One of the most intense activities to do during an ISO 9001 implementation is to define the procedures of the business. In this blog, you will learn on how to create the Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements.
Through this blog, we will take the following two examples to explain how the same requirement is not equally important to all industries:
- Supermarket – when clients visit a supermarket, they proceed to selecting items from the shelves that they’d like to purchase. The prices are attached to the products. The availability of the products is instantly available for the customer to see – if it’s on the shelf, then it’s available.
- Marketing agency – marketing, or in this case advertising, is the activity through which leads are obtained for the client. There are various tactics that can be employed. Moreover, the there are different levels of the involvement that are expected by both parties (the client and the agency).
The following is an example a Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements
Why write procedures?
Whenever working with a client, in our capacity as ISO 9001 consultants in Malta, we like to explain to our clients the reasoning behind asking our clients to get anything done. There are various benefits on why you should write procedures, here as but a few:
- Create a structured way on how to tackle the key elements of your business
- Have a foundation over which continual improvement can be carried out
- Making it easier to explain and communicate the roles of different people involved in a specific process
- Identify any pitfalls, or missing links for the flow of information, while defining the procedure
- It is the first step into creating a successful succession plan for the business owner
Besides the above benefits, one of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 is to evaluate the risks that exist within the organization. Not having the key processes clearly documented, poses the risk that certain elements of the key activities are not done repeatedly. In turn, this might cause lower levels of customer satisfaction due to lack of consistency.
Communicating with customers in relation to information about the products or services
This is the first requirement for what needs to be defined within the sales procedure. This requirement is within Clause 8.2.1 of the standard. And here, we need to define how the company goes about handling inquiries, contracts and order handling. Naturally, the extent to which this clause can be followed depends on the industry.
For the two above organizations, it can be seen that the level of detail that needs to be communicated when agreeing on a sale is widely different. For a supermarket, the customer effectively loads the products onto a physical cart, and the only ‘documented information’ that is required is to the fiscal receipt to denote the purchased. For the marketing agency, it would be wise to define the service description, payment terms, total price and other conditions as deemed necessary. This can be done through various forms, as long as there is mutual understanding between the customer and the service provider.
In the Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements, we will therefore explain the steps that are required for the company to achieve the requirements of having communicated with the customer in relation to the information about the products or services.
A process to determine the requirements for products and services required by customers
The second requirement within ISO 9001:2015 for the sales procedure is within Clause 8.2.2. In this clause, we need to explain on how the company has “established, implemented, and maintained a process to determine the requirements for products and services to be offered to customers”.
Continuing on the above two examples, meeting this requirement for the supermarket is easy. The customers come to the shop, and take the products they need themselves. Effectively, the supermarket has no specific need to define the customer requirements. This is because customers choose what they need and proceed to paying for the selected items.
The scenario is completely different for the marketing agency. Here, we will need to get a clear understanding of the requirements of the customer. Prior to meeting the requirement of Clause 8.2.1, we will need to know what the customer needs. There are several ways in which this can be done, for example:
- having a meeting with the client and asking specific questions
- receiving a design brief from the client on the work that needs to be done
Irrespective of how we’ll get the information, we will need to have a defined process on how to define what the customer needs. Subsequently, we will be in a position to issue a quote to highlight the requirements for products and services as required by the customer.
Confirming our ability to meet customer requirements
A relatively obscure requirement, Clause 8.2.3 requires of a business to confirm that it has the ability to effectively offer the products and services that were requested by the customer.
I strongly believe that most companies would have 80% of the system required for ISO Certification even before starting the implementation process. It is then up to the consultant to identify the remaining 20% of the requirements and to set system that help the organization to improve (rather than to create a bureaucratic system).
And this requirement is a clear indication of this point. I am very sure that most companies confirm that they have the ability to reach the customer requirements in terms of:
- knowledge – the skills needed within the company to do the job
- resources (people) – available people-power to deliver the product/service
- resources (suppliers) – available contacts to acquire any products needed to deliver the product/service
Ensuring that relevant documented information is amended when there is a change
Thankfully, ISO 9001:2015 does not exist in an academic bubble, that is completely detached from reality. Rather, the writes of the the standard are aware of the realities that most business owners face.
