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    How Much Does it Cost for Your Sales System to NOT be Sustainable?

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    I often talk about the importance of developing a sales system that is consistent, scalable, and continually improved.

    But I haven’t really addressed the question of what happens when it’s NOT sustainable. The cost of not being sustainable is high, and, unfortunately, the vast majority of sales systems are not.

    What Does It Mean to Have a Sustainable Sales System?

    A sustainable sales system is one that is consistent, scalable, and can be continually improved. It does not rely on a few superstar salespeople or a few superhero moments throughout the year. It doesn’t falter when something in the marketplace changes, and it doesn’t crumble when you add more salespeople.

    A sustainable sales system is grounded in a clear sales strategy based on value differentiation and deep understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile. It is made consistently executable through clear processes that are flexible and dynamic. These processes are reinforced by the platforms and workflows your sales teams use every day.

    A sustainable sales system is consistent, scalable, and can be continually improved.

    It is supported by consistent and effective sales training and coaching. And it provides for a proactive feedback loop that makes it easy for you to adjust and maneuver through a changing competitive landscape. This requires analytics that enable strategic and tactical insights, as well as systems that are flexible and easy to upgrade and roll out across your organization as processes change.

    The benefits of a sustainable sales system are detailed extensively elsewhere. But now let’s talk about what it’s costing you to NOT have a sustainable sales system.

    What Is the Cost of Not Being Sustainable?

    When your sales system isn’t sustainable, it costs your company on many fronts. Here are a few of them.

    • Hiring and firing: A system that relies on individual salespeople and their managers to “sink or swim” results in a long chain of wasted time in the form of bringing people on only to have to replace them soon after. This turnover also represents substantial unnecessary cost.
    • Slow ramp-up: Without a sustainable sales system and guidance through standard sales processes, salespeople will take much longer to ramp up and become competent. This can lead back to the hiring and firing loop, as well as simply slowing down the time to productivity even for those who do continue with the company.
    • Manual creation of forecasts: When your system is complicated and lacks a consistent framework for qualifying and moving prospects through the pipeline, you can’t rely on analysis from the data in your system. Chaos in = chaos out. Instead, sales managers are tasked with wasting precious time “doctoring” forecasts according to their understanding of the pipeline to try to achieve some level of accuracy.
    • Unnecessary back and forth conversations between managers and salespeople, as managers try to understand and gain insight into what’s happening for salespeople, and as salespeople try to get information to help them move through the sales process.
    • Low win rates, due to wrong ICP and poor process execution. In a sustainable system, your salespeople spend their time with the right people, doing the right things. In an unsustainable system, salespeople close fewer deals because they don’t know who to spend their time with or the best way to move them toward a sale.
    • Brand damage due to off brand messaging and losing control of the story. When sales teams are communicating off the cuff instead of according to your sustainable sales process and messaging, and when customers are left to explain your story to others within their company in their own words, you end up with confused customers and potential brand damage.
    • Overly complicated management for geographically dispersed teams: The larger and more geographically dispersed your teams, the more critical a sustainable sales system becomes. Without it, it is very difficult and overwhelmingly complicated to keep up with what everyone on the team is doing and what’s working for them.
    • Frustrated workforce
      Sales teams who are forced to operate inside an unsustainable system become frustrated by all of the factors above. Frustration can lead to disconnection, low performance and, ultimately, more workforce turnover.

    These costs are only scratching the surface of everything it costs to have an unsustainable sales system. I’m sure you could think of more to add to the list.

    When viewed through this lens, it makes it easier to justify investing in building and maintaining more sustainable sales systems. Our partners can help you get on the right track.

    George Brontén
    Published March 22, 2023
    By George Brontén

    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.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn