Sales process often fails. You may be surprised to hear me say that. You know I preach process, process, process every day on my blog and in person. But the reality is that process alone won’t save your organization, and it could actually be hurting you.
Here are 5 reasons why.
Most “sales processes” consist of a set of dropdown boxes in the CRM. The salesperson selects the “stage” each opportunity is in… and that’s the end of it. There’s no true guidance to salespeople regarding what needs to happen inside each stage, nor any way to measure the momentum within stages.
That isn’t actually a sales process.
It’s just a way to categorize prospects and opportunities, and not a particularly effective one. The criteria for moving from one category to another in such a “process” is rarely well-defined. Salespeople categorize according to their personal criteria or a sense of what the expected criteria are. Or what they would like their pipeline to look like to get the manager off their backs.
This creates muddy data and useless analytics. It forces managers to make manual adjustments to get anything like an accurate forecast or report. Worse, it fails to guide the salespeople in any meaningful way or move the needle in terms of results.
Many organizations hire consultants to come in and create sales strategy and processes to achieve their business goals, but few effectively execute on the front lines.
Training is the tool generally used to attempt to fix this. Salespeople are brought in for a day or a week and taught the new process and methodology that comes with it. They may return to training for regular check-ups and, if your organization is ahead of the pack, your sales managers will act as coaches and even reinforce the training to some degree.
But once out in the field, salespeople are mostly left to their devices and the process rarely gets acted upon in a consistent way. It becomes a dusty binder on a shelf.
If you’re a leader in sales effectiveness, you probably have a detailed sales framework that your salespeople are trained to use. But if you’re not reinforcing the day to day behaviors on your team, the process will still fail.
The “rubber band” effect is real.
Salespeople should be guided through the sales process at the behavior level. They should have access to reminders and on-demand training content to reinforce what they learn in the classroom. Their daily workflow and the technology they use should reinforce these behaviors and the process at every step of the way.
The market has never changed as fast as it’s changing today. This is the only universal truth in our industry.
If your sales process (and methodology) isn’t continually improving, it’s slowly (or quickly) dying. Competitors will creep up on you. Or catapult ahead. Customers will slowly–or suddenly–change the way they behave.
Your process should be a living, breathing thing that shifts and updates in response to market factors and organizational strategy and on-the-ground reality. Your process and technology should give you transparency into what’s working and what’s not, and the ability to quickly respond and improve how you sell.
I saved this one for last because it seems obvious, but it’s the first thing you should think about. Surprisingly, it’s often overlooked.
Your sales organization needs a clearly defined strategy and a process that aligns and serves that strategy. Without that, anything your sales team does will be haphazard and produce (at best) mixed results.
So, be honest. How is your process failing your organization? I’d love to hear about it, and how you’ve overcome process challenges, in the comments.
My team designed Membrain specifically to execute strategy and process in the field. It’s the most powerful tool available for complex b2b sales teams to make their process actionable and educational, provide sales enablement content and on-demand training, improve forecasting, and make it easy to continually improve performance.
Contact us for a demo to determine how much better your team could be performing.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
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