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The Impact of Creating a Sales Process

This occurs almost every time I speak or at every initial client visit. Whether the organization is using CRM or not, chances are it has not taken the time to define, write out and train the sales team on how to use prescriptive a sales process. 

Why is this important enough to write about? A sales process gets results!

Recently, a client and I spent about two hours simply documenting what a salesperson should do on each of the various steps of the sales process. It enlightened the sales manager and created the beginning of a new sales-driven culture for the company. What happened?

  1. In thinking through the logical progression and the actual actions the salesperson should take, we altered the second step and changed what the salesperson was to say and sell during that stage.

  2. We created one additional professional service product that could be re-sold.

  3. The sales manager began to fully understand not only what the steps in the sales process were, but more importantly why the salesperson needs to execute on them.

  4. Actual definitions of each action within each stage were specifically defined. Why is this important? Pipeline values become more accurate. Let me describe this in more detail: Let's assume there is a "demonstration" stage in your sales cycle. Ask yourself when do your salespeople move the prospect to the demo stage. When it is scheduled? Or after it is completed? This is an example of the kinds of details that will come out during the process.

  5. During the sales process your company's value proposition must be proven. You can build a step or an action that takes place at the appropriate stage that can validate your messaging. We created what we expect to be a unique idea for the client to prove theirs.

  6. One of the most important aspects of creating a prescriptive sales process is changing the sales process! What I mean is, if you and your competitors use the basic sales stages in the same sequence and say and do the same things, no one stands out and the prospect becomes confused. When there is confusion, generally there is no decision. Change your sales process to stand out, be different and make the customer remember you. Refer to my previous blog on the end of solution sales.

  7. We added a last step: a follow-up at 90 days post-implementation or -installation to validate customer satisfaction and ask for a reference letter.

The next step is for the sales manager to teach the salespeople how to execute and then "inspect what you expect" -- that is, make sure the sales team is using the process as it is defined. Set a 90-day plan in place to implement and evaluate the results. Create four or five metrics to measure its effectiveness, validate it is being used and to listen to your team. If it needs to be altered to increase effectiveness, that is OK. But before you change, make sure you are fully understand the impact.

Let me know your thoughts on creating a sales process. What has worked for you? What hasn't? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 24, 2012