Changing customer requirements after the project has been kicked-off is relatively normal. And the standard is completely fine with that. However clause 8.2.4 asks us to make sure that such changes are documented. Should the requirements change, we will need to update our agreements with the clients, to reflect these updated requirements.
This way, there will always be an agreed scope of works.
Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements
In conclusion, the Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements will change depending on the company that is implementing the standard. In this blog, we took 2 examples.
The supermarket can have a very simple procedure to define all the Sales Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements. While on the other hand, for the marketing agency, we might need to have different procedures on how to carry out each step within the sales process.
Should you want more information, feel free to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org, or to request a quote for ISO certification.
Case study for creating the sales and marketing procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements
First of all, before starting with this case study, I wanted to start by going into more detail about the actual requirements within the iso 9001 standards. In the video above, I am sharing a sample flowchart of a sales process that basically covers all the requirements of the standard as set out for the sales process within a company.
It is good to note that if we had to find a particular clause or a section in which is 9001 talks about the sales process it would be clause 8.2.
In this flowchart, we are seeing how the various elements within clause 8.2 are split out into different sections.
This post is split into two sections. In the first part, we’re going to see the actual requirements of iso 9001 when it comes to the sales and marketing process. And then we will create a flow chart (a procedure) relating to the sales process for a case study company.
Requirements of ISO 9001:2015 for the Sales & Marketing Procedure
As per any other type of flowchart we would start by having an input to the process. What will trigger the process to start? And the first consideration that we’re going to have in the sales process would be that we would have some kind of request.
This refers to some type of incoming requests from a potential or an existing customer. Of course, this can vary from one company to the next. If for example we are taking a supermarket then the sales process would start when the client actually picks up the items from the store and proceeds to the cash register, where they are ready to pay.
When it comes to for example a consultancy company, then we consider that the incoming request is coming when we receive an email for example or a phone call from a potential client asking for our services.
Charting the incoming request
How the activity that would start the sales process would greatly vary from one company to the next okay um but that is the idea of how we will start what will trigger the sales process to start.
The first element that we’re discussing when it comes to the actual requirements of the standards is communication with the customers. This can include providing information relating to the products and services and on how we handle enquiries contracts or orders including any changes.
So, Clause 8.2.1a talks about actually the marketing. And how the company is sharing information relating to the products and services to potential clients. 8.2.1b talks about how we are handling requests contracts or orders including changes with a particular focus on the actual communication that we are using with our potential clients.
Marketing procedure for ISO 9001
We might be putting some um promotion and material online for example so that is one way in which we can be communicating with potential customers then we can move forward to explaining how an actual request is being handled okay how the enquiries contracts and orders are being handled, from a communication point of view.
Meeting requirements of customer during Sales as per ISO 9001:2015
Clause 8.2.2, we are seeing that the company has to ensure that the requirements for the products and services are defined. And this refers to any applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. The standards also requirements that the organization has considered the information necessary by the organization. This relates to any other requirements that we will need to define with our clients. These points change from one company to the next and it is up the two company to define.
Let me just give you an example. In this case if for example we are selling food products, and let’s say that we are selling bread products – so we are a manufacturing company. We manufacture bread and we are selling to wholesalers who will then in turn be reselling our products to the end user.
In the first element where we have to consider the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, we are going to assume because the client doesn’t actually need to tell us we are going to make sure that we are following such legal requirements. All the requirements that come into place when we are manufacturing food, for example, HACCP has to be taken into consideration and other elements that we are considering to handle food in a professional way, and in a way that is safe for the end-user.
In the second element, we are saying that those requirements that are considered necessary by the organization. In this case for this food company then we will need to know:
- what type of food product because a company can produce different types of food products?
- the quantity of how much the client needs from us for each particularly product,
- the estimated delivery date,
- any other information that we are defining as important as a company
Reviewing the requirements of the customer during the sales procedure
We will need this information before we actually proceed with the quote. The organization has to make sure that we can meet the claims for the products and services being offered.
