Do You Know Your Sales Process?
"What Sales Process…we just sell stuff!
That sounds a little humorous, sarcastic or maybe even harsh, I know. Unfortunately, that's the way many organizations view their sales process. This approach is really nothing more than a series of smaller processes, not really connected to anything other than their revenue target. Do they really know how they “sell stuff”?
What is your sales process? Forget definitions. Simply put, it is the tactical actions your sales team uses consistently every day to achieve your overall sales strategy. At a minimum, a complete sales process includes the following components:
· Lead Generation – how you add leads into your system, then convert them to qualified opportunities to insert into your pipeline
· Sales Stages within your pipeline - to qualify opportunities, to manage and track your sales activities as they progress to prospects, to ultimately close as customers
· Customer Maintenance – nurturing your customer base for up-sell opportunities, repeat business and referrals
· Tools and Technology – the systems you use to track and manage sales activities and progress: CRM, lead generation, pipeline management, website, sales automation, compensation models, performance/financial metrics, etc.
· Sales Personnel Engagement – “Everyone rowing in the same direction”. Your sales process should be repeatable, promoting successful behavior with consistent performance metrics and compensation plans tied directly to those behaviors and metrics
· Sales Leadership – Sales Leaders must establish accountability with the sales team to both the process (how we work) and the metrics (what’s expected), then accept their own accountability to the organization for delivering the results needed to reach targets
Note: This must be a consistent, continuous process for everyone to make your sales process REPEATABLE and PREDICTABLE to achieve or exceed your sales targets!
Critical Connection: FINANCE – Sales affects virtually every area of the business in one way or another. There must be a continuous two-way flow of information (the numbers) to track and measure performance, the most important of which is an accurate forecast.
Going back to our original question: do you know your sales process? Here are a series of questions to consider before you answer.
1. How are leads generated? Who generates them? How well do you convert them? The size of your pipeline (your business) can only be as large as what goes in!
2. Are all of your salespeople selling virtually the same way? If not, you don’t have one sales process. You actually have multiple processes significantly hurting the predictability of your business.
3. Is true accountability real in your business?
4. Are your sales leaders capable of managing your process, developing their people as well as assigning and accepting the necessary accountability for success?
5. Do you have the proper tools and metrics to consistently manage sales performance weekly, monthly and quarterly? Managing results after the fact is too late!
This all sounds pretty obvious until you actually have to do it, but that is our job as Sales Leaders. Plus, getting it right can provide exponential results for our respective organizations.
Get everything working around a repeatable and predictable sales process…and “Sell More Stuff”.