While every product and sales situation is unique, you can still build some structure around the inside sales process that your sales reps try to take a prospect through and this can help to improve sales results.

In this short video, we outline three key steps to an inside sales process and this is part of a longer sales training webinar that we hosted on “How to Improve Your Control Over the Sales Process” and you can watch the full webinar here.

Three Sales Process Stages
We believe there are three sales process stages that your reps can take a prospect through.

Initial Contact
The first stage is Initial Contact. This the first time that the inside salesperson and prospect speak or interact. This may be a cold call in a lot of cases, but it could also be an email exchange.

In this first interaction, the amount of time to work with is very brief. It could be two to five minute if speaking over the phone. The way to look at limited time on an email exchange is that a cold prospecting email should be extremely brief in terms of word count, which is the equivalent of an extremely short phone call.

What is said in the initial contact is a whole other subject. But from an inside sales process, the key thing here is that the goal of this stage is not to sell the product – it is to close the prospect on moving to the next step in the sales process.

The next step in the inside sales process is Appointment and this is where the sales rep and prospect agree to talk in a little more detail.

In a lot of cases this will be a scheduled phone call or in-person meeting with the prospect. But in some cases, this stage can happen on the phone at the same time as the initial contact.

There are some benefits to scheduling the appointment for another day but there are also some situations where it might make sense to continue talking in more details right at the same time (technically right after) as the cold call taking place.

But even if the appointment takes place on the phone right after the cold call, we still recommend that the sales rep closes for the appointment by saying something like:

It might take about 10 to 15 minutes to discuss those details. We can do that right now if you are available.

Similar to the Initial Contact stage, the goal of the Appointment stage is to get the prospect to agree to move to the next stage in the sales process.

The next stage in the sales process is Presentation. In a lot of situations, this is where you present how you can help the prospect (your product or solution). That could be a demonstration or a showing a slide deck.

In some cases, a salesperson might sell a very simple product and there is not a lot to present or show. In that case, this step in the inside sales process may be more of a presentation of a quote or proposal.