Following a formal sales process is crucial for B2B companies who want to grow revenue. That’s the conclusion of a Harvard Business Review article on a survey of 62 B2B companies, 39% of which have revenue greater than $1 billion.
Executives were asked to rate their company’s year-over-year change in revenue on a scale of 1 to 7. Companies that mastered three specific pipeline practices — defining a formal process, training managers in pipeline management and spending at least 3 hours on pipeline management per rep per month — saw 28% higher revenue growth ratings than their peers.
The most important of these practices was creating a clear process. “At its most basic level, the sales pipeline is merely a representation of a company’s sales process,” said the article’s authors. Companies that defined a formal sales process had 18% higher revenue growth ratings than companies that didn’t.
A formal sales process clearly defines the stages and milestones in your sales pipeline but that’s not enough to ensure growth. The sales process should also be tailored to your particular customers and how they move through their buying process. “Too many sales teams use generic sales processes,” the authors point out, “and consequently get generic sales performance.”