If you work in sales and find it challenging to juggle all the stages of the sales process, you’re not alone. Generating leads, qualifying them, matching your company’s offerings to their needs, and closing the sale involves different skills and activities. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep everything under control.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use the principles of project management for sales activities. We explain how to use different sales process stages as milestones, describe the benefits of sales project management, and share some templates to help you apply project management principles to your sales process. To start, let’s explore how the sales process fits into a project management strategy, no matter which stage of the funnel you’re focusing on.
Different stages of the sales process can serve as project milestones
In project management, a milestone is the completion date of a major event in a project. By reviewing milestones, it’s possible to determine if the project is likely to finish on time or identify team members who need additional resources to complete assigned tasks.
As a sales rep or sales manager, you can benefit from applying the principles of project management to your current process. The first step is to use the key stages of the sales process as milestones. With this approach, prospecting, qualifying, making a proposal, closing the deal, and implementing the proposed solution are all milestones.
The sales process has five key stages: prospecting, qualifying, making a proposal, closing the deal, and implementing the proposed solution.
Let’s go through each stage.
For most sales professionals, prospecting never truly ends. You always need new prospects in your pipeline to replace customers lost to attrition. If you’re thinking like a project manager, however, a goal can act as a milestone. Depending on your typical conversion rate, you may want to set a goal of finding 100 new prospects before moving to the qualifying stage, for example.
Qualifying is one of the most important sales activities, as it helps determine if your prospects have a need for your products or services. It also helps you assess whether a prospect can afford to buy from your company. As you bring in new prospects, you need to qualify them to determine if you should spend time developing a proposal for each one. To apply the principles of project management here, set a goal for the number of qualified prospects you want to reach before moving to the proposal stage.
The success of any sales department often comes down to the ability to develop successful sales proposals. When you write a proposal, you need to educate your prospective customer about their needs, convince the qualified prospect that your company offers the best solution, and explain why the prospect should invest in the recommended product or service. At this stage of the sales cycle, each proposal you complete should be a separate milestone.
Sales teams have many responsibilities, but closing deals is essential for the success of the department and the organization as a whole. After all, your company relies on you to close deals and bring in revenue that can be used for all kinds of other activities, creating value for the entire company. If you view the sales process from a project manager’s perspective, closing a deal — in writing, not just on a handshake — is the next milestone to track.
If your sales strategies are effective, you’ll eventually have to implement the solution you recommended to your new customer. This is the last milestone of the sales cycle.
Now that you know how to use the stages of the sales process as project milestones, it’s time to learn more about how applying project management principles can help you make more sales.
The benefits of sales project management range from organizing resources to effective collaboration
As a sales rep, you spend much of your time planning how to reach your goals. Whether it’s planning how many prospects to call or the best way to convert a qualified prospect into a paying customer, good planning is essential for success.
Part of a project manager’s responsibilities include organizing resources to ensure the team utilizes them as effectively as possible. Sales teams can adopt this practice by coordinating and managing CRM software, lead lists, collateral, and other resources to help their reps reach milestones.
Following the principles of project management can also help sales teams collaborate more effectively. By viewing the sales cycle as a project, team members gain visibility into what their colleagues are doing, increasing accountability. By understanding how each cycle is accomplished, broken down into small tasks, every team member can see where everyone else is at all times.
Setting up milestones and tracking project-related tasks helps team members understand what they need to do and when they need to do it. Sales project management tools increase visibility even further, resulting in more effective communication.Applying the principles of project management to sales increases accountability and improves collaboration among team members.
Using the right tools in your sales project management can help increase the benefits received. With the right set of tools, you can save time and promote greater efficiency.
Common tools for sales project management
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is one of the most common sales tools. This software gives team members access to the same set of data, making it easier to coordinate activities across the sales and marketing departments. Sales teams use CRM software to automate their workflow, log each contact with prospects and customers, manage leads, and use real-time data to personalize customer interactions.
Sales analytics tools sales professionals make better decisions by helping managers identify trends and assess sales performance. There are two types of analytics tools:
Descriptive analytics focuses on historical data—such as the amount of revenue generated by each salesperson—allowing managers to compare sales reps based on their performance.
Predictive analytics uses sales data to make predictions about future trends, which may help sales teams better anticipate their customers’ needs.
If you’re looking for a single tool that can help with sales, project management, and even CRM functions, a Work OS is the best option. A Work OS like the one at monday.com offers a variety of tools, integrations, and widgets that help sales teams run their operations from beginning to end.
monday.com products for sales project management
monday.com sales CRM allows you to track every stage of the sales cycle in one place, increasing accountability and making it easier for sales managers to assess employee performance. It also integrates with Gmail, Mailchimp and other email marketing tools, giving users access to email templates, customer data, and other features.
If you’re ready to apply the principles of project management to your sales process, monday projects offers access to a variety of project management tools. Color-coded tags enable project managers to view task assignments and understand how project resources have been allocated, while the built-in toolkit has features to help with risk management, project planning, and project approvals.
Both products also have templates to streamline your workflows and free up time for making sales. Let’s go through a couple of our templates that could help you manage the sales process.
Successful project management starts with in-depth planning. Once you have a project plan in place, templates can help you keep track of milestones, task assignments, and resources.
Project management plan template
Our Project Management Plan Template includes customizable fields for milestones, timelines, status updates, and board descriptions. This template can help you track each stage of the sales process and quickly identify potential bottlenecks.
Single project template
If you want to track each sales project individually, our Single Project Template allows you to put every project-related deadline, budget, and stakeholder in one place. You’ll be able to track due dates, find out who’s responsible for completing each milestone, and determine whether you need additional resources to meet your sales targets. This template also offers several options for data visualization, including Gantt charts, maps, and calendars.
Make more sales by taking a project management approach
Businesses spend billions of dollars per year training their salespeople to be more effective. That’s why it’s so important to adopt project management principles that can help your sales team create additional value. monday.com offers tools and templates to help you combine sales activities with effective project management.