Data from sales research firm CSO Insights indicates that most sales teams experience a low level of performance consistency. Likewise, their research indicates that, industry-wide, forecast accuracy is around 50%.
Those might be acceptable odds in Las Vegas or Macau, but not when communicating financial expectations to your investors.
Implementing a consistent sales process significantly improves those odds by helping to define a predictable and repeatable path to sales success. But mention the word “process” to salespeople and you can expect a lot of push-back. Inexperienced salespeople may not have the skills to follow the sales process, while experienced salespeople may prefer to do “what they’ve always done.” Many salespeople feel that following a process is equivalent to “big brother” watching them.
For that reason, implementing a consistent sales process is not as simple as defining milestones and stages and putting them into a “playbook” that gets stuck on a shelf, or even the same as programming them into a CRM. A process is defined as: “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” Checkboxes in a pulldown menu do not equal a process.
To establish consistency on your sales teams, you must establish a sales process that is relevant, actionable, and that salespeople will actually use. Such a process will incorporate the following components:
Customer’s Buying Process:
Understand the nature of how customers buy, the information sources they consult, and who is typically involved in the decision process.
Sales Stages, Activities, & Evidence:
Map the key activities to be performed by the sales team to the outcomes that are supported by evidence from the customer’s perspective.
Sales Methods & Tools:
Provide sales teams with standard frameworks, tools, and a common language to use when creating their territory, account, and opportunity plans. Define the linkage to core skill areas (e.g., planning, discovery, qualification, negotiation).
CRM & Enabling Technologies:
Most sales organizations already leverage a sales force automation (SFA) or customer relationship management (CRM) tool, but they often don’t explicitly link to the sales process, supporting methods, and/or extended enablement solutions. These should add value to the seller above and beyond serving as a pipeline report or basic repository.
Whether focused on inside, field, channel partner, or digital sales, a well-defined sales process makes you easier to buy from, harder to compete with, more efficient, and more effective.
In our work with clients, we design a sales process framework that is relevant, practical, repeatable and measureable. We bring field-tested tools and templates that sales teams and leaders can put into action right away and that prove their effectiveness immediately. We develop tailored and targeted processes that guide your teams to higher levels of success.
Over and over, we are invited back by clients because, what we do is implementable and actually works. Find out how we can help you improve the sales quota attainment of your team.
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