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Why your web design business needs a good sales process

The honest truth is that business success will take more than your stellar web design skills alone. It will require managing your operations like a trained salesperson.

Make sure all of your efforts to get new web design clients don’t go to waste. To progress a lead towards a signed contract - without them disappearing in the middle - you need to have a concrete sales process in place. It should be a well-defined flow that responds to each stage of the customer decision process.

The seven-step sales process below outlines how to sell your web design services to prospective clients, so you can end the day with more closed deals. Before we get to that, let’s review what a sales process is and the tools you’ll need.

What is a sales process?

A sales process refers to a set of steps you take to get a potential client to ‘buy'. Or, in this case, to hire your services. There are two points to remember about these steps.

First, each of these stages should be measurable and repeatable. Those are the building blocks for creating a standardized sales process that saves you from having to reinvent the wheel every time a new lead appears.

Second, each step should correspond with a specific moment along the buyer pipeline, known as AIDA: awareness, interest, decision, and action. The best sales processes will be oriented around this buyer sequence, introducing the appropriate marketing outreach based on where the customer is at that moment.

For example, let’s take a prospective client who’s reached the “Interest” stage of their journey. They know they want to buy, but are perhaps not sure about which vendor they trust or the specifics of the website they want. This person might visit your website to get a sense of who you are and fill out an intake form while there.

A sales process is the infrastructure you need to receive and act on this information, guiding them from being interested to decision time.

AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action

Why is a sales process important?

Having a standardized system for managing your leads keeps potential business from slipping through the cracks.

Each incoming inquiry shouldn’t send you scrambling to draft a follow up calendar, or periodically rooting through your email history to remember when you last contacted them. Your time is more valuable than that.

Instead, precisely map out how a lead should travel through the funnel of your marketing efforts. That could look something like this:

  • To move a web visitor into a concrete lead, think about adding an email subscription pop-up, or intake form to your pages.

  • And to continue a business relationship beyond one project, plan for when you should circle back with this person to stay in touch and re-pitch your services.

Taking a streamlined approach doesn’t just save you time. When you visualize the entire sales process, you’ll be able to see where any breakdowns are happening in your conversion rate from one stage to the next. That way, you can optimize as needed.

Professional tools for managing your sales process

If you’ve been trying to keep track of your leads in your head until now, it’s no wonder if it’s felt like a burden. It’s time to give your sales process a fair shot at becoming the secret to your business success.

You just need the right system to manage it all. With each step designed to be repeatable and measurable, the sales process is a perfect candidate for a standardized workflow. These are our recommendations for the sales process tools you need to stay on top of it all:

Mapping the sales process

One way to outline your process is through the sticky note method. Take a deck of sticky notes, and create a grid on the wall. The top row will have a note for each stage of the sales process. Below each header, write all the action items that belong to that section. Each one gets their own note, as well.

Using sticky notes gives you flexibility to move things around or tweak until you feel you’ve reached an order that makes sense. It’s like a sales process first draft. It’s also what you can use to look for patterns and start creating some order in your operations. For instance: A consistent task in your lead connection stage will be following up with clients via email after the first phone call.

Once you’ve settled on your action items, formalize this order into a sales process checklist or flowchart - whatever format makes the most sense to you.

You’ll keep referring back to this document as new leads enter your sales funnel and you strategize how to advance them to the next phase.

Mapping the sales process with sticky note method

Track every lead that comes your way

No matter the number of incoming leads you have, you should definitely be utilizing a CRM (customer relationship management) system. It’s simply too much to keep track of each person’s individual sales path and follow-up status. Let a sophisticated business solution, like Ascend by Wix, take care of that for you.

Your CRM should give you the space to input all relevant details on your contacts, from how to get in touch to where they are in the sales journey. It should also let you create tasks, set reminders, and manage your workflow, so you never have to worry about missing a beat when it comes to your leads.

Analyze and optimize

The whole point of having a well-defined sales process and a trustworthy CRM is that you can measure it all. The most interesting questions to pursue are:

  • For those leads that disappeared before signing a contract - why did they not continue along the funnel?

  • How long does it take, on average, to close a deal with an incoming lead?

Taking stock of the following data will help you answer these questions: total leads, number of leads contacted, number you connected with, leads in progress, deals closed, leads lost or rejected.

When all these figures are available, it’s possible to see which phases are serving their purposes, and which could use some strengthening. A good CRM lets you regularly apply these kind of data-driven insights.

While sales are certainly not an exact science, the seven steps in this guide provide a solid foundation to get you started. As you put them into practice, the data you collect will help you shape these recommendations into a custom sales process that works for you and helps you close the deal with more leads.

The 7 stages of an effective sales process

  1. Finding new web design clients

  2. Qualifying your leads

  3. Making a discovery call

  4. Delivering your sales pitch

  5. Addressing client objections

  6. Closing the deal

  7. Following up with your customers

01. Finding new web design clients

The objective is always finding the “perfect client fit.” They are the ones who bode good news for your bottom line, and who will know how to make use of your skills and time. We cover how to do that in our guide, Finding Your Next Web Design Client. To quickly summarize, though:

First, outline your ideal customer profile, running through factors like professional industry, geographic location, and budget. Once this user persona is complete, use it to design your lead generation strategy so you’re targeting the right audiences. Your plan should include online and offline sources, from forums on social media platforms to meetups for professionals or industry conferences.

Lead generation is one of the most important steps of the web design process, as it gets your message in front of the eyes of your most likely clients and helps you filter out projects that aren’t a good match before you’ve invested time in them.

The goal: To make potential clients aware of your business.

02. Qualifying your leads

Thanks to your prospecting, prospective clients are looking up your website and social channels. How are you leveraging this awareness into an active interest in your brand? And - importantly - do you have a way of differentiating between the project requests you receive?

Placing an intake form on your website can help you figure out if you and this potential client could make a good team together. The questions you pose should get at each letter of the acronym BANT. It stands for budget, authority, need, and timeline, and it’s the standard many professionals use to evaluate the quality of incoming leads.

On-site intake form