Today’s post is by Eric Morse, CEO and founder of Sales Result, Inc. (SRi), a boutique sales consulting firm. With a passion for sales, Eric has been a “change agent” delivering real sales results for his clients.
So, you’ve established a sales process – congratulations! But is it actually getting successful results?
We recently worked with a company where the leadership team was convinced it had the right sales process. Before finalizing the process, the company leaders held several meetings with the sales team to brainstorm, gather feedback, and gain buy-in that the sales process made sense for the company.
They were shocked to find out that, even after all the meetings, each sales rep was using his or her own version of the sales process. Further, everyone had different ideas about who was responsible for what, and the activities reps chose to focus on didn’t move leads forward through the sales process. The result? Poor forecasting, no predictability, and high loss rates.
Sales process missteps like these are not uncommon. At Sales Result, we find that addressing the following three mistakes can lead to a repeatable, winning sales process.
Mistake #1: Not mapping the sales process to the buyer’s journey.
Today, any good sales process needs to map to the customer’s buying journey. According to Forrester, “62% [of B2B buyers] say they can now develop selection criteria or finalize a vendor list based solely on digital content.” Therefore, when outlining your sales process, involve the marketing department to ensure the front end of the buyer’s journey is effectively addressed. Also, hold regular sales and marketing meetings to ensure the two departments are working in cohesion.
Likewise, it’s important to re-evaluate the sales focus to make sure reps are adding strategic business value to prospects. Otherwise, sales reps risk boring prospects by regurgitating information prospects already know.
Mistake #2: Skipping steps or key activities within sales process stages.
No sales process should miss key activities and steps that move sales forward. If it does, sales reps are likely to get stuck or waste time on activities that don’t have significant impact in driving leads to close.
To ensure your sales process includes the right activities and steps, analyze the existing customer’s buying journey. Think about the following questions:
- What problems was the buyer trying to solve? Why did they consider you? Why now?
- What kind of questions did the sales rep ask that lead to a good conversation?
- What did the sales rep say that the buyers responded well to?
- What activities or collateral helped move the lead through the sales process?
Once you’ve identified the activities that moved previous sales to close, clearly explain and define them in your sales process. To keep all sales reps accountable for performing each activity, tie KPIs to these activities and periodically listen to calls and go on ride-alongs to make sure sales reps are following the process.
Mistake #3: Lack of training on steps, activities, and tools in the sales process.
Even if the sales process is perfectly mapped to the buyer’s journey and is focused on the right activities, consistent results are unlikely if sales reps are not trained and enabled to properly execute each step and activity.
Conducting regular training sessions and developing sales tools and relevant marketing collateral will be important to enable the sales team. Start by identifying key skill gaps to lead training around and develop sales tools and frameworks that would make it easier to perform key activities.
Many of our clients find that sales playbooks that define what you sell, who you sell to, and how you sell it mapped to the sales process help reps become more effective at moving the sale forward and closing deals.
Conclusion: The Benefits of a Great Sales Process
By eliminating these mistakes, sales organizations can expect to increase their forecasting accuracy, regain connection with prospects, and repeatedly beat the competition. However, the sales process is only one of 12 key elements we’ve identified as critical to building successful sales organizations. To find out what these elements are, download our free eBook, The 12 Elements of a Winning Sales Foundation.