they need.
2. Schedule a 15-minute conversation to see which stage the prospect is in at the very beginning.
You need to see where they stand — whether that be education, consideration, or decision. That will help inform your approach and prioritize your time.
3. Ask your prospect, "How can we make this easy for you?"
It's a great question that can simplify the sales process. Sometimes I'll even write it down like a flow diagram, so we don't miss anything as we step through the process — the real complexity stems from any curveballs that get thrown your way, so being as thorough as possible is key.
4. Explain your entire sales process early in the process so the prospect knows what to expect.
If a prospect is in decision mode, I'll let them know that we'll move from connect to discovery to solutions overview to answering questions to being ready to start. That process generally takes about 15 days, and I've actually sent prospects a diagram of how we do it.
5. Finally, start every call with a review of both what we've already done and what we still need to do.
That way, we start on the same page — precisely where we are at."
Sales processes can be tricky to establish, abide by, and see success with. Both finding and consistently carrying out a process that delivers results without taking too much out of you might be a tall order. That's why you should always be looking for some ways to streamline and smooth out whatever one you're working with