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    Is your sales process dead or alive?

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    Adjusting to buyer behavior is important. However, when taken too far sales people become reactive rather than proactive, responding to customer demands rather than leading the way. How can you break the trend? Implementing a sales process based on what your top performers do differently will go a long way.

    Adjusting to buyer behavior is important. But when taken too far, sales people become reactive instead of leading the way. Your buyers are in the driver’s seat. So is this a bad thing? Yes. Even for the client.

    Do your sales people share too much information with prospects too soon, schedule countless follow-ups and have trouble gaining commitment? Are they agreeing to discounts, producing stale pipelines and poor win rates?

    If so, your sales people are not driving opportunities in line with a well thought-through sales process and methodology; your buyers are in the driver’s seat.

    But we’re told to follow the buying process?

    With Internet and the rise of inbound marketing, the sales community has been flooded with information on how to align with the buying process in order to win more business. If you only produce and share the right content, customers will be banging on your door looking to buy…

    Not happening for your sales team? I suggest sales leaders use caution before jumping on the bandwagon, or you’ll risk ending up with a deadbeat pipeline.

    You know better

    In complex b2b sales environments, your sales people are offering products and services with high strategic value. Customers might not even know what  process to follow to achieve the best possible outcome. If your company has helped similar companies, your experience and expertise can add a lot of value that should not be underestimated.

    Your prospects have an idea about what they want and need, but if you have not influenced their perception of their current state and desired future, someone else certainly has. All too often, sales people are just reacting to the questions and requests from buyers. Don’t do it. It won’t increase your chances of winning. Instead, be proactive and make sure to understand your prospect’s pains and goals. Dig deeper, get under their skin, short-circuit their default behaviors and lead the process.

    “Having a process” is not enough

    All too often, the sales process is either a drop-down in a CRM, a laminated piece of paper or a PDF created after sales training sessions. If this is how you do it, rest assured that it is not being used in daily operations. It’s likely costing you millions each year as a result of poor on-boarding, deals that fall between cracks and buyers who take advantage of your sales people.

    Your top performing sales people most likely have a way of approaching and working with prospects, which improves their outcomes. Have you bottled their magic sauce? Do they know how they do it? Start mapping out the steps they are taking and draw out the best-practices for your team. And no, it’s not just about the phases of the sales process. Your less effective performer will need to do a lot of learning to implement this in practice and providing them with a map is the first step to improve performance.

    Make your sales process come to life!

    A living sales process drives the right sales behaviors, including best-practices and educational steps. There are clear outcomes and milestones to achieve and it helps both sales people and front-line sales managers visualize and understand every opportunity in the pipeline. It provides the analytics to help you iterate and constantly improve, while also allowing for a methodology and common terminology to be weaved in. Over time, your sales team will be what makes the difference. Start investing in solid sales infrastructure today.

    George Brontén
    Published November 19, 2014
    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.

    Find out more about George Brontén on Twitter or LinkedIn

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