So, if there are certain elements that we are not capable of offering to our potential clients then we should make sure that this information is communicated to the client as early as possible within the sales process.
This is done to make sure that we are being honest and upfront with our limitations as a company as early as possible in the communication process.
The results of the internal discussions being made on whether we are able to handle a particular request by a client has to be documented in a simple way as defined in clause 22.214.171.124
Writing the sales procedure as per ISO 9001 for a company
The extent to which these details are going to be discussed will vary from one company to the next. So, for example, if a company that specializes in ISO certifications the steps within the process would be something as follows:
Receiving the request
Here will So, need to define how the is communication with the client done. When I receive a request relating to iso certifications then I would confirm that I have the knowledge and experience for that particular industry.
I then check the deadline off the client. If the client asks for a very tight deadline for example they want to be certified in a month’s time example, then I would need to check with my availability to make sure that I am available for that particular client to meet the particular deadline
Naturally, this type of review and communication doesn’t need to happen only on an internal basis. We can also be discussing this type of information with our potential customers to make sure that they are we are both in line with the type of requirements and the expectations that are being met.
May I remind you that iso 9001 is a management system relating to quality. And expectation management is definitely part of having a good quality product or service.
Then after we have confirmed to our client that we are able to meet the requirements set by the client then we are going to get some kind of confirmation from the client and we are going to start with the works.
Changes to the customer requirements within ISO 9001 sales procedure
clause 8.2.4 then talks about any changes in the requirements we live in the real world. not in a theoretical world. The standard appreciates that as well. The standard asks us to make sure that if the client needed a certain kind of service from us or a product and these requirements have changed or evolved over time then we need to have the systems in place to make sure that our agreements and our operational records are updated accordingly.
This is done to make sure that everyone within the company knows about these updated requirements from the client to make sure that we are always working towards reaching the latest requirements set by the clients to make sure that the customer requirements and expectations are being met.
In most cases when there are changes and requirements we have to go back to the original drafting of the agreement. This is done to make sure that all the requirements have been defined and that we have agreed with the client on the new requirements.
Confirmed order within the sales process
After we have received the order from the client and there are no changes then we can consider that order as being confirmed.
So, in a nutshell, and from a purely requirements point of view this flowchart that I have described right now meets all the requirements when it comes to the sales and marketing procedure as per ISO 9001:2015.
Is there a requirement to create a sales & marketing procedure for ISO 9001?
Clause 4.2 within the standard states that a company has to map out its key processes. The sales and marketing procedures can be considered as a sales process as per iso 9001. So, the sales and marketing process would need to be documented. The performance of the sales & marketing procedure can be discussed during the management review meeting for ISO 9001, where you can discuss the Quality Objectives relating to sales & marketing.
Case Study for the creation of a Sales & Marketing Procedure as per ISO 9001 requirements
In the second part of this blog where I am explaining everything you know need to know about the sales procedure.
By following the video above, you will see a real-life example of me creating a procedure relating to the sales and marketing of a consulting business.
Which software to use to create a flow chart for the sales procedure?
I am creating this flowchart based on a software that you can find online that is called draw.io
I like using this software because it is very intuitive and helps me work with the clients when creating any type of procedure.
So, without any further ado let’s start with how an ISO 9001 consulting business would create its sales and marketing procedure that is fully compliant with the requirements of iso 9001 2015.
Case study: sales process for a consulting firm
- The process the input starts whenever I receive a request. So, I receive requests from a potential client and this can be via telephone email or any other source.
- In all cases and however I received the request the first step that I would do would be to have a telephone conversation with potential client. There isn’t anything in particular that I like to cover during this initial call it is just an introduction of myself as a consultant and for me to make sure that the lead that I got is actually someone that I can help.
- So, I will have that conversation with the client and the next step I will set up an appointment with the potential client. In this case okay I’m going to be using a document. A type of software really and truly and I personally use google calendar for me to I’m keep track of all of my meetings.
- So once an appointment is set the google calendar is a type of record that I am keeping to track all my on my meetings.
- I’m going to have the meeting with the potential client. And during the meeting I do have a form that I use. I do this to make sure that I am gathering all the information. In my system this form is called inquiry form.
- So, after the meeting with the potential client has been done then I would have all the information that I would need to create a tailored quote to the client.
- over here really and truly I do update two types of records
- I use the template So, for iso quotation
- I update the CRM – a is a customer relationships management software that I use during my sales process to monitor the status of each of my leads
- I would send the quotes to the client prior to the meeting, so the client will have some time to review the quote. So that when we meet, I will be able to answer any questions that they that they might have during the proposal meeting.
- Finally, during the proposal meeting the client has can either decide to proceed with the work or get back to me later.
- if the client was wanting some kind of change, then we would need to go back to setting up another appointment okay for me to fill in to basically start the whole process again.
Remarks on creating the sales & marketing procedure
When creating the sales and marketing procedure or any procedure really and truly within 9001 it is an actual reflection of how you work as a company. It is not that we are trying to meet the requirements of the standard only. The first that we have to do is to think about what actually do as a company in our sales and marketing process.
Case study: Sales procedure compared with ISO 9001 requirements
In the first step we are considering that we have an input. A customer request.
Clause 8.2.2 in ISO 9001
The applicable statutory and regulatory requirements together with any other requirements set by the client are first I would first get that information from the inquiry form.
So, in the inquiry form for example some of the information that I would be gathering would be the number of people working for the company. The deadline by when by when do they wants to get certified. The scope of certification. The number of sites that they have for certification.
My point is that in the enquiry form I am making sure that I collect all the information that I need to actually do the quote and then the template for the iso quote includes all the statutory and regulatory requirements relating to my services.
It also includes a space for me where I can write information that is specific to this particular client.
So, by creating these types of forms I have managed to simplify my sales process where I have met all the requirements set by iso 9001 relating to the procedure of the sales process. This has been done in a very simple way because the information is available to me within these templates and within these forms.
Get order confirmation
Go get copy of signed agreement form from client.
Output of the sales procedure
That is the output of the process – that will have an official new client. And then once we have a new client the next process would have to be triggered would be to start the planning process.
We plan the time to be able to do the actual work on the client. What I have not mentioned is the person who will be doing this work, so that is myself Luke Desira.
Creating Job Descriptions in the sales procedure for ISO 9001
Let’s say that I have a colleague – an office admin. I have added the colors yellow to my office admin on the flow chart seen above. I used white for myself and this will show us straight away who is responsible for what.
office admin handles
- communication with potential clients to set up appointments
- then my admin creates the proposal based on the information that I provide
- sets up the appointment
- sends the quotes to the potential client
I do myself
- receive the request and to give the free eBook to the potential clients
- the meeting with the client
- I go to the proposal meeting
Documenting equipment within the sales procedure for ISO 9001:2015
And now we will mention the equipment that is used in the sales procedure. In this case, for the sales process, we need:
- 2 laptops, for office admin and me.
- We need the car for Luke Desira to actually do the meeting.
- We have the CRM which is the software that we are using to keep track of the conversations with our clients.
- Finally, we have Microsoft office that is being used to create the templates and to create the actual quotes for the clients.
Setting up ISO 9001 compliant quality objectives for the sales procedure
Finally, we will need to set up some objectives relating to the sales process. Some KPIs, for example to receive 15% more lead that the previous year. Which is part of the marketing initiative.
Quotes confirmed from quotes issued. For example, to have five quotes from confirmed from 10 quotes issued. This is giving me information relating to my conversion ratio, which is important to keep track of.
Another objective of the sales procedure for ISO 9001:2015 could be – to generate in sales in 20xx.
Click here to learn more about ISO 9001 compliant quality objectives on this website to have more information about the actual quality objectives.
Conclusion about the sales and marketing procedure as per ISO9001:2015
Really and truly, that is all that you will need to do to meet all the requirements of the sales and marketing procedure as per iso 9001 requirements.
If you have any questions relating to this topic or to any other topic relating to any of the procedures required within iso 9001 please feel free to contact me on email@example.com
I would be very happy to help. Thank you for your time and I look forward to having a chat with you on how I can help you to implement iso 9001 within your company as well.